I posted the top version some time ago. And I took a print of it to my Critique Group. To a person, they felt that I needed to create some separation between the foreground rock (which was the subject of the photograph) and North Seal Rock in the background. I think that this would have been best done in camera by moving to the right a bit. Having said that, I went to work in editing software. Adaptive Exposure(Adjust 5) helped significantly, but I decided to do more. I played a lot inside of Topaz Studio and Luminar. For the final touch, I applied an Orton look in Studio. The result is the bottom photograph.
A post was split to a new topic: Beta use from “The Value of Critique”
Nice result and the contrast in the background works well.
That has differently added more separation.
I like your photo very much and it is a very interesting discussion. I like how you got a nice depth of field that had the background rock and birds in focus, but if separtion is very important, then another thing you could do is to blur the background
I think the second version is better because it has a little more subtle processing appearance.