Hi All - A couple of recent posts by Susan reawakened my interest in the Orton Effect, the most well described of the class of effects whereby a blurred version of an image is blended with the original, normally via Multiply mode, to give a diffuse, ethereal or dreamy look to the image. The effect can be used on the whole image or, as in this case, used to "enhance" areas that may be difficult to select and treat by other means.
The first shot below is the central image from a set of three at 0, and +/- 2 stops. This set has been processed with the HDR software package Picturenaut 3.0 and tone-mapped with a bilateral TMO to give, after a bit of tweaking, the second image.
The tweaking involved using The GIMP to set the general tone of the image to about 128 via Levels and Curves, and then modest sharpening with The Gimp's wavelet sharpen tool. At this point the result is not too bad from a technical point of view. The third image shows the result of the full Orton treatment.
To my mind and for my purposes, this is not what I want in the final image. It seems a bit over-the-top. The fourth shot shows the result of selecting, via saturation, areas associated with the reflections in the water. The selected regions have then been processed via the Orton technique to produce a diffuse, slightly dreamy, layer that is simply blended via the Normal mode with the original.
As the immediate result now gave slightly too much emphasis to the reflections, I reduced the opacity of the "Orton Layer" to about 50% before final blending. In effect, the "Orton Layer" has acted as a positive mask on the original tone-mapped image.
A full sequence of 6 images showing all the stages can be found at
Comments and crits welcome as usual.
Having posted and read this through, the two key images are 2 and 4 above. The differences are subtle, but they are there.