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Post-Processing Challenge / Win a Lens
Old 12-31-2016   #1
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Post-Processing Challenge / Win a Lens

I've often wondered how much I loose due to lack of post-processing skills, and I know RFF has many experts. So, on the last day of 2016, let me pose you this challenge: Last week, I took 3 similar landscapes, in Zion National Park / Utah, on 2 different days, with two different lenses (28/2 Ultron and 21/2.8 pre-asph Elmarit), with my M240.

Here are three Lightroom exported "raw" color TIF files:

Day 1 / 28 Ultron: https://www.dropbox.com/s/yw4x7pyqmb...23raw.tif?dl=0
Day 1 / 21 Elmarit: https://www.dropbox.com/s/sr09vhyrv1...25raw.tif?dl=0
Day 2 / 21 Elmarit: https://www.dropbox.com/s/co2ti8931i...32raw.tif?dl=0

Here are my own PP results:

If you want to participate, show us what you can do with the above raw files. Pick your favorite of the three, and post-process however you like (any manipulation goes, color or B+W, dodging and burning, distortion correction, etc), and post the result in this thread in-line, 1200 pixel wide, please. And tell us what you did and with which tool (enough to teach me ). I've been around RFF a while, and you know from my posts that I like color pictures too ....

After 1 week, on January 7, 2017, I will pick whatever result I like best. The "winner" will get one of 3 lenses, her or his choice: either a black 35/2.5 Color Skopar LTM (v2), or a 40/2 CLE Rokkor (showing 35mm frame-lines), or a relatively late chrome Nikkor 85/2 LTM; the lenses work well and have clean glass.

And even if you don't want to participate, of course feel free to comment on the pictures that we will see.

You all have a happy new year !


Last edited by ferider : 01-02-2017 at 08:03. Reason: Pulled challenge end to Jan 7

Old 12-31-2016   #2
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excellent challenge and prizes!

Old 12-31-2016   #3
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Hi Roland,
From your 3 captures I enjoy the last one the most so i would pick it to try my editing workflow. This one has the most dynamic lighting so i thought it has potentials with a few adjustment. I use SilverFX first to convert to BW then lower the contrast, increase structure and add graduated filter on both side of the photos. The river and the snow creates a good contrast against the trees. Anyway what a view that you had in Zion!


Old 12-31-2016   #4
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Well you just proved to me you don't need to be like Ben Horn & lug a LF camera around Zion to get good photographs. eventhough I love his work & video's.

That Ultron is amazing. My favorite of the 3. Good luck to the participants. This competition is way out of my skills but will be fun to watch.

Old 12-31-2016   #5
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You have to start with something like this when you shoot digital? Suddenly scanning negative film doesn't feel like that much trouble.

You'd probably get something like this shooting cheap fuji 200 film and using 1-hour minilab develop&scan (I used LR for processing):

Edit: As most participants explained in detail their thought process behind their rendition... here is mine:

- get some believable colours into the underexposed parts after correcting the exposure. I don't think there are too many trees up there now sporting the bright fresh greens of early spring that you get if you blindly lift the shadows. At the same time you need to create some color separation, this is probably the hardest challenge.
- create/keep the play between warm low winter sun and cold shadows. After setting general color temperature, use the brush to adjust parts of the scene. You want to feel the cold of the winter scene and...
- ...still squint your eyes because of all the sun hitting the scene. Don't try to get the reflections in the river in check, get them up to just below 100% so you can still control the color you want them to peak at.
- add clarity and grain to get rid of plastic digital feel
- if you are doing color version, make it attractive but keep it believable

With BW, pull out (almost) all the stops. My "Xpan" version:



Old 12-31-2016   #6
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Very generous of you Ferider.

Old 12-31-2016   #7
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I preferred the dramatic clouds of the first. The low-contrast unlit foreground was several stops underexposed, so I wrenched the file around a lot to make this lonely, wintery scene:

List of Lightroom (5.3) edits:

Slight tweak to warm up the color temperature (+5)
+2 1/3 stop exposure
2-stop virtual GND filter for the top 3rd
Dodging around where the GND filter cut into the mountains
A bit of tweaking on the highlights/shadows/vibrance
Very slight S-curve
Wrenched around the colors to my liking, especially the blues
Removed chromatic aberrations that really messed up the tree branches against the sky
Slight vignetting

By the way, you stipulated 1200px wide, but the forum software is crushing it down to 1000px, making it a bit unsharp looking. Click the photo to see the 1200px version. I would post it at 1000px instead but I wanted to follow your rules.

