Old building portraits: when to stop "fixing"? C & C please

Started Oct 28, 2012 | Questions thread
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capturef22 Senior Member • Posts: 3,578
Old building portraits: when to stop "fixing"? C & C please

I am fascinated with the "architectural landscape", particularly old buildings on their last legs. Not only are many of them just a wonder to look at, but they hold so much that is key to their area's history. As land becomes more developed, when we lose these buildings, I think we lose an important part of ourselves. (I think it's also important to acknowledge we weren't the first ones here; some cultures have lost more than others.)

So here's my dilemma, illustrated with the following images. Especially east of the western US, where most land is in private ownership, access is limited to these buildings (mostly from a road, maybe a driveway). As such, it's not uncommon to get telephone poles / wires, power lines, garbage of many kinds, totally "contrary" stuff of all kinds in the shots when taking photos of these places.

This old mill is a great example, I think. I don't think I did a super job with my improvements, but I'm just curious where others draw the line when trying to salvage an image like this. How much, if any, are you comfortable removing / improving? What techniques to you use?  I know zooming / PP cropping are two possibilities to help remove extraneous things and sometimes that works really well. However, sometimes it's nice to get a feel for the larger context so I don't want to zoom or crop tightly.

'Nuf said; what are your thoughts to help make old building portraits good?

Original image (jpg)

Attempt to "clean it up"

A crop that I actually DO like.

Needs help, in my opinion...

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