Is It Natural?


Link Posted 22/10/2012 - 23:30
Well, what a week it's been on the Forum, lots of heated discussions about processing images and all that stuff. In a way, I wish I hadn't entered into the challenge with Nigel on the processing front, but in another way I've really enjoyed seeing how hot under the collar everyone gets about a couple of simple images! I wonder what 'non-togs' would think about such forum threads; they would probably recommend we all 'get a life'. Anyway, to fuel the fire, I have just two questions:

1. Does it look natural?

2. Does it really matter?

I'm in photography simply because I enjoy it and I don't have any pretentions of grandeur. I know my limitations and accept them, but I still try to do the best I can to take the best images possible within my limited set of skills. What I would like to know is whether you have strong opinions about whether or not an image should look 'natural' (whatever that means). I would bet my last fiver that many of you do have the said 'strong opinions'.........

Best wishes

Nicola's Apartments, Kassiopi, Corfu

Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs


Link Posted 22/10/2012 - 23:45
The image is quite purple in the mist, but whether or not that is accurate who can say apart from your good self.

It depends on what you want to convey. As you can change the colour you can convey different moods by doing so. Sunrise colours can be quite different to sunset colours. As mist is most likely at those times, mid-day colour might look strange.

What should be possible is to shoot an image that actually reflects what the colour really was. This can be quite accurately done by shooting JPEG with Daylight white balance, or very precisely done by using a custom white balance. You can do this after the event with a RAW capture.

Your image makes for an attractive picture as it is.
Best regards, John


Link Posted 23/10/2012 - 00:57
Lets me start by repeating what John said. The image is attractive and I do like it. Whilst I also acknowledge that only you can say whether the image is an accurate representation of what you saw, I assume that part of your purpose in posting the photo is to elicit best guesses as to whether the purple mist is "natural" (i.e. it looked like that) or whether it is a function of post-processing.

In pondering about that, I cannot help but wonder why the mist is still so purple towards the right of the photo when it is more in the shadow of the hill; why the side of the boat facing away from the setting sun is purple too; why the hill above the mist is purple and why there is more red in some of the stonework facing the viewer than you might imagine if it was lit mainly by the dusky blue sky behind the photographer.

With some trepidation, I am forced to admit that I think there is a possibility either that you used a FL-D or FL-W filter when you took the shot - or adjusted the colour balance in post-processing. Adding a little green readily restores the colour balance to how I imagine it might have really looked - but then again, I wasn't there.

Does it look natural? Maybe not. Does it matter - definitely not. It is an attractive photo.

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Link Posted 23/10/2012 - 07:08
I think the key is in there above - however you have chosen to tone the image, in order to look natural, that is 'how nature could have rendered it', then there must be consistency in how the tones are spread across picture, and any colour cast as such much look like it has arisen from the principal source of light.
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Link Posted 23/10/2012 - 09:25
1. No (well I don't think so), it looks like the cast produced with some filters. However, the definition of natural is not clearcut, certainly not for someone like me who is colour blind to a fair degree.

A black and white image could equally be considered as not natural.

2. No.
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Last Edited by DrOrloff on 23/10/2012 - 09:26


Link Posted 23/10/2012 - 10:40
1 - I'm afraid I've looked at so many images I can not tell or indeed barely care anymore. Similarly nature has also astounded me in it's variation and beauty. This looks pretty and has atmosphere, which are the main things with a shot of this type IMO.

2 - No.

Playing with your images to produce your own personal interpretation is in no way having 'pretensions of grandeur'. I promise you will look back at this and the previous thread at some point and shake your head. Gradually you get more experienced, influenced, independent and well... more bored

Spend some time on, the photograph is almost lost in PP with most of the popular images.

I've found some of the blurb that enthusiasts like to attach to their shots far more revealing to 'pretensions of grandeur' and insulting to my intelligence than any PP they've done to them.

"I was on my way to the Bullring to get some Krispy Kremes for the guys in the office when I spotted this lovely scene, luckily I had my camera, tripod, filters and remote and managed to get this quick snap of a perfectly composed 9min long exposure at the Loch side in the Highlands at 4.30am."

Well, OK, it was a decent image, but for some reason I hate it now.
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Last Edited by Dodge69 on 23/10/2012 - 10:47


Link Posted 23/10/2012 - 11:28
Hi David,

1. No. Does not look natural. But its looking good.
2. Well, it does not matter that much, as in your present shot. But in many shots, filters could look too unnatural. So it depends on what you shoot. Here I agree with John when he says "What should be possible is to shoot an image that actually reflects what the colour really was". That's the reason I too am not for too much playing with the shots, particularly the colours.


