60-Hour Post-Processing Challenge #655 (closed, results posted)

WhidbeyLVR

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PPC655 web.jpg
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Skagit Bay from Whidbey Island. Mount Constitution (Orcas Island) and Mount Erie (Fidalgo Island) in the distance.

This is from a few years ago. I was down on the beach taking pictures of eagles with the 75-300mm and was too lazy to change lenses to capture this shorescape. So here is a 4-image sequence for stitching. Use any, use all, your choice. I have also included a pre-stitched JPEG for those who wish to play along, but don't want to learn stitching right now. Stitched in Hugin.


Raw and JPEG files are here.

The challenge will close on Sunday, April 18th at 9:00AM Seattle local time (UTC-07:00). (Bonus hours, since I will be sleeping when the 60 hours expires.)

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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.
  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:
  • Images provided by Challenge Masters must be their own. They are posted solely for the purpose of this Challenge; not 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 image.
  • "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 strongly encouraged to share the tools and techniques used for their entries, however this is not a requirement for entry.
  • Compositing is allowed, provided the use of the donor image does not violate any licensing or copyright restrictions.
  • 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.
 

WhidbeyLVR

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Eagles being uncooperative:

Eagles1.jpg
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Eagles2.jpg
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RichardC

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Entry 1

So many options :)

PPC655-1-Pano.jpg
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Pano stitched in Lightroom. Image opened in Topaz Studio 2 and AI clear filter used. Then to Photoshop where I used a curves adjustment layer to get as close to a neutral colour balance as possible, then several more curves adjustment layers to lighten the mooring poles, remove some blue haze from the foliage on the other side of the lake, masking as necessary. Made some changes to the contrast in the clouds, cropped, added a slight vignette and a border.
 
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RichardC

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Entry 2

PPC655-2-Pano.jpg
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Started with the colour image above, added a black and white adjustment layer in photoshop at around 95% opacity, then three different gradient maps in a mix of opacities and blend modes - basically kept experimenting until I got the range of tones I was looking for.
 
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BosseBe

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Went the Hugin route and started with lens corrections and noise reduction in DxO exported as TIFF and merged to panorama in Hugin (used DeepPRIME so it had to be a TIFF as far as I know).
Back to DxO for more adjustments.
Entry #1:
PPC655-1_DxO - PPC655-4_DxO_DxO_Web_2.jpg
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BosseBe

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And of course a B&W, some processing differences to get a good B&W.
Entry #2:
PPC655-1_DxO - PPC655-4_DxO_DxO_Web_1.jpg
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betamax

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Untitled.jpeg
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BosseBe

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Just a comment about Hugin and exporting as DNG, it seems that Hugin wants to convert the DNG to another format (maybe TIFF) when importing a DNG, so I think it is better to just export as TIFF from the program you are using to have control.
 
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#1
Opened the raw files and converted to panorama in ACR. Resized to 1600 long side as to speed process on my older computer.
Topaz Denoise AI and general adjustments.

PPC655-1-Pano.jpg
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Kae1

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Edit #1
PPC655 panar.jpg
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Kae1

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Edit #2
PPC655bwr.jpg
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Zapp DJR

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#1

PPC655lca1.jpg
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Zapp DJR

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#2

PPC655lca2.jpg
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Raw conversion in DxO PhotoLab; panorama stitching and embellishments in Affinity Photo.

PPC655.jpg
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Hendrik

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A serene scene. Thank you for the opportunity to add a bit of dynamism.

Exposure tweaks in Adobe Camera Raw, synced across all four exposures.
Stitching in Photoshop, followed by a bit of cropping on the right.
It still felt unbalanced so, when I offered, one of your eagles immediately jumped at a chance to shine.

PPC655+Eagles2.jpg
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