The Ridiculous Sky

We’ve all seen them, some of you out there may even be guilty of destroying perfectly good photos with them, most of us try them once in a while, and then decide not to bother.

I’m talking about ridiculous skies.  Radioactive, post-apocalyptic skies as beloved by the HDR (High Dynamic Range) gang.  Flickr is full of this sort of stuff, and though I accept that on occasions it can be done well, it is mostly done badly, as an excuse for a rubbish photo.  This desire to make the sky look unrealistically dramatic is not a digital invention, in the 1970s the tobacco grad. filter was everywhere, and a strangely brown sky was a common sight,

I’m not for a moment criticising all dramatic skies, I’ve seen a few myself in the real world, and it’s not unusual to see an incredibly deep red sky turn mountain tops blood-red.  There’s nothing wrong with enhancing what’s already there, so it more closely matches what we feel we saw, or to communicate the impact it had for us at the time.  There’s no reason, or excuse for making out the scene was set off by the backdrop of a stunning sky, if it wasn’t.

In my view, the way nature looks is amazing enough, there’s too much HDR around, leave it as is, nature is dramatic enough.

Here’s a mock HDR (bad by HDR standards even) and a real view of a scene in Assynt, North of Ullapool.  The shape of the mountains in this area is stunning in itself, they need no help from us to look amazing.

Landscape View of Assynt Mountains, Stac Pollaidh in Scotland

Post Apocalypse Assynt

and what it really looked like…

Landscape View of Assynt Mountains, Stac Pollaidh in Scotland

Pre-Apocalypse Assynt

What do you think?

This entry was published on October 17, 2011 at 12:30 pm. It’s filed under Landscape, Photography and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “The Ridiculous Sky

  1. I like both! But agree that the original photo is pretty dramatic already. I’ve never done HDR…probably a combination of laziness/not wanting to bother, and just preferring the idea of being as close to the original as possible. But HDR can of course produce eye popping results. Hope you continue to have fun with it.

    • There’s me trying to be a bit controversial and you like both!
      I know what you mean, there’s a place for HDR but I’m like you. I like to think taht for artistic reasons I want to be true to the original, but being honest, perhaps its just because I can’t be bothered!

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