Reading my few photography books has left me a little shocked. Now, they don't all say this, but one or two suggest using photoshop or similar software to use a bit of one image and copy it onto another to make it look better. One example might be taking a nice photo on a cloudy day and then adding the blue sky from another photo to make it look great (or sunny).
Don't get me wrong, I knew that this could be done, I just hadn't realised that it might be normal advice given to a photographer. I really like to capture images and present them the way they looked to my eye and although I tweak the odd one, OK, crop them massively because I don't know how to compose and frame an image to save my life, I was somewhat surprised to see this suggestion given out so freely.
Then I realised that photography is an art form for many and so what if the photo is manipulated? Presenting a good picture is what it's all about. I'm no artist though, so still like to show what I see. It's also much easier doing it that way!
Still, being a scientific type, I wanted to experiment, so I did. My computer isn't up to running photoshop or lightroom or any really serious photo editing software, but I saw something called PhotoPlus for sale at $10. It had the crucial thing I was looking for - layers - so I bought it.
Now, for anyone out there thinking of doing the same thing, I really don't recommend buying PhotoPlus. It's OK, but you'll tear your hair out reading the manual and will likely put your fist through your monitor. It's hard, though, to feel too annoyed since it only cost ten bucks. I'll fast for a day or something to recover the expense.
What was the question again?
Oh yes. I wanted to try and copy a nice sky onto a picture with land. So I picked a couple of Kilauea Iki pictures I took that either had the land exposed properly while the sky blasted out and one where the sky was fine but the land was too dark.
After repairing a couple of monitors and bandaging my fists, the result was the image above. It could be much better, I'm sure, and those that are keen will easily spot where the manipulation occurred, but it was interesting to see what you could do with the two poor photos below.