What a shame we gotta pay for reality

Sometimes the question arises whether or not an image has to look as similar as possible to what the photographer was seeing at the exact moment he took the photo.
I personally prefer to keep my images as truthful as possible, which means I want to do as little work as possible on my computer to get to the final image.

But to what extent are the things we see the only truth?

Cameras aren't limitless, but neither are our own eyes.

Just as camera-sensors and -lenses have a certain light sensitivity, focal length and dynamic range, our eyes have certain limited capabilities.
 A 10-minute exposure of a night sky might result in a  beautiful star trail, or if you boost your iso high enough it might even look as if it was taken during daylight.
But our eyes simply aren't capable of capturing these images, but does that make the photo we took less real or truthful? 

Last Wednesday I went  to Oostende. Stormy weather was predicted for that evening, however during the afternoon the sun was able to burst through the dark clouds. 

The light reflected by the sea and the streams of water on the beach were too bright for my eyes to handle.
My camera's light meter was struggling as well, so in able to capture any detail in the water I had to underexpose the image by 2 or more stops of light.
Working this way I was able to 'correctly' expose for the brighter parts of the image, but the rest of the image looked underexposed.
If I wanted to fix this I could have tried to use a graduated ND filter, or I could have gone for a HDR image by combining multiple exposures.

Instead, I decided to go with this grimmer -wasteland- look because it suited the upcoming storm.

The final images don't really look like the images my eyes were passing on to my brains, but I still consider them to be real.

To get an idea of how much these image were edited I added a before and after  of one of the images.
Basically, I got rid of all saturation, added a little bit of mid-tone contrast, made the blacks a tiny little bit more black and the whites a little more white.

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