We Have A Loser!

Prompts and Challenges

GGB- OriginalThis image is my losing submission to Stacy’s After-Before Friday Anniversary Challenge for next week! I chose it because it was exposed for the sunlight highlights and looked as if it would be quite the test of our processing skills to pull something out of it. Last night, after a late dinner, abundant overeating on my part, and unable to go directly to bed, I opened up Lightroom. And, of course, there was this image! Haunting me, as it were. Two hours and 16 minutes later I came up with:

GGBBecause it had been so poorly exposed, my usual work flow (adjusting shadows, highlights, whites and blacks) brought in a lot of noise. I straightened the photo, deleted the bird and paraglider, the building, and light poles across the bottom of the photo. I then brought it into Perfect Effects 8 for Dynamic Contrast to cut through the fog. I believe I also used an HDR preset (P. E. 8 does not save any corrections), and a sunlight preset. Back in Lightroom I added a vignette and a split tone of yellow and blue to bring out some color in the image. I’m not 100% pleased with the finished product but I think it’s due to the noise- which prevents me from getting a really sharp image. I am happy with Lightroom and Perfect Effects 8, though. Almost ecstatic!

GGB- OriginalGGB







I want to thank Stacy Fischer for hosting Visual Venturing. Be sure to visit her site next Friday, November 14 for 11 versions of the same photo processed by 11 different contributors! And thanks to Karen Chengelis for appreciating my sense of humor (at least I think she appreciates it). Also, congratulations to her for submitting the winning image! (Beaten out by a mere woman. I’ll never live this down!)

And if you enjoy black and white photography, please visit Monochromia.

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31 thoughts on “We Have A Loser!

    1. OK, but was there NO value in the processed shot? I’m not asking just you, Tim. You seem to be in the majority! Two and a half hours of my life, down the drain 😦 But now I’m starting to like the original better, too! Thanks! I might see what I can do with it and still keep the SOOC feeling! 🙂 I enjoy hearing pros and cons! Did Ansel Adams start out like this? Maybe he should have. He might have made something out of his hobby! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I like the processed shot, but in the context, and comparing it to the original, I prefer the original.

        The reason I like the original is it is very classic. There is mystery in the barely visible details through the fog, and the bird, glider and foreground add movement, depth to the perspective and interest to the composition.

        With the bird, glider and foreground removed, the image looks flattened, and by removing the fog to reveal the background, the mystery is gone. Also gone are portions of the vertical wires on the bridge which seem like they should be solid in the light you have created. While revealing the mysteries in the background add a new interest and dimension to the photo, I find the faded wires are distracting.

        That said, it’s not at all bad because the processed image becomes more like an illustration than a photograph — for some reason, when photographers make photos look like drawings and paintings, and artists make drawings and paintings look like photographs, viewers can’t resist the deceptions, and are often attracted to the images because of the opposition to the expected realities of photographs, drawing and paintings — therefore, standing on it’s own, without comparison to the original, the processed image has it’s own interest, but I believe it needs to be considered independently of the original.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Wow, I am so glad I asked. I am learning a lot from this one comment and really appreciate you taking the time to reply so, well, eloquently! I think my ego got in the way this time and I just had to show what I could do with this image. I do like what I was able to do but I agree with your assessment. I played around with it again based on your comments and I still took out the glider because it was so white that it became dominant to my eye. I also removed the building but kept the lights and bird in the foreground and didn’t try to cut through the fog. Thanks again for your comment! I’m not sure I will post the re-edited version but I just wanted you to know that I did try it!


          1. I know you are doing challenges, but generally if I make major changes to an image, I like the results, and post it, I never post the original. That way the image stands on it’s own. Experienced photographers/photoshoppers can generally tell post-processing as taken place, but as long as they don’t see the original image, they have to deal with the image for whatever I did to it.

            I think my attitude comes from all the years of doing film and printing. What I did in the darkroom stayed in the darkroom until I got the result I wanted to show to people. Then my audience could say what they thought. After that I might choose to go back to the darkroom and dink around some more.


            1. Thanks, Tim. I have been thinking about stopping with these particular challenges as, no matter what I do, there are always some people who prefer the original better. It should be my total and completed creation, not intermediate steps. Everyone seems to have an opinion!


