Post-processing challenge #180

Discussion in 'Contests and Challenges' started by Conrad, Jun 16, 2015.

  1. Conrad

    Conrad Mu-43 Veteran

    This time a scene from the Belgian Ardennes, the "cascade des nutons", or "waterfall of the hobgoblins" (this side stream is quite cute with its half a meter height...). Even though the ooc jpg is already quite OK, I'm sure there will be many who can get this a level higher.


    Link to RAW and JPG.

    Simplified Rules for Post-Processing Challenge #180

    Entrants may submit one or two images. I will name a winner, first runner-up, and second runner-up after the Challenge ends on Friday, June 19, at (21.30 GMT). The winner will provide the image for the next challenge within five days. Otherwise, the runner-up takes over.

    For the extended rules, see older posts.
  2. Brian Beezley

    Brian Beezley Mu-43 All-Pro


    Gee, I didn't even get to use the new Olympus Viewer 3 version 1.5 on this Panasonic file! I thought others might like to see what RawTherapee does with its default profile. All I did was read the RW2 file, resize to 1300 pixels wide, and then create a JPG at 90% quality. Normally I would change several things without sharpening, output a 1300-pixel 16-bit TIFF, read the TIFF and apply sharpening at the output resolution, and then output a JPG. This one-step process seems so easy. Later I'll try harder using my normal method.


    Edit - Comparing the two images, I prefer the Panasonic JPG. The RT image lacks contrast and looks washed out. Also note the CA in the upper right and the lack of crispness. RT used camera white balance but the hues differ. I guess the RT image is not bad for a start, but it needs some work.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2015
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  3. WhidbeyLVR

    WhidbeyLVR Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 14, 2014
    Whidbey Island
    Nice image. Thanks for the challenge, Conrad.

    The OOC JPEG seemed a bit bright to me, and I wanted to move the waterfall to the left in the final image. So I converted a darker version from RAW, holding on to shadow detail. Then I warped it a bit to partially adjust perspective on the trees, and also to change the composition. Finally, I fiddled with exposure and color in various regions. I wasn't able to recover much detail from the bright sky areas.

    Last edited: Jun 16, 2015
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  4. sesser

    sesser Zen Master Subscribing Member

    Mar 10, 2015
    Portland, OR
    I couldn't quite get the feel I was after, but this is close... just some LR6 changes.

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  5. jyc860923

    jyc860923 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 28, 2012
    Shenyang, China
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  6. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    Playing with Silver Efex

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  7. P1070299.jpg
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    • Winner Winner x 1
  8. EdH

    EdH Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jul 14, 2014
    Devon, UK
    Using LR & PS CC, I've taken out the blown out highlights, knocked the background down a bit, with lens blur and levels, then to B&W and a bit of fiddling about. I tried a bit of motion blur to speed up the water, but it just looked a bit obvious.
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  9. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    Black and white conversion, added contrast, adjusted levels, slight sepia, vignette, cropped to 16/9, burned the waterfall a little.

    View attachment 425336
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  10. Brian Beezley

    Brian Beezley Mu-43 All-Pro


    I did this yesterday right after I posted the default RawTherapee image. I'm afraid if I don't post it now I'll be tempted to tinker more with it, and that could be endless. Here I reduced L*a*b* lightness, which is a nifty RT control that lets you adjust brightness without affecting color saturation. I like the dark look, but if I knew how bright the scene actually was I'd try for a realistic setting. I looked around for something white to use for spot white balance, but I didn't see anything so I left the color alone. I got rid of the CA with an RT control. I had to sharpen more than usual.

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  11. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Using LR 2015 CC and Nik ColorEfex:
    cropped to portrait orientation and rotated slightly
    global adjustments to white balance, exposure, contrast, etc.
    bumped up clarity, vibrance and saturation very slightly
    imported to ColorEfex where I added a graduated filter and played with the colors a bit
    added a small amount of vignette and image border
    back to LR, where I applied just a touch of the new dehaze tool
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  12. WhidbeyLVR

    WhidbeyLVR Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 14, 2014
    Whidbey Island
    For my second entry, I went vertical, to emphasize the forest scene. I also messed around a bit with the blown sky. Then I applied a painting filter, which I think worked well for this image.

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  13. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
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  14. Conrad

    Conrad Mu-43 Veteran

    It's time to announce the winners. You all proved that this image is open for a lot more types of interpretation than I expected. Some more background (and my own mindset when taking the image). I tried to make the "waterfall" look a lot bigger than it actually is by using wide angle and a very low camera position. I kept the camera stable just a few cm above water level on a bit of rock protruding through the surface and picked a rather small aperture to both get optimal dof and motion blur of the water. The combination of small aperture and long exposure time without tripod explain the little soft original. With proper sharpening it still prints nicely on A2. About the color, I usually have my camera set to daylight or AWB and correct in post (I always shoot raw). In green forests like this, the recorded wb setting is usually way off because of the green light. If you don't know the scene, you get fooled by the water that is rich in iron and tinted very brown.
    But this whole story is about technical correctness, and post processing is about interpretation which for me is certainly not the same.

    The winner is Zeus1. I don't know what you did to the color balance, but the strange autumn like colors you extracted and keeping the scene bright works very well.
    First runner up is Tyrphoto. As far as correct color goes this is a very good rendering, with a nice strong contrast but a bit over done on "clarity". Works well on most monitors, but in print this will be difficult.
    Second runner up is edH. Amazing tonality on the rocks, but as an overall b&w picture would have worked better for me with a more captivating highlight rendering.

    Thanks to all for participating! Zeus, you're up for creating the next challenge.
  15. TXS, Conrad, too much honour.
    As always, I openend the photo in Photoshop, adjusted some small bits in ACR. Afterwards, over to nik Color Efex, to change the dynamic contrast and some (pseudo) polarization effect on the water (I tried to lighten up the lower 20% of the photo). The green color of the leaves in the upper left quadrant felt too strong to me. I changed it using, again, nik Color Efex, this time the filter called "Indian Summer" which selectively attacks green colors. Using a mask I restricted the action to the green leaves and part of the green boulders next to the waterfall.

    Now I'm off to my archive for some heavy digging: need to find something recent to host the next challenge.
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