You often hear people say, “ That picture been photoshopped? I ask myself when did the proper noun “photoshop” become a verb? “ The answer is—when photoshop became the leading image manipulation tool, which was probably around 2 decades ago. It has since become synonymous with “ image manipulation”. I must admit I learnt the ropes of the improving images almost 10 years ago on Photoshop CS2 when I first joined the photoclub. Everyone was doing it and you had to come up to speed in order to be on an even footing. Mostly people were improving sharpness, contrast and colour saturation. However there was always a debate as to how far you were allowed to go before it became a cheat. Some are staunchly opposed to changing backgrounds, removing features and cloning new features into a picture. For others this is the source of their creativity. Wildlife photography has always had the strictest criteria prohibiting manipulation. However the limits of acceptability are changing.
The leading image in the ANZANG wildlife photography awards seems to have had HDR treatment. But that is not all. Some critics suspect that it was a montage of two seperate images, which by the strict definition is against the rules. Were the judges aware? The author was asked to produce the original unaltered file – which he claims that he accidentally lost / deleted. Is he lying, or has his aliby been carelessly lost. The prize however has not been withdrawn. Most people would not regard a little contrast adjustment or sharpening as manipulation. But where do you draw the line? Whether it is right or wrong, Photoshop is the program that would do it for you. (Perhaps not HDR, but most other photo manipulation)
This picture by Western Australia photographer David Rennie it is the overall winner for the ANZANG 2013 Wildlife photography awards. It looks to have had an HDR treatment and some critics suggest it is a montage of 2 images. Manipulated maybe, but I think it is still a powerful image and deserving of the award.
Now Adobe have released a free version of this stalwart 2005 program CS2. Whether you want to do minor contrast enhancement or major digital makeovers, it’s worth looking into. I would recommend anyone new to the club, or to photography to take up this offer.
This is what you have to do. Head over to the CS2 down load page. You will have to sign up for an account with Adobe. Then download and install the program. There are few downsides. Adobe will no longer supporting the program with upgrades and problem fixes. Newer versions of the windows platform or camera RAW files may not be supported. On the upside it is a great opportunity to learn how to use this software.
Do you need help in how to use photoshop? There are millions of web tutorials and we have had quite a few articles in back issues of Camera clips that describe the basics. I do think it’ s time to give it a go. Get in touch with me if you have any problems.