Post-Processing Challenge #504 - Closed - Winners Announced

Hendrik

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My wife and I enjoyed a wonderful trip up the Pacific Coast just days over a year ago. This was the scene early one quiet morning looking across the Dungeness Spit into the Salish Sea and beyond. Let’s see what you can do with this.

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The challenge will run until the morning of Tuesday, October 29, at which time I will start judging. I will be engaged in a family visit before then so, while I may not stay on top of the entries, I will check in every several hours or so. Needless to say, any entry is appreciated and deserves a Like from me – issued belatedly, perhaps, but never fear.

The ORF file may be found here
The Olympus Viewer 3-generated jpg may be found here

72-Hour Post-Processing Challenge Rules

The Challenge Master provides an image to be "improved" upon by way of post-processing, as well as a closing date for entries. The master may provide multiple images for challenges involving blending procedures common to most software packages (e.g., HDR, Panorama).
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. Please mark entries clearly by number. Please Note: Entrants are encouraged to enter their best efforts even if this means replacing versions. Please do this by editing the post containing the image you wish to change and note the replacement in a comment in the edited posting.

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.

Notes:
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.
 

Tywais

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GregRed

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#1: All adjustments done in Luminar 3. Darkened the reds on the ship hull to go better with the overall blueish tones of the background and foreground.

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#2: All adjustments done in Affinity Photo. Less saturated blues in this version; emphasis on bringing out the clouds more dramatically.

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As I did these, one right after the other, it struck me just how much different workflows and interfaces influence the ways that images turn out... while it is technically possible to reproduce the Affinity version in Luminar (and vice versa), the likelihood of me doing that on my own seems low. Working in Luminar just steers me into more colourful edits for some reason.
 

relic

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Used raw file. Edited first in DXO PL2, then in Elements. Tried to brighten the clouds and make them white-- I succeeded partially in the first, failed in the second. Kept the bird. I tried to use "rule of thirds" in my crop. I was unhappy with my original entry, so I redid it from scratch but I'm not sure that this is any better :(

_HFB2279 Copy_DxOdcLL.jpg
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BosseBe

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Second entry, B&W from NIK.
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Fred S

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Process ORF in Affinity Photo
WB, Selective Color , Contrast, Haze Removal and sharprning

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relic

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Entry #2: I used entry #1 and applied Fuji Velvia film simulation using DXO Filmpack 5.

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gwydionjhr

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Tried to soften things up a little, without sacrificing detail. Removed five things I considered distractions.
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Hendrik

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Fourteen entries later, twelve of them color, I’m struck by a certain unanimity of opinion you have all displayed. Nobody fully embraced the sweep of the scene as well as the depth cues to be had. Having less of a spread between versions eases my job a bit - I think.

The treatment I would have regarded as ideal would display the following:

Enough of the differences in haziness between the ship, lighthouse and shoal of cormorants preserved to leave a sense of the difference in distance. This might be perceived as a pastel quality.

Some sense of the overall scene as I experienced it, especially that sublime feeling of gentle light and newness I associate with the early morning.

Preservation/promotion of modeling and details, esp. on the white surfaces.

Some solution to the foreground bird that preserves the depth cue but tightens it up so it is not so disorienting (due to foreground bokeh). Could be a substitution.

I usually prefer the 4:3 ratio, probably because I started out with square (twin lens reflex), but I think this scene really lends itself to a stretched format.

On to the entries

Zeus1, first entry: an enthusiastic crop, leaving the ship, lighthouse, the shoal of cormorants and some nicely promoted cloud detail. Nice colors. There is a difference in rendering between the clouds and the forms at the middle that is hard for me to swallow. ymmv

Tywais, a simple crop with some intensified color values.

Zeus1, second entry: an even more enthusiastic crop. Intense color.

BosseBe, first entry: the water surface and terrestrial features are rather nice. I can’t buy the gradient in the sky.

GregRed #1: minimal or no crop. Intense light that emphasizes the sunlit portions well but the darkness of the sky changes the mood. The bird sets the depth well.

GregRed#2: same minimal crop, the desaturation increases my feeling of apprehension, especially the slight greenish cast to be found in the cloud tops.

relic, first entry: nice colors, the bird moved up a level. Variable halo around the ship - clarity induced?

BosseBe: second entry, BW: less obtrusive gradient in the sky, but the dark halos around the clouds give me pause. Overall, a bit dark for my taste.