              1. Everyone has their opinions and plus some. I sometimes make major changes to an image, then decide I like the original better. Many times it’s my own challenge to see if I can make a marginal image into something cool with major post-processing. Or take a mishap, flash didn’t fire or forgot to change the ISO, and see if I can salvage the image. If you look up “Portrait of a Young Woman” on my blog, the flash didn’t fire, but the model had good expressions in each photo, so I was able to create a couple of interesting portraits out of almost completely black images (thank God for full-frame sensors!).

                Liked by 1 person

    1. But I am an artist. I see what others do not! Oh, who am I kidding? I see what others see. At least, when they explain it to me. Maybe that’s why I enjoy these before and after forums. The feedback! Thanks, Janet.


  1. It is interesting to see how many like the SOOC shot better. I actually like both the before and after. I like the before because it has a soothing atmosphere about it. I like the second because of the dramatic aura it evokes. Your before and after shots and narrative show just how much a skilled post process can alter an image. Nice job. I will be heading over to check out Visual Venturing.
    Have a fantastic weekend!


    1. I’m beginning to think “art” is a collaborative effort in my case. I’m too easily swayed by what others think. Or maybe I’m just too eager to please. Either way, I enjoy these critiques. They help me to see the value in an image that is less processed. I now feel I am not done with this image. If I had been 100% satisfied with what I had created I might disagree with the comments here. But maybe that was the problem? I tried to change a soothing shot into a more dynamic shot!


  2. I think your original image has so much atmosphere. But the second one is also good, if I hadn’t seen the first one. I know what you mean. I was doing the photos for my post this morning and in the end stopped over editing and just went with the originals. Maybe that is why you weren’t chosen. Your original was great. 😀


      1. Having spent a very frustrating couple of hours in my first attempt at editing a photo in Lightroom, I have a newfound respect for your work. Actually, let me change that to outright awe.

        … and if you cut off an ear, it may impair your ability to hear the applause 😉


  3. The merits of the processed image is the fog and the bridge as I quite like the colours and the feel there, of course it is a bit muddy but that is the pay off of the HDR effects on a single image. For me the distracting part is the top and bottom as it feels too contrasted.
    I wouldn’t say you wasted two hours but I would see if you could re-edit the original again and try and get something like the middle of the image across the whole.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Ben. I have tried and it seems to work. I really appreciate when you can take the time to reply with some tips. I am learning from you and a few others that, I find, is invaluable! Thank you!


  4. Okay, Emilio, don’t even THINK about not sharing your before and afters – I mean, what would ABFriday be without you stopping in, huh?? The value of the before and afters is in the education we provide to each other as to what kinds of things can be done to help make SOOC images better. Yes, what is “better” is ultimately a very personal decision, but the technical feedback provided and the techniques introduced have been so educational! And though it can be difficult to receive even constructive criticism, that’s when I have learned the most. I mean, look at all the great comments you’ve received and the thought-provoking suggestions. I think that’s great! Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

    As for your photo, my first inclination would also have been what yours was – to try to bring clarity to that wondrous bridge. Yes, the fog adds mystery, but I mean we’re talking the Golden Gate — I want to see it! I am actually amazed, by the way, that you were able to pull so much detail out from under the fog! I the end, I think this would have been a difficult image for the AB challenge – for those without the additional programs or the comfort level with the ones they do have! Perhaps that’s why it was a popular choice – people couldn’t figure out how in the heck anyone could make something “better” out of it. Anyway, I have enjoyed seeing what you did with it and reading all the back-and-forth, but I’m somewhat relieved I didn’t have to tackle it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t say I wouldn’t stop in to ABFriday, only that I might cut down on submitting to challenges. I just feel I’ve cut off more than I can chew lately and I have a real problem keeping up with blogs I supposedly follow. We can talk about this in private if you like but I’m feeling like it’s time for a change. I just don’t know in what form yet! As for the bridge image, yes, it was difficult to get something out of it. And I think you’re right that it might have been daunting for people not familiar with their chosen editorial, processing program! Thanks for your lengthy comment, too! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

"I take anything other than 'you big pig!' as a compliment." ~ Albert Brooks

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