Split Rock, Joshua Tree National Park
Cambo Legend 4x5, Better Light Super-6K, 8000x6000x14-bit colour, single capture (approx. 300MB). The original has extreme contrast -- the sun was directly behind the rock, just before sunset. Processed as follows:
1. Synthetic HDR plugin, 3% amount, strong noise reduction.
2. Changed to 32-bit mode.
3. Changed back to 16-bit mode with local adaptation, 1 pixel radius, gamma at maximum, curves unaltered from default (i.e. linear)
4. Created levels and curves layers, tweaked until it looked somewhere close
5. Created a colour balance layer, tweaked to remove a slight blue cast
6. Created a second curves layer, tweaked to darken the sky slightly. Hand-painted mask, then blurred mask with a 250 pixel Gaussian blur filter.
7. Did mild sharpening with Smart Sharpen (it didn't need much)
8. Duplicated the image layer, applied a 150 pixel Gaussian blur, then set the layer to affect colour only. Created a mask, inverted it, then painted over areas of the plants that had motion artifacts due to fairly strong wind.
9. Crop, copy, downsize for web use, slight unsharp mask to help compensate for the (huge) size reduction.
What looks like it might be noise in the rock surface areas isn't -- it's actually the grain of the rock itself. Downsizing the image for posting here meant reducing both dimensions by roughly 10:1, which is a 100:1 reduction in information, so at this size, if you can see it, it was there.