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Image Processing to Honor Nature

Here you see a photo partly adjusted, partly not. You can see more of the two versions below. The point of this image is that if we are to honor and respect nature, we cannot always use images straight from the camera.

The camera does not see the world as we do. We focus in on important details and interpret what we see. Colors, for example, do not exist as absolutes but are heavily influenced by things around them. In addition, the camera emphasizes light and contrast, whereas our eyes emphasize subject and context. Plus, all cameras have to be compromises in image capture. The engineers making them have to create a camera that will work well for everyone from photojournalists to wedding photographers to advertising photographers to nature photographers, and that requires strong compromises in the imaging system.

In order to create images that honor and respect nature, sometimes we must use Photoshop or Lightroom to get rid of problems and weaknesses of the technology. If  someone says that they only do “real” photos and don’t use Photoshop or Lightroom, they are saying that they think camera technology is more important than both the human experience of nature and nature itself.

I was just at a wonderful photo festival in Sedona, Arizona, that hopefully is the first of many in the future. While there, I shot the image seen here of the side of a mountain. I liked the light on the trees and the green from the summer thunderstorms that were going through.

But the camera saw a duller image that did not honor what I saw or honor the wonder of nature’s response to the summer “monsoon” season, as they call it in Sedona. With just a little work in Lightroom, this changed to an image that did honor these things.  This can be done quickly and easily (it follows the workflow in the Lightroom Workflow free pages available on my website,, and in my Lightroom videos). You can see the before first (which looks like it was shot with a gray filter) and the after below.

This blog is a slightly condensed version of one I posted on my nature and photography blog.