Despite my frustration with the state of the bridge behind, I was delighted with the scene. Judging from the puddle left in the foreground rock and the sheen of water on the beach, right, it was clearly nearing low tide. I hopped rocks out as far as I could, determined that the 12-40 wasn’t wide enough for the scene and shot two frames, fully intending to stitch them together. Other than stitching, my original attempt, done directly after returning from the trip, involved minimal processing, which, at the time, I found satisfactory.
Revisiting the scene along with the rest of you (below), I found more to do than I managed the first go-through. I used Lightroom once again. Curiously, it seems to make a difference which of the frames to be stitched is the most selected. Neither the original version nor my first attempt this time included the wheeling bird coming in to land. When I changed the second file to be most-selected, voila, there was the bird.
Without the pressure of needing to visit all the other images from the trip, I had the luxury of being able to pay more attention to distributing and balancing interest throughout the frame. The air was slightly hazy and helped impart some welcome depth to the scene. For me, in this image the sky is just a bit player and needn’t call attention to itself (think back, if you can, to Peter Sellers’ Bugler Who Wouldn’t Die in the opening scene of The Party). Some of the closer details that grab me are the rock faces on right and left, the hint of a sunstar, the separation of the creek from the salt water (and the stillness and busy-ness within them), the birds (all of them) as well as the play of light and colors across the scene. A whole lot of easter eggs. That is the general gist of my choices.
Honorable mention: @relic Nice sun, but both versions share some banding in blue of the sky
Second runner-up: @Rob Rider #1. A mite saturated for my taste.
First runner-up: @WhidbeyLVR
Winner: @Zeus1 #2. A black and white with very nicely graded tones. You're on!
My current version: Accomplished entirely in Lightroom. Two linear gradients: one for shadow lifting on the left, the other (negative contrast) to tame the blue sky and make the distant headland appear a bit more distant. A luminance range mask for detail in the clouds. Two brushes: both for foreground detail, one overall, one local. A bit of color tweaking with the Saturation and Luminance panels.
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