Robert Davidson, first entry: darkened and intensified but works pretty well, to my eyes.

Brian Beezley: BW, nice tones on the ship, water surface. Once I noticed the sharpening halo around the cormorants, I couldn’t unsee it.

Fred S: wide view. Nice colors, good modeling in the clouds & even a few new clouds to be seen.

Robert Davidson, second entry: an even more substantial change in the weather - darker and more intense than the first.

relic, second entry: the Velvia emulation turns the sky too cyan for these eyes.

Gwydionjhr: the wide view. Generally nice, gentle colors as well as nice modeling in the clouds, but the darkness of the foreground water makes it look less peaceful than I would prefer.

OK, enough palaver. Today’s decision, no doubt due in large part to a long train ride (I started in Washington DC - currently approaching New Haven, CT) rendering me unusually crabby, is…

Honorable mentions: @relic (1), @Brian Beezley

Third: @Robert Davidson, either, both were guilty pleasures

Second: @gwydionjhr

Winner: @Tywais

so, Tywais, congratulations and take it away!
 

relic

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Fourteen entries later, twelve of them color, I’m struck by a certain unanimity of opinion you have all displayed. Nobody fully embraced the sweep of the scene as well as the depth cues to be had. Having less of a spread between versions eases my job a bit - I think.

The treatment I would have regarded as ideal would display the following:

Enough of the differences in haziness between the ship, lighthouse and shoal of cormorants preserved to leave a sense of the difference in distance. This might be perceived as a pastel quality.

Some sense of the overall scene as I experienced it, especially that sublime feeling of gentle light and newness I associate with the early morning.

Preservation/promotion of modeling and details, esp. on the white surfaces.

Some solution to the foreground bird that preserves the depth cue but tightens it up so it is not so disorienting (due to foreground bokeh). Could be a substitution.

I usually prefer the 4:3 ratio, probably because I started out with square (twin lens reflex), but I think this scene really lends itself to a stretched format.

On to the entries

Zeus1, first entry: an enthusiastic crop, leaving the ship, lighthouse, the shoal of cormorants and some nicely promoted cloud detail. Nice colors. There is a difference in rendering between the clouds and the forms at the middle that is hard for me to swallow. ymmv

Tywais, a simple crop with some intensified color values.

Zeus1, second entry: an even more enthusiastic crop. Intense color.

BosseBe, first entry: the water surface and terrestrial features are rather nice. I can’t buy the gradient in the sky.

GregRed #1: minimal or no crop. Intense light that emphasizes the sunlit portions well but the darkness of the sky changes the mood. The bird sets the depth well.

GregRed#2: same minimal crop, the desaturation increases my feeling of apprehension, especially the slight greenish cast to be found in the cloud tops.

relic, first entry: nice colors, the bird moved up a level. Variable halo around the ship - clarity induced?

BosseBe: second entry, BW: less obtrusive gradient in the sky, but the dark halos around the clouds give me pause. Overall, a bit dark for my taste.

Robert Davidson, first entry: darkened and intensified but works pretty well, to my eyes.

Brian Beezley: BW, nice tones on the ship, water surface. Once I noticed the sharpening halo around the cormorants, I couldn’t unsee it.

Fred S: wide view. Nice colors, good modeling in the clouds & even a few new clouds to be seen.

Robert Davidson, second entry: an even more substantial change in the weather - darker and more intense than the first.

relic, second entry: the Velvia emulation turns the sky too cyan for these eyes.

Gwydionjhr: the wide view. Generally nice, gentle colors as well as nice modeling in the clouds, but the darkness of the foreground water makes it look less peaceful than I would prefer.

OK, enough palaver. Today’s decision, no doubt due in large part to a long train ride (I started in Washington DC - currently approaching New Haven, CT) rendering me unusually crabby, is…

Honorable mentions: @relic (1), @Brian Beezley

Third: @Robert Davidson, either, both were guilty pleasures

Second: @gwydionjhr

Winner: @Tywais

so, Tywais, congratulations and take it away!
Thank you very much for the very detailed and helpful feedback (as well as for hosting and judging the challenge). Congratulationas to the winner and runners up.
 

Hendrik

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Wayland MA
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FWIW. Done yesterday in Lightroom Mobile, somewhere around Delaware.

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