Image No. 85 and N0. 86 – The Dilemma

TRIP POST
Horseshoe Bend - Glen Canyon NRA, AZ

Image No. 85 – Horseshoe Bend – Glen Canyon NRA, AZ  © jj raia

During the trip, I planned on visiting Horseshoe Bend, another iconic location near Page where the Colorado River bends back on itself and the viewpoint, just off Route 89, is hundreds of feet above. I wanted to get there for sunset and hopefully have some wonderful clouds to light up just as the sun went down. Well, because of the torrential rains during August, a section of Route 89, the only highway to get directly there from my location, turned out to be closed and I had to travel over an hour extra to detour around the site. As I was driving, I knew I would never make it, but to make things worse, the sky held the promise of a spectacular sunset. And sure enough, it was spectacular. So I pulled over to the side of the road and captured the sunset, just not at Horseshoe Bend. I figured, in my drive around the detour, I was just a few miles due east of the Bend and the sky would have lined up with the Bend in the same way as where I was, and looking in the same direction. I could shoot the sunset here, shoot the Bend the next day and blend the two images together in Photoshop and by using two images, get much more resolution for the single image; roughly 72 megapixels instead of 36!

Another image also required the same process. In the Bisti Badlands after photographing a unique sky in the east after sunset without having found a meaningful foreground, I did find a spot a few hundred yards away that was interesting that was photographed in near darkness, well after the alpenglow had faded.

My dilemma is this: do the ends justify the means? Do we fuse two images together? If it is permissible, is it then morally acceptable to take a sunset from Arizona and place it with a landscape from Mississippi taken six months later? Where is the line drawn? Should we, as photographers simply say no, or as an artist, are we free to create a scene of our own choosing?

Hill Remains and Eastern Sky - Bisti Badlands, NM

Image No. 86 – Hill Remains and Eastern Sky – Bisti Badlands, NM  © jj raia

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