Ethics about replacing the sky in your photos?

This afternoon I was out shooting, and I was able to get some fun shots of a rainbow created by the wind blowing the water of our lake’s fountain just right...... Later I also got some shots of my beloved GBH, and on the way back home, as I was walking past the fountain and its rainbow again, the thought crossed my mind that if I were of a certain skill set and mind set that I’d just go right ahead and create some sort of supposedly artsy composite combining the rainbow and a headshot of Alfred, the GBH..... Not to worry, folks, it’s not gonna happen!! LOL!
 
I would enjoy seeing the results if you were able to make it happen.
:)
Beyond my skill set, truly, and it’s really not the type of image presentation in which I’m interested...... When I get around to processing, Alfred will have his natural background and as for the rainbow, well.....probably that will wind up as some sort of abstract.
 
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I lack the skill for some of what is discussed above, but primarily because I lack the need. Like American football and golf—no skill, never played, never been to a game or tournament.
People here who are proud of their work share it. Some of that is manipulation beyond what most consider normal, and many explain that—and they share it. I'd guess than many with advanced skills are more than happy to share and be complimented on it.
Some do take extreme pride in using "primitive" technology and/or methods, and some of us like that, others don't. Some photograph subjects that I don't care for, or in styles I don't care for, or with processing I don't care for - - - I don't hang a round the Café dishing out nasty comments to all of them. I do occasionally share a compliment when a picture catches my fancy.
My point is, there is not one correct way, no THE way, to photograph. We all practice what we admire and enjoy. We all come to this with varied and changing motivations.
Anyway, I'm sticking with the sky that mother nature sends my way—I do have my ways of ignoring bland sky! :p
 
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If only straight-out-of-camera JPGS are acceptable (with no in-camera presets nor any manual exposure adjustments permitted?!) the Café is going to become a very boring place.
I don't think that has been suggested anywhere in this thread.
Once people start pointing to the "ethics" of creative editing we are on slippery ground. If changing a sky is deemed "unethical" then the purist must surely draw the line at all post-processing and creative expression.

Certainly, be free to dislike the result of a sky-change (or any other creative change which the artist chose to make; or even question their taste or wisdom in doing it.

But pontificating on the "Ethics" of post-processing (unless the edit was done with the purpose of deliberately deceiving for the purpose of illicit gain such as evading the rules for some competition) seems to me to be remarkably narrow-minded.
 
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But pontificating on the "Ethics" of post-processing...seems to me to be remarkably narrow-minded
Nobody is pontificating about that, Ann. I asked the question in the first post of the thread and people kindly answered it. I would appreciate it if you would please not call those people who were kind enough to answer my question narrow-minded simply because you happen to disagree with them.
 
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This thread, which I started, seems to have run its course. I especially don't like the direction it has recently taken, so I will no longer be participating in it. I will keep an eye on the thread and if it continues in the same direction, I will request that the moderators close it.
 
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Back in the day .... when I was employed as a staff photographer at a city newspaper, I was expected to capture activities or people that were worthy of publishing. Soon after I started to get a bit creative, so moved on from the strict environment that required photographs to be truly representative of the scene before the lens, and I started manipulating my photo's to make My Images. So fast-forward from Rolleiflex to Leica to Nikon F2 to Photomic to D1 to Z7 and I'm still manipulating my images. And thanks to the clever back-room boffins at Skylum, Adobe and Topaz I can produce far better images, far more quickly. And I freely admit to anyone who asks: Yes, I changed the sky. And the framing. And the exposure. And the colourimetry. And straightened the pincushion walls. Yes I cloned out that lamppost. Yes I improved her skin. And her eyes. And her hair. I made an Image from a photograph.
 
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I've joined the federal witness protection program to protect my identity; no skies were harmed making this shot!

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Back in the day .... when I was employed as a staff photographer at a city newspaper, I was expected to capture activities or people that were worthy of publishing. Soon after I started to get a bit creative, so moved on from the strict environment that required photographs to be truly representative of the scene before the lens, and I started manipulating my photo's to make My Images. So fast-forward from Rolleiflex to Leica to Nikon F2 to Photomic to D1 to Z7 and I'm still manipulating my images. And thanks to the clever back-room boffins at Skylum, Adobe and Topaz I can produce far better images, far more quickly. And I freely admit to anyone who asks: Yes, I changed the sky. And the framing. And the exposure. And the colourimetry. And straightened the pincushion walls. Yes I cloned out that lamppost. Yes I improved her skin. And her eyes. And her hair. I made an Image from a photograph.
Just to clarify a point here: presumably by the time you had begun manipulating your images in the physical or the digital darkroom you were no longer actually employed as a photojournalist and therefore no longer expected to follow the standards set by the newspaper publisher/your employer? During the time you were working there you were, as required and expected, presenting images which accurately reflected whatever the scene was that you were shooting? Only after that were you free to express your. creativity?
 
