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By conrad
You have found the 5th EPZ Raw Challenge!

(This is not a regular gallery entry, so do not click/vote!)

The idea is to download the Canon CR2 RAW file (screen shot shown above) from here , process it in a RAW processing program, and use it to come up with the perfect gallery print. Sort out its faults or challenges, enrich it, give it life and then post the 500 pixel version in the modifications section that comes with this page (see below).

If you haven't got RAW conversion software, you can download a free trial of Capture One from here.

Judging on Monday 17th July 2007, results around noon.

Prize: 6 months e2 membership (new e2 members, or a 6 month extension in case an existing e2 member wins). There will be only one winner and one prize, although honourable mentions are possible. Wink

Even if you don't know your way around the necessary software yet, why not have a go anyway - this particular image is not the most difficult one to start with, and even with very little tweaking a 'nice picture' will come out, so it's really not that hard.

On the other hand it would be interesting to see entries from advanced users as well - they're bound to find better ways of processing the image than I did myself! (But be gentle with my best friend Ashley!)

Lastly a request: If at all possible, please include a brief description of the most important actions/settings used to process and improve the image - that would greatly enhance the learning experience for others.

If you want to see how RAW challenges go, have a look at the previous one here.

This challenge was organised after discussing it with the editor, Pete, and after his approval of this image. He also kindly offered the prize mentioned above.

P.S. Just in case this isn't obvious: the photographer owns the copyright to this image. So: Copyright 2007 C. Heijdemann, the Netherlands.

Tags: Dog Challenge E2 Prize Competition Ashley Raw General Canine Raw challenge Digitally manipulated Golden retriever Pets and captive animals

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Coleslaw 17 13.4k 28 Wales
9 Jul 2007 4:07PM
nice one.

CathyT 16 7.3k 18 United Kingdom
9 Jul 2007 4:56PM
Ok.....mine's in.
psiman 19 574 Wales
9 Jul 2007 11:04PM
I didn't realise how addictive this could be and also that you can't remove a modified file once you've uploaded it. That's my excuse for uploading 3 mods and I suspect I've encountered the law of diminishing returns for my efforts Wink

cameracat 19 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
10 Jul 2007 12:51AM
It's trickier than it looks....Sad
conrad 18 10.9k 116
11 Jul 2007 9:26AM
Don't worry, each mod will be given the attention it deserves!
Coleslaw 17 13.4k 28 Wales
11 Jul 2007 4:28PM
can you not give attention to my 1st and 2nd uploads?

GPTek 16 461 1 England
12 Jul 2007 11:34PM

dontforgetme 19 1.7k 7 United Kingdom
13 Jul 2007 1:14PM
Guillaume 16 119 2 United Kingdom
14 Jul 2007 1:10AM
I never thought I'd be spending a good part on my evening on this challenge... but certainly enjoyed it!
Guillaume 16 119 2 United Kingdom
14 Jul 2007 3:12PM
Who are the judge(s) for this challenge? Is it just you Conrad?
jenquest 20 561 1 Tokelau
14 Jul 2007 3:42PM
Just put my entry in. Fingers crossed.
jenquest 20 561 1 Tokelau
14 Jul 2007 3:43PM
Poo, just reread it, mine's 600px, should I reupload a smaller one?
NickParry 17 1.0k 79 Wales
15 Jul 2007 2:56AM
good challenge, enjoyed producing my 3 efforts.
conrad 18 10.9k 116
15 Jul 2007 7:55PM

Quote:Who are the judge(s) for this challenge? Is it just you Conrad?

No, I will be joined in the judging by the lovely Jacqueline, better known on here as webjam - for two reasons: two heads are better than one, and she's better at digital imaging than I am, and has a more critical eye. (Well, both of them are, actually.) Wink
conrad 18 10.9k 116
16 Jul 2007 12:58PM
Sorry I'm a bit late, but here's the final verdict:

This was more difficult than I expected - both the challenge and the judging!

Fortunately I had some help from my wife, Jacqueline, better known on here as webjam. Her help in identifying flaws in conversions and post processing work proved invaluable.

The challenge was more difficult than I thought - in fact, even my own effort from a few weeks back is far from perfect, in my own humble opinion. Thing is that with this image, one feels that one has to balance making Ashley look good with making her surroundings look good. The brickwork of the old fort seems too good a decor to ignore in the post processing. Although we found that concentrating on one or the other can also give very interesting and unexpectedly good results.

