robgendler wrote:Gorgeous image but once again Dr. Nemiroff decided to apply a global sharpening filter to an iconic image. I must say this disrespects the authors of the image since I assume he did not ask nor receive permission to do so. In the least the courteous thing to do would be to ask the authors to sharpen the image themselves as they are probably much more skilled at "selectively" doing so. This is a very disappointing issue as it makes the statment "who cares about the rights of the author of the image". I would challenge Dr. Nemiroff to post a survey on the APOD page asking the opinions of astrophotographers about their feelings regarding this practice.
This publicly released image has been cropped as well. The image was bit fuzzy and comparing the sharpened to the original image I thought the sharpened one looked significantly better. The detail brought out is, in my opinion, absolutely fascinating. Just look at the flowing dust lanes in the sharpened image -- they are absolutely stunning. And its NOT fiction! To see the (still great) unsharpened version, just click through the main image. In my role as an APOD editor, I do what many other editors do -- change things so as to better appeal to my perceived audiences. In general, on APOD images, I crop frequently, sharpen rarely (only a handful of times over 17 years), and on extremely rare occasions I will also change a color table. (Quiz to whoever is reading: can you find a color table change?) My perceived audience is NOT astrophotographers -- my perceived audience is the interested and intelligent public.
Even so, in 17 years the number of times I have been asked by an astrophotographer to undo my photo edits on their image is -- zero. Only one person has ever complained -- Dr. Gendler. Dr. Gendler is clearly a gifted astrophotographer as well as amazing at digitally rendering images, in particular astronomical images. I am not. I do value his opinion as well as the opinion of other accomplished astrophotographers. Further, knowing his opinion I would NEVER sharpen one of his images. Even so -- if there are any astrophotographers out there whose own APOD-appearing image(s) were sharpened against their will or liking, please respond to this post.
Dr. Gendler and I have debated this over email previously. There, he said that his main concern is that sharpening insults the work of the astrophotographer. This image is public domain and so legality is not an issue here. I can see that might be a concern more generally, though, in some cases. As would cropping. But not in every case. Sometimes editing actually improve images. And I think when a photographer submits a work, it is with the understanding that it might be changed in some way by an editor before it appears. Previously, Dr. Gendler replied to this point that National Geographic editors, for example, would never sharpen a submitted image. My response was that that I believe that they would. They are, however, rarely sent fuzzy images, since most good landscape images of the Earth are extremely sharp already. More generally, I believe that other photo editors would change and/or sharpen images. Experienced photographers might know which editors are likely to do what -- and choose their submission venues -- and publication requirements -- accordingly.