Re: Beach at Sunset: Results #case-study-results

Robert Wheeler

Mine was 419, an attempt to lighten the woman considerably while also enhancing the sunset colors and maintaining some consistency across the whole image. Compared to others, mine looks like it could benefit from some warmer tones. When I set PhotoPills to 7/17/2017 8:58 p.m. Athens, Greece, it calculates sunset as happening close to the time of the image. I suspect the camera data is true, since an iPad would usually synchronize to local time automatically (unless the setting is turned off or the unit remained in airplane mode the entire time). When I open mine and then add the PAR version at 50% opacity, I like the combination better than either one separately. Other tastes may vary.
Robert Wheeler

Re: Beach at Sunset: Results #case-study-results

Dan Margulis

About these results, maybe the less said the better, however I would say that the fiasco is partially explainable by the fact that we don’t agree on whether

1) the woman is so important that the sunset doesn’t have to be emphasized; 

2) the picture is about the sunset so it doesn’t matter how dark the woman is made;

3) an attractive woman and a spectacular sunset are both necessary elements.

Several people put statements of their philosophy in the notes they appended to their submissions. I excerpt them here.



Then my main focus is the 'young woman pictured'.

Which means to me that there is no reason why it should look like nighttime.


I found it helpful with the previous case study to think of the image as telling a story
(even if it is "See Dick Run" simple).

So the image is telling me "a young photography enthusiast is trying to capture a spectacular
sunset in a picturesque locale".


This seems to be taken around sunset in some southern part of Europe – I would guess Italy. So luminosity is somewhat low, and colour definition the same. Lots of noise, and competing greyness on the beach.
I think it would be wrong to juice up luminosity and briskness, but OTOH this could also be exactly what the person wanted. So I decided to keep it ‘dark’. ?


The goal as you outlined it is to create a nice vacation keepsake. I take that as how you remember the scene when thinking fondly of the moment. A memory to revisit. I'm still sticking with a photographic interpretation of the actual conditions but this one is more idealized than my other entries. I do want to have the whole image fit together as a piece with coherent lighting and a harmonious color palette. I feel that is important. 


In terms of objectives, clearly this is a picture of the woman in a fairly spectacular setting. We need to experience the drama of the late evening sunset and its reflection on the water, and be able to see the woman while still retaining the feeling of darkness on the beach. 


A photo of two halves.  It is about a photographer photographing a sunset. To go too light will render the photograph less impactful.  To go too dark is to focus too much on the sunset. 


Seemed like the emphasis should be on the woman and the sky/reflections in the water;  the middle ground can stay dark…I didn’t make the woman or foreground any lighter to maintain a sunset feel to the picture.  I’ll be interested to see how others in the group approached this.


Notes: Initial impression is that the main subject appears to be the woman, who is too dark to see well, and the sunset/bay scene is the secondary subject, with colors likely more spectacular than captured. There appears to be a cool color cast, and the brightest parts of the sky seem problematic...
Still not very happy with the brightest parts of the sky being this large, but avoided cloning to shrink or remove them. Will be interesting to see what others do.


Curious to see how others’ versions look… there was a lot of room for interpretation on this one. I felt that the woman would want to look tan (based on season and clothing) … and made a bit redder by the warm sunset light. 


In thinking about how to approach this, I decided the photographer and the woman in the photo would want to remember a dynamic sky with intense colors. Also that the beach where they were standing would have seemed darker to them when compared with the sky they were watching. So my goals were to bring out the colors in the sky and water while casting the beach a little further in the shadows. 

Re: Beach at Sunset: Results #case-study-results

Harvey Nagai

her: "I went to Greece for a generational family reunion and while I was there I saw
a spectacular sunset that I just had to try to capture."


ipad friend: "That was so like her."


me: "Lightening this underexposed ipad pic is like opening Pandora's Box."

= 402

Re: Beach at Sunset: Results #case-study-results

John Gillespie

My attempt is 409.
I would say that this is the first time in these challenges that I don't immediately prefer the par to my own (or some of the other entries).
It seems too light to me for the setting and not quite dramatic enough. The picture implies that this is a spectacular sunset and the angle of the light suggests the end of twilight. 
"Blazing" and "fiery" are words people use to describe sunsets like this and I don't get that impression from the par.
Of course the client may prefer the lighter foreground of the par. I am an interested amateur rather than an imaging professional so I don't have a feel for that, it would be quite interesting to know if the people who do work for clients have an instinct for what is likely to be accepted. Given that Dan has chosen the entries for the par I am guessing that the question has probably already been answered.
A slightly different way to look at it:
Is it always an error in this image to make the foreground dark?
Or is it an error to make the foreground dark if the person in the foreground is the expected audience?

