Is It Natural?


Link Posted 23/10/2012 - 17:24
Blythman wrote:
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.

Couldn't have put it better.

Just like to add though, David, that if you prefer it like that then it's your photo, just do what you like. I sometimes see processing I don't like but a different photographer could well see it differently. I put photos in the gallery here and it's usually obvious from the lack of comments that perhaps the processing isn't always to everyone's taste. In fact, I seem to remember you not being keen on the tones of my Two Cars shot at Oradour.

We all have different tastes, and it doesn't matter if a shot doesn't seem natural to others if you like it. If your raison d'Ítre, mind you, is to please others then perhaps it matters more.

I tend to do more pp on my stuff than you, probably, although some shots need very little.

By the way, when responding to Nigel, I didn't state a preference for either image version. But I'm looking forward to seeing the results of the full, more valid, experiment!
This space deliberately left blank.


Link Posted 23/10/2012 - 19:08
Frogfish wrote:
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 !

Exactly my reaction

I've been very much enjoying your 'adventures' in tweaking the Forum's tail this week, David. Some very thoughtful and informative comments in amongst the reactions

Some of my vaguely better stuff


Link Posted 23/10/2012 - 20:37
1. It doesn't look UN-natural. In fact I can well imagine the scene looking like this.
2. No it doesn't matter. But I do think that for traditional landscape photography, while it doesn't matter if the photo is slavishly faithful to the scene as recorded, there are limits as to what most people will accept as 'natural' and if you push too far it can be off putting for many people. Whether that's your problem as a photographer or their problem is another matter...

I have read comments by photographers who have 'toned down' colours which they swear were recorded accurately, but which they knew would overwhelm their image or create an impression of artificiality.


Link Posted 23/10/2012 - 21:23
Other than for the shear devilment fun of sparking another debate - I don't really understand the point for the questions.

You are bound to get mixed opinions on Q1 as it is totally subjective as none of us were there and you are unlikely to get anything than a negative answer to Q2

This has much more to do with lack of information than the image

If Q1 was something like:

" This is exactly how it looked to me - does it look natural?" or
" I have ppd this image and wanted it to look natural - does it?"

Q2 becomes meaningful

For what it's worth (which is very little) - as a viewer - love the image - hate the colour - but I am decidedly pinkist and spend too much time trying to remove pink colour casts from clouds

No matter how many lenses I have owned - I have always needed just one more


Link Posted 23/10/2012 - 22:11
Good evening everyone, thanks for your input so far. The first thing I have to say is that the post has had the desired effect - i.e. it has sparked debate. The second thing is that I am even more convinced than I was before that everyone views images entirely from their own perspective - we are all like this and we can't help it! Therefore we get a massive range of views, observations and opinions, most of which cannot possibly be correct, but all of which are valid in the mind of the person making the comment / observation.

A few facts acout the image:

1. There is no colour cast whatsoever on this image from filters as there was no filter on the lens when it was taken

2. There is little or no colour distortion from white balance; it is as close to the actual WB my eye saw as possible

3. Despite the two points above it bears absolutely no resemblance to the colours I saw at the time because I have purposefully given it split toning and completely altered the highlight colours

In fact, referring back to the 'Processing Shootout' thread, my image in that thread which received a lot of comment for having a blue cast and being completely unnatural, is actually a lot closer to reality than this one is

I think the observations and thoughts so far have been really interesting - please keep them coming!

Best wishes

Nicola's Apartments, Kassiopi, Corfu

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


Link Posted 23/10/2012 - 23:37
The problem with your other image was that the blues were so intense it bore little relation to the sort of colour palette you'd expect to find in reality. The colours in this image resemble the pinks you sometimes see on a misty dawn. But back to the other image - I do not recall ever seeing vibrant blue mist either in real life or looking at a photo.


Link Posted 24/10/2012 - 00:28
Hi Will, I do agree with you that the other image looks very blue. However, the WB on the camera for that shot was the same setting used on the shot in this thread. The difference is they were shot at different times in the morning and the intensity of blue in the light on the other image was far greater when that was taken than it was when this one was taken. I can assure you that on the original RAW file straight from the camera there is a distinct blue tone and the shadows on the trees on the right are very blue. My processing has accentuated this whilst Nigel's has almost eradicated it. The result, whilst it may not look 'natural' to everyone, is that my image is a lot closer to how it really looked than Nigel's is. That's not to say it's better because clearly it's not, but it is truer to the scene. You can only take my word for that.

I've been a little mischievous in this thread because I knew that I had purposefully altered this image, but I also knew it could be believable because sometimes sunrises do produce pink / purple tones. I wasn't setting out to prove any points, I just wondered how people would react, especially given the recent heated debate on the other thread.

Thanks again for your comments.


Nicola's Apartments, Kassiopi, Corfu

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


Link Posted 24/10/2012 - 15:05
It is interesting David that you refer to the RAW file from the shootout as the 'original'. I made this point in the shootout thread to another poster who also referred to the 'original image', although this was actually referring to your own processed output from the RAW.