Old 12-31-2016   #8
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So many different ways to go, depending on taste. What is important is the fact that the exposure with your raw files allows you to do that. My attempt playing with it in LR, adjusting the sliders and giving it a bit of clarity.


Number 2, B&W
Old 12-31-2016   #9
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Number 2, B&W

The second photo seemed like the biggest challenge, but I like the sharpness and potential, so I tried. Here's what I ended up with (and I can screenshot the LR adjustments if you want them).

BTW, thanks for the chance--this is a sweet opportunity.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg untitled-3.jpg (48.8 KB, 44 views)

Last edited by expwmbat : 12-31-2016 at 10:40. Reason: trying to get photo to show in post

Old 12-31-2016   #10
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Thanks, GB.
Originally Posted by brbo View Post
You have to start with something like this when you shoot digital? Suddenly scanning negative film doesn't feel like that much trouble.
Good question (and PP). The way I've been observing others digital use over the last couple of years (i only shot film until 2014/E) is that people shoot either (1) jpg with in camera post and minimal manual post processing or (2) try to get max information in raw and do everything in post. The 240 can generate quite good jpg files with various film filters, etc. But I do (2), and tried to expose to keep max. Info in the raw files (consider the large dynamic range of the 3 scenes - which is why the foreground is underexposed).

Keep them coming all.


Old 12-31-2016   #12
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Thanks. I used to teach adult education courses on Lightroom and Photoshop so I know my way around them well (despite shooting mostly film!).

I couldn't resists doing one more, I hope you don't mind. I wanted to do a b&w edit, and this is my "Ansel" version:

This was mostly contrast edits, virtual red filter, local d&b and curve edits, and some Photoshop trickery.

Old 12-31-2016   #13
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maybe a little over processed

All in photoshop, using non-destructive smart layers
Cropped a little
Black and white conversion layer, then played with the sliders to mimic a heavy red filter
Levels adjustment 1 to bump up contrast in sky
Levels adjustment 2 to bring out highlights in everything not sky.

Old 12-31-2016   #14
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L1000323raw-1-2 by herniumhern, on Flickr

Done in Lightroom, using a lot of the Adjustment Brush tool and the curves. And of course the extreme crop to fit it to more the way I see the scene - it's the closest I can get to recomposing the shot!

Old 12-31-2016   #15
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nice challenge! Happy New Year to you and all!

I chose file #2, since it was my least favorite. I feel that if your skills in post processing are up to snuff, it shows in the ability to get a good result out of the toughest file, not the easiest.

Here's my result (in Lightroom, Photoshop is only reserved for cloning business but not tonality etc in my workflow), and alongside you can see most of the processing I did:

As you can see, I left the contrast slide alone. Its rendering mostly is way too coarse in my book.
Also, I do not convert the image to digital B&W. Instead, I keep the file a color file but set all saturations to 0%. That allows me to still wiggle each color's luminance and define 'acutance' between colors through that.

I use clarity to increase sharpness and leave the standard sharpening alone.

Further down (outside the screen shot) I also added a wee bit of lens vignetting so the image will 'beckon the viewer in' and a bit of grain and presto! your personal Ansel Adams shot! With some nice and rich curves from black to white.

I'll send you a download link off my web space for the full-sized file.

Thanks for a nice challenge, may the best (wo)man win!
And if fate will have it I get to pick a lens, I will put my own lens up to pay it forward.
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Old 12-31-2016   #16
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Image #2. After playing with BW, I decided that subtle colour would be best. The immediate problem is the patch of blue sky, so a crop to 16x10 gets rid of that. The rest is mostly basic LR tonality - black level, highlights, shadows, clarity. I pulled up the brightness with a curve and used the adjustment brush to tame some of the cloud highlights. Added a touch of warmth and saturation. That's it. I can send a screen shot if interested.

A larger version is here:


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Old 12-31-2016   #17
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The scene called for sepia and rough borders.

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Old 12-31-2016   #18
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Very nice idea for a thread.
Here is my version.
I used Silver Efex Pro 2 and adjusted brightness and contrast, color filters, film settings, and curves.



