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And then I threw up a little. by robbobert And then I threw up a little. by robbobert
OK time for some vent art. Or whatever. I'll try not to make this a wall of text.

Glowing eyes. There's an epidemic of this going on right now in the wildlife section of deviantart, and I see a lot of the photography groups I am a part of (particularly those with "high standards" for quality of submissions) accepting these photos into their galleries.

I am not exactly a purist anymore when it comes to photography -- I recognize that tools like Photoshop exist and are absolutely there to be used -- but I cannot stand seeing nature/wildlife photos made artificial, be they from zoos or the wild, especially because a lot of them are actually good shots.

I made a similar post to this in the past, but my views have since hardened. So, while I backed off a bit previously for fear of offending, I think I just need to get my feelings on the matter out and let the feathers fly where they may. So here's the thing:

Animals' eyes do not glow, plain and simple.

If you have an animal in cloudy light or shade and their eyes are lit up like the fire of a thousand suns because you abused the dodge/saturation tools, you are removing everything redeemable from your photos. From being nature photography, it loses 1) its natural qualities, 2) its photographic qualities, and 3) its artistic value. What you have instead is a template that you have drawn on and caricatured. Nature photography becomes ______ ___________. It's poor photography, it's poor technique, and whether or not it catches peoples' eyes, it is poor artistry.

How do you fix this problem? Well, I'll be the first to admit that this stupid little submission probably isn't going to change any minds or alter the course of deviantart history, but for those interested, the problem is easy to fix. While editing, just ask yourself, "does this look natural?" If the answer is no, tone back whatever you just did until it changes. The eye for editing has to be developed just the same as the eye for photography, so it takes a bit of practice, but given some time, it's totally doable.

Also, I've watermarked this picture so that NOBODY STEALS MY AWESOME ARTZ. But that's a rant for a different day. :O
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:iconquaddie:
quaddie Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012
So very true,natural doesnt seem to be popular ...
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:iconnb-photo:
NB-Photo Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I couldn't agree more with you!
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:icondeeotter:
DeeOtter Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Huh. I haven't seen more glowy eyes pop up in the DA world, but I've seen a lot of unatural/super saturated eyes. I don't think I've ever seen a jaguar with super bright emerald eyes, or a baby critter with super bright sapphire blue eyes.
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:iconrobbobert:
robbobert Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Yeah, I guess I kind of lump them all together into the same bulk category of "omg what is wrong with that animal's eyes?" And I think I know the exact baby critter with sapphire blue eyes you're talking about... Hmm... :p

Nice photography in your gallery by the way. Some of your bird photography makes me absolutely green with envy. Super bright emerald green. :)
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:icondeeotter:
DeeOtter Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I did some playing around with color changes, selective color and cross processing while taking photoshop classes in school (all I can say is, meh.) I'm perfectly happy seeing the critters with their natural eye and fur colors.

Thanks. It's a love hate thing with the bird photography. There's some instances where they're super cooperative and others where it's just a giant pain with a lot of frustration.
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:iconrobbobert:
robbobert Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I hear ya. Birds can be really painful to photograph. They have the habit of moving the second you get the focus and exposure right so that you have to start all over again. Anyways, I forgot to press the watch button when I was in your gallery last night, so I went ahead and took care of it now. ;) Keep up the great work.
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:icondeeotter:
DeeOtter Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Makes it all the worthwhile if you can manage to get the shot I think.

Thanks!
Checked out your gallery as well. You have a lot of great shots and it looks like you've been around the place from the different zoo shots.
And very jealous of the titmouse shots. Only place I've managed to find them has been around the Grand Canyon so far.
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:iconsnaphappy101:
snaphappy101 Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
wow, those eyes! O.O great photo :)
but yeah, people often do do that in their animal photos, often to make the pic more eye catchy and appealing to the viewers and it does often bother me when it looks too unnatural.
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:iconrobbobert:
robbobert Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I figure that's what it is a lot of the time. Given that there is such a high volume of wildlife photos coming in on a daily basis, people do that to grab peoples' attention from the thumbnail previews. It's irritatingly successful too... :steaming:
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:iconsnaphappy101:
snaphappy101 Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
yeah, it is so very true.
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:icontvd-photography:
TVD-Photography Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012  Professional Photographer
Faved because it's like OMG SO AWESOME GLOWY EYES!!! They like totally do that :laughing:
BTW I hate it too a majority of the time, if it doesn't look natural anymore it's just lost something :nod:
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:iconrobbobert:
robbobert Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Yup. It's perfectly possible to capture striking photos without going to town on them afterwards with Photoshop. Although, based on the limited number of other comments I've gotten, there may be a bit of a dichotomy between photographers and digital artists on the matter. It would be interesting to see peoples' opinions on the matter on a wider scale. :O
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:iconjocarra:
jocarra Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Haha, I've heard you rant about this before. To be fair, I do have a bit of a soft spot for over-exaggerated colour in photography (I'm a big fan of HDRI, although I have no idea how to do it myself), as I think the "unrealism" gives an interesting twist to an obviously real photo.

