60-Hour Post-Processing Challenge #600 - Winners Announced

Hendrik

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#600, eh? Something about two zeros makes it a bit festive, so, here's an image that shouldn't give anybody too much trouble––except in deciding which way to go with it.

In 2015 my wife and I went on an early spring trip to Utah to visit Bryce and Zion National Parks. This image was taken late in our stay on a side trip to several points of interest outside Zion, mostly in Grafton. It is looking generally north, across the Virgin River toward the southern end of Zion NP.

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The orf may be found here
The jpg may be found here

The contest will run until about Midnight on Friday, October 16, (Boston time, EDT, UTC-4).
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Post-Processing Challenge Rules:
  1. The Challenge Master provides an image or images to be "improved" upon by way of post-processing, as well as a closing date for entries.
  2. Entrants are to post their entries, visible in this thread, at a resolution of 1000 to 1600 pixels in the longest dimension, prior to the closing date.
  3. Each entrant is allowed two entries in the Challenge. Please mark entries clearly by number.
  4. At the close of the Challenge, the Challenge Master will select a Winner and Runners-up.
  5. The Winner of the Challenge is honored as the Master of the next Challenge.
Notes:
  • The image(s) used for the challenge must be the Challenge Master's own. Source images are posted solely for the purpose of this Challenge and are not posted to invite critique or criticism nor for other uses. If Entrants post their entries at a photo sharing site, they should credit the owner of the original source material.
  • "Improve" is a subjective term, and may include many creative ideas, as well as traditional "fixing". The Challenge Master agrees that Entrants may make any changes they deem fit in their entries.
  • Entrants are encouraged to enter their best efforts even if this means replacing versions. Please do this by exchanging your latest effort with the image you wish to remove. You may note the replacement in a comment in the edited posting.
  • Entrants are also encouraged to share the tools and techniques used for their entries, however this is not a requirement for entry.
  • As we all know, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. The Challenge Master is encouraged (but not required) to state the criteria used to decide upon a Winner. While we may not all agree with the result, the Challenge Master's decision is final. Please refrain from posting adverse comment.
  • If the Winner is unable to post a new Challenge within five days, the honor passes to the next Runner-up.
 

rpatodia

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Normal adjustments in DxO PL2 followed by 16:9 crop
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rpatodia

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Used Nik Color Efex on above
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relic

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Great photo. Edited raw file in DxO PL2, warmed colort temperature a bit; then tweaked in Elements: light levels, cropped, warmed it further using Nik Color Efex plug-in.

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Last edited:

BosseBe

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Entry #1:
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BosseBe

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Entry #2:
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say_doyster

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Really beautiful scene, Hendrik!

Color, no crop. Fell in love with all the shadow detail and went a bit impressionistic.
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say_doyster

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and a B&W...
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todd phillips

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Dinobe

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Hendrik

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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #19
That was a handsome bunch of entries, folks - congratulations. I played along and I have placed my result below the text.

It was a magical late afternoon on which, through no fault of our own, we managed to be in the right place at the right time. We got lucky. The day had been overcast with widely dispersed showers–we saw but never encountered precipitation. And suddenly, broken clouds and low sun. Heaven! There were better illuminated vistas off to the camera’s right and I paid plenty of attention to them. Consequently this image was somewhat of an afterthought, but I was captivated by the play of the light and shadow on the red rock, the soft, unthreatening textures of the sky and the vastness of the scene, both in breadth and depth.

Straight out of camera it didn’t look very promising, disappointing, even. But, as I think you have all discovered, the file holds up well to manipulation. The group consensus was a 16:9 (or more extreme) crop and I agree. To the extent that any version emphasized the features I listed above, it rose on my list. There were some approaches which earned demerits. One I noted was the too aggressive use of clarity or de-hazing, which minimized or eliminated a major distance cue on the center mountain. Other excesses further manifested themselves as odd luminance effects including fairly prominent halos and a “hardening” of the clouds. Some of the colors were a bit off to my eye (no, I’m not looking at you @say_doyster - that was fun!) but judging color on the internet is a bit of a fool’s errand, so color considerations end up lower on the decision tree. I liked the black and white versions but the loss of the color axis in the sky made reading it difficult and therefore less communicative.

Second runner-up, @Rob Rider - color version. Your experience with photographing the southwest shows! The halos held it back.
First runner-up, @Dinobe. I like the pumped low hill faces around the base of the mountain but I miss the extreme depth to be found at the left of the frame.
Winner, @WhidbeyLVR. To my taste the features at center are a bit dark. Still, a good sense of depth and atmosphere.

Batter up, Lyle...

My version is accomplished almost entirely in Adobe Camera Raw. I'm late to the game but I have started to experiment with range masks rather than multiple smart objects in Photoshop. Only one curves adjustment layer in Photoshop devoted to emphasizing and warming the illuminated low hill faces.

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