Tuesday, June 17, 2008

To Clone or Not To Clone

I made this photograph last year in France. It is the first time I ran into, not literally of course, a Peacock, let alone a male in full display. I quickly snapped a number of images from different vantage points and ended up selecting a different Peacock image to upload to my web site. I like this image quite a bit but for 3 glaring problems, the three white flowers. They are a total distraction to the activities of the Peacocks, which is quite interesting.

The other day my wife was looking thru some of my images and came upon this one. She really liked it and wanted a print. But I couldn't get by the flowers.

I'm no stranger to the clone stamp. I have no hesitation when it comes to removing elements of an image that are distracting or out of place. I'm not trying to duplicate 'reality' but create a pleasing image that says something to the viewer. For 'reality' look at Newsweek or a newspaper, they shouldn't be using the clone stamp.

So the image presented an interesting delemna. These three white flowers are quite distracting but they are in some very inconvenient places and are much larger than distracting elements I typically remove. But what the heck let me see what I can to.

The most challenging part of the 'manipulation' was to get the female Peacock to look half way normal since so much of the flower covered her. I first tried the clone stamp but that effort was futile. So I ended up copying a portion of the left side of the Peacock, flipped it over and put it on the right side. Using the transform tool I evened things up followed by the clone stamp to clean up around the Peacock. If you look real close you can see where the transitions are but unless you're looking for it you probably won't see it.

Cloning out the middle flower was pretty basic and simple. In the end I left the far left flower in but I might change it's color to make it less noticable.

The resulting image is quite believable and I really like it. If I hadn't told you what I did you probably would have never known how it came to be.

So the question remains, to clone or not to clone. For me this was a fun thing to do. I will frame the resulting image for my wife, we'll hang it on the wall and enjoy it. But will I sell it if someone wants it? Well, yes I would, but the purchaser would be told of the process I went thru to make it what it is.

Somewhere between removing a misplaced pebble on a beach and rebuilding a Peacock there is a line that gets crossed. One the one side I wouldn't think twice about removing the pebble but on the other side, well I just couldn't sell something as heavily modified as the Peacock image without full disclosure. Probably no one would know but me. But I would know and it's a little to much 'manipulation' for me.

Thoughts and comments are welcome.


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