“Manipulated” & “Photoshopped” Two Nasty Words That Can Help You Create Beautiful Images « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

“Manipulated” & “Photoshopped” Two Nasty Words That Can Help You Create Beautiful Images

The Streak Continues: 182

This post marks 182 consecutive days with a new educational blog post. With so many folks getting in the habit of using our B&H links and our Amazon logo-links why quit now? To show your appreciation for my efforts here, I do ask that you use our the B&H and Amazon affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially Gitzo tripods, Wimberley tripod heads, and the like. We sell only what I have used and tested, and know that you can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know the tools that you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And we are always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

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This post took 1 1/2 hours to prepare. Enjoy!


This image of an adult Least Tern was created at Fort DeSoto on May 11 at 7:45am on a cloudy bright morning while seated behind my lowered Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod with the Mongoose M3.6 head and the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 800 (should have been ISO 100 or so). Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops as framed: 1/40 sec. at f/14 in Tv mode. AWB.

Central Sensor/AI Servo-Surround/Rear Focus AF as framed active at the moment of exposure. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version. .

Adult Least Tern near nest

“Manipulated” “Photoshopped” Two Nasty Words That Can Help You Create Beautiful Images

Did you manipulate that photograph? Is that beautiful image manipulated? For me the answer to that question is always yes. Make no bones about it. Many folks do not understand that the RAW files that come out of the best digital camera bodies are inherently unsharp as compared to images created with film. Furthermore, properly exposed image especially images that are light-toned overall should appear washed out on both the back of your camera and on your computer.

So, depending on your definition of the terms “manipulated” and “photoshopped” all BAA images are manipulated and photoshopped.

And as regular readers know I freely admit to removing distracting background elements, repairing clipped wingtips, cleaning up beaches, and replacing eyes and even heads that are not up to par. That said, I always let editors and readers know what has been done. And I always strive to maintain the natural history of the moment–the bird is always shown doing what it was doing when the shutter button was pushed. On the rare occasion that the natural history of an image has been distorted-adding a second bird that was not originally in the frame, or removing one or more large birds from an image, those facts are always stated explicitly.

I use my Photoshop skills and the latest technologies to produce beautiful images. And I am fine with that. And I am fine with the folks who take issue with what I do.

The Question of the Day

Please click on the image to enlarge it and examine it very closely. Has today’s image been excessively manipulated? Was the tail clipped and repaired? Has the head been replaced? If you see any evidence of hanky panky, please let us know by leaving a comment, and please be specific.

ps: I can guarantee that when you see the original you will be totally amazed….


Denise and artie hope that you can join us next spring in Holland and learn to improve both the technical and creative aspects of your flower (and street) photography.

7 1/2-Day/8-Night: A Creative Adventure/BIRDS AS ART/Tulips & A Touch of Holland Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT)

Keukenhof—Delft—Amsterdam–Flower Fields—Kinderdijk
April 9 -April 16, 2015: $4995. Limit: 12 photographers

This trip needs 6 registrants to run so please do not purchase your plane tickets until you hear from us that the trip is a go.

Join Denise Ippolito, the author of “Bloomin’ Ideas,” and Arthur Morris, Canon Explorer of Light Emeritus, for a great trip to Holland in mid-April 2015. Day 1 of the IPT will be April 9, 2015. We will have a short afternoon get-together and then our first photographic session at the justly-famed Keukenhof. Our last day, Day 8, April 16 will be a full day of photography.

The primary subjects will be tulips and orchids at Keukenhof and the spectacularly amazing tulip, hyacinth, and daffodil bulb fields around Lisse and points north. We will spend one full day in Amsterdam. There will be optional visits to the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank House and/or the Rijk’s Museum. Street photography and sightseeing will be other options. We will spend a half day at Kinderdijk where we will be photographing the windmills and doing some creative photography. We will spend an afternoon in the lovely Dutch town of Delft where we will do some street photography and shopping. There is an optional church tower tour/climb. We will also enjoy a superb fine dining experience in a traditional restaurant.

