Post-Processing Challenge #500 - Jubilee Edition - CLOSED

Zeus1

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I started participating in these post-processing competition with #47 in 2013. And now it is with great honour and pleasure that I can host this Jubilee Edition, #500!

If you ever have the opportunity, go and visit Krakow, Poland, a beautiful town with lots of history. Nearby there is also Auschwitz and the Wielicza Salt mine. Enough to keep You occupied photographically for 3-4 days.

Your subject will be a bracketed series of pictures taken in the St. Mary's Basilica, on the town central grand place. Perhaps not an easy subject, but You had ample opportunity to study, given the fact that this is #500.


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The raw files may be found here
The Photoshop-generated jpeg files may be found here

72-Hour 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:

  • Any/all source images used for the challenge must be the Challenge Master's own images. 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.
  • 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.
The Challenge will close Wednesday, October 9, at noon, GMT (or there about).
 

hoggdoc

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Processed 4 images in PhotoMatrix 4.2.3, moved to Adobe PS CC 2019 used Camera RAW filter and adjustment brushes, applied some ON1 Raw presets to reduce noise and punch areas of merged image. Was very hard to work with the very noisy images posted for this contest.
 

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relic

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As beautiful a challenge as it is difficult I used only one raw file (P8228338) [in a possible 2nd entry I might try to figure out how to align more than one image and try to merge]. I edited it in DXO PL2. I tried to adjust the geometry partially as best as I could so it didn't look too top heavy to me, decreased exposure and highlights, increased shadows and contrast, used heavy noise reduction. Then in Elements, I tried to fill in the black areas left by the geometry adjustment (was "correction" but I take @Hannety's point :) ) using content aware fill (many thanks to @Rob Rider) before cropping, so some of the details around the edges are probably "fake", increased contrast some more, and decreased red and saturation significantly. [Edit] I wasn't too happy with my edit, so I reworked it from scratch (I used basically the same software/methods as the original).

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betamax

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I merged all but the brightest and darkest raws in LR6. Then did minor adjustments to highlights, shadows and colours then into Topaz denoise.
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GregRed

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HDR merge and initial colour/contrast adjustment in Aurora. Then to Topaz Denoise Ai. Then to Luminar 3 where final colour adjustments made... trying to get the blues and oranges right, while keeping the marble stonework on the right side fairly neutral (tricky, given the mix of daylight and tungsten). Finally, a touch of Topaz Sharpen Ai at the end. [Edit: replaced original upload after noting some ugly artifacts.]

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BosseBe

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DxO PL2: used preset DxO Standard, added Prime Noise reduction due to high ISO (6400) on all the ORF files.
Then selected all of them and sent them to NIK Collection HDR Efex Pro 2.
Let NIK HDR align the pictures, used Structurized 2 preset and saved.
Back to DxO where the new TIF has appeared. Added Contrast, Micro 5, Contrast 20 and Fine 20.
Time to correct the verticals, I choose to just adjust the horizon to get the chains of the hanging chandeliers vertical.
First entry:
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I merged all 5 in Aurora, then a few more weeks in ACR/Photoshop and finally a little more tweeking in Nik.

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betamax

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..and my #2 - slightly brigther/more contrast than my #1.
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Hannety

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Interesting challenge and one that really did need a bracket. Left guessing at what the colors should be, but, it will look awesome regardless which is of course how religious paraphernalia is supposed to look.

Processed from raw in photolab then merged with Aurora. Then back into photolab for some color, contrast, and clearview tweaking. For #2 also perspective adjustment and cropping (I don't say correction because I don't claim the result is correct:)).

#1
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#2
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BosseBe

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Entry #2: used my first entry and undid the Horizon correction as I intended to use DxO Viewpoint to "fully correct" the image.
First I used a 8 point correction and was kind of satisfied with the results, the I remembered the Wizard (Auto-correction) and tried that, it was better then my effort but not by much.
So here is the better Auto-corrected version.
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relic

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Entry #2: I gave up on trying to align multiple files. I thought that my first entry was rather on the cool side, so for the 2nd entry I thought I'd try warming it up using split-toning in DXO Filmpack 5 as an experiment. I also tried to open up the shadows and decrease saturation a bit.

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rpatodia

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rpatodia

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rpatodia

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In 2nd pic used NIK HDR followed by adjustments in DxO PL2 and finishung touches in Elements
 
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opened in photoshop, merged images. Since the stained glass is lit by daylight I changed the color balance to daylight. Made a duplicate layer, used multiply overlay at about 55 percent on the top layer. some burning and dodging. then finished in Topaz Studio 2 with denoiseAI and micro contrast adjustment.
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Started with the last and corrected the perspective and then used some HSL adjustments (blue and yellow) to make a more pleasing overall color balance.
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WhidbeyLVR

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I used the four darkest raw files, processed to 16-bit tiffs in DxO PL2, then merged in NIik HDR. Took the merged file back to DxO for a partial perspective correction, and then into Gimp for tweaks.

Tough sequence to process to my liking. Still a bunch of things that bother me, for which I have no solutions. So it made for a great and worthy challenge! Thanks, @Zeus1 !
 
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