On a foggy morning at nearby Jordan Lake a few weeks ago, I was standing in front of this scene, but without the boat and fishermen, and took several frames. There was nothing I disliked about any of the images, but they seemed to lack a singular focal point. So when a boat began to drift into the frame, I thought it might help in that regard, but it stopped behind the trees. I was able to change my position to place it in the opening on the very left side of the frame, just to the left of its current location, (not where you see it here). But that position created an imbalance that was a bit disturbing. Moving even further to better place the boat wasn’t possible since close by trees interfered with the clear view. Then the boat slowly spun around making it appear more like a smudge rather than the previous side view that had created a separation between the three men in the boat. Faced with the option to wait and hope that the boat drifted into a more desirable position within the frame, or move on to other possibilities, the choice was made for me when the boat headed off for parts unknown! So the only photo with the boat helped somewhat, but created the imbalance and, it was actually kind of distracting being so far toward the edge of the frame.
At home, during the processing, there were two options as well: leave it to the far left where it created that distracting imbalance, or move it to where it would provide better balance and not be such a distraction.
It was easy to use the cloning tool in Photoshop, taking a sample of the boat and “drawing” it in at the desired location, and then “erase” where it was originally. But was it acceptable to change the reality of the scene as it was, just for photographic balance? That was the quandary. It was the same situation as the recent discussion of another foggy photo from that day involving a line of ducks that paddled into a scene I had just photographed. In that one (below; to go to that post, click here ) the side view of the boat, along with the fog worked well, but the birds hadn’t arrived in the frame yet. When they finally did, the boat had drifted in front of the small island and was almost lost in the tangle of underbrush and fog. So the same technique was used as above, except the birds were “sampled” from a completely different frame taken less than a minute after the one without them, and the rest of the frame discarded.
I suppose, in each instance, I have opted to be more pragmatic and create the best image possible from the data gathered, rather than being a purest, only allowing for what was actually seen during those few fleeting moments in time.
I would love to hear some thoughts on your preferred approach to “creating” a desired final photo, and the reasoning behind it, if you care to share them.