Re: Beach at Sunset: Results #case-study-results

Ronny Light


Sometimes, reading EXIF data can mislead.

Where in the world would the sunset be that bright at 9pm? Could have been
in the Midnight Sun but, according to Dan, that wasn't the location.

I just re-read Dan's introductory remarks. He said this photo came from the
same family reunion to Greece. I just checked and sunset in Greece, if you
believe the EXIF data, is 7:50 in July, almost 2 hours after this image was
allegedly shot. I believe, rather, that the EXIF data is wrong. At family
reunions, it's not uncommon for attendees to travel from other time zones.

The iPad user could have been a visitor from another time zone who didn't
set the time zone for the location. I've been guilty of that mistake with my
DSLR and have to constantly guard against it when traveling outside of my
time zone.

Realistically, the girl was on the dark side of the sunset and shouldn't
have been as well lit as I and others made her. But the girl wouldn't have
been happy to be a shadow on the dark side of the sunset. Dan said the photo
"has significant sentimental value to the young woman pictured". More reason
to choose the subject's expectations over reality.

When reality doesn't mesh with subject expectations, I try to satisfy the
subject. The sunset can't object and refuse to hire you again.

5010 B Wilkerson Dr., Nashville, TN 37211

Re: Beach at Sunset: Results #case-study-results

Hector Davila

Mines is #401.

The majority of pictures I get
with people in beach backgrounds
is people who want to be able
to see...themselves,
in the picture.

So, I make the person
as bright as possible
because...the beach scene is just
a nice background shot
to take a picture in.

Like a studio background.

So, I focus on making the woman
in this picture
as bright as possible
(especially if they look very dark).

You'd be surprised, they might not
even notice the sunset or the ocean.

It's just a nice background to
take a picture of someone.

Hector Davila

Re: Beach at Sunset: Results #case-study-results

John Furnes

Mine is #405


I reckoned that since this is somewhere by the Mediterranean , there would be very little light left at 9 PM that could light up the scene, not to mention the back of the woman. The sun is already below the horizon. So I went for darkness.

I removed most of the noise in RAW, and went for PS.

I did something Dan says we shouldn’t, namely I tried to dampen the sharp lights of the background sky, i.e. cloned a bit around.

Otherwise I went for Lab and adjustments in a and b, adjusted for too much colour, brought it back to RGB, and finished with USM.

I think the PAR version makes it look like it was daytime, which it isn’t.


John Furnes



moderated Re: Case Study: Bellagio at Night


Hi all,
In case anyone else has difficulty getting the DNG for this exercise to the correct size:
I use RawTherapee which opens this at max frame (some extra pixels) @ 3900x2594.
First create a crop box @ 3888x2592 (which is full frame size).
Position the box with a 6pixel by 1pixel offset from the top left corner, and crop it.
Next scale that to 3000x2000.
If everything worked properly you should be able to overlay one of the JPGs with this and they’ll align.
HTH – Steve

Re: Beach at Sunset: Results #case-study-results

Matthew Croxton

As in the mantillas exercise, I ended up with what is probably the densest/darkest result in the bunch. Mine is 435.

Dan challenged us to consider that this photograph (from Greece) has sentimental value to the young woman pictured. Since it has emotional weight, I made a choice that the atmospheric decisive moment it represents could be interpreted with some selective focus. Implementing a Lens Blur in PS that was semi-precision guided by a modified alpha channel had the bonus effect of eliminating much of the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad grain. It is ugly and it is almost everywhere. The awful grain is also a clue. I decided early on that the scene was a very late sunset, making it darker than it appears in the original image. The reddish-orange glow in the sky is illuminating the *bottom* of the clouds in the right third of the frame. To get such a deep reddish color from that angle, the sun must be very low, or haze beyond the frame very high—perhaps both. Building lights are on; another clue. Therefore, I interpreted that the bursts of sunlight in the image are merely breaks in the cloud bank that promptly blew out given the questionably bright exposure picked by the iPad (an iPad Mini 4, FWIW). Given the available darkness implied, I wanted to complete the look by pretending that, instead of being shot by an iPad, it had been shot by what would have been the best possible optic for the situation: a large aperture wide-angle lens focused near infinity to capture the horizon. Something like a fast 28mm or 35mm at f/2. The focal length equivalent of the iPad lens used here happens to split the difference at 31mm.

