Now, don't take me as one of those guys screaming that our landscape images should be “real”: there's not such a thing as reality in photography, as just by choosing what to include and what not in the picture we are already giving our personal interpretation of the place. Having said that, there's also a long way from giving your personal interpretation of the place and creating a whole new landscape that exists only in your mind. Ehi, nothing wrong with that, but – for me at least - that's not photography anymore. Not long ago I randomly read a post from my fellow colleague Matt Payne (go check his F-Stop Collaborate and Listen podcast if you want to spend some quality time listening to great photographers, you'll find the link at the end of the article!) where he was saying that the key point in landscape photography is that there's some kind of trust between the viewer and the photographer about what's represented in the image can be found in the world. This is number one reason why we can't just do whatever we want with our images and then throw them to the public. Once that trust is broken, you'll need to come a long way to gain it back, if you'll ever be able to do that.
In second place, one of the biggest issues in my opinion is the lack of disclosure when you see images online; we all find ourselves using the same media to show off our work, so on a certain degree I'd think it would be nice (at least) to know when you made some radical changes to your pictures. I'm not talking about adding +10 in saturation, I'm talking about warping the landscape, stretching mountains, faking light and so on. Why do you still consider those images a photograph? Why on Earth would you want to include a bright, warm glow when it was a gloomy cloudy day? These are the questions that keep flying around my head. There's some sort of misconception going on that they would be less considered if people knew what you have done with your pictures; I believe that there are some truly incredible artworks (and artists) out there, my only problem is that they keep calling themselves photographers when they really are not. Why would you ever publish your images in a landscape photography group, when you edit your work in a way that no landscape on Earth would seem like it, no cloud in the sky would be that red and no mountain in the world would be that sharp? Why would you want to trick the people who are watching by making them believe that's a real place and not the result of your artistic interpretation of the place? For me it's far from being photography, but I'm sure many artists won't accept that. And while a few of them will have valid counter-arguments about me being wrong, others are just here for the likes, not for the joy of photography and Nature; they want an easy win, they are looking for success, for that ephemeral moment of glory. And that's sad.
It's quite obvious that if you start with a daylight photo, darken it, throw in the milky way, the moon and some unicorns you'll have higher chances to become popular (assuming that you are doing a decent editing job) as a nightscape photographer than the average Joe which is doing a couple of exposures, one of the sky and one for the foreground, gets plenty of noise in the frame with not many details and has to adapt to where the milky way actually is and not place it wherever he wants. Let's leave alone the fact that he stayed up all night, while you went out a couple of hours in the middle of the day.