Challenge! Digital Darkroom Derby #003 (closed - winner announced)

Start Date
Dec 27, 2021
End Date
Dec 30, 2021
End of the year extravaganza.

This is the third DDD, a digital image editing/processing challenge. The rules are here. Please read them.

The basic idea is the challenge host provides a source image and participants process it to taste and post one or two entries. The host selects the winner and that winner becomes the host for the next challenge.

The raw file: or a minimally processed JPEG for those who want to tweak those,

Pictured is my former home a couple Christmases back, in the dead of winter.

At the time of posting this it is around noon EET, or 10 AM UTC time. Let's have fun until Thursday noon UTC or 2 PM, Eastern European Time.
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Hall of Famer
Central Ohio, USA
Basic Adjustments in Lightroom CC:

Cropped at 16:9

Moved over to Topaz Sharpen AI for Sharpening and Noise Reduction (not done as part of the Lightroom phase).

Then moved it on over to Nik Analog Efex Pro 2 - Used Wet Plate 9 as a starting point.
Turned off the Photo Plate and adjusted the Bokeh and Vignette slightly

Finished product:
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In Lightroom:

French Comedy profile
White balance +yellow/tint +green
+ highlights, ++ shadows, + whites, + blacks
+ clarity, vibrance, saturation
luminance & colour noise reduction
HSL: red & orange + saturation, + luminance; aqua & blue - saturation
Colour grading panel, + midtones
Calibration, + blue saturation, - hue

On1 effects: split tone, fog and glow filters

Photoshop: vignette, crop and add border.

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Entry 2

From the RAW file, opened in Luminar 4, chose a 'look' then played with some AI filters and a LUT. (I don't use Luminar much, and this is why....I don't know what I've done to the image).

Exported to Photoshop for colour correction and blue saturation boost in the ACR calibration panel.

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In a true blind test fashion I went with the files and found out you made some good edits on my image. :)

The original file is a bit dark, close to what it was at the time of shooting at dusk. I couldn't make a good edit on it myself in 2018, it just didn't look good. I revisited the image this year to make wall art of it and the first thing I did was to push the exposure to change the mood from dark dusky winter into a brighter atmosphere.

You were also divided in which way to go about the exposure. I understand the dark ones, they are closer to reality. But then again it's not a picture that has to be gloomy so brightening it up is not a huge crime. :) The compromise with brightening is then to deal with the lights on the porch. They give the viewer evidence of waning light. @BosseBe's bold selective color edit playfully goes all in with the artificial lighting, inviting viewers to the warmth of the cabin.

Leica Q has difficult reds, I found when I shot the camera. There's some evidence it's not just me. :D No two reds the same. The Toyota tone always was difficult to any camera unless you went overly romantic with the colors. Or black & white, that also solves that.

The standout, and the winner, is lucky number 13, @betamax. Despite the added vignette and other photoreality-diminishing processing I really like the threedimensionality that was achieved with the tone processing. My personal preference for contrast over "sharp" is also present in the decision.

Another interesting, maybe a bit leftfield processing is my selected runner-up number 2 by @gryphon1911 . Similar tricks with vignette and heavily toned palette. Perhaps much what I sometimes do in darkroom myself even if I think I often go overboard. This edit offers that vibe of nostalgia. Technically I like how snow details in the middle are given enough texture. The tracks on snow, in low bottom, benefit from blurring as not to distract too much.

Congratulations to betamax and over to you. Perhaps we'll get treated to a nice warm summer-y photograph next?

Happy new year!


NSW, Australia
Wow, the competition was strong on this one! But thanks Mike! Awesome location for a home too, specially at Christmas.

I did find the red very strong. At one point I wasn't sure if there was any other colours there, but sure enough, there was some green if you check carefully. Nice moody photo.

La Niña here mean's we've had rain one day, heavy clouds the next, so I'm not sure I have any beach shots. I will post something a little warmer though!

Now up at: Digital Darkroom Derby #004 (Open!)
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