Egypt edited...

My brother in law wanted to have a nice holiday at the beginning of this year. So he and his wife decided to visit Egypt and the pyramids. Apparently they had a blast. From the pictures that he sent to me one struck me with a little cry for help. I asked his permission if I could play around with it, and showcase it on my blog, and he agreed.Here is his picture.

Sphinx - Original

Immediately I identified what i didn't like about it. First the sky is not really blue, it's grey. Secondly it needed straightening, and then all the little distractions removed, like the scaffolding by the Sphinx. I was debating if I should remove the fence and the people on the left of the Sphinx. Since I was removing the scaffolding then people should be gone as well. All the decisions made, I set out to work. First before applying any effect to the photo, I started cloning things out. The scaffolding was fairly easy, but the fence proved to be a little more challenging. Eventually I cloned some of the rock that's in front of the Sphinx and covered the people there. Once all the cloning was done i turn on my effect tool box. This consist primarely of levels, selective color, and absolutely fabulous NIK's Sharpener Pro, and NIK's Color Efex Pro. I am very much a beginner at photoshop, so any help I can from external filters is welcomed. Nik's filters came highly recommended, and after using them for few months, I'm not surprised.
First clean edit:

Sphinx - First Edit

Already I was seeing some improvement, but still something was missing. Then I understood. Depth of field. The pyramid is not on the same plane as the Sphinx, neither is the rock in front. These parts need to be slightly out of focus. So selected the pyramid and applied Gaussian blur to it. Also selected the rocks and did the same blur, but with less intensity. This is what came out of it.

Sphinx - Final

Here some other effects I thought might work with the finished image.

Sphinx - Old Style

Sphinx - B&W