Thank You Photoshop…

Thanks to Adobe Photoshop…a part of me died yesterday…when a friend reached out to me and asked if I had seen or tried the new edit feature with the most recent download update for Photoshop which I use all the time to process my photos.

It’s called ‘sky replacement’ and it enables you at just one ‘click of the mouse’ to replace a drab boring sky background with a brilliant sunset or colorful blue sky with an abundance of cloud formations.

I’ve known for some time that you can do that with the editing tools that PS provides, but it can be painstakingly challenging at times, and time consuming for sure, depending on the sky background you are trying to replace or enhance.

But as technology continues to improve, the ‘challenges’ that so many of us photographers love to rise to the occasion for…are becoming easier to ‘create’ or duplicate without ever making any real effort.

Let me first say that after experimenting with the new update, it’s hard Not to be impressed with the ease in which you can change the backdrop of a slate gray sky or drab background that is blown out by bright, hazy sunlight.

But as I began to think more on this, a certain sadness came over me.  I started to reminisce over those times I just happened to be at the right place at the right time with the right equipment (and knew how to use it and what to do with it) in order to capture one of those ‘bucket list shots’ that I so enjoy capturing with my camera…and then sharing with the public on my social media pages.

I thought back to that time when after finishing up a senior session in town and the rain clouds broke up and the sun came out as I made my way home…and finally captured a vibrant rainbow arcing behind our Eiffel Tower in Paris, TX.  Who knew when I would ever see a shot like that again.  Or that morning only a few weeks ago when I was in Dallas and woke up to an approaching storm front and I was able to get myself in place to capture a brilliant scene of the Dallas skyline with storm clouds approaching from the NW and the morning sunrise coming up behind me to illuminate the buildings.  It was just one of those rare occasions when everything came together at the right time and I just happened to be there to capture it.  I call those ‘God-winks’.

And I’ve lost count of the countless hours I’ve spent in adverse weather trying to capture that perfect lightning bolt over some recognizable structure or a shooting meteor over my beloved but dilapidated barn in the middle of the night. 

The ability now to just ‘create’ a stunning photo so quickly and effortlessly using a laptop has somehow taken some of the fun and excitement of chasing down that perfect set up for capturing a photo you’ll treasure for years.  Ho-hum…why not just sit back in a recliner and do it with the click of your mouse and your new and improved editing tools.

Don’t get me wrong…I, like most photographers, always do some photo ‘enhancement’ to tweak a photograph.  But as I have said before when teaching photo classes, for me, editing techniques is similar to the approach a woman may have to wearing some make up.  You can ‘enhance’ what is already there…or apply so much that the before and after look is unrecognizable.  I prefer the former.

I suppose a client who pays you to capture stunning photos of their family or self would not have any problem with a magical rainbow or sunset appearing behind them that was not there the day they took the photos. And I can even see using the features when doing real estate photography if the sky behind the home needs a little ‘improvement’ to help sell or capture a potential buyer’s eye.

But as I sat on my back deck last night and watched another spectacular sunset, I had little motivation to launch my drone or run down the road and take a picture.  Why bother…when I can just create it with the new feature called ‘sky replacement’.

In this day and age where the term ‘fake news’ has become a part of our daily vocabulary, the term ‘fake photo’ is right there with it.

I suppose if I was a true purist, I would not even use a camera. I’d just paint it or draw by hand like a true artist can do.  Or maybe I should just sit back and take in the moment and let that image be impressed upon my mind and memory…and just be thankful for that moment.

Yep…a little part of my heart died yesterday…that part inside of me that so loves to capture the stunning views that God provides so often all around me.  I suppose I could click a few tools and put a smiley face over that part of my heart…but that would obviously be fake.