This is a fairly straightforward start to this unit and I have no problem with the ethics of removing blemishes from an image. I chose a close up of a balloon at the Bristol Balloon Fiesta which had sensor marks on the original.
As can be seen this image included diagonal lines, which were not straight so I used the crop tool to straighten the image and position the lines to give a more pleasing composition. Again I had no problem with that because it was all part of the image I saw when I took the photograph. What I did not notice at the time was that there were dirty marks on the balloon which showed up in the picture. They have since been removed too and the image lightened so whilst I still see this as correction, I am already starting to get near that line that separates correction from interpretation.
More difficult was the exercise to remove polygon flare, maybe I could have chosen a different image where it would have been easier but I would like to get this image to a state where I am satisfied with it.
Lens flare was evident in several places where the water was lapping on the shore and as well as a large green flare on the rock in the foreground. As predicted the spot removal tool had no effect so I used the clone tool in Photoshop Elements followed by the brush tool in Lightroom to darken the areas I had been working on. Whilst I am happier than I was with this image, I don’t feel it was entirely successful and will keep trying this with other photographs. I still don’t feel that there is a problem with this treatment because as I have already said, the image I saw when I was taking the pictures, or at least wanted to see, did not include lens flare.