Post-processing challenge #344 - Winner announced

Discussion in 'Contests and Challenges' started by AussiePhil, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2014
    Canberra, ACT, Aust
    I took this back on the 23rd July late in the afternoon on a cold winters day. I was trying out some longer exposure seascape shots, well out of my comfort zone to be honest with a variable ND filter. The results have seen me buy better fixed ND filters :)


    ISO64 files but F16 on the 12-100Pro :), this image is a 50 second exposure.

    Your Challenge if your prepared to accept it is...... make this an "oh wow" image.

    RAW/DNG: Dropbox - 006442-_7236047.dng
    JPG: Dropbox - 006442-_7236047.jpg

    Closes: 16th Sep in the evening Australian Time.

    72-Hour Post-Processing Challenge Rules

    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Each entrant is allowed two entries in the Challenge.
    • At the close of the Challenge, the Challenge Master will select a Winner and Runners-up.
    • The Winner of the challenge is honored as the Master of the next Challenge.


    • The image used for the challenge must be the Challenge Master's own image. The image is posted solely for the purpose of this Challenge; it is not posted 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.
    • 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.
  2. rkaijus

    rkaijus Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 20, 2016
    • Like Like x 1
  3. dbuckle

    dbuckle Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    • Like Like x 2
  4. dbuckle

    dbuckle Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

  5. stagor

    stagor Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 10, 2012
    Netherlands / N.Ireland
    My first attempt.
    just noticed the dust spots after posting,
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  6. stagor

    stagor Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 10, 2012
    Netherlands / N.Ireland
    My second attempt,
    006442-_7236047 copy copy.jpg
    • Like Like x 4
  7. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Snapseed on iPad - vertical crop, dodge and burn to bring out details in background rock formations and highlight water splashes, slight vignette, glow, warmer white balance.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Hendrik

    Hendrik Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Feb 27, 2015
    Wayland MA
    Thought I'd go a different route...


    All in ACR.
    Instead of trying for intense color drama, I instead went for very milky water and golden hour colors. This yielded patches of color in roughly bands of thirds. I attempted to promote the exposed rock faces (local adjustment brush).

    First, I zeroed the dng. After that, I did too much to document in a granular fashion but, to my eyes, the major improvements in the distracting (to my eyes) banding in the sky came with two moves. The first, in what is becoming a typical edit for me, involves minus contrast balanced by plus clarity and saturation (the saturation is to compensate for the desaturation built into the minus contrast, usually half the contrast move). Second, a rather aggressive application of minus dehaze. Then I added an aggressive white balance shift along with some HSL tweaking. I blended two smart objects, one darker, one lighter. The lighter contributed the milky water, improved sky and shadowed rock faces. The darker contributed the clouds, sunlit rock face on right and the foreground shore.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
    • Like Like x 3
  9. previz

    previz Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Apr 8, 2011
    • Like Like x 2
  10. danou75

    danou75 Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 13, 2013
    Melbourne, VIC.
    Entry 1: IMG_1611.JPG
  11. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    • Like Like x 3
  12. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2014
    Canberra, ACT, Aust
    Oh my, this is going to be a tough judging round already...... hadn’t noticed that spot myself till it was pointed out.... need to see if it is a dust spot now :(

    Keep them coming........
  13. dlpruk

    dlpruk Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 1, 2016
    Hinckley, Leicestershire, UK
    I thought I'd try to highlight the distant promontory, even though it meant pushing my luck by tight cropping and upscaling. All in LR with overall lighting and colour adjustments, some brushwork and some healing to soften the banding in the sky.

    Seascape 14-09-2017 16-22-59.jpg
    Original at Flickr

    I liked this in b/w too:

    Seascape BW 14-09-2017 16-37-36.jpg
    Original at Flickr
    • Like Like x 4
  14. Hendrik

    Hendrik Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Feb 27, 2015
    Wayland MA
    Oh, why not!

    A bit more intensity and, into the bargain, a sea sky I shot last weekend in Rockport, Mass. The sky came from an E-M5.2 and was up-rezzed in PS to match the original image.

    • Like Like x 2
    • Winner Winner x 1
  15. MarkRyan

    MarkRyan Instagram: @MRSallee Subscribing Member

    May 3, 2013
    Nice photo.

    Primary goal was getting the color right with white balance. Then adjusted the crop + contrast to bring focus on the rocks in the center.

    Finally, my biggest cheat: I rotated the rocks just slightly to feel more parallel to the horizon. Don't tell anybody.

    • Like Like x 3
  16. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2014
    Canberra, ACT, Aust
    Oops, got completely sidetracked over the weekend including doing a Photography workshop at the local Floriade event on a -4c Sunday morning :)
    Between the Photo workshop and a Tough Love staff training day i'll apologise up front if any of the following are too frank.
    What follows is a personal assessment only.

    Rkaijus: Sorry the BW treatment didn't grab me, the loss of the late afternoon glow from the sun wasn't made up and it seemed flat to me because of it.

    Entry1. This one in BW actually worked fo me with the grainy misty look and the slightly blown out rocks to the right helped.
    Entry 2. Brave move and reminds me of a couple i've done in a sort of red planet out of this world look.

    Entry 1. Nice, the dust spots are a concern for me, rather than the image, that sky is just hard to deal with isn't it. the sand and pebbles are just a little too golden for the what the day was and sort of clash in my mind with the water.
    Entry 2. simple wow is good enough comment, the only negative for me is the orange cloud on the water, my eye keeps getting drawn to it.

    Robert Watcher: I actually like the vertical crop itself however it removes the sunlight rooks to the right leaving the image in my mind just a little too dull.

    Entry 1. Nice set of edits and good write up, that sky banding is annoying and something i generally don't see from the sensor unless the image is pushed really hard, this is about the closest to how it looked on the day to my eyes.
    Entry 2. Now that truly fixed the sky issue and really suits the image.

    Previz: This is how i visualised the edit I might do, however this one feels i little too dark on the left for me at least.

    Entry1. sadly the BW's for this one just don't seem to work for my eyes, the image feels flat. the more i look at it the more a struggle to settle my eyes on an anchor point.

    Retiredfromlife: apart from the sky banding this BW does work and to me its due to the crop. i love the wide pano crop.

    dlpruk: interesting tight crop that i guess gets let down by the lack of pixels to retain some apparent sharpness to things, food for though when i run back to process this one.

    markryan: promise wont tell you cheated, I feel though the loss of the sunlight rocks to the right has left if feeling flat. Nice work on not having banding in the sky.

    Ok the bit i hate, deciding the ranking...

    @retiredfromlife@retiredfromlife 3rd place for the really nice composition/crop only let down by the banding.

    @stagor@stagor 2nd place for the second entry, got to say you had this sown up for most of the time as you made it pop.

    However @Hendrik@Hendrik picks up the mantle, honour and judging duties for the next one for the very clean sky that combines with the scene really well.

    Over to Hendrik for 345.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 2
  17. Hendrik

    Hendrik Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Feb 27, 2015
    Wayland MA
    Thanks, Phil. This is indeed a surprise since I was following my own bliss in a direction clearly different from the one you demonstrated. And thanks everyone else for the stiff competition.

    I'll put up a new challenge later today. But, first, the dog walk awaits...