Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Photo challenge & give away!

Yesterday I posted my photo of these Mute Swans doing their mating ritual. Above is the original (resized). Pretty atrocious, huh? They caught me by surprise with their lovemaking, and turns out I only had a brief window of time to capture them before they sailed off into the sunset, which didn't take long once they noticed the telephoto pointed right at them. My camera was on all the wrong settings, naturally. But underneath this awful photo there is potential for something beautiful, just like the story of  the ugly duckling maturing into a graceful swan. I believe that with all my heart. ♥

I've attempted a few times to edit this photo, but I don't like anything I've done! So, I've decided to throw down a challenge to whomever can salvage it best, with a prize for the best edit. Yes, I am bribing anyone who will take the bait because I need help. This photo needs YOUR help!

The 1200x800 version is here. The original RAW file can be found here, but when you click this link it automatically starts downloading--just know that it is a very large file. Please let me know of any problems with any of the links.

You have until midnight central time on 2/22/11 to submit your entry. The grand prize winner will receive one $25 gift card to Amazon. One entry per person. I would love to offer a bigger prize, or something for runners-up, but Pioneer Woman, I am not. :)

Rules summary:

  1. Edit the photo any way you wish 
  2. Link the edited photo using Linky Tools below, OR leave your link in the comment section of this post
  3. Leave a comment on this post with an explanation of your edit(s); it can be as brief or as detailed as you like, but I'm a nosy girl so the more information, the better. :) 
  4. Become a follower of this blog (if you're already a follower, great!)
  5. Brownie points for putting my blog button on your blog (if you don't have a blog, no biggie). The code is located on the sidebar.
  6. Please include your email address when submitting your comment (this is important in order to contact you if you win!)
To use Linky Tools, upload the edited photo to your blog or a service like Flickr, Snapfish, etc. Copy and paste the link of your photo in Linky. Please note that the link must be to the URL of your actual photo, not just to the site it’s posted in. 

That's all! I'm looking forward to your entries!

P.S. I used Linky Tools to upload the first thumbnail, but obviously, I am disqualifying myself. Just wanted to make sure it works!

UPDATE 2/15/11, 3:39PM: Apparently, Linky Tools is having issues which is causing the link to not show up (and I think it's playing havoc with my blog, too). Hopefully, they will get it resolved, pronto!

UPDATE 2/15/11, 4:48PM: It appears that Linky Tools is back up! Hope it stays that way. 


Starla said...

Well, I actually like the photo SOC! haha...since I am lacking in even the basic photo editing skills, I will just sit back and enjoy what others do with this!

Yankee Girl said...

I think all of the photos are great! Apparently I do not have an eye for this...

charlottes web said...

I am excited to give this a try. It is a beautiful photo already so this is a challenge.

hootnonny said...

This was fun Gail! I cloned out the black above the Left swan (not particulary good job, but best I could do...even tried smoothing w/healing brush), duplicated background and set blending mode to screen which ligtened up the subjects, ran Florabella's Spring I (I believe) Right Flare Action. There was good light already; this just accentuated it. Then after trying many bokeh textures, I ran Bokeh2 from Shadowhouse Creations. Voila!

Hopefully some more folks will try their hand so keep it going a while!

charlottes web said...

When I went to Mr. Linky to upload, the constraints are square so the left and right sides of my image are gone. Did I do this right?


charlottes web said...

Oopps! forgot to add the steps that I took:
1. Open in RAW and increased exposure and added fill light.
2. Opened the photo and then on an adjustment layer, changed the levels.
3. Ran CoffeeShop's action "little perk", and "orton", increasing the brightness.
4. Ran Flora Bella's action "love" (what else?)
5. Added a texture from Patty Brown's collection called Illusion Blue Glow.
6. Added a layer mask from Jerry jones and flatted.

lisa said...

This sounds like fun Gail! Will be giving it a shot, but I must say, I like it the way it is. The way the light is falling on the right is wonderful! I had "the experience" with Linky on Monday also! Really messed with my blog! :-(

lisa said...

This was great Gail, and the original photograph was so lovely!
I am working in CS5:
Bumped up exposure to +67.
Dodged the entire image at 63% for midtones.
Gave the swan on the left a more visible eye using the clone stamp and healing brush tools.
Eliminated some of the darker reflections in the water using the clone stamp.
Used a lighten layer and a brighten layer.
Flattened all, and then ran a Topaz plug-in.

Jan said...

Sounds like fun!
I'm not sure I'll have time, but I'd love to play around with your already gorgeous photo :)

Louisiana Belle said...

Thanks for playing, y'all! I love the submissions so far. Choosing a winner will be tough! I hope there are no hard feelings on judgment day. :/

Jan, I hope you have time to play because I know you have mad skills on the computer. :)

Explanation of thumbnail #6: This is from one of my shy followers. He/she sent me the edit by email this morning. I loved it and wanted to make sure it was included. Since the person did not have a Flickr account, I created one just for the purpose of submitting their edit.

Have a great day everyone!!

Paula Frymoyer said...

I goofed when I tried to add my photo to your "edit contest"…I linked the first one back to your blog!!! I can't figure out how to delete my first try…maybe you know…sorry.

jo©o said...

You've got mail!
About the swans - nothing sinister :-)

jo said...

Hiya Gail,
This was a delightful project.
Thank you for encouraging us to play with your beautiful picture.

Rosemary Aubut said...

Sorry Gail, I made a mistake. Could you please remove my logo ASAP. Thanks! Photo #12 is my entry! Had fun!

stacie said...

I am Linkity challenged. First attempt links back to this post. Oops. Figured it out the second try. Sorry about that. Beautiful image! What a moment to capture.

Mine will be number #!2 after you delete my first attempt to upload.

To edit I made a second layer (saving the original as a back up) and ran lighting correction over it.

Then I made another layer from the edited layer and edited the water color.

Erased the swans from the now overly blue water layer and did a light clean up of the swans and the dark object in the water but didn't want to over do.

Louisiana Belle said...

All are so lovely! It will be difficult to decide.

Stacie, I wanted to email you a personal note, but the comment is not linked to your email. Thank you for your submission. It is beautiful! Love the blue water and the clean up on the swans. Excellent job!

Please remember to put your email address in the comment so I can get back to you if you win. Thanks!

stacie said...

Ah, sorry. I meant to say in my comment if you click on my name in the previous post (or this one) there is a contact link on the right hand side of the menu on my blog :)

Glad you like it!