Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #154: One Photo Two Ways

A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.

Edward Steichen

This week, Tina invites us to share images that were captured or processed in more than one way. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to experiment using different techniques in shooting and post processing.

After I tweak my photographs in Photoshop, I often bring them into the Nik Collection and see if any filters improve the image. As you can see below, my first image of the kiwi fruit on the left had a good amount of detail, but I wanted to see what would happen if I applied a HDR filter. The image on the right with the HDR filter reveals more of the fruit’s texture and deepens its color. Which one do you prefer?

Kiwi Macro

It’s very rare that I’m happy with my original shot. But sometimes miracles happen and the image is fairly close to what I had in mind when I clicked the shutter! One day when I was walking on Lincoln Road in Wayland, Massachusetts, I stopped to take a picture with my cellphone of the horses grazing in the pasture. (See the first image below.) In Photoshop, I increased the saturation, bumped up the contrast, and cropped the shot to eliminate some of the grass in the foreground and some distracting details on the left and right sides of the image. (See the second image.) My goal was to bring the horses into sharper relief.

This next image was buried deep in my archives. It was shot several years ago on a walk along the Arno near sunset. For this set, I wanted to experiment with two Nik filters. The original image below needed a good crop and had a few distracting stray branches on the left and right.

My first step was to crop the shot and eliminate the stray branches with the clone stamp tool. Then I brought the image into Nik and added the soft focus filter, which gives the photo a painterly effect. Compare this photo to the second image, with the HDR filter, which brings the details into sharp relief. Which one do you prefer?

For my final set, I’m including two images taken on the same spring night in Lisbon. The first photo is a wide angle view of the Praça do Comércio. The second one zooms in on several people standing close to the arch. So, which one do you prefer–the wide view or the close up?

Many thanks to Tina for her intriguing “One Photo Two Ways” challenge. We all look forward to seeing the results of your experiments and your creative vision. Please include a link to Tina’s original post and use the Lens-Artists Tag so we can find you in the WP Reader. As always, a special thanks to all of you who participate in our weekly challenges. Your creativity is always inspiring and your continued support means so much to us.

We are excited to announce a special event for the month of July. Several of our previous guest hosts have agreed to lead the Lens-Artists challenge. We’re sharing their themes in advance and hope you’ll join us and them in the coming weeks. They include:

July 3 John Steiner of Journeys With Johnbo will present “On the Water.”

July 10 Anne Sandler of Slow Shutter Speed will present “Black and White.”

July 17 Rusha Sams of Oh The Places We See will present “Getting Away.”

July 24 Beth Smith of Wandering Dawgs will present “Along Back Country Roads.”

July 31 Ana Campo of Anvica’s Gallery will present “Postcards.”

Please be sure to check out their always-interesting and beautiful blogs, and join us in supporting them as they lead us each Saturday in the coming month.

In the meantime, have a wonderful creative week and please stay safe.

93 replies »

    • Hi, Rabirius. Yes, the dreamy atmosphere really comes through with the soft focus, I think. It’s so interesting how the filters can change the overall feel of a photo. Thanks so much for your thoughts on these images!!


    • Hi, Janet. It is interesting looking at the effects side by side. I found it helpful to take a little longer and really look at the differences. Glad you liked my choices here! Yes, there are real differences in the “feel” of the last 2 images. I think I like the intimacy of the close up. The wide angle feels too impersonal to me. Looking forward to your post, too! I hope you can join us.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Well done as always Patti – you’ve given us some tough choices here! I loved the close-up version of your final image altho I also liked the first version. And I also loved the painterly Arno image. On the kiwi, I preferred the pre-editing version. Isn’t it funny how much we can change things – and sometimes have a difficult choice on which perspective we prefer?! Terrific post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true, Tina. The effects sometimes are subtle and it’s almost a toss up as to which one we prefer. Sometimes, it’s just personal preference, I think. I appreciate your thoughts/insights as always. This was a fun challenge!!


  2. Sunsets by the Arno are something else. The quality of the light is just so perfect, it always stays fresh in the memory. For the photo of the Kiwi, I prefer the HDR for the fruit, and the other version for the background. No simple answer from me, I’m afraid.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, IJ. I think you point out an interesting dilemma….the effects may be good for some parts of the photo and not others. I agree. No simple answer. Thanks, as always, for your insights!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Patti

    Your kiwi fruit is so succulent-looking that my mouth is watering! Your post has a great explanation for your process, very informative. And your farm photo in Wayland is so close to home for me – I live one town away and many of my Great Blue Heron photos were taken in Wayland. In fact the photos in my post today are from Wayland. What a small world!