But Ashley was the subject of the photo, and making her look good was the most important thing to do. So any entries that seemed technically sound, but didn't make the dog look good enough, were out. Some even looked like very good conversions, initially, but we found that in some Ashley looked too 'cold' and 'flat' (colourwise and contrastwise), while she has very warm colours and lots of contrast in her fur, and some even made her look downright dirty (especially the whites in her fur, which are very difficult to get right).

A few examples of entries that had us in doubt for a while, and came very close:

Entry no. 16 by Paul Sutton looks like a techically sound conversion, with some very good post processing. He thought of contrast, left the shadow in, made the rusty doors look good - almost all of it made a very good impression, but Ashley's fur tones aren't warm enough to our liking - we feel that if you're going to use colour (which, of course isn't necessary, in view of a few good mono conversions), then at least Ashley's rich fur tones, which unfortunately aren't very obvious in the original RAW file, should look warm. But Paul does come very close to our ideal.

Cole had some very good entries (23-26), too. For a moment, we did suspect that his whites came close to being burnt out, but when we copied them to Photoshop and found that this wasn't the case, this put him back in the running. And Cole was at the top our shortlist for a while.

Some creative entries made us laugh: entry no. 27 by looboss, for instance: you certainly made Ashley the star, Luis, and that's a very creative use of the background! We had to laugh hard at Penny's interpretation of the word RAW, and at Nick's idea that the dog would have wanted to escape through the rusty doors (entry 61) - an honourable mention for you, Nick, it was a great idea and well executed!

And Barbara's idea that the whole thing, including the background, needed to be a lot sunnier and greener, also didn't go unnoticed - very creative, Barbara. And Geoff Peach (GPTek) had an interesting entry, just showing Ashley with a bit of wall, and an EPZ logo. Ashley looked quite good in this one, although we found the logo too distracting.

Mood, of course, was part of the considerations, too. Lots of technically very good images just didn't convey the kind of mood we were looking for. And some that did do that, had other problems, like somewhat too generous helpings of contrast or sharpening. (All just in our humble opinion, of course.) Entry no. 65 by Nigel Betteridge (Nigel_95) appealed to us a lot. The colours were warm enough, there was enough contrast, he did a good lens correction, and the overall mood of the image was good. But there was one entry that we just couldn't forget after having seen it, and that wasn't the most colourful one.

BTW, I've mentioned colours several times, but I do have to mention as well that we didn't reject mono conversions for being mono. There were good mono conversions, in fact, and we had a serious look at all of them. But somehow we often thought they lacked impact. This, by the way, also takes us to the subject of the winner - one that didn't initially catch our eye as a thumbnail, but that we kept coming back to once we'd opened it. The one that we looked at time and time again, was an unexpected choice, because we hadn't expected liking an entry with such a strong crop and almost without colour. After all, the arch and the rusty doors do look great. But this contestant was right, of course, in making Ashley the star of the show, and not only that, but it was done very beautifully. Have a look at entry no. 63 by Jay44. Despite the desaturation there's a good tonal range, and the other post processing actions added a lot of atmosphere.

So congratulations to Jay for creating the winning entry - a wonderfully pleasing and atmospheric image!

Please know that we would have loved to have awarded more prizes, but the rule was that were could only be one winner. I'm sure that if you look at our considerations, they should be considered to be subjective, but I'm afraid that this will always be the case when people judge other people's work - it's inescapable. Other judges might have picked other entries. Especially those that didn't know the subject as well as we do. Sorry!

We do appreciate all the work everyone put in, and would like to thank everyone for their entries. We would also like to commend those, including the winner, who took the time to explain how they reached their end results. This made it an interesting learning experience. I'm certainly going to use several ideas that these entries gave me in future uploads.

Thanks, everyone!

jenquest 20 561 1 Tokelau
16 Jul 2007 1:02PM
Nice one Jay, congrats.
CathyT 16 7.3k 18 United Kingdom
16 Jul 2007 1:09PM
Well done Jay...
Jay44 17 1.4k Wales
16 Jul 2007 4:27PM
Thank you Conrad.

I'm really over the moon.

GPTek 16 461 1 England
16 Jul 2007 4:36PM
Jay - a worthy winner

chesh 18 45 United Kingdom
17 Jul 2007 6:45PM
Well done Jay. Well deserved.

Can't help thinking that the subtlety of my conversion was lost on the judges. ?

dontforgetme 19 1.7k 7 United Kingdom
19 Jul 2007 9:57PM
Well done Jay.


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