60-Hour Post Processing Challenge #687 (closed, winners posted)

WhidbeyLVR

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Attacking Eagle by Greg Neal

Fresh meat, captured today -- a challenging image from a sculpture park on Whidbey Island. Good luck!

Raw and JPEG files are here.

The challenge will close at noon on Saturday, August 14th, Seattle local time (UTC-7).

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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.
 
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Kae1

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Entry #1 ACR, Elements, DeNoise, Sharpen
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Kae1

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Entry #2
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Zapp DJR

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#1

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Zapp DJR

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#2

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BosseBe

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Became a little intimidated by the entries so far, so I will start with a B&W, will get back with a colour later.
Entry #1
PPC687_DxO_Web_3.jpg
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BosseBe

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Decided I liked dark and ominous.
Entry #2
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Hendrik

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It was only as I worked on the image that I became aware of the talons and beak. These, it seemed to me, were the real point(s) of the sculpture. Consequently, I took bringing them to prominence as my main task. Thus the crop, too.

Various exposure adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw resulting in two smart objects. Blended together in Photoshop. Clarifying the beak took some doing, including giving it its very own curves adjustment to increase contrast both for luminance and color cast. Sharpening in Topaz DeNoise AI which, back in Photoshop, was applied to the sculpture alone. The display copy was again selectively sharpened in Topaz DeNoise AI with its native masking facility (which I don't find quite as easy to use as a pre-made mask in Photoshop.)

PPC687-1.jpg
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Growltiger

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Bird hunting at sunset.
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rpatodia

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Entry#1
PPC687_DxO_edited.jpg
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rpatodia

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Entry#2
PPC687_Nik_DxO.jpg
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WhidbeyLVR

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As always, thanks to all participants! The number of entries was a bit smaller than usual. I am not sure if the difficulty of the image was to blame, or the summer holidays (for those of us in the northern hemisphere). But it's okay -- it makes the judging easier. ;)

So it was a tough image, with a busy, uneven background, high dynamic range. I regret not trying the shot with my P 20mm f/1.7 prime. I regret being there on a sunny day with harsh light. But it's OK -- the sculpture forest isn't too far away, so I can better choose my lens and light next time and return for another try.

My judging criteria focused on two primary things. First, making the sculpture stand out from the busy background, and second, the general aesthetics of the entry. Because color contrast helped with differentiating the eagle, neither of the B&W versions made my short list. The artistic version by @Growltiger was interesting, but the eagle rendered in blues and greens didn't enhance it.

2nd Runners-Up: Tie
@Robert Davidson #1 (although it topped the popular vote, the red beak and claws of #2 were too unsettling for me)
@Kae1 #1

1st Runner-Up: @rpatodia #1

Winner: @Hendrik -- very nice job of accentuating and enhancing the details of the sculpture.

--

My attempt:

PPC687A.jpg
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I very carefully and laboriously masked the sculpture by hand and did separate processing on the subject vs. the background. I did some slight blurring of the background and burning in the background around the claws, and I increased the exposure and sharpness of the eagle and dodged the claws and beak. I also modified the color of the eagle's right wing.
 

Hendrik

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Many thanks, Lyle. I would be tempted to compliment you for the level of evil you allowed to creep into the image, but since that might only serve to encourage further, future efforts in the same vein, forget I said anything. 😁

My efforts at evil to follow...
 

rpatodia

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As always, thanks to all participants! The number of entries was a bit smaller than usual. I am not sure if the difficulty of the image was to blame, or the summer holidays (for those of us in the northern hemisphere). But it's okay -- it makes the judging easier. ;)

So it was a tough image, with a busy, uneven background, high dynamic range. I regret not trying the shot with my P 20mm f/1.7 prime. I regret being there on a sunny day with harsh light. But it's OK -- the sculpture forest isn't too far away, so I can better choose my lens and light next time and return for another try.

My judging criteria focused on two primary things. First, making the sculpture stand out from the busy background, and second, the general aesthetics of the entry. Because color contrast helped with differentiating the eagle, neither of the B&W versions made my short list. The artistic version by @Growltiger was interesting, but the eagle rendered in blues and greens didn't enhance it.

2nd Runners-Up: Tie
@Robert Davidson #1 (although it topped the popular vote, the red beak and claws of #2 were too unsettling for me)
@Kae1 #1

1st Runner-Up: @rpatodia #1

Winner: @Hendrik -- very nice job of accentuating and enhancing the details of the sculpture.

--

My attempt:

View attachment 903326
I very carefully and laboriously masked the sculpture by hand and did separate processing on the subject vs. the background. I did some slight blurring of the background and burning in the background around the claws, and I increased the exposure and sharpness of the eagle and dodged the claws and beak. I also modified the color of the eagle's right wing.
Thanks Lyle. appreciate to be on podium judged by you.
 

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