Re: Monument Valley: Results

Thomas Hurd,MD

My entry was 827, and it was my personal favorite for eight hours. From midnight until 8 AM when I saw everyone else’s color.
I still learned a lot about scratching out contrast, especially in the absence of sharpening.
And although it appears very desaturated, if I place any of the more colorful versions and either blend them in color mode, or mine on theirs in luminosity it gets to be a pretty good image.
I had these objectives:
1. Bring out variation in the color of the butte face, so that the relative blueness of it was apparent.
2. Create contrast with the foreground and the sky.
3. Tone down the color in the foreground.
I tried to make the butte stand out more by making it overall darker than the sky and foreground. I blended the A channel onto the L channel in overlay mode. I got the result I wanted at the time, but I think I missed a chance for better contrast by not darkening the sky more.
I tried to tone down the greenery in front as well.
In the end, my submission needed better and more saturated color with the contrast.
A recurrent challenge I have is zeroing in on the appropriate color of the image. I knew the soil and rocks were reddish orange, but how far to take them down from there?
I enjoyed many of the entries: 
830 is a good blend of color, contrast and drama.  
828 and 829 are both enjoyable but are almost inverses if each other with 29’s contrast using a dark faced butte and 28 a lighter face. If you overlay either on the other at 50% the result seems identical.
824, 825 and 826 also excellent PPW versions
821 stands out with the spotlight effect on the butte.
817 and 818 are both good, but I like the sky in 817 better.
810, 811, and 812 are similar good colors with seemingly increasing saturation. But I think in 811 the yellow flowers drive the butte face more blue in my mind.
Like Gerald, I admired 811. I’d like to know the technique for bringing out that yellow. 
802-809 all seem to vary by taste without any glaring problem.
Both par versions are excellent to me and I favor the conservative version.
Thanks to all for sharing their images and their technique.

Tom Hurd

On Jul 7, 2020, at 2:18 PM, James Gray <James@...> wrote:

I am not so much afraid of telling which is mine.  I was wondering if anyone would praise it or pan it before I revealed which is mine.  It is interesting that those commenting have mentioned many they liked and some they disliked, but not mine.  My result was heavily influenced by my own photographs in Monument Valley as well as many other photos from Monument Valley taken by friends who were mostly shooting closer to sunrise or sunset.  I do tend to agree with Gerald that colorfulness, luminance contrast, and color variation may largely be a matter of taste.  However, I find the original too flat.  This may give it away, but I think color and luminance contrast would be the key to a good score in the competitions I enter often.

James Gray 

On Mon, Jul 6, 2020 at 2:02 PM Gerald Bakker <gc.bakker@...> wrote:
This exercise is similar to the Cinque Terre image as it may again evoke discussions about "how colorful (or how contrasty) should it be".  I myself find the par version too much of both, but this is likely a matter of taste.

I found one of the crucial aspects of the successful versions a good color distinction between the foreground soil (orange) and the background rocks (red). Versions 811, 823 and 829 have this.
Another thing to consider is what to do with the harsh sun/shadow contrast. Should we keep/emphasize it or soften it to bring some detail back in the dark shadows? I prefer the latter, but after all there are not many shadow areas in the image, so the choice could be to keep them very dark and gain a bit of overall contrast.

Like James, I like my own version, but I am not afraid to tell which one it is: 810.
Gerald Bakker

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