Old 12-31-2016   #19
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OK. My thoughts on these images are these

1 The post processing you commit to all depends upon your vision for the picture. Don't fall for the trick of always using black and white (for example) because that is what you always do, let the image "speak" to you. OK I realize I am setting myself up for a fall here as most will know that I often shoot in color and process the final image to another color version of that color image. But I think this image cries out for some color to accent the snow and deep shadows. So - starting point....what is your vision for the image? Mine is as described above.BTW sometimes I change as I proceed with processing as I realize the image is just not working in color or just not working in black and white and then I take it the other way. But it always starts with a vision of how i think it will work best and then this is tested against reality. It is no good having technical skills if the artistic vision is missing (and of course, visa versa).

2 In this case the RAW images are pretty dark and gloomy as you often expect when shooting in snowy conditions given how this affects camera metering. So that's also a consideration in the final image. I am betting real life scene did not look like the files provided because images seldom come out of the camera looking like they did when they went in.

3 When working on any file, it is useful to have a standard workflow and to pretty well always start with that workflow before then applying the custom edits that you think the photo requires. I will explain mine in a moment.

4) It is also useful to have a good powerful set of editing tools that you have experimented with, used for a while and pretty well understand. Having said this you will often find that it is necessary to backtrack on your edits as you try them and perhaps find they are not working as you expected. Be prepared to try different things. I do not usually use "layers" much these days, with one or two exceptions, as they are complex and a bit slow to use, at least for me. Instead I use the Nik tool set which is available free on the internet. I run the Nik suite under either Lightroom or Corel Paintshop Pro. Or if you prefer you could use Photoshop or something else as the host program. It does not really matter as most of the hard lifting is done by the Nik products. They are quite easy to learn and powerful. But the basic workflow can be done in any image editing software.

5) So here is my routine. First start with the basic workflow. You can use any image editor (Lightroom, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements etc) you favor with these edits as they are standard to them all. My starting point always is fixing camera noise. In modern sensors this is less of a problem than it used to be just a few years ago, but its still part of my process as even if there is only a bit of noise it is good to get rid of it. Then I move on to adjusting overall image brightness to lift the image if needed. This image did need it. I then adjusted tone and global contrast. In this image global contrast needed reducing as contrast was harsh as is often the case in images like this with snow etc. which results in deep shadows and bright areas. This cna be done using the "curves" tool but if you are proficient in using layers you can create a layer mask to lower contrast. That is too difficult to explain here. I will also adjust color at this time as sometime color balance is off and if nothing else, I want that right before moving on to the next stages. Finally I adjust image sharpness. If there are no further edits sharpness should come last (some argue it should anyway) But as I am not going for strict sharpness I am happy to use this tool partway through my overall process as the danger with images like this is that excessive sharpness in things like leaves and twigs can introduce harsh artifacts into the image. Often the image sharpness I put in at this stage I undo a little in the next. Its all about control and having the "foundation processing" of the image right before trying any custom adjustments in the next stage.

Having got to a point where I am happy with the basics and the image is looking OK I then save it (in case I screw up something in the next stage and need a backup) and move to the fancy stuff - the customized processing. Remember as you work on each edit - "Genius is the infinite capacity for taking pains". I am not sure who said that but in post processing its true - its all about the details and getting each bit right. (Sorry but that is how it is). If you do not like what you see, undo any edits you have just made and make another save of the file at a point where you are happy with it and then work on another version from there. You may end up with multiple versions of the same image till you are happy with one final image. I often do this.

6) The next stage is where Nik products really come into its own and will save a lot of time and effort. Basically you need to rely upon two tools in the image files we are playing with in this thread. These are Nik Color Efex and Nik Viveza. Using Color Efex first I adjusted the micro contrast using the Tonal Contrast tool. This tool is fantastic and can add a lot of detail back into an image that is otherwise lost. Be careful not to overdo it though as it produces ugly artifacts if applied too strongly. Then I used the Darken / Lighten Centre tool to brighten the foreground area of the image. I used this tool as I have learned that its an easy way to selectively apply either lightening or darkening effects to any images rather than doing it globally. (I used the slider on the tool to prevent the darken effect from darkening other areas though as in this case I was only after a lightening effect on the foreground). There is not much that can be done with the blown highlights in the sky except to keep the edges soft to prevent ugly transitions and to keep them looking like clouds and sky. This can be done with the Nik Selective tool to make sure that this area stays unworked on when applying other edits. I am happy with how the sky looks given that there are blown highlights present - normally they do not look anywhere near so natural. I then lifted the color saturation in the green foliage areas and the red earth / rock areas using Viveza to give it some punch. For me, the two color aspects in the image that work best are foliage along the river and the red in the hills beyond as in real life it is these that might stand out on a cold day when the sun pokes thought the clouds - which is what I was going for in this case as that is exactly what the sun seems to be doing. I also like the tone and detail in the trees in the foreground which appear very naturalistic to me. This kind of image detail adds to the overall effect. I worked hard to make sure that both the brightness and the tonality of this region was "right" to get this outcome as in real life the foreground is the area where you would naturally expect the greater detail to be discernable. If you look carefully you will see that this gives a kind of three dimensional quality to the image even though its not obviously much sharper than the rest of the image.

