Castle on the Loch
It should be clear that I don't see photography as being restricted to producing only pure photo-realistic images, but that doesn't mean completely doing away with realism either. Even with a traditional landscape, a romanticised memory can be worth more than the dreary "reality" of the moment captured by the camera's sensor.
This often brings up the question of how far to go, and at what point does too far instead turn into not far enough.
For example, some will say that an image where edges have noticable halos means too much sharpening has been applied, and whilst that may be the case, it might also mean simply that manual intervention is required to repair flaws caused by the sharpening algorithm - i.e. more processing required.
Sometimes knowing what "too far" is means deliberately going to extremes then reining back to normality, leaving the image for a bit, and seeing what fresh eyes make of it; re-assessing the image and deciding whether to tweak, re-do, or go in a different direction.
There is always a balance between producing an acceptable image, getting the best possible out of a photo, deciding what is good enough for a first version.
The evolution of this image can be seen below - some people would have stopped at the third. A week ago I was content with the fifth, but after coming back to it I made further adjustments to reach this first version. It's still not perfect, but then not every picture has to be.
(After clicking an image, the left and right cursor keys can step you back and forward between the stages.)