It sure is a beautiful time of year. All the trees are full of leaves, flower beds are overflowing, not a piece of trash can be found, every car is clean and all the streets are perfectly paved. Not only that, but every person in town is just the right weight and has perfect skin. Yes, it sure is a nice to live in the perfect town of Elkins.
I'm sure you're thinking it's finally happened - Brent has completely gone off the deep end and lost his marbles. Winter was one day too long and his last screw has come loose. No, I'm not any nuttier than usual; but with the right photo manipulation software, your world can be perfect, too.
Photo manipulation software is used to enhance photographs to make things appear the way you want them to appear, not necessarily the way they really are. It comes in really handy to remove the big pimple that always appears in the middle of your forehead on picture day. You could add a UFO to your photo to freak out friends; you could place your friends in compromising situations, or place yourself beside your favorite movie star. I've been known to rub out ex-wives and mother in-laws for the right amount of money.
Most of the time I try to use my skills for good and not evil. Newspapers for example have rules of ethics about manipulating images to make things appear other than the way they really were. The same goes for law enforcement. Evidence photographs have very strict rules on how digital files are handled.
Although it's getting easier all the time to make these changes to your photos, it can be very time consuming to do it right. I often get asked to insert a person who couldn't make it to a group photo. In photo emergencies I'll do it, but it can often take more time to insert that person than it did to setup and take the original photo. In theory it is easy to do, but to make it look real and not like you used kindergarten scissors and paste to do the job, it takes time and time is money.
The photo shown with this article is a great example of what photo manipulation software can do. The Randolph County courthouse is one of the most beautiful buildings in the state, but one of the hardest to photograph without getting power lines in the shot. I've often said that someday when I win the Powerball I'm going to install underground utilities in Elkins, but until then I'll live in my perfect computer generated world.
(Brent Kepner is the owner and photographer at Foto 1 Pro Photo in Elkins. He is a Master Photographer, Certified Professional Photographer and past president of the Professional Photographers of West Virginia.)