I am a 42-year old husband and father. I was an avid computer gamer and DOF, F-stops and the like were foreign to me until my wife introduced me to photography.

I began shooting during the latter part of March 2010 and quickly became addicted to it. I started this blog to share my journey and to learn along the way. Special thanks to my wife Eng who encouraged me and to all my friends in Blogosphere who shared their knowledge and taught me to further this craft.

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before and after # 5 - harbour

before and after

these two photos were taken minutes apart, i think the unedited versions are ok but need a bit of enhancement.

the first one was edited in PS with colour and vibrance adjusted. dodge and burn was used on the clouds, unsharp mask and sharpen tools were also applied selectively. a very soft vignette was applied for the final touch. the second photo was converted to HDR before applying the same PS actions i just mentioned.

which one do you prefer? the first, the second (HDR) or the unedited one.

if you're wondering where the SOOCs are, mouse-over the images to view the unedited ones.



i much prefer the first edited photo, very subtle and natural looking. i find the HDR version highly saturated to my liking but nonetheless it is a beautiful picture!

the sooc can stand by itself without tinkering, great image - and i'm not just saying that because we are related....lol!


Dave these are beautiful. I do prefer the top edited version. True you cannot see the ribbing of the foreground boat in the shadows up front, but the bottom one is slightly over saturated. I also prefer the detail and "color" in the clouds a little better in the top one.


I too prefer the first edited photo, but the second looks like a painting, that's cool too :) And I love how the water looks. Great photos!


I actually like both the second has great tonal range and more definition of the water. The first has a slightly warmer feel and more of a photograph look to it. Both are great fantastic composition and nice subject. Well done Dave


My head spins by reading the technical words and to know how much I am unaware of!


Whatever editing you do or don't do, you've got a great composition to start with and that makes all the difference. I'm not a big fan of HDR most of the time, and I'm inclined to agree with Eng on the saturation in it. That said, the SOOC version is a little soft and could stand a bit more saturation. Or perhaps just contrast. In any event, of the three I'd vote for the first edited version, but it would be hard to go wrong with any of them.

Another option you might consider is converting to B&W, with a red filter effect to punch up the contrast.


As others have said, the composition is the key to a great photo - get that wrong and all the effects in the world won't make it great. I much prefer the first edited one. The SOOC is fine but a bit too blue and dull. The colours adjustments etc give the first one a lot of power. I'm just not a fan of HDR. It looks so unnatural to me in most cases.

Mustang Sally

I prefer the 1st version hands down personally, the colors just work for me, but as Mojo said it's hard to miss with this composition. I'm not a great fan of HDR either but that's where I stop agreeing because if you converted this to B&W I'd cry just a little.

Wonderful shot


Great pictures, but my first is my favourite, you got the boat closer in the image and good angle in this one Funny to see how you have treated the image

Don't Bug Me!

I vote for the first edited image - not a huge fan of HDR for the most part, although I have seen some amazing images done with HDR. I think that you just have to be careful not to overdo it.

Rachel Roushey

I really like the first one. Wonderful shot.

Ashley Sisk

I love them both! You're an editing genius! I think I'm about to purchase CS4 - I'll need a teacher.


I like the boat in the second one, but prefer the first photo. The second has too much blue and looks like a painting. Both are very well done though. Thank you for visiting, comments are always appreciated.
Have a good Tuesday.☺


I definitely prefer the top one. I'm not usually a fan of HDR, I find it takes away much of the drama and interest of a good photo. But I do prefer the edited version of the first photo, it brings out the highlights and centers the eye on the foreground boat. Either way, I like the composition a lot.


Wonderful! I wish I will be just as good as you one day..... but I doubt it! You are the best!

T. Becque

Well my vote goes to the first photo also. I do like HDR, but the top photo has a warmer feel and the angle is just slightly better. Of course...both are fabulous!


Difficult to choose... even the unedited ones look great with the colour in the boat and a grey pastel sky.

I think my vote goes with the first one too (edited).


i wish i can edit like you, you are so good i do not know which one to choose. anyway, i think i prefer the HDR i guess because the blue is intensified and it looks kind of enhanced of the unedited whereas the first i kind of see it differently from the unedited.


like Beth, i like the HDR most! :)


You've started with two great shots and enhanced them each to their benefit, but like the others my vote goes to the soft subtletly of the first one. The HDR on the second is added with a light touch but my usual preference is for the more natural look of non-HDR processing.

My photography is available for purchase - visit Around the Island Photography and bring home something beautiful today!


thanks for the info on the shutter speed and the info on these two photos.
my personal preference is by far the edited photos. the out of the camera is good, but to me the edits make them Incredible and changes my thoughts completely when i look at them. i spent several minutes playing with mouseover and to me there is no way i would prefer the out of camera.


dear Dave, both are great (mouse over did not work ...) ... I like the upper one better, the sky looks more natural for my feeling (as I am used it from where I live ...) ... I love the reflexions in the water and the stones in the ground in the water and the atmosphere ... the second remembers me to a painting out of some museum ... somewhat "sophisticated" (I do not know whether it is the right word for what I feel viewing it ... perhaps better "cultivated"?)


I liked the edited ones best, deffenetly. Very well done.


The edited ones, thumbs up!

Rune K

Excellent, one just feels like climbing in and ge tto the oars. Well composed!

Pagan Sphinx

I tend to prefer my own unedited versions better, though not always. In my case, either way they are trash more often than not! :-D

I love them both. The composition and that cool boat as a subject is what makes the photos for me.

My Watery Wednesday Entry


these two tweaked images are really outstanding. i find that tweaking takes too much time and work so most of the time my images are sooc :)


Tough choice. I like both, but if I have to pick one, I'll go with the first one.


The colours seem more natural in the first shot, although I like the intense blues in the second, as well!

Gardening in a Sandbox

Oh I went back and forth and I could not pick. Both are just wonderful. They are full of colour.


They are both great shots, but I really love the edited versions. Well done, Dave!


any version is beautiful. nice shot!

my entry is here. have a great day!

Luna Miranda

i don't think i have the aptitude and patience for photo editing.:p but i love the results--the first photo is my favorite.


oh you've done a good job with the editing! like how it changes the colour or effect whatsoever you call it!hehe..Have a good day! Hope you can visit mine too =)


I like them both, but there re tonal qualities of the second that has to make it my choice. Remember, I am new to all of this, and I look to your posts each as a little lesson in the art of photography. I appreciate your telling what setting and programs you are using as it helps those of us that are as able as you, my friend, to master this art over such a short time. You body of work is a real inspiration to me.


they are just incrediable, Judith (Precious Moments)


I thought you were transforming the boat into an ultra modern mustang.


Love both. You are so good Dave. Thank you for sharing.


Gosh Dave, I had to scroll down for ages before the 'post a comment' box showed up. You're very popular! And rightly so.

I prefer the first edited photo. It looks more natural. The second one is a bit more surreal, but I do like that one too. Of course you have a good original photo to work from ;-)


Totally awesome!


I think I Like the hdr the best.. usualy don't care much for HDR.. but you make them very nicely.. both are very stunning.. did good with the editing.. excellent captures.

leavesnbloom photography

Dave I'm back at the photography memes again and I'm now learning photoshop - hope to see more of your work and Eng's again around blogosphere. Your photos are always amazing and so inspiring.

I much prefer the first photo rather than the hdr.

:) Rosie

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