Fake Sky Landscape Photography

Fake Sky Landscape Photography

After watching this video – http://youtu.be/XrgxQzHhBl0?t=58m30s

Never had a day where there wasn’t a fabulous sunset and the moon appeared where ever or as big as I wanted it to be ….

Briefly at 58 minutes 30 seconds into the video the photographer states, “I was on vacation and I’m never coming back so I’ll just add clouds to the scene.” The video link is set to start right at that point.

To clear up questions this is a composite, the clouds were not there that morning at Fin Dome in the Sierra. I do not mention that I’m a documentary photographer in my bio but all shots I take have a RAW file or series of RAW files to match the scene or at least show the path I took in editing so I don’t share any images that don’t match up between sky and land other then bracketing beyond the dynamic range of a single image. No Delicate Arch photos from a Friday evening with a sunset from the porch here in Los Angeles on Tuesday. This is just my own personal belief that will vary from other landscape photographers sharing on social media.

Ansel Adams was known for heavily manipulating his captured film but he did not add a new sky from another time and place. If someone wanted to purchase the photo above or I shared it I WOULD SAY IT THE SKY WAS FROM ANOTHER DAY ADDED IN PHOTOSHOP. I couldn’t sell it or share it any other way.

Has landscape photography changed since the days of Ansel Adams?

This is not an anti art post, I love creating art

Example http://bit.ly/10URZO5

A few photographers I know that are really good at creating similar art photographs that I love to see are Klaus Priebe and Rich Martinez. They post some very interesting composites that just make you wonder how their imagination works. The art photographs that they create need no explanation or disclosure it’s in the work as you see it. I recommend friending or following these two guys because they do have some excellent work!!

Beliefs are highly varied when it comes to editing as to what people do and what they do not do. Should people have limits? No! Definitely not! An artist should do exactly what they feel helps them express their art in the way they see most fit. Art has no limits. If you feel you can’t compete with other photographers because they composite much better then you do then I recommend taking lots of graphic artist classes or watch many tutorials to get you up to speed with the people you want to compete with. Either way if you work as an artist or a photographer it will help you. Just make sure you put in the 1,000’s of hour of practice and you will see much improvement.

Merely looking for opinions on adding skies to images depicted as the way it was.


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8 Responses to “Fake Sky Landscape Photography”

  1. ariannaeliselevy Says:

    This is so beautiful.

  2. David Leland Hyde (@PhilipHydePhoto) Says:

    I never liked fake beauty. Good post with thoughtful comments on this subject, Steve.

  3. Daniel Álamo Says:

    Hello Steve,

    I’m in your way. People who say that Mr. Adams worked too in their negatives or slides, right now they are mostly saying that everything is on the RAW file and that, “of course”, this edit of skies or wherever it was “it’s not more than is made with RAW”.

    Well, maybe they are always in a competition with I don’t know what, why or who, and then they need to make it. I don’t understand it because I’m not in their league. I have too my negatives, slides or series or RAW of all the photos I show, and I feel the life is so funny this way too.

    • Steve Sieren Says:

      Some photographers rely on deception and others do not. Every now and then I read a photographer’s bio and they compare themselves to the all time greats. I can’t compare someone to Adams or any of the many other historic greats if they drop new skies into their photographs. I don’t mind at all if others do not share the same viewpoint I have. It’s just a belief and the world has many different beliefs. Some photographers drop in skies just for fun and I have no quarrel with hobbyists playing around.

  4. Justin Lowery Says:

    Deceptive practices like swapping skies damage the overall value of photography in the eyes of the public, and actually endanger the futures of photographers everywhere. Scarcity and authenticity are the two biggest drivers of value in fine art photography, and stuff like this destroys both. No, I am not ok with other photographers doing it, and it is not ok for people to do as they please, because no one lives in a vacuum. What you do directly affects what the average art buyer thinks of our medium as a collective. Now that art buyers know that some photographers cheat, they will assume that ALL photographers cheat. Now if I tell a client that the skies in my photos are all 100% real and original, they will simply assume I am a liar because other photographers have established an industry reputation of dishonesty. Customers will come to view photographers as deceptive and slimy people who aren’t to be trusted. That leads to the gradual erosion of the very value we depend in to make a living from photography. And that hurts everyone.

  5. Susan Says:

    At this time, it seems like cheating to me to put in another sky taken at a different time unless it is labeled as a composite. It gives the viewer the impression that the scene really looked like this at one point in time. However, this practice can make for some stunning images like the one above so I can see it being called a fine art print.

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