Digital Outback Photo
- Photography using Digital SLRs


Digital Outback Photo Contest #018

Contest March 2006: Tonality Recovery #2

Limited to 8 entries (8 entries, contest closed)

See also our previous contests

  A Note on Copyright: This image can only(!) used in the context of this contest and the only site that has the right to publish images is Digital Outback Photo. If you want to use this image for any other purposes (e.g. marketing) you can acquire a license from us.
  There are no prizes for this contest as the evaluation of the results can be too subjective.

To share experience it is not enough just to show the results. We need precise step-by-step descriptions of all image editing operations that had been performed.

Photo was taken handheld with the Canon 1Ds Mk. II at ISO 200 (IS used).


You probably get the idea that this is a lovely hill but we have to bring it to life.

Note: This shot was handheld and may show some slight motion blur


  • It is your task to improve the tonality of this image and send in a downsampled JPEG (compression 9 in Photoshop) with 600 pixels wide.
  • You can download the original JPEG image (copyright Bettina & Uwe Steinmueller) from here (about 6.2 MB)
  • Use any editing tool you like
  • Describe the process step by step
  • If your tools allows to save settings to external files (like most tools in Photoshop and many filters) please also send in these settings files.
  • Naming of the JPG: first_lastname_3552Hill.jpg
  • Send only the instructions and the final image downsampled to 600 pixeles wide (JPG 9 in Photoshop) and your full name to:
  • Image should be in sRGB (for internet display)
  • No frames and no layers.
  Note: As all photos should be in the sRGB color space it is recommended to download interesting samples and view them in Photoshop on a profiled monitor and at larger magnification.
  Sample Entry (by Uwe Steinmueller)

Sorry, but we really use our own tools :-).


#01 Dan Desimoni

Levels (Set Black and White)
Saturation (Increased by 15)
Shadow/Highlight (Opened up the Shadows)
Curves (3 percent S Curve)
Selective Color (Pop the Sky)
High Pass Sharpening (High Pass at 7)

#02 Erik Kaffehr

Picture Window Pro 3.5
1) Brightness curve
2) Color Correct (Selective Color Correction)
3) Advanced sharpen (Speck removal size 1x1 remove light, threshold 96%, sharpen luminiousity radius 0.81 amount 118.

#03 Robert Tobler

1. Add local contrast to the image:
Create a slection that excludes very dark tones and bright tones:
- use "Color Range" to select everything near black with a Fuzzyness
of 80
- store this selection under "shadows"
- use "Color Range" to select everything near white with a Fuzzyness of 160
- store this selection under "highlights"
- set the selection by "Image->Calculations" with: source "shadows" inverted, source "highlights" inverted, multiply
Use the resulting selection to create a duplicate layer called " contrast" on top of the original image with its mask set to "reveal selection"
Use Unsharp Mask on the "contrast" layer with the following settings:
- Amount 50%, Radius 128, Threshod 0
Flatten the image.
2. Boost the colors: Image->Adjustments->Hue/Saturation
- Saturation + 33%
3. Make the sky more vibrant: Image->Adjustments->Selective Color
- Colors "Blues", Cyan + 100%, Magenta + 50%, Absolute


#04 Goran Stenberg

Photoshop CS2
Levels black and white point
Levels black and white point sky selected only
Clone stamp to retouch all sensor dust
Saturation +15
Velvia Vision filter from FM Software
High Pass sharpness at 5.0 and soft light 100%

#05 Davide Barranca

1. Convert to Lab
2. Curve S-shape-like in (L) darkening most of the three quarter tones and shadows, almost linear but steep (a), same kind of curve in (b) but steepening only the yellow side.
3. Curve in an adjustment layer (targeted to lights in blending options) that adds blue and little magenta and darken the sky.
4. merged layers, duplicate background and apply the inverse of (a) to (L) in overlay mode, with a gradient in alpha channel that hide the effect on the upper side (sky and part of the grass), to make the green more contrasted.
5. Inverse Unsharp Mask to (L), something around 15 amount, 50 radius; dust and scratches in (a), to remove some color noise.
6. Flatten, convert to sRGB, resample and apply some smart sharpen.

#06 David Miller

  • In Photoshop
  • Photomatix Tone Mapping plugin (reduced amount to 25)
  • Convert to Lab colorspace
  • Levels (black to 40, white to 231, gamma to 1.21)
  • Curves (a channel set points at 20 in, 0 out; 50 in, 49 out; 80 in, 100 out)
    (b channel set points at 20 in, 0 out; 53 in, 50 out; 80 in, 100 out)
  • Flatten
  • Duplicate layer, Soft light blending mode, 50% opacity
  • Flatten
  • Convert to sRGB colorspace
  • Duplicate layer
  • Select sky
  • Image>Selective Color, Blues - Cyan +80%, Black +10%
  • Photokit plugin, Burn top half, 40% opacity
  • Flatten
  • downsize with WP Pro plugin
  • sharpen with Photokit Output Sharpener plugin (Medium Edge)
  • Flatten

#07 Fabio Riccardi

#08 Herman Teeuwen

- Photomatix Tone Mapping
- Alien Skin Exposure Color Film Kodachrome 25
- Levels
- EasyS sharpening




  Thanks to all participants (including all submissions that may not get published).

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