By the way it helps when processing images like this, to try to get some variation in brightness, tonality and contrast across the image (i.e. to different parts of the image) as that is how it would look in real life. If global edits are applied only there is a risk that the entire image ends up with much the same tone and contrast which gives a somewhat "flat" result. Using the tools I describe (Nik products) it is easy to apply edits selectively to different parts of the image by using the Nik "selective tool" which is in each filter set. In this image the sun appears to be poking through the clouds so my message about variation in brightness, tonality, contrast is especially relevant for a realistic effect in the final image.

7 That's about it. My final touch was to pull the color vivacity back a tad using the Color Efex Brilliance/Warmth filter to make sure the color that I introduced in the last steps was not overdone - this kind of "fiddling" with the image is often needed and must be expected. Oh and I also gave the warmth slider in the above tool a tweak towards blue side as a slightly blue hue always predominates in conditions like those in which the image was taken (too much warmth would look artificial in a snowy scene.) Does this final result look like the scene? I do not know I was not there, but it looks picturesque enough to look as if it could be real and that can sometimes be what matters. (Unless of course you are going for a different outcome as I often do but in images like this I think that this kind of result works).

8 By the way, the above results in an image which when you are done processing in color, could then form the basis for a pretty darn good black and white version of the same image if you want to carry the editing on to that stage - but that's another story. It may seem a lot of work but again - "infinite capacity for taking pains........." etc.

That's it - complicated perhaps but it took me much less time to actually do than it took to explain. I hope this helps. Let me say thank you for your generosity in offering a prize and win lose or draw, I appreciate it. One final thought. Everyone including myself has their favorite methods and tools. I like the Nik ones and Corel Paintshop Pro but there is no reason why much the same edits that I applied could not be applied using other editing tools. It is just I find this mix most efficient for me.

Competition File by Life in Shadows, on Flickr

Old 12-31-2016   #20
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Thanks, Peter. Since I did have b+w and red filter in mind when shooting, I'm surprised at your nice color result.

Also - again - the foreground is dark to avoid high lights blowing out. When jpg is the target, the 240 has about 6 stops dynamic range in the shadows that can be used to pull in post.

Typically I bracket 3 shots and select the best for post in conditions like this (snow, etc).

Btw, I am a Corel PSP fan, but don't use any other tools (other than LR for import) - yet.


Old 12-31-2016   #21
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Originally Posted by ferider View Post
Thanks, Peter. Since I did have b+w and red filter in mind when shooting, I'm surprised at your nice color result.

Also - again - the foreground is dark to avoid high lights blowing out. When jpg is the target, the 240 has about 6 stops dynamic range in the shadows that can be used to pull in post.

Typically I bracket 3 shots and select the best for post in conditions like this (snow, etc).

Btw, I am a Corel PSP fan, but don't use any other tools (other than LR for import) - yet.

Thanks Roland. I find PSP does everything I need with the addition of the Nik plug ins which provide a lot of power. Much of it could be done in PSP natively but some of it would be harder and take longer - especially the selective editing which I think is very important to many images. Only problem is that the latest 64 bit versions of PSP (they change regularly) do not support the final version of Nik. But I have the older version of Nik to run under my older version of PSP and this still works OK for me.

I habitually shoot a third of a stop under what is metered to minimize blown highlights but in some situations it just can't cope even then. Perhaps I should take three different exposures and merge them. Its something I keep forgetting to do (old habits and all that).