As a sidenote, at least the way this image is done, it looks like the eyes could be plausibly "glowing" a bit because the background looks like it was taken in the dark. But yeah, day-time glowy eyes make no sense whatsoever :b
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:iconrobbobert:
robbobert Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I'm a little on the fence about HDR. I personally don't do it (only partly because I don't know how), but I know it's a meticulous effort to do well, fraught with lots of planning ahead of time and carefuly processing afterwards. I've seen some bad HDR and some good HDR, so ultimately I think it comes back to "use and abuse" of the tools you're given. If you're trying to be true to the scene that you saw rather than setting out just to beef up the colors/contrast and make it look unnatural, it can work miracles. If not, well I think I already gave my opinion. ;) Leastways, that's my feeling as far as nature photography goes. Cityscapes, people photography, commercial photography, etc. are something different altogether.
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:iconjocarra:
jocarra Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
"If you're trying to be true to the scene that you saw rather than setting out just to beef up the colors/contrast and make it look unnatural, it can work miracles. If not, well I think I already gave my opinion. ;) Leastways, that's my feeling as far as nature photography goes."

Haha, I think you definitely have a very legitimate view. It's like how celebrities are constantly airbrushed and Photoshoped to creepy Barbie perfection in magazines and such. Firstly, it's not a faithful representation of what the thing (or person) really looks like, and secondly, it can encourage a skewed perception of that thing (just think of all the girls growing up with bad self esteems because they can never look as pretty as the women on the cover of her Cosmo magazines).

HOWEVER! I do still appreciate a little fantasy in my reality. Sometimes a thing is just a thing, but feels like more, or you remember it as more. And I think a little fanciful Photoshopping can bring that out, or make us see something magical in something that's mundane, or at least challenge us to look at things around us a bit differently. But I really kind of feel like there should some sort of distinction between the two. You can have gorgeous, "journalistic", true-to-nature photography, and then there's photography that's, hmm... fantasy photography? "Expressive" photography? I don't want to say "more creative" or "more artistic" because it sounds like it is demeaning the true-to-life form, but... y'know what I mean?

But yes, any arguing aside, I think liking both or either is fine :) I do!
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:iconrobbobert:
robbobert Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Nah, no arguing needed. :) I think you bring up a lot of really good, interesting points. The "skewed perception" point is something I hadn't really thought about, and while I don't think it is too applicable to wildlife photography, it absolutely is a part of celebrity photography. I also hadn't thought about classifying it as fantasy photography either.

A lot of professional publications/organizations consider heavily photoshopped photographs as digital art and not as photography, so maybe fantasy photography would fall along those lines. And maybe it's all just semantics. :) Thanks for the comments. I love hearing other folks' stances on these things. It's why art is fun.
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:iconjocarra:
jocarra Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
"The "skewed perception" point is something I hadn't really thought about...while I don't think it is too applicable to wildlife photography"

I dunno, I bet there'd be a surprising number of people who haven't actually seen live animals and, upon seeing them at the zoo or something, remark, "Wow, aren't their eyes supposed to be really bright or glow or something?" Stuff like that happens! I remember one guy criticized my artwork by saying that real wolves are never as pretty in real life - they're always scrawny and skinny, with matted or mangy-looking fur. I don't think this is entirely true, as some wild wolves are quite gorgeous in a rugged sort of way, and it also depends on their exact breed... but I digress. Just an example of "animals don't really look that way in real life" that I've come across in my own experience :)
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:iconracieb:
RacieB Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012
I understand and agree with your rant, but I think the frequency of use probably falls under The Rule Of Cool XF

I know last night, my old man cat was making amazingly orange laser eyes at me from across the house so I kept shouting at him how cool they looked :lmao:
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:iconrobbobert:
robbobert Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
It's certainly possible. It does catch the eye, so to speak. I guess on a site like this with so much input on a daily basis, a lot of people are just doing what's "cool" to try and get peoples' attention from the thumbnail preview. :O
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:iconracieb:
RacieB Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012
Yeah probably... I'll be honest I felt a bit guilty for thinking your example looked cool after reading the explanation XD I mean, it DOES. But it's not realistic.
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:iconrobbobert:
robbobert Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I think you hit the nail on the head though, so there's no reason to feel guilty over it. Everyone's got their own view/taste when it comes to art, and while this is definitely not up my alley, I'm probably not the final authority on what's good art (as much as it pains me to say it). I've got my own philosophy on photography, and it isn't going to match up perfectly with anyone else's. :)
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:iconherofan135:
herofan135 Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
So amazing! :wow:
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