There is one thing with new workflows, which remains mysterious to me, and pulling me back from ditching “the old ways”, i.e. White Balance and Base curve.
As much as I like the whole concept and overall colour rendering of CAT in Colour calibration module, I find it hard to use when dealing with not “safe” images, which contains overexposed areas.
Perhaps my comments below each picture will be more clear:
Modern combination of Filmic RGB, WB set to “Camera reference D65” and CAT16 “As shot in the camera”. Of course, not the best photo in the world, but clearly shows what happens to the bright lights, both natural at the very top and artificial on the bricks.
Here the only thing changed is going from CAT to the old White balance “As shot”.
Surely blown highlights are still blown, but I’d say in a much nicer way - more smooth and not suddenly cyan
Combining Base curve with CAT gives quite acceptable (to me) transitions between non- and over- exposured, but somehow brightens the image, taking away all the details from the top-center pillars.
Finally, my safest and most robust combination since darktable 2.4 - White balance and Base curve.
Sadly, colours tend to be yellowish compared to nice CAT rendering, however, that setup is more gentle in terms of smoothing transitions from clipped and non clipped areas, not introducing cyan in highlights and showing more details in those extreme areas.
So those are my edits in JPGs and below is the RAW published as Creative Commons, By-Attribution, Share-Alike as well as recipe for the “worst-case scenario”.
After talking with my friend about DXO Pure RAW, in the evening I remembered about my old free license for DXO Optics Pro and its ability to apply PRIME denoising and export as linear DNG.
So if anybody likes to experiment - enjoy