Re: A Toast to Greece: Results

Thomas Hurd,MD

I took each image and loaded it as a stack. I compared each in normal, color and luminosity mode to the par image at the bottom.

I found the par image to still have too much blue cast, and perhaps that is why I found many more entries to improve or be equal to par in color blend mode. Just a few improved, or did not worsen, the par image in luminosity blend mode.

Color mode equal or better:
901 (at 50% opacity)
907 improved less yellow on the right
908 slightly cooler/bluer
915 (mine, I will say more)
930* very slightly bluer 

Luminosity mode equal or better
902 slightly darkens but a good blend
916* right side a little darkish

My color correction was hampered by the fact there were mixed casts. I couldn’t find any good channel masks to help, so after I neutralized my highlight and shadow, I had to use gradient masks to get essentially four different pieces to the neutral not bad color puzzle. I went around once to fix the table cloth and a second time with the faces, decreasing blue to get enough yellow to be at least equal to magenta. It sounds like John Lund and Gerald Bakker used gradients in a somewhat similar fashion.

I did some work on the noise, but as I scrolled through all the entries, the noise didn’t affect my appreciation of the image one way or the other.

Somewhere in my workflow I did blend the green channel into the red with a layer luminosity blend, but it doesn’t look like it as I look at my downloaded image. Repeating that step makes my entry better looking I think. I tried the same technique on 927 and 930 with better results I think.

Overall my favorites were 930, 925 and 907. I liked my own 915 best for the hues but I was missing some contrast and weight balance.

To John’s diversity comment, its interesting that 6 images were mentioned favorably, but only once so far, and 6 were mentioned multiple times. 

Tom Hurd

On Jul 14, 2020, at 5:49 PM, jwlimages via <jwlimages@...> wrote:

Again, I found the range of efforts interesting and surprisingly large - a reflection of the diversity in this group?


I thought this image was in some ways pretty straightforward. It's underexposed of course, probably due to the photographer shooting directly into the two spotlights at rear. I was surprised to see that while pretty much everyone brightened the overall scene, some people enhanced the "candlelight" effect, leaving the people in the shot relatively dark. A couple folks went to work on the spotlights themselves, darkening them to the point of minimizing them, and one person completely retouched them out.


The relatively cool light of the on-camera flash dominates the left half/foreground, while the folks at the rear table are painted with the orange-yellow of incandescent lights. It looks like there were several different kinds of responses here as well, from cooling or warming color overall to desaturating, to "re-lighting" with a spotlight effect.


Anyway, for my entry (#930): I started with the premise that the most important task is a pleasing rendition of the people. I re-processed the jPeg through Lightroom, increasing exposure & contrast, lifting shadows plus adding some Vibrance. Then I used graduated filters to darken the left half of the shot while adding exposure & decreasing color temp from the right third of the image. The resulting was surprisingly good - I almost submitted it. But hey, this is an ACT exercise, right? and I want to learn to use PPW tools better, so I continued with the Lightroom re-processed file. It needed some noise reduction to start with, then after global "brightening" & contrast boost, complimentary color corrections to the two halves of the shot. I then used MMM+CB (greatly dialed-back intensity), a narrow strip of H-K layer (again lowered opacity) for local contrast in the people, and with a couple final tweaks got to pretty clean color & pleasing contrast (I think).


A couple compositional elements still bugged me - the leafy canopy of the tree seemed way too prominent lit up by the flash, and distracted from the people. So I darkened & desaturated it. The floor also seemed too bright, and the terra cotta-looking bowl in a prominent intersection just jumped out at me, so I retouched it out (what is that, anyway?). I see three other people also got rid of it.


One thing I'm not so happy with now - the greenery behind the people on the left side is too bright & saturated, I should have addressed that.


John Lund

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