I took this photo last autumn (early November). Standing near one of the major creeks and looking away from the lake, this shows the park road winding through a canopy of foliage brushed by winter’s preparatory hand. I do very much like the photograph.
But there’s a problem. I’m not very good at image editing. In fact, I’m actually quite bad at it. If you want to ruin a picture, just give it to me. I assure you it will turn out worse than you could imagine.
So why is that important? If you look at the photograph, there is a power line running top-center to right center. It’s thin and almost inconspicuous. I can’t tell you how many times I tried to remove it. Or cover it up. Or at least minimize its visual impact. And all to no avail.
That’s why I never posted this before. I hate that I caught the darn thing in the picture, and I equally hate that I’m not capable enough to remove it digitally.
Yet there’s another aspect to this with which I’ve struggled for some time. You see, I hate altered photographs. I consider them deceptive, a bit of presentational dishonesty if you will. That’s not to say I don’t understand why people manipulate pictures. This one is a perfect example. Nevertheless, had I been able to remove that electrical line and had I then posted the photograph, part of me would have known I had posted something that was not honest, not genuine or true.
It’s one thing to brighten or darken a photo. It also falls along those lines when a picture is cropped or rotated or color-balanced.
It’s something else entirely when the content is manipulated to hide something that was there originally or add something that was not there originally. And that’s why I eventually decided to post this even though that stupid line runs through it like aerial train tracks. The truth of the moment is that I caught that line when I took the picture. Removing it wouldn’t show you what I saw, what the scene looked like as I stood there on a cool morning with sunshine filtering through the trees. No, poppets, it wouldn’t have shown you that exact second in time. It would have shown you what I wanted to see, and that’s a beast of a different color.
So part of me is glad I’m so feeble when it comes to image editing. If I had any skills in that area, I’d be more apt to present false impressions, pictures of things that didn’t exist or moments of time that never happened—even if it was as simple as removing an electrical line.
The moral of the story is thus: I’m not a professional photographer. I’m not a digital artist skilled with creating visual scenarios that didn’t exist in the first place. I should be happy about my shortcomings in this regard. At least it keeps me honest.