Monday, June 15, 2009

Was that Photoshopped?

I'm a bit late on this subject, but I suppose that every serious photographer gets this question. And what can I say? Well..erm.... yes...uh..I mean no! I guess the answer depends on how you define digital alteration. Every photo needs to have basic processing, but when I mention this, they say 'Aha! So these are photoshopped!' Then I have to explain that I view 'Photoshopping' as:

Hiding the fact that I:

1. Added a moon where there was not one before.
2. Cloned out significant objects because I was too lazy to be there when the object (like a car) was not there, or I was too lazy to compose it differently. For example, moving around to use a bush to hide a car.
3. Added a color that was not there. Or I cranked up the saturation to make people think I witnessed an awesome sunset when in fact I didn't.

It comes down to honesty. Art is what you make it. If I tell people that I wanted to insert a giant full moon in the middle of the sky at sunset in a wide-angle shot, just to make a surreal scene, that is fine. But if I tell people that I saw that scene, I'd be lying and therefore 'Photoshopping.'

Now, I make it a habit to carry around my camera with my most recent shots still in the camera. I show people the shots in the back so that they realize that what they see on my website and in a print is what I see in the back of the camera. And after I take a shot, I look at the back and compare it to what I see with my eyes, so when I get back to the office, I can process it correctly. Of course, sometimes the back of the camera does not look the same, so I remember the differences.

What do you tell people when they ask: 'Is this Photoshopped'

Here is a very thoughtful blog post (and some good replies) by Guy Tal on the subject.


patrick at

Saturday, June 13, 2009

California state park closures...

Although I have known about this for a couple of weeks, I did not realize the magnitude of the possible closings until right now. 220 parks? The state has been fiscally irresponsible, and the people have expected (and voted for) too much. And now we must all pay the price. I bet that certain types of 'plant cultivators' are drooling at their good fortunes right now!

Get your cameras out while you can!

See more here:


patrick at

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Some people on are having quite a bit of fun with one of my photos. There is a link back to my photo on Flickr where it is getting thousands of views. Some people might get upset but it seems like they are having a good time not at my expense!

What do you think about unauthorized use on a blog or 'just for fun' website?

Here are some other blog articles showing my work (with links to my websites) but without my permission. It is fine with me.

There are many more but you can see how it typically goes.

patrick at

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Photo location of the week: Salt Point State Park, Sonoma County, California

Salt Point State Park, Sonoma County, California(2 hours north of San Francisco on Highway 1)

When you park in the main lot, you have no idea that you have entered another world until you walk to the shoreline. There you will see the most incredible coastal rock formations that I have ever seen in person or in photos. You can also access it via Stump Beach 2 miles north and walk across the beach and out to the point. Photography here is difficult because of the extreme weather and winter surf, but it is so worth it! High tide with large waves are best for capturing the surf close to the sandstone formations. But that is when the wind is most difficult. Don't get too close or you will be swept to sea, never to return!