So I have been working on this image. I think from a compositional point of view, it is great. I really like it. From a technical point of view, though, it has all sorts of problems with long exposure noise coming from pushing the original image way too far. I can, of course, oversample the image and make the pixel dimensions much smaller...making a smaller print, and it will look fine. What I want, though, is to maximize the pixel-level quality to get the most out of it that I can.
Metadata: OM-D, 12mm f/2 lens, shot at ISO 400, 30 seconds, f/11.
I tried doing some manual dark frame subtraction using dark frames taken after I returned home, and it helped a little bit. I tried using Olympus's RAW software which was awful. I can't use that software abomination. This is processed with ACR and then opened in CS5 where I used neat image to reduce the noise a bit more. All further manipulation (and there is plenty) was done in CS5. After hearing in another thread about Capture 1 V7's single pixel noise reduction, I downloaded a demo and tried it out. I'm not sure I am getting much more out of it.
I think right now that the biggest problems are the noise in the sky, the hot pixels in the shadows, and the muddy edges on the silhouettes of the trees. (that's a lot, and I am being really critical, I know)
This is an exercise in maximizing goodness. I know that this image will never print wonderfully at 13x19, but I want to get it as good as it can be before I cry uncle.