Seán Duggan: Image Interpretation – Into Darkness
May 2013 28

As photographers, preserving detail in the shadows is a goal that we often go to great lengths to achieve, both through good exposure practices and post-processing. Preserving, and in some cases, enhancing, detail in the darkest shadows may be important for some shots, but it’s not a rule that needs to be applied to every photograph. One thing that causes some HDR images to look so unconvincing is the improbable level of detail that is visible in the darkest areas, even in scenes that are obviously backlit or photographed looking directly into the sun. Just because you can show detail in the darkest parts of the scene, doesn’t mean that it adds anything worthwhile to the image. Indeed, there is much that can be gained in terms of dramatic impact, mystery and depth by purposefully pushing the image into the darker realms of the tonal scale.

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