Learning with darktable

Hello everyone,

with my first post here I ask for some advice, as a beginner to photography and to darktable.
I’m probably not alone from going insane by going back and forth between different versions of edits because of liking some aspects and disliking others.

With this image I’m not really asking for critique or feedback about the creative part of the image, but more about the technical aspects and editing.

Which one do you personally like more? Any advice, tips or feedback? I would also love to see other edits of this to get some insight aswell. Thanks in advance!
20220925_0713.ORF (17.8 MB)
Version 1:

Version 2:

This file is licensed Creative Commons, By-Attribution, Share-Alike.

20220925_0713_01.ORF.xmp (12.7 KB)
20220925_0713.ORF.xmp (21.1 KB)


Hi @Rykzon, and welcome!

Nice camera+lens combination you have :slight_smile:
There are about 473,521 ways to develop an image.
Which one is right? The one you like, of course.

Here is my swift interpretation…

Have fun!
Claes in Lund, Sweden


Rawtherapee 5.8 + Gimp 2.10.30

1 Like

given this is a play raw maybe also add your xmp file.

My version DT 3.8 Personally I don’t think images like this need much editing as my preference is to 99% natural looking vs say if I was there at sunset/sunrise or some storm cloud coming in and you want a way more dramatic look I’d then just bracket and make a HDR.

Re-edited a little as after upload looking at it, it needed a little more exposure increase.

20220925_0713.ORF.xmp (13.6 KB)


Visually I think I like the warmer one…

Thanks for sharing this lovely photo. With your edits I preferred the second one because it looked sharper.

Here is my edit. I used the tested both filmic and sigmoid module and chose the Sigmoid module for simplicity in getting the initial look I liked. I used both shadow and highlights and tone equalizer modules to brighten the shadows. I use local contrast module, two instances of diffuse or sharpen modules to bring out the details.

EDIT: There was some discussion that my version was too dark. Thanks for the feedback. For tonight’s post I just believe I preferred a darker image than everyone else. The posts by the OP were too light in my opinion when viewed on my calibrated desktop monitor and even lighter when viewed on my out of the factory Windows Laptop. So for this image it may just be a bad artistic choice on my part to have posted such a gloomy version. The first image posted here had exposure set to the default 0.7 EV that DT does. The second one posted here I have just increased the exposure to 1.438EV.

20220925_0713.ORF.xmp (15.5 KB)

1 Like

I still need to calibrate my screen… your edit has me wondering how badly I might need to … if you review the edits above yours in this post, is yours much darker?? In the browser (CHrome) it is for me. If not then for sure I need to… if yes and its your call on the edit all good… For me the ones above are a little brighter and capture the nice light coming in from the left…

Welcome @Rykzon

My version…

20220925_0713.ORF.xmp (17.8 KB)


Thanks for feedback. The posted image is so different from my screen during editing. Something is being lost in Translation and i need to work it out. Advice from knowledgeable people appreciated.

20220925_0713.ORF.xmp (10.0 KB)

Tried to keep it “natural”.


I think there is discussion on this somewhere about setting high quality reprocessing to no vs yes… I recall maybe @kofa mentioning it or being part of the discussion and he is quite knowledgeable. In any even for me setting it to no is a closer match for what I see on the screen. Setting it to yes is at least for this image and I should check others… but it comes out darker.

There could of course be some other source if you see this consistently and as I said my monitor is not calibrated so I am not a good person to judge…

And I am playing around with this at the moment and don’t fully have my head wrapped around it…

Thanks everyone so far, nice edits :slight_smile:
Thanks! Wouldn’t have thought of something like that, but fits really nice, definetely need to learn to get more creative/brave with more “unatural” or artistic edits when it fits.


Thanks for posting
darktable 4.2.1

20220925_0713_01.ORF.xmp (20.0 KB)

1 Like

My answer to your question is that I like the first one.

Nice picture, too.

Are you, by any chance, editing in a quite dark space and / or a bright screen?

The default pixls.us theme has a white background. That is a considerably different surround compared to darktable’s dark theme which is the surround you edit in.

Just try switching the pixls.us theme to dark (under Preferences → Interface). I think you’ll be surprised. One must not underestimate the perceptual effect caused by the change of the surround.

There may be something else in play too, but generally having the editing conditions in check is the first step and goes a long way (also for printing!). For one, I’ve fallen for this many times, editing in the dark late at night.


Maybe see if you can see the steps between black/white in this: Photo Friday: Monitor Calibration Tool

If not, then try using this to adjust

1 Like

I thought this photo would be simpler to edit than it turned out to be, but it came out pretty good. But I make no claims to expertise.

20220925_0713.ORF.xmp (9.0 KB)


20220925_0713.ORF.xmp (16.6 KB)

I just opened your sidecar just to see how you developed the rock face… the sidecar was a bit off and then I noticed that you used a LUT… maybe share it if you can ie if its free :slight_smile: and so that we can see what it actually contributes …