I signed up with 23HQ so I could share photos with the good folks at MeetTheGimp.org for critique & help.
When I acquired a fish-eye lens, a number of the good folks offered help. Monoceros and Kevin were very helpful
in helping me to understand the value of wide-angle shots. They gave me some good advice, which was very much
like the advice given here:
[Hint for EdKiefer: both Bob Atkins and Ken Rockwell offer good set-up guides for most cameras]
I especially like this quote: "Ultrawide lenses are the most difficult lenses to use well." Fish-eyes are ultrawide.
So I was very happy that Rolf did an episode on fish-eyes, it's nice to see how other people approach them.
Along the way I have come to appreciate the community here at 23HQ as well, and find ideas & inspiration here.
I have a long background in information technology, meaning I like software where I can examine the actual code,
which is why I use Open-Source software for processing my images. Having never used much of anything else, I
do not know whether or not it is better than proprietary software. But many people seem to think there are a
number of very good tools in the Open-Source world. GreyCStoration (noise removal) and its successor G'Mic
are very possibly the best of the bunch - some would even say better than Noise Ninja (don't know / can't say).
I have gathered a number of excellent GIMP plug-ins & scripts long the way, which I used to process this very
interesting (and very 'green') picture by Rolf. Most of my favourite GIMP tools were written by Ray Adagio
(follow the links at http://rayadagio.de) and my workflow here used his 'CA correction with Hugin' and also
'straighten & crop' plug-ins (fish-eyes show lots of CA, and who doesn't need to rotate a picture occasionally?).
After that I used the colour curve I extracted (with a great script by elsamuko) from Rolf's XCF (GIMP-format)
project file, followed by Noise Reduction (first version), and finally sharpening. The picture seemed fairly sharp
(composing with a fish-eye is tricky, normal procedure seems to be to tape the aperture and focal distance, and
then compose solely by looking at the edges. They don't seem to have a focal plane as such [although they have
lots of Chromatic Aberration]. You are never entirely sure what the final picture will look like until you see it).
However, I decided the noisy version looked better and that over-sharpening (so amplifying the noise) just gave
the picture more atmosphere. So the noisy version is sharpened more strongly than the Noise-Reduced version.
You can seem more of Rolf's pictures here: http://www.23hq.com/rstein