Now you see it, now you don’t. In the past, I didn’t remove much detail if at all from my photos. It seemed “unnatural” or “deceptive.” But then I started noticing dust on the sensor showing up in my images, which led to noticing distracting elements that may have occurred in the actual scene. If dust can go, other detrimental pixels can go, too. I don’t do it much, but for the better, I think, I am not so rigid about this anymore. It’s an artistic choice, and those are part of making art (duh) whether one abdicates the power to make them or not.
These antennae were very striking, and I like the abstraction they take on in isolation. The moth that they belonged to was sitting on the glass brick (?) wall outside the restroom facility at Clarksburg State Park where a good number of moths always end up hanging out. Spider webs and such catch a lot of debris, and the walls are not usually a clean backdrop. I went a bit more extreme, as there were some big clumps to edit, just to see the differential. I have to say I like the edited version better. The refuse doesn’t really do much here. Some photographers don’t want things like bits of pollen covering an eye, although I often prefer to keep stuff like that because it shows a unique moment of being, how the animal lives. Sometimes that stuff does not do much but distract however. In the case of the antennae, smooth and clean wins the day for me.