Darkroom Challenge Digital Darkroom Derby #179 -- Challenge Closed, Winners Announced


Top Veteran
North Carolina
Start Date
Feb 5, 2024
End Date
Feb 9, 2024
This is Digital Darkroom Derby #178, a digital image editing/processing challenge.
These challenges are open to everyone. If you have any interest in practicing or improving your image editing and post-processing skills, please feel free to join in!
Please read the rules here. Short version: -> Host provides the challenge image and selects the winner, who then becomes the next host.

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JPEG file: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/y10a...0111.jpg?rlkey=qx51qjq475sudadchyu8coalx&dl=0
RAW file: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/pdx5...0111.ORF?rlkey=fzfzkfbhd1t6p8drvbq3gs1lc&dl=0

Derby closes on Friday, 9th of February, 2024 at 8 AM Eastern Standard Time (13.00 UTC/GMT).
Entry #1:

That's a pretty little chickadee, I think, but the image appears to be a little bit soft. I first ran the raw file through DxO PureRAW 3 mainly for lens correction purposes, before importing the resulting DNG file into Capture One for further processing / editing. Cropped to a 4:3 portrait orientation. Added some Contrast and then maxed the Highlight recovery.

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Entry #2:

I decided to try out something which I'll use when I have lens correction, de-noising and resolution enhancement to perform on the same image. -> Imported the raw file into Topaz Photo AI, which did the default noise reduction. Then applied Sharpening to take care of Lens Blur and cropped to 4:3 portrait mode. Exported to DNG file, which I imported into Capture One for further editing / processing. Added some Contrast and maxed out the Highlight recovery.

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Thank you all. As usual, I found the judging very hard in view of the excellence of the entries even though there are clear differences in the approaches. And as always, my selections are my personal choices, and are very subjective. I have chosen the first entry of @Rambazamba73 as the winner, as I thought the crop you chose gives a nice context ; and, if I may, I would like to ask how you got the interesting background of your 2nd entry. I've chosen the B&W entries of @kae1 and @BosseBe as joint first runners-up, because B&W rendered the white feathers of the chickadee as white (to my taste, the white balance of the original photo is too warm). All the other entries are 2nd runners-up (I realize that this is a cop-out on my part, but I found each beautiful in its own right).
Over to you, @Rambazamba73.

As has become conventional practice, below is my take for what it's worth:

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Thank you very much.
As for my second image I wanted to do something completely different. So I played around in Photoscape with different overlays (OLD PHOTOS, DIRT) and a bokeh effect.