    Here are two photos from me, oops make that five photos:

    Beautiful Great Blue Heron Garbo

    Best, Babsje

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That Lisbon closing photo is my fav too the post but like all the variety – and I could barely find the difference in the kiwi – it took a few minutes and then I noticed the shadow to the right was lighter and then a few other differences were seen – very subtle and what a great shot of that fruit

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Yvette. It is interesting, isn’t it? Some of the effects are more subtle. I often tweak the saturation because the color doesn’t look real at high intensities. Glad you like the kiwi! Hungry for one now?? 😀😀


  5. Great examples for different ways of processing an image Patti! The cropping and HDR filter both enhance them in their own way 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post. This challenge proves that there are many ways to view a photograph. Your take on getting the best shot right out of the camera has happened for me only once. No matter what I did to enhance the image, the original out of the camera was better. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, John. Your comment on the perfect shot made me smile. It’s true that it happens SO rarely! I’m never totally happy! And it’s true that there are many ways to view a photo. The “feel” of a photo is so different sometimes–like that last shot with the wide angle vs. the close-up. So different. It depends on what you’re aiming for. Thanks as always for your thoughts, John! I’m looking forward to your challenge next month.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I loved reading about the details of your various edits and nice to meet another fan of the Nik Collection 🙂

    On the kiwi fruit, I think I prefer the extra vibrancy of the original, despite the fact that it’s less detailed. But the edit on the horse photo is definitely an improvement. As to the Arno shot, I find it hard to tell, as WP tends to over-reduce the resolution of large photos, making the image rather blocky, so the HDR version looks a bit messy. Here on the website therefore I prefer soft focus but I might feel differently if I were looking at the shots in full resolution. And finally, the Praça do Comércio – I like both shots equally as both tell a story about the square but if I could only chose one the wide angle would be my favourite as it has more atmosphere

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Sarah. I didn’t realize the impact of viewing the shot in WP. Interesting! I enjoyed reading your reaction to the images. It is so dependent on these additional factors and personal preferences, too. I agree about your kiwi shot preference. I like the vibrancy of the original, too, even though it’s less detailed. I appreciate your thoughts, Sarah. I hope you’re having a good week.


  8. HDR filter always goes for higher intensity and the image looks aggresive.

    Topaz labs
    Offers Topaz adjust AI which gives 100s of choices apart from Standard mode

    Ultimately beauty in the eyes of beholder….is the winner!

    Thank you for your lovely photographs and knowledge sharing

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Philo. Do you have Topaz Adjust AL? I guess you recommend it? I’ve used a few Topaz filters at various points. I like all their options, but sometimes it seems like too many options!! Yes, it’s true. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Very, very true. It comes down to personal preference, I think. And thanks too for your kind words about the pics and the post!! Enjoy the week.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Pattimoed.

        I have Topaz Adjust AI.

        It has 4 features
        HDR looks,
        Soft effects and
        film looks each coming with plenty of presents.

        Best part is that it has Auto Adjust AI (under control), comes in standard and HDR style, each having the usual sliders to adjust the look of the image.

        In most of the situations selecting auto HDR style is more than enough with a little tweak.

        I usually go for auto adjust AI, instead of the various other options and select HDR style and never I felt like tweaking, and that’s it!

        That simple!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Great post Patti! My choices: kiwi fruit: original; horses, cropped; Arno, original; Praça do Comércio, close up
    Each brought a different feeling to the image, and they were all great.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Anne. Well, we think alike! Those are my preferences, too!! I’m glad you enjoyed comparing the versions of the photos. It was such an interesting exercise to see them side by side. Thanks too for your thoughts! They are always helpful.


  10. These edited images are remarkable, Patti. I must say it takes a great original photo to get a fine edit result, like the ones you posted here. Thank you for explaining the steps. Now, I want to try HDR and soft edits. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hmm. Lots of food for thought Patti. I like the darker green kiwi and the closeup of the gate, but the castle I like soft and unedited, like it’s a pastoral landscape painting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, John. I agree with your choices! I like the softer focus for the castle, too because it looks like a painting. Your thoughts help to clarify my thoughts!! Always appreciated, John. Many thanks and enjoy the week.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Many thanks, Nora. I appreciate your thoughts. The close up of the arch is my favorite, too. It’s so interesting how our personal preferences factor into it!! I hope all’s well. Enjoy the week.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. The original of the castle photo, took my breath away. The painted one was fun, but the original looked like something in a movie. For the rest of them, I think I prefer the modified pictures, especially of the horses. That’s another pastoral beauty. Your work is thrilling, Patti. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi Patti

    I really like the effect from the HDR filter in Sitting by the Arno. Your photo makes excellent use of it. Sometimes HDR can look unrealistic or harsh, but I think yours is perfect!

    I hope its ok for me to play again, this time following the suggestion of one photo two ways, not five ways like last time. 😊

    Here’s my submission. It has one picture two ways.

    Beautiful Great Blue Heron: The One that Didn’t Get Away

    Best, Babsje

    Liked by 1 person

  14. So well photographed and described, Patti! I like the originals best, but the soft focus on the Arno is like a dream! Oh, the light! I often think – when I have edited a photo and then look at the original again…maybe I like that one better. So I guess it is also much personal preference. I really enjoyed this post, pondering your thoughts and the results.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Great insight, and beautiful photos. I love seeing the different techniques people use to capture different effects. Thank you so much for sharing. I have definitely given you a follow as I can’t wait to read more.
    If you are interested in stories and photography about travel around Africa, then please take a look at my blog where I’ll be sharing my stories as a former safari guide.

    Liked by 1 person

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