Re: Beach at Sunset: Results #case-study-results

Kent Sutorius

I am 428. I am a newbie to this group. Only completed 8 chapters of Professional Photoshop and 3 chapters of the LAB book. I also only do it with Affinity Photo. I don't understand how you decide on how light the foreground should be in the photograph. I also messed up my LAB channels for the sky. I ended up creating spare channels for the sky, water, mountains, and beach with girl. I then used a combination of LAB curves, brightness/contrast. Vibrance/saturation was also used on the water. I am grateful for the number of comments people make on the challenges and the investment Dan makes with the group.

Kent Sutorius

On 2/22/2021 3:07 PM, Gerald Bakker wrote:
My version is 410.
Comparing it to the par (and to many others) reveals at least one weak point: the sky could have been more colorful. Other than that, I think I did a good job. 

I found the hard part of this image how light the foreground should be. Leave it too dark and detail gets lost. Make it too light and the combination with the colored evening sky becomes unrealistic. To be honest, I find the girl in the par version a little light, almost as if a flash light from the left had been used. Having to choose whether the sky/landscape or the girl is the primary focus of the image, I'd vote for the scenery. This is certainly not a model shot with a nice background, it's a landscape image with the girl as a foreground element.
Gerald Bakker

Re: Beach at Sunset: Results #case-study-results

James Gray

Mine is 426.  I agree with Gerald that he did a pretty good job.  I like my sky better.  I think the par version is better than either.  I found this image really difficult.  My first version was not very good except for the sky which was not my intent.  My 2nd version was far better except for the sky.  I was not expecting my version to be competitive, but I think it is in the top half.

Jim Gray

On Mon, Feb 22, 2021 at 1:07 PM Gerald Bakker <gc.bakker@...> wrote:
My version is 410.
Comparing it to the par (and to many others) reveals at least one weak point: the sky could have been more colorful. Other than that, I think I did a good job. 

I found the hard part of this image how light the foreground should be. Leave it too dark and detail gets lost. Make it too light and the combination with the colored evening sky becomes unrealistic. To be honest, I find the girl in the par version a little light, almost as if a flash light from the left had been used. Having to choose whether the sky/landscape or the girl is the primary focus of the image, I'd vote for the scenery. This is certainly not a model shot with a nice background, it's a landscape image with the girl as a foreground element.
Gerald Bakker

Re: Beach at Sunset: Results #case-study-results

Gerald Bakker

My version is 410.
Comparing it to the par (and to many others) reveals at least one weak point: the sky could have been more colorful. Other than that, I think I did a good job. 

I found the hard part of this image how light the foreground should be. Leave it too dark and detail gets lost. Make it too light and the combination with the colored evening sky becomes unrealistic. To be honest, I find the girl in the par version a little light, almost as if a flash light from the left had been used. Having to choose whether the sky/landscape or the girl is the primary focus of the image, I'd vote for the scenery. This is certainly not a model shot with a nice background, it's a landscape image with the girl as a foreground element.
Gerald Bakker

Re: Beach at Sunset: Results #case-study-results


I submitted 417. 


Compared to the par version I went for the cool ambiance after a sunset or sunrise storm has just passed and the light has a soft bluish tinge to it contrasting with the warm sky and magenta clouds. This bluish tint is natural in the atmospheric haze at the distant mountains which also enhances the illusion of depth.


I kept the skin tone on the tanned side so she stands out from the cool ambient light and she gains more importance than the sunset/sunrise. To add to this I darkened the sky at the top of the image slightly.


I made corrections through masks made from the R channel where the sky, the sea, the pebbles and she could be worked on separately.


The par version is probably 100% technically correct but I like the softer quality I managed to get in 417.


All the best!



Re: Beach at Sunset: Results #case-study-results

Frederick Yocum

Thanks Dan 

I am impressed with the range of interpretations of the image and also how difficult it is to apply selective edits without turning the photograph into two different scenes.


Frederick Yocum

Mobile: +1 717 341 2226
Skype: frederickyocum
Twitter: @frederickyocum

Color Consciousness

Kirk Thibault

I recently watched an interesting video about the two-strip and Technicolor three-strip film processes.  In the video, the narrator referred to two sources of information that I thought the group might find interesting, given the discussion a few weeks ago about how color can evoke various psychological responses.

