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The Low Light Photography Field Guide by Michael Freeman

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Revealing Shadows

As with highlight recovery, if your exposure has been made for the midtones, as is usual, there will often be a need to lighten the shadows in a high-contrast image.

As just explained, dense shadows are perceptually more acceptable than washed-out highlights. At the same time, there is usually more that can be recovered, as there are usually some photons of light that have entered even the darkest photosite on the sensor. Practically, this means that it is usually easier in most images to pull more detail out of shadows than out of highlights. There is an important limitation, however, which is that the most noise is in the shadow areas, and any enhancement of shadow detail will exaggerate this noise. In the darkest areas, the ...

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