Photo-Development Challenge Results #2: Statues

It's been three months to the day since I posted Photo-Development Challenge: Inspire Me and Others With Your Artistic Interpretation, and I'm mortified that it's only the second set of results that I'm finally getting around to sharing (the first having been Hillside Temple Buildings 2½ months ago). In retrospect, it was irresponsible of me to post the challenge right before a long family vacation. Sorry.

In any case, to recap what's going on, I posted some raw photos and asked others to develop them to their taste, and here I'll share what those different interpretations looked like.

First, today's subject in its unprocessed, straight-from-the-camera (via default Lightroom settings) originalness...

The Unprocessed Original -- Otaginenbutsuji Temple (愛宕念仏寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on when used online)
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/640 sec, f/1.4, ISO 250 — image data
The Unprocessed Original

This is from the delightfully whimsical Otaginenbutsuji Temple (愛宕念仏寺) in northwestern Kyoto, which I've not nearly posted enough about.

As before, I'll present the results in the order I received them, starting with my own processing that I did at the time...

My Version -- Otaginenbutsuji Temple (愛宕念仏寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl,
My Version

I put an almost-daylight white balance to match the splashes of sun, and created a bit more visual range by increasing contrast and making highlights brighter while making shadows darker. I think this leaves a slight spotlight effect where there are splashes of light. I also added a slight vignette.

processing by Werner Gansz -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl
processing by
Werner Gansz

Werner comments:

I love these guys. The two statues on the right were the best focus and light so I used local radials to bring out their features and textures. I also used the GND to darken the strip of sunlight at the top which I found distracting.

My Reaction: Well, now mine feels dark and muddy.

processed by: Niels Volkmann -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl
processed by:
Niels Volkmann

Niels comments:

Thoughts on processing: immediately I thought this would make a nice b/w-conversion. By using some lightening/darkening I would like to put some focus on the face of the rightmost statue.

My Reaction: Nicely done. It looks like you cropped it to just fit the four in front, which feels more balanced. The focus is indeed on the rightmost statue, but perhaps a bit too brightly for my taste, but still much better than mine.

— processing by anonymous — Contemplation Contentment in the crowd -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl
— processing by anonymous —
Contentment in the crowd

My Reaction: This uses the crop instead of brightness to put the focus on the four main statues, and so it can actually lose contrast buts still work well. This is really interesting to me.

processing by Herve Fear and Serenity -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl
processing by Herve
Fear and Serenity

My Reaction: Juuuust a bit too-strongly implemented, but an interesting idea to focus on the emotions and juxtapose two opposites.

processinb by Ben Willmore -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl
processinb by
Ben Willmore

Ben's comments:

1) As usual, crop to refine composition.
2) Emphasize green by messing with saturation/vibrance blend.
3) desaturate and darken surrounding areas to keep the eye from spending too much time there.
4) Split-tone to add warmth to highlights.

My Reaction: This crop really identifies the heart of the photo. It's how I should have cropped with my feet at the time. Maybe because I read Ben's comments before looking at the result, I ended up focusing too much on the desaturation on in the background and wish it were a little more lightly applied.

One person, nnkka, submitted three versions...

— processing by nnkka — “ Iced ” -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/640 sec, f/1.4, ISO 250 — image data
— processing by nnkka —
— processing by nnkka — “ Magenta ” -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl
— processing by nnkka —
— processing by nnkka — “ Pseudo B&W ” -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/640 sec, f/1.4, ISO 250 — image data
— processing by nnkka —
Pseudo B&W

nnkka's comments:

  • iced version

    I was at a loss in what to do. Then I fooled around and made the blue version to get going.

  • magenta version

    Then I made highlights magenta using the tone curve, and decided it added something unusual to mossy statues. My friend said the statues looked magical, I think that's great. Split toned green shadows to balance out. Then vignette, to better focus the viewer's attention. Cropped for composition, as the highlights in the back could be distracting. Used graduated filters to desaturate and darken the defocused statues in the back, so attention is on the foreground.

  • pseudo B&W version

    Then I clicked B&W and really liked it, but to me B&W is just a gimmick, but I wanted to use it here. I ended up trying to tone the image lightly to make people think it's pure BW, when actually it was toned.

My Reaction: A progression from muddy (a blue version of mine) to crisp. Having seen the bright area in the back cropped out in the first two, it's distracting to see it in the third, which just goes to show that it was the right move to crop it out.

processing by anonymous -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl
processing by anonymous

My Reaction: This is a nice balance between Werner's and Contemplation (showing that all three are in a nice ballpark).

processing by Tom in SF
image data
processing by
Tom in SF


This image seemed to be about one active statue amongst many sleeping ones.

Decided to emphasize this difference by color separation via Topaz Labs and Totally RAD plug-ins.

Considered cropping the result as well, but thought to leave the full composition alone for now.

My Reaction: LAVA! (or, given the posture of the guy in question, Hell)

processing by Amit C -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl
processing by
Amit C


Here I cropped a bit to give focus to only the four statues in the front and wanted to saturate the greens to make what is covering the statues pop out more. Also felt the image needed more sharpening and some contrast to make it more appealing.

My Reaction: A very nice balance, and, oddly, the most 3D looking one to me.

It was fun to see the repeating themes (particularly the crop) and unique takes. I just must apologize again for taking so long.

One comment so far...

niice. I was so anxious for this, but now it came as a pleasant surprise. And dang, I don’t remember sending all 3 versions xD I could live just with the magenta version…

Nice to see the edits from everyone! I liked your edit jeffrey, it’s very warm and feels like summer.
Werner’s also appeals to me. I like the graduated filter on the back vs the cropping I did.
Lots of nice conceptual processings… Amit c’s, I like the exposure, feels soft. I also think the left crop really works.

aah, I should be studying, this blog is grabbing me again :/

— comment by nnkka on May 23rd, 2015 at 11:09am JST (8 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink
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