The Raw Challenge – Edwards at CotA

Posted on 23 Aug, 2014 by Scott Jones

UPDATE: It’s great that we’ve had so many participants in this experiment. We’ll definitely do it again, but no more submissions, please. And a huge thank you to everyone who responded!

I have added my own version at the end. This is what I did before I posted this article, and thus it has not been influenced by anything sent in by readers. I can’t say, however, that I would do it exactly the same way now, having seen some of the ideas below…

For more PhotoGP Raw Challenges, click here!

I’m going to try something different here, just to see if you enjoy it. If so, we may do it again.

Above is an unedited raw file from Round 2 at CotA this season. Colin Edwards had just announced his retirement, so I thought we’d use a photo of him to try this out.

You can click on the image above to see it larger, and this time I have left off the watermark because I am releasing this image into the wild.

You can see that it’s too dark. There is a distracting arm in a white sleeve in the lower right corner. There are other small problems to solve in order to make this a more compelling shot.

I have already edited this file according to my own tastes for how to improve it. But before I show that result, I’d like to give you the chance to take a crack at it.

I have posted the original raw file for download by anyone who wants to play along. To download the raw file, click here.

You will need a raw image file editor, I use Adobe Lightroom. If you don’t have the ability to edit a raw file, you can still play along with any app that can edit a JPG file. The hi-res JPG file can be downloaded here.

So if you want to take a crack at this, download whichever file you can edit and get to work. Crop it, adjust contrast, brightness, saturation, shadows, highlights, white balance, add noise, remove noise, remove dust spots, do whatever you think the image needs to be as good as you can make it.

Then send the image to me and I’ll post it here along with whatever other submissions we get. I’ll also include my version, but it may not be the one any of us likes the best! Maybe someone will make different decisions that result in a better image and I’ll learn something to. That would be great! I’d love to see something that makes me say, Why didn’t I think of that?

Feel free to ask questions in the Comments below. (I ask you to register to comment in order to cut down on spam and trolls.)

If you want to try this and keep the results to yourself, that’s fine too. But I hope we’ll see a variety of approaches to processing this single file to produce different results.

Have fun!

Photograph: ©2014 by Scott Jones / PHOTO.GP – All Rights Reserved

Here is our first, edited by Harry Lloyd, who is on Twitter and helps run the MotoPod pod cast. Thanks, Harry!


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  • v4honda 2014-08-23

    What email address do we send the edit to?

  • Scott Jones 2014-08-23

    Please use scott at And if you’d size your finished version at 728 pixels wide that would be great.

  • Scott Jones 2014-08-23

    After ten people have sent in edits of this image, I have to say my expectations have been exceeded by quite a bit.

    I thought we would have a variety of approaches to cropping and adjustments of various settings, but I’m really impressed with how much variety we see these first 11 shots.

    And one guy did his on his phone, which is fantastic.

    Doug Durham said this in an email awhile ago: “The good thing about posting the images as they’re submitted is guys will probably try hard not to mimic what’s already been submitted.” I think he’s probably right, and I hope you are looking at what others have done to decide if what YOU want to communicate with this image via your editing of it is as accurate as possible.

    My compliments to all of you!

  • James 2014-08-23

    Mine was also done on my phone Scott that’s why I couldn’t resize it

  • Scott Jones 2014-08-23

    Kudos to you then, James (Moore), for editing on a phone. What phone/app did you use?

    Dimitris said: “Just for the record my phone is a Samsung galaxy nexus with a REALLY cracked screen…. Haha!”

  • James 2014-08-23

    Samsung galaxy s4 app snapseed

  • Sham681 2014-08-23

    I’ve sent you my version via Hotmail. Hope that’s right?

  • Scott Jones 2014-08-23

    Working on it now, Suzanne. Thanks for sending one in.

  • Sham681 2014-08-23

    No problem. Thank you for letting us play with one of your photo’s. Hadn’t thought of Facebook, but now that you mention it….hehe.

  • Dimitris 2014-08-23

    Great stuff… I really enjoyed

    In my photo I tried to isolate the eyes, and just used the classic rule of phi for the crop and added some vignette and thats it if I can recall what I did.

    I like Scott’s very much because the general expresion is all about the yeys, but in the same time the whole picture is alive and balanced, I mean I get the expresion without a huge crop of picture, like in mine….

    For a larger crop, focused on racing, dramatic times, I ‘d choose the one from Gémesi Balázs, because it shows intense, movement, racing times…

    Also the one from Denver Aquino, I like very much because its like fine art, like a painting…

    So, hello, thats a greek land surveyor’s point of view. Ha!

  • Dimitris 2014-08-24

    I ve been thinking of it. In Scott’s pic, I think the huge difference is made from the skin tone

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