Other than the arrival date: April 9, Day 1, and the date of our last day of photography on April 16, Day 8, there is no set itinerary. We will check the weather and play everything by ear to maximize the photographic opportunities. We will try to do Amsterdam, Delft, and especially Kinderdijik, on cloudy days.

There are several huge pluses to this trip. First off, denise is an amazingly skilled and caring instructor. Both her creativity and her willingness to share and to help beginning and intermediate photographers are unmatched. And though artie has learned a ton about flower photography from denise, their styles and techniques do vary considerably. You will have a chance to be counseled by and to learn from both of them. While denise will hunt you down to help you, artie’s teaching style is more “the closer you stay to me, the more you will learn.” Both leaders consistently inspire the participants. And each other. The sky, of course, is the limit.

You will learn to create tight abstracts, how best to use depth-of-field (or the lack thereof) to improve your flower photography, how to get the right exposure and make sharp images every time, how to see the best shot, and how to choose the best perspective for a given situation. And you will of course learn to create a variety of pleasingly blurred flower images. If you bring a long lens, you will learn to use it effectively for flower photography. Denise’s two favorite flower lenses are the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens and the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens. Mine are the Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS macro , the Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM lens ,and the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens, all almost always on a tripod. Often with extension tubes and/or either the 1.4X or the 2X (with the 300 II) teleconverters. Denise hand holds a great deal of the time. For flower field blurs denise uses the same lenses mentioned above along with her new 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens. Artie’s favorite is that same 70-200 often with a 1.4X TC but he uses both the new Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens and the 300 II as well. Both of us use and love the Canon EOS 5D Mark IIIfor all of our flower photography. The in-camera HDR and Multiple Exposure features are a blast.

One of the great advantages of our trip is that we will be staying in a single, strategically located hotel that is quite excellent. Do note that all ground transfers to and from Schipol Airport will be via the free hotel shuttle bus.

What’s included: Eight hotel nights. All ground transportation except for airport transfers as noted above. In-the-field instruction and small group image review and Photoshop sessions. All meals from dinner on Day 1 through dinner on Day 8. There is good food at the hotel and we will be dining there on occasion; whenever you order off the menu be it at the hotel or at another restaurant only the cost of your main course is included. On these occasions the cost of soups, appetizers, salads, sodas and other beverages, alcoholic drinks and wine, bottled water, and desserts are not included. Snacks, personal items, phone calls, etc. are also not included. The cost of bus or train transportation to and from Amsterdam (about $20 US), museum entry, and tower and church entry fees (optional) are likewise not included.

Beware of seemingly longer, slightly less expensive tours that include travel days and days sitting in the hotel doing nothing as part of the tour. In addition, other similar trips have you changing hotels often and needlessly. One final note on other similar trips: the instructors on this trip actually instruct. On other similar trips the instructors, though usually imminently qualified, serve for the most part as van drivers and van door openers.

A non-refundable deposit of $1,000 per person is required to hold your spot. The second payment of $2,000 due by October 30, 2014. The balance is due on January 15, 2015. Payments in full are of course welcome at any time. All payments including the deposit must be by check made out to “Arthur Morris.” As life has a way of throwing an occasional curve ball our way, you are urged to purchase travel insurance within 15 days of our cashing your check. Artie uses and recommends Travel Insurance Services. All payments are non-refundable unless the trip fills to capacity. In that case, all payments but your deposit will be refunded. If the trip does not run every penny will of course be refunded. Again, please do not purchase your air tickets until you hear from us that the trip is a go. We are very confident that it will.

All checks should be made out to “Arthur Morris” and sent to: Arthur Morris, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. Call Jim or Jen in the BAA office with any additional registration questions: 863-692-0906.

For couples or friends signing up at the same time for the tulip trip, a $200/duo discount will be applied to the final payment.

When you send your deposit check, please print, sign, and include the paperwork here.

If you have any questions on the trip please contact artie by e-mail or denise by e-mail.

Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog or via a BAA Online Bulletin is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charges a minimum of 20% plus assorted fees! Yikes. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly–I offer free pricing advise, usually sells in no time flat as did Dennis Cassidy’s 500 II recently on the blog. Larry Master’s 400 DO and his 800 f/5.6 sold within a week. From Larry via e-mail: Thanks for helping me sell the lenses so quickly!

A Creative Adventure/BIRDS AS ART friend Kitto Kono sold her Nikon 500 to a Blog subscriber in less than a week. Janet Horton’s 7D sold this week after a $100 price reduction. Denise Ippolito’s 100-400 and her 100 macro sold in one day. Peter Kes sold his 70-200 f/2.8L IS II and his 400 DO through BAA in ten days. In the past two months we have sold a Canon 800, a Canon 500 II, 3 400 DO lenses, a Nikon 500mm, and lots more. If you are interested in using our services, please e-mail.

Used Photography Gear Page

Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that there is a link to the Used Photography Gear page on the yellow tool bar at the top of each blog page. Folks looking to buy (or to sell) can click on that tab or here. I will on occasion continue to list new gear and great buys in blog posts and in Bulletins and may on rare occasion share all the listings with you on the blog. I will strive to keep the listings current. Great news for Kitty Kono and her Nikon 400mm f/2.8: it sold recently! That made her 2 for 2 on selling her older Nikon super-telephotos with BAA.

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In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos, wrong words, misspellings, omissions, or grammatical errors. Just be right. 🙂

16 comments to “Manipulated” & “Photoshopped” Two Nasty Words That Can Help You Create Beautiful Images

  • Does Denise really have a “new 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III”, or is that a typo? 🙂

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Wherever you saw that it is a typo. Where did you see it? artie

      • Aww rats. It’s in the description of the tulip trip, in amongst all the blue highlighted gear links. I thought it was too soon for version III, and besides I don’t know what they could improve!

  • Bill Richardson

    ALL photos are manipulated. Some on camera (jpg), some in Photoshop, etc., some in printing.

  • Jay

    I prefer the term edited. It doesn’t have the loaded connotations associated with manipulated or photoshopped.

    I’ll wait for you to show me how you edited this image.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Jay. For me, editing is what I do to separate the keepers from the deletes. I should have mentioned that I prefer the term optimized. artie

  • “Photoshopped” and “Manipulated” are used mainly by idiots without knowing what that’s all about.

    First there must be a good capture by a skilled photographer. Then comes the question of what to extract from it and how.

    These days photogs don’t give a damn to it and go about their task. In the end it’s the viewers/customers that select the images.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Quazi. I also forgot to mention that JI = JO, Junk in equals junk out. 🙂 artie

  • M. Bruce

    When this question is asked I always think of the hours and hours I’ve spent in darkrooms dodging, burning and any other trick I could dream up in an attempt to get down on paper what my mind was thinking when I clicked the camera shutter. The tools are different now but the goal remains the same. Just compare Ansel Adams early prints to ones he made later from the same negatives and you’ll understand that photography has always been a subjective exercise.

  • David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. I, like you, am fine with your approach to photography; your results speak for themselves. As for today’s image, well, I have dozens of portraits of least terns I made last June, and so I looked at them and then again at yours. I don’t see anything suspicious or that looks wrong with yours. Obviously, you’re very skilled at your Photoshop manipulation, so I’m not going to guess as to what you did, but as you said above, you always do something.

  • PK UK

    Very well done as usual but I reckon there’s a bit of head replacement here. I think I can see a line from the base of the bill going up and around the bird ending at the nape of the neck. Seems like a small part of the underside of the bill has evidence of tampering. Of course it could just be a masking line for sharpening.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Excellent. artie

    • David Policansky

      Now that you mention it, there seems to be a little indentation on the lower side of the bill, just in front of where the bill joins the neck. I can’t see any line. Even when I click on the image, it doesn’t get bigger. Good eye.

      • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

        I see the dent in the lower mandible; did I do that? I wonder??? artie