60-Hour Post Processing Challenge #688 - Winners Announced

Hendrik

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Continuing with the bird theme established in the previous challenge - with the difference being that this bird was live (which is, after all, evil spelled backwards). Egrets are tough customers - skittish and impossibly white. This means that captures occur at close to Hail Mary distances and one is forced to skirt exposure disaster. Taken this summer on the Sudbury River from a kayak. Have fun!

PPC688 display.jpg
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The ORF may be found here
The Workspace-generated JPEG may be found here

The challenge will close at my breakfast time on Tuesday, July 16th, 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.
  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.
 

BosseBe

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This picture begs for a B&W!
Entry #1:
PPC688_DxO_Web_1.jpg
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rpatodia

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Entry#1
PPC688_DxO_edited.jpg
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rpatodia

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Entry#2
PPC688_Nik_DxO.jpg
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Kae1

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Entry #1
PPC688ar.jpg
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Kae1

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Entry #2
PPC688abwr.jpg
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Growltiger

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Entry 1
20210815 Comp rb1.jpg
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Growltiger

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Entry 2
20210815 Comp rb2.jpg
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WhidbeyLVR

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PPC688_01B.jpg
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Processed the raw image in DxO PL4 (straighten, exposure, noise reduction) and exported to 16-bit TIFF.

In Gimp, I constructed the reflection and blended with the original layer. Contrast enhancement in Nik Color Efex Pro (Pro Contrast). I made a minor color adjustment, then cropped and added a vignette before scaling and sharpening the final output.
 
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#1
Opened the raw file in ACR and did my best to keep detail in the subject. Nice shot!

PPC688.jpg
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Hendrik

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A little over 12 hours left to fill the summer doldrums with some snappy post-processing! Get yours NOW!
 

BosseBe

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Almost forgot to do a second entry!
So here it is! A colour attempt.
Entry #2:
PPC688_DxO_Web-1.jpg
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Hendrik

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Well done, folks. How even a simple subject like an impossibly white bird trying to make a living can provoke such a variety of treatments never ceases to amaze me. That makes it difficult to judge on a rational basis applied widely, but here are the very few points I considered. Overall, I tried to judge it as a wildlife photo. I considered #1, exposure and #2, how the exposure was balanced throughout the visible frame. Drama is great, but maybe not in wildlife. Knowing that feather detail was out of the question, I particularly looked for interesting modeling on the egret’s neck. I also concerned myself with the balance between promoting detail and interest while not allowing the rough underbelly of the capture to show through too much. Using that rationale generates a list that’s very different from the order in which I would want to put prints on my wall. In this instance I sense a first-place tie between @BosseBe ’s first and @WhidbeyLVR ’s submissions. They’re very different visions but I appreciate them equally. Also, a shoutout to Growltiger for being the only participant to remove the leaf that cuts the egret's neck in two.

So, Most-Honorable Mentions to Bo and Lyle. Since I really don’t have the stomach to pick one over the other I am therefore forced to choose on more pedestrian grounds. My bad!

Second runner-up: @Kae1 #1
First runner-up: @Rob Rider

Winner: @Robert Davidson
 

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