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Link Posted 23/10/2012 - 12:48
Dodge69 wrote:
I promise you will look back at this and the previous thread at some point and shake your head. Gradually you get more experienced, influenced, independent and well... more bored

I'm really struggling to get my head around what you're saying here Sean. I think you might be over-analysing me a little?

I generally do only very basic processing on my images, I have no hang-ups about what type of processing anyone prefers and I am always eager to learn. On this particular post I was just interested to know what everyone thought about whether they thought the images looked natural and whether they had strong views about this?

I have noticed on your own images that some do seem to be quite heavily processed, maybe I am wrong but this seems to be the case?


Nicola's Apartments, Kassiopi, Corfu

Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs
Last Edited by davidstorm on 23/10/2012 - 12:51


Link Posted 23/10/2012 - 12:52
I like it - as to whether it's natural - possibly not - but I wasn't there so don't know.

Many years ago we were in France on holiday and I'd just come back from my shower , Raymond was about to go and buy the fresh breakfast croissants so that puts the time about 7.30am We were camped in Saumur looking across the river at the chateau. Raymond came rushing back in to say "grab your camera and come !"

There was a very definite pink mist everywhere down near the chateau - fabulous - I got several pics and afterwards I was told these could not have happened - no sky could be that pink - but it was and I didn't use any PP then - it was a little Kodak P&S !

I'm prepared to believe that David's pinky purple could be correct . It may have been enhanced a bit - but that doesn't matter - it's a gorgeous shot and makes us think about it - the object of the lesson
let the education continue

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Link Posted 23/10/2012 - 13:54

In answer to both questions has to be no. The end result should be as you see it.
If on the other hand you want to see what the camera saw then it is best to apply the the neutralize filter in Photoshop which clears any colour casts that may be present. In your own picture it removes the purple and replaces it with a pinkish tinge.




Link Posted 23/10/2012 - 14:07
Why should the end result be as you see it? Do you think that WE hear the Music Mozart wrote the way HE heard it? and how do we know how he heard it??!!

Not sure how you have answered no to both questions and then gone on to make the above statement?? BTW im not attacking you just questioning

For my part 1.yes it looks natural to me and 2. No it dosent matter if it does or dosent represent the scene as you saw it
Last Edited by DanielH on 23/10/2012 - 14:11


Link Posted 23/10/2012 - 14:20
Ahh, not to worry David I think you have misinterpreted my 'shaking the head' comment. To elaborate:

From developmental experience both personal and success of others I have followed, I was suggesting, very positively and particularly with regard to this photographic genre, that you will carry on this curve of evolution to a point where you will process more heavily and better than you do now.

davidstorm wrote:
I know my limitations and accept them, but I still try to do the best I can to take the best images possible within my limited set of skills.

You see comment like that annoys me, now if your seriously trying to say your talent will never increase, then fair enough I retract all comments and leave you to simply 'enjoy it'. However I am strongly optimistic that this will be proved wrong in the future. You've always said your eager to learn, and the very fact your wandering around the Lake District at 4am shows you want to do something, to push the boat out and get better. If your aspiring to Shaun's or marklj's stuff (and there's no reason you shouldn't) then PP is going to play a very big part.

Golden hour landscapes simply demand PP, and if you keep at them, the PP along with all the other skills will increase.

So... I believe you will look back on these threads and shake your head with a smile at how they have become obsolete/naive.

Damn, should have just wrote that!
Pentax pour des images riches en détails!
Last Edited by Dodge69 on 23/10/2012 - 14:22


Link Posted 23/10/2012 - 14:30
The end result should be as the artist/photographer sees it as it is there own creation. The reference to Mozart is really irrelevant as we are talking about seeing.
The questions are "Does it look natural" and "Does it really matter" neither of which includes "what the camera saw".


Link Posted 23/10/2012 - 15:33
1. No
2. No - its your picture. Its up to you.

It doesn't look natural to me. Highlighted by the purple stonework. I've had casts when stacking my grads. Sometimes I try to get rid of the casts. Sometimes I choose to work with them, just trying to make them more subtle.



Link Posted 23/10/2012 - 16:34
1. No - but I like it.
2. No - there are many aspects to photography and one of them is art. No-one questions an artist as to whether his creation is 'natural' or not ! Pentax. Pentax DA*300/4, Cosina 55/1.2, Lens Baby Composer Pro & Edge 80, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.
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