As to the foreground I kept that area a little darker as it appeared to be naturally so given the cloud / sun position. As I said I think that having different areas of an image with different levels of brightness, contrast and tonality can work as the world on a sunlit day is like that naturally. So the image can look more natural too. I lightened the foreground image from that in the RAW file, but kept it a tiny bit darker than the central and background region in the final image as noted above. I also tried a version with stronger foliage and earth colors but it looked too overcooked no matter how I experimented. I guess because colors tend to be muted on a snowy winters day even when the sun is out. One thing you can do with the Nik products though is to selectively apply stronger colors to part of the image then using a global filter pull the overall color in the image back a bit. This still leaves the selected areas a bit more colorful than the other areas though when done this way. That provides a nice accent as with the foliage colors and earth colors in this image.

If you have questions on specifics please let me know I am only too pleased to share info.

Old 01-01-2017   #22
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My interpretation tries to bring out the drama and depth in the landscape, particularly the light shining on that central peak and the way the river leads towards it. The dark right foreground is the theatre curtain that provides depth, as does the light illuminating the snowy river bank and river in the left hand corner.

What we have is alternating layers of shadow and light leading into the picture, creating layers of depth: dark right foreground and mountain, sunny lower left snowy river bank and tree and the river itself, dark middle distance in the valley and up the left hand mountain side, sunlit distant slopes and mountain top contrasting against the darker sky behind. The far background has lower contrast which is an atmospheric diffaction artefact of distance.

In fact I see this entire scene as a dramatic theatre of nature. I’ve tried to give that theatre the depth and drama I think it deserves while preserving a natural (believable) looking picture.

Edit: all done in LR4 only

Temp 0
Tint -60 (very green) to give better bw tone rendition when saturation=0

Exposure -1.50 to bring highlights within histogram
Contrast -17
Highlights -5
Shadows -17
Whites 0
Blacks +34

Presence +15 to increase edge contrasts/visual ‘bite’
Saturation -100 then using Temp and Tint to adjust tones

Tone Curve
Highlights +40
Lights +25
Darks +68
Shadows +22
Point Curve=linear

sharpening amt=40 Radius=0.8 Detail=35 Masking=0

Four local brush adjustments:
1 sky: Exposure -0.24 Contrast -100, to bring out texture in the clouds and avoid blowing highlights
2 entire foreground/middle ground excluding middle distance mountains
Exposure +0.89 Contrast -43, to get brightness levels near perceptual normal for the light conditions
3. Sweep of river enclosing left hand foreground corner of picture
Exposure +1.12 Contrast +27 Hightlights -50, I saw the snowy river bank and tree on left hand side as important visual elements and wanted to emphasise them, and accentuate the light which is falling on them, which also gives greater depth cues in the picture, as the eye goes from foreground to the feature of the central mountain peak
4. Mountain range in central middle distance including high peak on left
Exposure +1.34 Contrast +100 Hightlights +53 Shadows -43, to me this is the visual focus and given that it’s under a bright hole in the clouds, it needs to be shown as bathed in light (which also illuminates the snowy river bank and water in the left foreground).
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Old 01-01-2017   #23
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So, here goes...

Global settings:

Exposure +1.35
Contrast +42
Highlights -71
Shadows +33
Whites +25
Blacks 0

Clarity +20

Added a little Sepia to the shadows

Sharpening +60

Post crop vignetting -11

Grain +30

Now here it getting a bit complicated

Graduated from top:

Exposure -1.28
Contrast 0
Highlights -26
Shadows 0

Clarity -15

Graduated from bottom left corner:

Exposure -0.46
Contrast 0
Highlights +97
Shadows +48

Clarity 0

Graduated from bottom right corner:

Exposure +2.04
Contrast 0
Highlights -42
Shadows -55

Clarity 0

(Flickr doesn't do 1200 wide!)



Old 01-01-2017   #24
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The exposure for these is excellent. There are no dynamic range issues whatsoever.

Their optimal exposure means file rendering is not limited by signal-to-noise ratio. So the number of aesthetically pleasing renditions is unlimited. These are very nice files.

