October 11, 2019 — Seat 14 F, Somewhere Over Texas
Rules exist for a reason. Rules are normally based on how things work, perhaps with a measure of caution dialed on for safety’s sake. It’s good to know the rules. It’s better still to know how things work.
Following the rules without exception can lead to creative imprisonment. Knowing how and when to bend, break, or utterly ignore them altogether because you understand the underlying reasons for them — technical and aesthetic — allows you to throw the shackles off without killing your shot, and often making it even better.
Rule: It is not safe to enlarge bitmap images. Hmmmmm… Sometimes yes, sometime no. It is true that it’s difficult to enlarge very detailed images without mushing details. Actually, the latest version of Photoshop does pretty well and Topaz AI Gigapixel can sometimes do an amazing job — but even with these, details can and do suffer. But this image has no details to speak of to begin with, so it can be dramatically enlarged: it started as a tiny crop of about 1/200 of the original 20 megapixel image. Practically just a speck. The original crop was about 380 x 300 pixels at most. Now it’s 1800 x 1440 and it could easily go way larger.
Rule: Noisy images are undesirable. Who says? I didn’t use all the noise reduction I had at my disposal because I liked noise in this shot.
Rule: Banding is bad. Depends. Granted — banding across a pure sky does look pretty bad. But banding in this image was intentional, giving it a bit of an impressionist feel.
In the end, the best rule is what you can get away with.
(Canon G5X II. RAW processing in DxO PhotoLab 3.0; Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)