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Thread: To clone or not to clone - that is the question

  1. #1
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    Default To clone or not to clone - that is the question

    I am not someone who alters my images a lot of the time, however for certain images I do at times attempt to alter backgrounds when I think they distract from the main subject. And of course i do apply sharpening and various other tonal adjustments when I think it is neccesary. i was interested in feedback on an image I recently took at Lake Clarendon in the Lockyer valley of a Grey-crowned Babbler. I must confess I was quite pleased with the original image and here it is shown with the original background in place including the tree.

    Image one is essentially the original image - I missed a smidgeon of the tail feathers at the extreme top end and cloned in a tad of white feather. Other than tonal adjustments and a small crop the image is un-changed including the tree.

    In the second image I decided to remove the tree and a few other areas - this was achieved by use of the clone tool, blur tool and the median filter. I also applied a slight warming filter to the background. Cropped again. Slightly different clone of the tail feather.

    The third image was an attempt to change the background to a sky like one - cloning from image two and then a cooling filter and some tonal adjustments applied and cropping. Slightly different clone of tail feather as well

    Ive wondered which was the most pleasing outcome and am stil undecided. My wife has no doubt that the original with the tree in place is the best and that the tree does not distract.

    I was interested in feedback or comment on this... positive or negative happily taken!

    Hopefully as well a help in what can be achieved in Photoshop either seriously or just for the fun of the exercise.

    Im far from an expert!

    cheers

    David Taylor

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    Default Re: To clone or not to clone - that is the question

    personaly like the first as well, also prefer the pastel colours in the sky.cheers

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    Default Re: To clone or not to clone - that is the question

    Hi David

    For what it is worth I prefer your first post, I think taking the original background away can sometimes detract from the image, we can see plenty of professional "Photoshopers" works in magazines etc, I say lets keep this forum as natural as possible, off the camera.

    Andy.

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    Default Re: To clone or not to clone - that is the question

    FWIW... I think the original is a good image though the tree does weaken it. #2 is OK too ( though i would have added canvas to the top as well if I went to all that trouble). #3 looks fake, keeping the green behind the bird & replacing the rest with sky.

    I'm not keen on altering images either (I'd prefer to try for a better shot) and hate it when some one presents something that has been doctored without being upfront about it.
    Cheers,
    Geoff


    reposts welcome

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    Default Re: To clone or not to clone - that is the question

    Hi David,

    In my opinion all versions have their merits.
    When I saw this in the bird image forum my initial thoughts were "cool image -shame about the tree" - not because I'm a soft background nazi but because it breaks up the outline of the bird making it less strong graphically.
    The second image is the one that I would personally aim to capture, but we all know that often opportunity doesnt always smile in the field + the bright cream background coupled with the line of shadow following the birds breast outlines it a bit too much & gives it that pasted on 'done in post' feel.
    The third image carries the idea much better in this set in my opinion - subject + sky blend much better + the sillouette & shadows dont look as prominent making for a 'believable' image. (Just some further tidying needed around the base + tip of tail )

    Overall, I'm with Geoff & would much prefer getting something half decent out of the camera. Always a lovely feeling when post processing consists of a crop, rotate and denoise
    -That said, I dont see any issue in presenting doctored images as long as one remains transparent about the process.

    Thanks for sharing
    Karl

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    Default Re: To clone or not to clone - that is the question

    #2 is my pick David though like Geoff said, could do with some more room at top and perhaps below as well.

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    Default Re: To clone or not to clone - that is the question

    Hi David

    I like all the post and if I had seen the last one first I would have said nice clear shot. Likewise #2, however I always like the bird to be taken where they live and if a tree or branch is in there, that ok by me, I will be looking at the bird and thrings around only add to the photo.

    I always feel that if the bird is just sitting on a stick is not real.

    I always check out ever bird on the site and will always be looking to get a shot that could reach the high standard that this site has.

    Thanks for posting.

    Regards Geoff Brown
    Regards, Geoff Brown LITHGOW NSW

    Reposts welcome

    Flicker Account http://www.flickr.com/photos/geoff_brown/

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    Default Re: To clone or not to clone - that is the question

    Quote Originally Posted by David Taylor
    Ive wondered which was the most pleasing outcome and am stil undecided. My wife has no doubt that the original with the tree in place is the best and that the tree does not distract.

    I was interested in feedback or comment on this... positive or negative happily taken!
    I hope you weren't looking for a straight forwards anwer here Paul, cause I can't give you one!

    I find that editing images is a subjective, and in some ways an individualistic process with no right or wrong way of doing it, unless there are set rules as in the case with some of the US sites.

    Here though, the tendency tends to be to have the image as natural as possible with as little PP work done to either the bird or the setting that the birds is in.

    I tend to lump what I do with my images into 2 groups. With the shorebirds that I spend most of my time photographing I tend to do less and less PP work, and apart from a slight change in light on the whites, or blacks, and the odd removal of a highlight on the bill, I don't do any work on the bird itself.
    The reason being is that I want to present the bird as natural as possible, and any slight change in the colour or light to the plumage of the bird can make the birds plumage look different and lead to a misunderstanding of the age of the bird. This is important for me because I want to learn about the different plumage patterns and types that signify different ages and moult stages.

    I do however tend to edit the bg to present the bird a little better, but I've tended to go away from totally reworking the bg like you've done in images 2 and 3, and rather spend more time on looking at getting composition right in the field so that I dont have to do it in PP. This is a much better option.

    And when I edit other images I tend to do a bit more PP work, but again I try to get it right in the field first.

    I think this site caters for a wide range of photographic skill, which is one of it's great unique strengths, without going too far to either side. People who have a P and S camera are as welcome as those wonderful people with 1D's and 600mm lenses!

    So to get around to answering your question, I think all 3 images are pleasing, thought it would've been better if you could've created #2 in the field. Personally I would've worked the original differently. I would've applied more NR on the bg and a slight blurring, and change the tone of the tree very slightly to cause some tonal seperation between the bill and tree.

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