I was surprised by the purple fringing I saw on the bare tree branches (closest tree on the right) in the first file. I removed these by selectively desaturating the purple hue in LR CC. Lens corrections (defringing slider) worked too. But I preferred the results from selective hue desaturation. This is a nit pick though as I doubt the fringing artifacts would survive in a reasonably sized print.
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Old 01-01-2017   #25
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I consider(ed) myself very good at postprocessing effects.
But you folks here are light years beyond anything I can do.
Super stuff !
Gonna sell my computer

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Old 01-01-2017   #26
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by Scapevision, on Flickr

Chose to go with colour and the 28 summicron. I liked the drama in the sky and feel like the composition wasn't particularly bad, a great use of the rule of thirds and leading lines. Most importantly, the sky is interesting. So here goes.

1. Put it into Lightroom and use the "Remove Chromatic Aberration" under Lens Corrections. This is to remove any unwanted fringing for when we later boost certain colours. Zoom into the image here.

2. Improve the exposure (develop it for a good print like in the olden days).
I always approach any post processing as a 'fixing' matter. Whatever your camera failed at I can fix. So, in "Basic" adjustment panel I add a bit of yellow and magenta tint (+7, +10), "Exposure" (+0.23), "Contrast" (+7), "Shadows" (+84, seems like your sensor can handle it), remove some "Vibrance" (-18, to make the colour more uniform and slightly desaturated look), add some "Clarity" (+64, again sensor is good).

3. Let's do some sky glorification here. Go to "HSL" panel and use the "eyedropper tool" (looks like a circle with a dot inside) on the "Luminance" tab I click and drag down on the blue portion of the sky to bring it down in luminance. Then do the opposite on the bright portion of the tree to make orange/yellow/red brighter. (My settings were: Blue -63, Orange and Red +100, Yellow +56) Go to "Hue" tab and adjust Blue to the green side a bit (-4). Personal preference here. Go to "Saturation" and add some to Red (+49) to make the cliff face stand out.

4. Take the resulting image to Nik Software Viveza (the best colour adjustment software available free, as it handles colour separately from luminance, much like the LAB mode) and add some "Saturation", don't go crazy here. Add some "Structure" (which is a finer "Clarity" tool). Don't go crazy here as the image is already pushed to the limits of visible artifacts.

5. Back in Lightroom. Use the "Adjustment Brush" to add a bit more "Exposure" to the foreground. Paint it in (+0.75) on the mountains, river and trees, unaffecting sky. Do a bit of desaturation on the sky (-19) and dial down the clarity of sky (-25) using a new brush, covering only the sky portion and a bit of the top of the mountains.

6. Sharpen if needed.

This particular example may be a bit overdone as I did it right after turning my monitor on, so it wasn't exactly representing true calibrated tones and colours, but you get the idea. I believe, this is how modern National Geographic etc images are done

Excuse the softer Flickr resize (I made the photo private, so you probably won't see it on my Flickr, only inline here).

No. 1, A Lot of Dodging and Burning
Old 01-01-2017   #27
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No. 1, A Lot of Dodging and Burning

Good Challenge.

My focus:
- Dramatic sky
- The peak center left should pop
- Snow should be vivid; the stream should sparkle
- The horizontal rock band (from left to center) has some color. Should show.
- Want to see some detail in foreground trees lower right
- Crop a bit from lower right, but maintain your 28mm point of view. (Cropping into the central peak would be no-fair for this.)

Here's my result. Done with a lot of dodging and burning (Brush adjustments in Lightroom, varying exposure, highlights, shadows, and contrast). Added Clarity at +30 throughout the image.

Probably better done in Photoshop where one has better facilities to create precise masks.

Col. Sebastian Moran, ret. (not really)

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Old 01-01-2017   #28
plays with lenses
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amazing competition, thank you very much ferider!

image No.1, tried to get colors and dynamic range right.

competition red.
by kuuan's lens tests, on Flickr

played with all 3, imported them into PS and clicked on an "action" that I set up and which does: auto level, auto curves, auto tones, auto contrast and auto colors. I do that often to see what it does and if it does any good. in these cases the images got brighter with warmer colors, a bit too red and I wanted more green, but I did not revert any step and left it there to be my new starting point.
for the photo seen above:
opened in Color FX pro, add filter "pro contrast" > color correction to +90, add filter "tonal contrast" highlights 25%, midtones 50%, shadows 25%, and saved as jpeg.
in PS tweaked "Hue & Saturation" and "Color Balance" but sorry, don't have the detailed settings.
re-imported into LR, selected sky / clouds with adjustment brush, color ballance to blue ( -24 ), added contrast ( + 21 ) and clarity ( + 18 )
( I was playing around, possibly did not recorded all steps )
my photos on flickr: : https://www.flickr.com/photos/kuuan/collections

Old 01-02-2017   #29
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So many great and early submissions - more than I expected, thank you all so far.

