You Really Do Need Photoshop CS5

I’m a lazy photographer and I’ll be the first to admit it. I’d much rather be out in the field shooting landscapes or even on location doing product shots for a client, than sitting in my office working in Lightroom or Photoshop. I used to enjoy working in the darkroom for hours on end, dodging and burning an enlargement to get it just right. But I just don’t get the same “thrill” from developing my raw files into something a client might like on my MacBook. Like I said, I’m lazy. That’s why I’m more than willing to shell out my hard earned cash for a piece of software like Adobe’s most recent version of Photoshop (CS5) with its content aware healing brush.

Take this shot below for example. As you ca see in the first image, there are two power lines running horizontally through the middle of the scene. I can remember looking at this scene back in June and wondering if I should even take the shot given my mediocre Photoshop skills. I couldn’t find any angle that hid the power lines but decided to shoot it anyway, with the hope that Photoshop’s new “content aware” healing brush might help me salvage this somehow.

Tule Canyon Butte No CS5

As you can see in the second image, the healing brush in Photoshop CS5 did what I once thought impossible. It erased the horizontal power lines with enough “content awareness” (can a computer program be aware?) that the image still looks “natural”, at least when printed or viewed at less than 100%. Obviously, no amount of “content awareness” will allow you to perfectly erase a horizontal line running through a scene like this, but the results are very impressive anyway.

Given the huge improvement of the Photoshop CS5’s healing brush over CS4, just think of what a few more years of “content aware” development may bring. I guess I’ll need to keep budgeting for those Photoshop upgrades every year or so, and I’m fairly certain that’s what Adobe is counting on.

Tule Canyon Butte

Tule Canyon Butte – Silverton, Texas
Copyright Ā© 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 96mm, f/16 for 1/60th of a second at ISO 100 with a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5.

Click on the image above for a larger version.

View Location on Panoramio & Google Earth: Tule Canyon Butte – Silverton, Texas

6 thoughts on “You Really Do Need Photoshop CS5

  1. But where do you draw the line in retouching images??? I understand that you touched up this image largely for demonstration purposes, but let’s say you captured an image of a butte or other landform and it would have looked great except for that giant wind power windmill on top of it…. you remove the windmill, publish it and someone sees that place and is unaware that the windmill ever existed at all. I would personally hate to make a trip somewhere based on a published image, be it online or in a mag like Outdoor Photographer, only to arrive on scene and see what I saw was not really what is there…..


    • Derrick,

      You’ve hit on a great topic to discuss. I’ve retouched almost every single portrait, product or facility shot I’ve ever taken professionally. I’ve “developed” every single raw landscape & wildlife shot I’ve ever taken. My personal rules about retouching depends upon the assignment. I am a member of the NPPA (National Press Photographers Association) and do abide by their charter “when” I’m engaged as a photojournalist. When I shot sports for a regional paper in Michigan all I did was hand in my B&W negatives to the PE, but as a landscape photographer I’ll generally use whatever tools I think are necessary to make the image tell story I want it to tell and (hopefully) evoke the emotions I want it to evoke. This may be as simple as using a circular polarizer to add saturation or as complex as using the new healing brush in Photoshop CS5 to remove a pesky power line running through a scene.

      I’ll often see an image taken here in Texas that peaks my interest and will travel to that exact spot, but I have no expectation of getting exactly the same shot. I’m not sure anyone could reasonably expect to capture a scene exactly as I have, but I do provide the locations on Google Earth if someone wants to try. As for OP, they do require a copy of the original raw file along with the processed jpeg or tiff image. It’s up to their photo editor to decide if the image was “retouched” beyond what they would accept.

      In my opinion the real difference is in the “intent” of the photographer. If the intent is photojournalism, then the image should be un-retouched. If the intent is art, then the sky’s the limit. But that’s just my opinion.


      • No disagreement on my end for tweaking colors or using a filter on the lens whatsoever; I’m specifically referring to removing elements from the image that are there naturally.

        I’m personally uncomfortable with it, but as you say, photography is an art form and is open to interpretation!

        I wasn’t referring to capturing the same images as you (or others), it strikes me as obscene that people actually go to the site of Ansel Adams’ shots and put their tripods in the same place!! Where’s the originality or creativity in that?! But rather, I was talking about seeing a gorgeous place I’d like to visit only to arrive and find a wind turbine present – which would just about ruin it for me. šŸ˜‰

        It’s definitely food for thought, and a fine line indeed.

  2. I don’t think you’re a lazy photographer (not if you say “Iā€™d much rather be out in the field shooting landscapes.”) A lazy retoucher/processer maybe, but not a lazy photographer. šŸ™‚

    I think lazy is a harsh term, too. From what I can tell, you’re hardly lazy in anything you do! Still, while the “content aware” feature is nice, I won’t hang my hat on it just yet. Then again, like Scott Bourne recently said…Who cares how we arrive at the image we want??? Just get the image we want to get!

    PS: I don’t have CS5…yet.

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