The first source is a website, produced by Barbara Flueckiger, of the history of various color film techniques over the years and is a wealth of how color has been recorded and portrayed as technology advanced:

The second is a short written work by the wife of one of the creators of the Technicolor process, Natalie Kalmus, who oversaw the Technicolor workflow and was the color consultant on many films using it.  Here is her IMDB page:

and here is a link to a PDF of an interesting article she authored for the Journal of the Society for Motion Picture Engineers in 1935, entitled “Color Consciousness”:

From Kalmus’ wikipedia page:

"Natalie M. Kalmus (née Dunfee, also documented as Dunphy; April 7, 1882 – November 15, 1965) was the executive head of the Technicolor art department and credited as the director or "color consultant" of all Technicolor films produced from 1934 to 1949."

It is interesting to think about color when working on an image that I have not personally shot - not only does one need to think about treating and enhancing the existing image itself for the intended purpose, but it is often helpful to think about what could have been done differently at the time of pre-visualization and image acquisition that would have made for a more effective image.  It is often the difference between capturing a snapshot of a moment versus planning a scene to control for lighting, color and composition, as well as the subject and the subject’s rendering.

Here is a link to the original video that mentions some of the content to which I linked:

"How Technicolor changed movies"


Kirk Thibault

Re: Beach at Sunset: Results #case-study-results

Kenneth Harris

In attempting to make my own par, the first cut down to 10 was easy, much harder to get it down to five.
Ken Harris

moderated Case Study: Bellagio at Night

Dan Margulis

After two struggles with the lighting in late afternoon/early evening, we make the logical move on to an outright night shot. We'll tackle one of the most iconic sights in Las Vegas, the fountains of the Bellagio.
With 4,000 rooms, the Bellagio was the most luxurious property in Vegas when it opened in 1998, with its own art gallery and conservatory, and a huge casino that attracted the highest rollers in the world. Its biggest attraction, however, was an original art form about which many were skeptical at first.
In front of the Italian-inspired hotel is a huge artificial lake, with 1,200 individually controllable fountain hoses. Every half hour during the afternoon, and every 15 minutes at night, music starts playing, and the fountains perform a ballet, programmed for each piece by a staff of aquachoreographers. There's really nothing like it, and people visit it again and again. youtube has plenty of video of the performances, for example, if you'd like to hear Andrea Bocelli accompanying the fountains.
It is unfortunate that cameras don't record the sound of the spray, let alone the music, and that they don't capture motion, either. So, it will be like dealing with a photo of Niagara Falls. So much is necessarily missing that we have to take measures to compensate.
*This is one of 5,000 images taken from an MIT study. for which permission is given for educational use. The sponsors solicited contributions of images that were supposed to represent the range that a professional retoucher might receive. They then hired five intermediate retouchers to correct each. The 25,000 resulting files were made public, as were the .dng files they started with. The best of these efforts will be posted along with those of our group.
*In the study, no instructions were given as to what the client wanted. Here, we're trying to show the magnificence of the scene.
*In the Photos section, 2021 Case Study: Bellagio at Night,
I have uploaded a version opened with Camera Raw defaults, and another where the settings were much flatter. You may use either, or fetch the .dng as below. DO NOT WORK ON THE THUMBNAIL ATTACHED TO THIS MESSAGE.
* does not allow .dng format in the Photos section. If you want the .dng, you must download a zipped file from the Files section. NOTE: the zipped file contains the two default images as well, you don't need to download them separately.
*The designated size of this exercise is 3000 x 2000 pixels. If you use the .dng image be sure to open into the correct size. Do not crop, rotate, alter the sizing, apply any lens correction, or delete any tangible objects, because doing any of these things will make it impossible to use your version as part of a par assembly. We recommend that as soon as you acquire, you apply one of the default versions to it to make sure that all pixels line up.
Except as indicated in the above paragraph, you can use whatever methods you like to improve the picture.
*Please keep clear records of what you did for discussion. List members find these very valuable.
*Your final file is to be sRGB with a proper tag. If you work in a different RGB you must Edit: Convert to Profile>sRGB before submitting the file.
*When finished, save in JPEG form, quality level 9. E-mail it to me, dmargulis (at), with your brief explanation of how you produced it. DO NOT POST IMAGES TO THE LIST.
*Remember that some e-mail clients automatically downsize image attachments. Make sure you’re sending it to me at the original size.
*Entries close Monday morning, 1 March, at 06:00 Eastern/1100Z/12:00 ora italiana.
*Rather than confirm every entrant I've received, I will periodically post the initials of everyone whose file I have.
*As soon as convenient after the deadline, I'll post all the entrants in a random order. Names will not be revealed. Once discussion begins, those who wish to identify themselves publicly may do so.
*If the filename of your version contains your name or initials, they will be deleted before posting. If you want to be able to identify your version by name once posted, throw in a few extra letters at the end of the filename; I won't delete them.
*I will leave discussion of the results to the group for the first two days after posting, and will then weigh in with my own opinion.

