Photo fixing

Since there’s been some talk about me being a photo purist who doesn’t like manipulate pictures, I thought I should confess to some photo fixing every once in a while. The real issue I’ve been preaching about is disclosure – manipulate all you want, but I think it’s only fair that the manipulation is disclosed. Except, if you’ve done the manipulation before you took the picture, so I’m letting some double standards show through. And let’s not forget one very important thing – sometimes in nature photography it really is better to do the manipulating on the computer than in the wild because you should never try to bend nature to your will… well, except gardening out some grass straws. I mean, we mow lawns, right? Oh well, anyway, I’ll try to get to the point now.

Brown bear cub
Brown bear cub, edited

When I took this picture of the bear cub, I knew that it was going to be a close call to fit it in the frame. The 40D viewfinder doesn’t have 100% coverage so I hoped that although the paw was clipped in the viewfinder it would be whole in the actual picture and indeed it was – except that the claws just touched the bottom edge. This is no good, but I didn’t want to throw the image away because I didn’t have any good bear cub images in my catalogue and this one was otherwise the best frame I got in the session. Then I noticed that I had another image where there’s more rock visible at the bottom, so I just simply took a slice of the rock and added it to problem image and then with some careful cloning and erasing made it fit seamlessly. Then I cropped the image to 5:7, added vignetting, adjusted curves, selectively saturated and de-saturated and used a gradient…

So what you see is not what I got, but thanks to Photoshop I got a keeper of a bear cub anyway!

With that said, I do strive to create the image in the camera. But if I fail, I can cheat!

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