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Just to clarify a point here: presumably by the time you had begun manipulating your images in the physical or the digital darkroom you were no longer actually employed as a photojournalist and therefore no longer expected to follow the standards set by the newspaper publisher/your employer? During the time you were working there you were, as required and expected, presenting images which accurately reflected whatever the scene was that you were shooting? Only after that were you free to express your. creativity?
Quite correct. Back in the 60's there were Standards.
 
Once people start pointing to the "ethics" of creative editing we are on slippery ground. If changing a sky is deemed "unethical" then the purist must surely draw the line at all post-processing and creative expression.

Certainly, be free to dislike the result of a sky-change (or any other creative change which the artist chose to make; or even question their taste or wisdom in doing it.

But pontificating on the "Ethics" of post-processing (unless the edit was done with the purpose of deliberately deceiving for the purpose of illicit gain such as evading the rules for some competition) seems to me to be remarkably narrow-minded.
Methinks first of all, the lady doth protest too much, and also.....yes, it has not been unknown that a situation has been revealed where someone has indeed created a composite or otherwise manipulated image with the purpose of deliberately deceiving others, including entering contests or selling their work for profit...... Sad that someone would go to that extent, isn't it?
 
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Back in 2016, I was contacted by Noella Ballenger about her "Image Talk" column. She asked me if it would be OK for her to feature one of my images in her article. I agreed and then asked her which image was of interest. She said she had 15 or 20 possibilities and would get back to me with her pick in the next week or so.

A week later, Noella told me that she had decided on my "Gateway to the Moon" photograph. As soon as I heard that, my heart sank. I very rarely add elements to an image. Once in a blue moon (pun intended), I add a moon to a photograph when I think it will be particularly powerful. To give proper perspective, this has been done about 4 times in over 40,000 of my images! And, Noella chose one of those rare photographs in which I added the moon.

I always disclose things like this. So, the first thing I told her was that this was a composite...I captured a photograph of the moon. And then I captured a photograph of the Arch...and combined the two. Both are my photographs, but the moon was not in that portion of the sky at that time.

She said she appreciated my honesty, but still wanted to feature that photograph. She went on to write the column with some discussion about the topic of composites during post processing.

Here's the link to the article:
https://www.apogeephoto.com/image-talk-with-noella-ballenger-what-makes-that-photo-work-4/

I'm not generally comfortable adding an element to the frame. But for me, the ethical part relates more to how I present the image. I don't think it's unethical to create the composite (after all it is my creative choice). However, I do think it would have been unethical to not disclose what I had done.

Glenn
 
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I had a similar conversation with a photographer friend. We were out shooting landscapes. I picked up a stray beer can. He was surprised. "You're altering the reality." "Nope. I'm picking up a can I don't want in my image. If you were painting this scene, would you paint in the can?" "Well, no, I don't guess I would." If it's photo art, why not make whatever changes you want? If it's photojournalism, don't touch it.
 
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I had a similar conversation with a photographer friend. We were out shooting landscapes. I picked up a stray beer can. He was surprised. "You're altering the reality." "Nope. I'm picking up a can I don't want in my image. If you were painting this scene, would you paint in the can?" "Well, no, I don't guess I would." If it's photo art, why not make whatever changes you want? If it's photojournalism, don't touch it.
For much of my life I’ve worked in and around the tourism industry, so picking up the litter was standard practise before even setting the tripod. Today instead of all that bending over, we’ve got magic tools to erase and clone the rubbish out of the shot. A septuagenerian with a tired spine thanks the boffins
 
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Years ago National Geographic moved one pyramid to make it a better cover;. I have cloned out people in a scene .I have used Lightroom to enhance sections of a scene. I have shown the before and after of a manipulated scene to teach basics of Lightroom.
 
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Obviously we are all going to choose our own pathways to our art.
Personally, I will change/remove an item as long as the overall scene is possible. If I physically can not remove a sign or gate- although I know it is there and would move it physically if I could- I feel comfortable removing it in post.
If I am only at a place for an hour or two, and due to my bad luck the sky is blah- I feel comfortable adding one. I would choose one that was possible. If I lived locally and could visit the site throughout the year it would have different looks. But I do not live there, I am only there once, and if I have to dance in post to get the look that I could get, I will.
If anyone askes, I answer truthfully- but to be honest the ONLY people that have ever asked are other photographers.
The rest of the population does not seem to care, they either like the art or they don't. I do not think they expect anything to be real- they live in a cgi world.
I do my art for me. If I was a photojournalist different rules would be expected.
Gary
 
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I've joined the federal witness protection program to protect my identity; no skies were harmed making this shot!
It didn't work Nick. :)
Sanyal_34.jpg
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