I changed my mind on the duration of the project: I will look at all results this Saturday, 1/7, so if you want to participate, do so this week, please.


Old 01-02-2017   #30
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Heres my attempt at a color edit as i rarely shoot color and wanted a challenge, heres the shot:

First thing I did was take it into lightroom and apply the adjustment brush to the sky, for this adjustment i took the exposure down by -0.27, the temperature -2 and then boosted the shadows all the way and took down the whites by -26

After this I then worked onto the left hand side onto the snow and boosted it to the point where it was near blowing out but still retained some detail, looking back in the left hand corner its uneven which i didn't notice in lightroom

Then I went in on the left hand side in the red rocks and boosted the contrast and took down from the whites which i thought in this part of the scene distracted from the red of the rocks by adding a tone brighter than the red.

The hardest part was making the right hand part look right as it was shadowed and had almost no contrast and was too cold however, when i tried changing the temperature it just looked 'wrong' i dont know why. Eventually I decided to make it colder for dramatic effect as doing what seemed 'correct' didn't work, I boosted the whites in the snow and boosted the contrast +27

After this i exported to Photoshop where i did levels adjustments and lens corrections.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg rff competition edit colour.jpg (46.5 KB, 242 views)
Should probably spend less time talking more time shooting but unfortunately I dont have to leave my desk to talk

Old 01-02-2017   #31
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I chose #2 as I really like the composition.
I am a long time Linux user and used GIMP for this.
Basically this is a Gorman-Holbert method for GIMP taken from a PS tutorial.
I found this several years back and modify as I go.
Selective burning and dodging after.

1. Start with color image
2. Go to Colors>Components>Decompose and select "LAB" as the color model, making sure "decompose as layers" is checked.
3. Go to Image>Mode and set image back to RGB
4. Open up the layers dialog. Delete the A and B layers.
5. Duplicate the background layer
6. Pick some interesting color (like sepia) as your foreground color
7. Back to layers dialog. Create a new layer, filled with foreground color.
8. Set layer mode to multiply.
9. Right-click top (solid color) layer and select "merge down"
10. Set blend mode of new, colorized layer to "overlay"
11. Duplicate bottom (background) layer again, ensuring that it is between the bottom and colored layers.
12. Set blend mode of non-colored background copy to "multiply"
13. Change opacity of colored layer to achieve desired toning (20%?)

Old 01-02-2017   #32
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Alright, gave it a shot. Chose #2 as black and white.

Combination of PhotoShop and Siver Efex Pro II. I felt like you weren't getting enough out of the sky, so I isolated it from the foreground and worked on them separately. The file seemed a bit dark to me, so I really had to bring up the light levels in the foreground and shadows. Then I brought two separate images into Silver Efex - one for the sky and one for the ground. I added grain to the sky as it looked like it needed some texture to enhance the drama. For the 'ground' image, I tried to balance out the shadows and highlights a bit better. Finally, I brought both saved images from Silver Efex back into PhotoShop, copied the sky from the one and pasted it in the other. I also dodged the edge of the sky along the mountains on the left - I liked the idea of a bright highlight of sky going right along the edge of the mountain there - almost like snow blowing off the crests of those mountaintops (or perhaps some kind of energy coming up from behind them?).

Here's #3 as a colour image:

PhotoShop and Color Efex -- challenge with this shot was the fact that you were almost shooting into the light, so there was haze on the left side. I chose to leave it hazy. Here again, I found the shadow areas to be dark, so they needed to be balanced with the brighter areas.

Old 01-02-2017   #33
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Originally Posted by kuuan View Post
amazing competition, thank you very much ferider!

image No.1, tried to get colors and dynamic range right. ...snip...
Kauan, you got to about the same place I did for the land, but sky is different.

Lots of different ways to visualize and render this image.

Brings back memories... I really did enjoy darkroom work, way back then.
Col. Sebastian Moran, ret. (not really)

In Classifieds Now: Olympus PEN EE with original leather case
More photos, descriptions of for sale items on this Flickr album
Use this link to leave feedback for me.

