Once in a blue moon the question pops up on some chat forum or the other about the right way to develop images. More often than not these days this conversation taking place is connected to HDR images and the use of HDR technology to produce or create art or non art.
As much as I hate the use of the word HDR and what it means to many I love HDR technology and the abilities to create what I did see in my mind when I took the picture. Usually what I imagine when pressing the button on the camera is far from what majority of people would see and far flung from the way the camera sees the scene.
To me HDR is nothing new. It might have been called the zone system in the oldies and layer development when photoshop came about or even in worst case manipulated or photoshopped image and every one would forget history and all the technology that was used of multiple in-camera magic of multiple exposure to get the same results. Maybe not exactly the same result as most people connect to the use of HDR as a term.
As I stated before when I press the button I, in most cases, see some thing totally different from the person standing next to me, and even though I do tend to know the outcome already then its not always the case. Some time things work the way planed and some time they don't and I have to go through lengthy procedure of finding a way to get out of the image, what I did see in it in the first place.
That goes for example in the case of this image. I actually like it in color even though I do like it more in Black and white. The first process was in color and I had no intention of even try it in Black and white until one day when going through my images I thought it would be worth the try and wham bam and do me like :)
This is the right way to deal with images in Lightroom. Lightroom can be a starting point or it can be the start and endpoint of your development. The ease of creating virtual copies to try out different elements of developing the image is the thing I like and love most about Lightroom. It allows me to play with ease and also allows me to save those pleasing or crazy techniques I use to create my vision.
And that is the main key in all discussions about photography and technique. Developing image be it with Lightroom, photoshop, HDR or D76 is just a tool and procedure on way to creating the final image based on your vision There is no one way. There is no one legal state declared way to expression. There is no right way. There is not barrier with his way, that way, this way or my way. Not even your way.
There is only the way I see it at the moment I create and the final vision of that is the way you see it when you look at my creation.
So next time you start the journey of creating an image, remember, there is no right way there is no one way its all based on a feeling. Your feeling at the moment you created the image.