Or so it seems. There seems to be a presumption that if a photograph was (even apparently) easy to take (and I use the word "take" deliberately, as implying something that was there for anybody's taking) then it's not very good, or not as good as another which was more difficult. Take wildlife. OK, this is going to offend a lot of people, but it seems to me that much wildlife photography is about the level of difficulty in getting the shot, and nothing at all to do with the artistry of the photograph. I've seen natural history photos heavily criticised for cloning out a leaf or twig, and yet no-one bats an eyelid at far heavier manipulations from painters. Why is this? The twig cloning can't fall back on the "you can't use tame animals because it's not going to reflect what happens in the wild" argument, because the presence or absence of twigs etc. is immaterial to the animal (inless it prefers to spend all its time totally undercover, in which case only a photograph of a tree or bush is realistic). The only argument that seems to make sense is that it's more difficult to get the perfect shot, so cloning is cheating because it's so easy to do. Landscape? Ah, there "nature did it" as I once heard a club judge reported to have said (I was speaking to someone who was there at the time the comment was made - the photograph was heavily marked down, apparently). If the scene is magnificent enough, then merely recording it isn't enough to make a good photograph. It again comes down to "if it's easy, it can't be good". Ever heard the saying "it's all about the light"? How true is it? I've seen many examples of photographs from one photographer who epitomises this saying, looking always for the "right light". Yes, the photographs are pretty, but usually along with the "right light" is the "wrong viewpoint" or "wrong composition". The light takes precedence over everything else. Why? Perhaps because being there in the right light takes effort - getting up early, travelling miles and so on. Turning up at midday is far too easy to produce a good photograph. How much are we influenced by perceived difficulty rather than artistic merit? Is this another facet of "journey" versus "destination", where how we travel is ultimately more important than where we're going? Is photography about photographs or process, and if the latter, why bother actually wasting time producing a print (or an image on screen)? So - care to discuss the idea that what we produce is often regarded as almost irrelevant, and it's how hard it was to produce that determines the merit of a photograph?