Named "Best heavy-game shooter in the Eastern Empire." Clubs: Anglo-Indian, Tankerville, and Bagatelle Card Club.
Sony E/FE, Nikon dSLR, and iPhone digital. Misc film.
Birds, portraits, events, family. Mindfulness, reflection, creativity, and stance.

Old 01-02-2017   #34
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There is some excellent work posted here. Not that I have a say in this, but I cannot decide which one I like the most! An abundance of riches.

p.s. this shows how good the initial files are.

Old 01-02-2017   #35
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Here's what I came up with, from your 1st photo, using a quick run with my more-or-less standard workflow:

I wanted to bring out some of the colours, especially in the sky, the stream and some of the rock formations. I started out by using Bridge to process it through ACR so I could make some ACRish adjustments, most especially using a graduated filter to lower the exposure of the sky (not shown) then making a corresponding increase to global exposure and winding the clarity and vibrance sliders to bring out some colour, like so:

I then used some standard canned actions I've acquired or built to mask off the highlight regions then adjust levels, contrast and saturation in the shadow regions and to set overall contrast using an action I built by trial-and-error (based on an old magazine article) to apply contrast adjustments using a layer mask (I then alter the effect via the opacity slider):

(I did do some hand-drawn quick masking of the stream.)

I tried to then look at a black and white interpretation by further adjustment to what I'd built for colour, using further hand-drawn masking:

..but decided that didn't work so well. I'd really have to go back to the start, I think, for black and white - so instead I gave up at this point. The result before I abandoned things can be seen here:


..if anyone's interested.

I'll support what others have said that the exposure used made the file quite easy to work with and would easily allow for many interpretations. I wasn't there, of course, so I could only approach things as a fond imagining of what it might have looked like while you were there.
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness." Dave Barry

My flickr photostream has day-to-day stuff and I've given up most everywhere else through lack of time or perhaps interest.

Old 01-03-2017   #36
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rff_ by gregraphic, on Flickr
Photoshop, Silver Efex, along with selective dodging and burning.

Old 01-03-2017   #37
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Here's what I was able to do with one of the images in ACR. My usual technique is to enhance what was already in the scene. I started by boosting the exposure and restraining the highlights on the whole image. Then I worked through the various areas, near the water, pulling in more blacks, giving more contrast in order to let the highlights seem more dramatic. In the bare trees I upped the shadows and pulled back the blacks a little selectively to give the small branches more body. Manipulating the blacks this way didn't affect the background sky. The evergreens needed a boost in the highlights to give them more roundness. The reflection in the water, I pulled up a bit to blow the highlights. I find it pleasing to not blow the highlights most of the time, as in the snow, but in select areas if you do, that pure white really comes across as a bright focal point.

In the background, I added contrast to the rocks, then came along later and added selective highlights to the sun-facing portions and also to the ridge of red rock that comes into the foreground. I think that made it appear a little more painterly and give it some definition. I tried to restrain the flare in the center a little, since it comes across as a very warm globe, and didn't feel very natural. I messed up trying to pull back on the smaller purple flare in the background, but that would be a job better done in Photoshop. Another mistake was trying to manage the haze in the top left corner. I put a little too much green into the tree line, which seems a bit unnatural as it moves toward the background due to the bluing of the rest of the objects. Likewise, the haze needs to be brought down a bit in the top left, as it seems a bit unnatural now that the haze in the background is reduced. The top left quadrant seems to be the weakest area of my processing, but I've spent too much time on it already.

One thing I resisted is adding too much saturation. There's a temptation with this sort of scene which makes it look like a calendar image or as if it were shot on Velvia. I like to keep things more natural.

One final bit of technique, since I used half a dozen manipulation brushes in ACR, I noticed a significant slow down when making changes. The mouse cursor would move rigidly and I would have to wait for the preview to be generated. I saved the image out to a new lossless TIFF file from ACR and continued making changes to the new file. I suppose you could do this any number of times and not lose quality. It certainly made the whole process move more smoothly.

Old 01-03-2017   #38
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Originally Posted by mich rassena View Post

Nice job on this one - so far this one is my favourite.

Old 01-03-2017   #39
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I've just downloaded them on the wrong computer haha, I'll redownload on the right one and have a play

Old 01-03-2017   #40
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I collected all results posted so far in a Smugmug gallery (file names = RFF user name). Please have a look and let me know if I'm missing a post, or want to change yours. I will continue updating the Smugmug gallery until end of week.



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