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For those who asked, here is the original seal image.
This is way better quality wise. You clearly did something to this image to end up with what you uploaded in the first instance. There seems to be a fade overall but quality-wise there's much much less noise and no signs of posterisation. This isn't a monitor calibration issue, something happened in post-processing to introduce noise and posterisation. One reason could be that since this was JPEG format, it didn't allow you to play around with it much, hence the noise and posterisation.
Try shooting in RAW and doing image adjustments in a RAW editor, works better in the long term.
Thanks for uploading this. Its a very good shot, - much better than the last version would lead you to believe.
I can see your dilema that youve tried to address in the mod and if you go back to that one, I have uploaded a mod of this shot.
This one starts out underexposed, and when this is resolved, it looks quite good. Its then very clear that the discoulouration on the pup are remnants of the birth, and are simply a dark tone.
What this image has though that makes it special, is the (presumably) mother in the background, in a pose that is suggestive of exhaustion. I would definitely leave her in, and go for a wider crop.
So, the mod has exposure corrected, slight contrast boost, very slight sharpening of the pups head, and Ive enhanced the pups eye by lifting the shadows, and lightening the catchlights.
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