The longer I have been on this journey of finding the perfect picture, the less I have felt like towing the "reality" line. Just like reality tv, there can be a lot of ugly in real life. There are a lot of photographers who defend their work by insisting that they have only processed their image to the point where it appears just as they saw it when they took the image. Fine. Like I have said before, "memories can lie," and even professional photographers can suffer a memory lapse. We all have our presuppositions about what reality should look like.
Is this how these ducks looked when I took the photo? No. Do I care? No. As soon as I saw the scene I knew what I wanted to do with the images. I wanted to make it all about the light and I wanted to pump up the color. They fell a little short of what I imagined, but the point was to try to produce something close to the imagining. Here's a photographic tip: Don't let others dissuade you from doing what makes you happy.