Dan Margulis

Beach at Sunset: Results #case-study-results

Dan Margulis

I’ve posted the results of the Beach at Sunset exercise, the fourth in a series of 11 case studies. Your comments are now welcomed; I'll reserve my own for a couple of days.
Reviewing: The young woman who is the subject of this photo owns a Nikon product, but whoever shot her had only an iPad, unfortunately, and obviously the lighting is not ideal for such a device. Equally obviously, something spectacular is going on in the sky. We are supposed to assume that this is a keepsake image, of importance to the woman. 
We have 38 entries, excluding one submitted at the wrong size. Most people also sent a list of their steps, thanks very much. I haven’t read these, because I’d rather get a sense of who was successful and who wasn’t before investigating why.
The files don’t have people’s names on them, and were random-generator numbered from #401 to #438. As with past studies, we also have a “par” version, #439. To get it, I chose what I thought might be the five best entrants, and averaged them, each one weighted 20%. This often creates a version that is superior to most if not all of its parents.
Meanwhile, if you’d like to know how your own version stacked up, download the par version and compare the two directly. Do you think you got the same kind of quality? If not, I hope you’ll find further discussion useful. Your comments are now welcomed; I'll reserve my own for a couple of days.
The Folder is in the group's Photos section, Case Study 2021: Beach at Sunset
I also have zipped all 39 entries and uploaded an 88 mb file to our Files section,
Search for
If you are going to study these versions I strongly encourage you to download these files. Many of these entrants vary only in a minor way and it is hard to see the impact of a change without toggling back and forth between them.
I look forward to your comments.
Dan Margulis
P.S. Our next case study is being announced in a separate post. As you will see, we move on from these last two, which were taken in fading light, to an outright night shot.

moderated Re: Case Study: Beach at Sunset

Dan Margulis

A reminder that entries are due in this case study in less than 24 hours, at 06:00 eastern time Monday/1100Z/12:00 ora italiana

I confirm receipt of entries from the following individuals:
*indicates that a corrected version was submitted

Entries from the following were at an incorrect size/cropping and would have to be resubmitted:

Dan Margulis

Re: Can PPW 5 be installed in Photoshop 2021? How?

Cicero Rodrigues

If this question has been answered, my apologies.

This worked for me:

Download the PPWv5 extension files and unzip them.

Copy the folder content into the correct folder for your Creative Cloud version. You have to create the folder if it does not exist.
Screenshot 2021-02-19 185903.jpg
If you have Photoshop CC 2014, CC 2015, CC 2015.5, CC 2017 or above:
Mac OS: /Library/Application Support/Adobe/CEP/extensions/
Windows x64: C:/Program Files (x86)/Common Files/Adobe/CEP/extensions/
Windows x32: C:/Program Files/Common Files/Adobe/CEP/extensions/

If you have Photoshop CC:
Mac OS: /Library/Application Support/Adobe/CEPServiceManager4/extensions/
Windows x64: C:/Program Files (x86)/Common Files/Adobe/CEPServiceManager4/extensions/
Windows x32: C:/Program Files/Common Files/Adobe/CEPServiceManager4/extensions/

Restart Photoshop. You will find extension at Window > Extensions > extension_name.

Cicero Rodrigues Fotógrafo
Cel (21) 99974-4720

Em dom., 10 de jan. de 2021 às 13:51, <k_d@...> escreveu:

I have a similar question....but first an answer...Yes, it does work (PPWv5 in Ps2021) if you have PPWv5 operating OK in Ps previous version (Ps2020); then when install the newer Ps ver (Ps2021) tell it to import prev. ver. extensions and PPWv5 will work OK in new install....but be sure if on a 4K screen you don't set windows ease of access 'display' more than 100%, or panel contents will be too large and can change ease of access display + or - anytime (live, no restart, just "apply") leave at 120% for general PC use, but switch to 100% when using Ps 2021, then back to 120% when Ps work done.

But, I did not know that, and now have accidentally PPWv4 in Ps2020 and Ps2021 (in process of installing Ps2021)  PPWv5 now won't install in either Ps2020 or I have the same to install (auto or manually) PPWv5 in both Ps2020 and newest Ps2021???

Doug Schafer

461 - 480 of 33273