As I see it, it is misleading (confusing) to consider the RAW as an 'original'. This is to imply that it somehow represents a pure or unaltered protrayal of the scene as the eye saw it, or that it (on its own) reflects the vision and intention of the photographer. It is not either of these things, not at all! We both started the shootout with the exact same RAW file - so I would have equal claim to the 'original'.

Really, the RAW is simply the starting point, a collection of all the colour & detail data that the sensor was capable of recording. Any specific camera set parameters, such as WB, are not significant at all, as they are altered at the click of a mouse or pull on a slider at the converting stage, with no loss of quality. It doesn't matter what settings were made at the shooting stage.

It may be worth explaining that the WB setting of your image did create a dilemna, at least for someone who wasn't there. Your RAW setting for WB was in fact manual. Now how to interpret this? If it had been daylight I would have seen the blue as an obvious cast, and 'corrected' it. With the manual setting I made the judgement that you must have dialed in extra blue for creative effect, and therefore I also 'corrected it' !

And its worth remembering that the aim of the shootout was not to try and show which software could depict the scene as accurately in colour terms as the photographer says he saw it. Now that would have been pointless!!

Put it this way - I don't see the WB settings, or indeed any of the colour tones that are prevalent in the JPEG preview of a RAW file as being siginficant in influencing choices made during processing.

When processing and looking for quality colour tones in the image, the clouds nearest the horizon, illuminated by the sun off to the left, released plenty of warm tones under Sagelights vibrance sliders, more readily than blue, so I was satisfied that the sun had a degree of warm refection which had been suppressed by your WB setting.
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver


Link Posted 24/10/2012 - 15:24
johnriley wrote:
but whether or not that is accurate who can say apart from your good self.

Not even true. The eye has no memory, so if you don't have the "original" next to the copy, you can't tell if it's an accurate match. You can only say that it seems to be accurate.
Yves (another one of those crazy Canucks)


Link Posted 24/10/2012 - 15:43
Although Yves is right that our ability to experience colour can be variable, it's not all black and white as arguments go.

For example, if somebody gave us a Cadbury's chocolate wrapper that was printed the wrong colour, we would probably notice that. What we couldn't do is recreate the colour exactly ourselves without a reference.

The eye may have no memory, but if we're being pedantic, the brain has.
Best regards, John


Link Posted 24/10/2012 - 15:56
Snag is the brain is easily fooled by external lighting temperatures.

I imagine that setting the white balance is akin to adding a coloured filter to the outside of the lens so that for example daylight emulsion can be used with flash. If so then the accuracy of the unfiltered sensor will vary (within tolerances) as will the effect of the digital filter applied.

Having rarely been conscious around dawn I have no clear recollection other than the light was sometimes a bit odd. So I could only answer the original question as it could be either, but whilst I quite like the shot I would have prefered it without the pink tint.

Last Edited by Frogherder on 24/10/2012 - 15:57


Link Posted 24/10/2012 - 15:56
I've been, on occasion, up early enough to experience this colour, so I know it is natural, even if it doesn't look it.

I'm not sure if I like it, the wall does look too purple, whereas I quite like Sarc's version, though it does give a different atmosphere to the photo. Probably without the wall I would recognise the light and time of day and be happy with it, but then it would be a boring composition. Tough one.
As long as you are happy with it though David that is what matters.


Link Posted 24/10/2012 - 19:25
There has been a lot of debate about what is simply a colour cast in both of Davids pictures. I explained in the other thread how I very closely matched image 2 to image 1.
This was done by one click on the neutralize filter in Photoshop. Part of this filters job is to eliminate colour casts which it has clearly done here.
This time around I have attached a copy of Davids picture colour corrected and as you can see it is almost indistinguishable from Nigel's picture detail in the clouds being the exception.


Link Posted 24/10/2012 - 20:25
If we always produce images that are exactly as seen then we would merely be recorders. That's fine for pople who have to produce accurate records for scientific, forensic or architectural purposes but most of us try to be artistic in our photography.
Great landscape painters of the past took artistic liberties with their scenes just as photographers have always done when producing darkroom prints long before the advent of digital photography.
To answer your two questions David:
Does it look natural? No
Does it matter? No.
You forgot to ask: Does it work? My answer is yes.

Last Edited by davidtrout on 24/10/2012 - 20:26


Link Posted 24/10/2012 - 20:28
sarc wrote:
There has been a lot of debate about what is simply a colour cast in both of Davids pictures.

Hi Bob, thanks for your observations. You are correct in the most part, but on the image in this particular thread there isn't a colour cast. I have purposefully altered the highlight colours and made them totally different to the RAW file as it is on the camera settings, whilst leaving the shadow colours unchanged; this isn't a colour cast, it is the result of deliberate manipulation in post processing. I do agree with you however on the first image, i.e. the one you have posted above.

I don't think there's any point in everyone harking back to the original post as we have done that one to death. The idea behind this one was different, i.e. to find out what people think about whether an image should look natural or not.


Nicola's Apartments, Kassiopi, Corfu

Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs
Last Edited by davidstorm on 24/10/2012 - 20:29
Add a Comment
You must be registered or logged-in to comment.