What a wonderful exercise; forcing one to critically view before commenting. I'm not sure if I'm glad or sad that I'm the first to respond. I'm going with #2. To my not so trained eye, #2 brings the most depth and detail to the image. There also seems to be more sharpness in #2. I'm planning on checking back to see what others have to say about the challenge you have presented! :)
For me, I like #3 the best. The main reason for me, after jumping back and forth on the images was that on #2 given the tones, my eye kept getting pulled to the ground. This was the lightest spot in the image and my eye kept wanted to go there. For #3, I like the texture and "crunchiness" of the image. Though I do have to say that it almost did not feel right. That may have been due to the fact that I could go back to the "in-camera" version and compare it. I did like #1. It has a softness that feels natural. Thanks for the exercise.
I think my vote would be to a slightly more subtle version of #3. While the straight-from-camera JPG needs a bit more "pop" I think #3 maybe pops a bit too much. That type of processing works great for some things (see Scott Kelby's recent pics of steeplechase horses) but seems not quite to fit with the elephant.
I LOVE the processing on the third edit - it emphasizes all the detail in the elephant's hide and in her toes (do elephants have toes?). Brings out her wild side, I think...
I like the 1st and 2nd best, but cannot truly pick which is best. Sorry bud.
I like these challenges you throw us Mike...Of the three images, No. 3 gets my vote, although I agree with Scott about a more subtle effect.No. 1 is very flat but presumably could be improved a little with levels / curves.No. 2 doesn't do it for me at all. The 300 look only works well on a few images, leaving others to look like a weak sepia toned, b&w conversion.No. 3 is the best of the three because the elephant has more pop and the details are more pronounced. The problem I have with it though is the elephant looks too pronounced compared to the background, which is still flat. Did you only painted the effect over the elephant / foreground..?Rather cheekily I downloaded no. 1 and put it through the JPEG option in HDRi, which gave a more subtle version of no. 3 and brightened the whole image up. I've emailed it to you.Thanks for the opportunity to give this critique.Mike
#2Reason? Pure emotional pull.
I took time to look at all three carefully. For this particular image I vote for #2 because it isolates the elephant better from the background plus the warming effect from the 300 filter suites the elephant well.
No. 3 for me. I like the separation between the foliage and the elephant and the detail and grayness in the elephant. I think the elephant in No.2 gets lost. This looks like Kandula from the National Zoo.
#2 is the most interesting to me visually. It gives up something different than the normal "gray" elephant. I also enjoy that tint for processing on a lot of other photos so I'm partial to it.
I am an amateur photographer (Amateur becoz I got my first DSLR a few days back!) and I have been viewing ur blog for quite sometime and I've really loved it. It must be quite late to comment on this post, but better late than never. I like #2, because coming from India I have seen a lot of Elephants from childhood. The #2 photo gives it a slightly aged look and a feeling that it is from the past. The color of the elephant also blends well with the background (low saturation?). Above all, it simply reminds me of the times in India where Elephants on the streets was an everyday thing.
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