Shadows. What do they mean? Depends on your point of view & mood: darkness? melancholy? pessimism? Or do they point towards the light, leading the viewer´s eyes to the bright tones in your image, creating an impression of brightness, hope, and optimism? You decide! Use those shadows to manifest the existence of light. Want to learn more? Please read on to find out!
Difficult image, this one. Dynamic range clearly exceeds the latitude of the JPEG file, but I wanted the shadows to come in black as ink to strengthen the impression of moving into the light at the end of the corridor. That's why I usually use Fuji´s ACROS film simulation with shadow tone set to +3 (very hard). As some of youse may know I do nearly all my post processing on my iPad Pro on Lightroom CC mobile, using Fuji´s magic ACROS JPEG´s
However, when diving into the corresponding RAW file I can discover a couple more stops of dynamic range in the shadows by dialing down the shadow contrast. But I didn't wanna make ´em visible as this would've created too much of a HDR effect for my taste. But if y´all interested I could do a follow up post showing how that looks, please leave me a comment below if interested! ;-)
Also above image got a shadow tone of +3. Gives me solid black w/o detail between the doors for my trouble. But if I reduce the shadow contrast to 0 or -1 I get a too flat gradation in the door panels. The door panel shadows are too close to black making it difficult to get sufficient contrast separation, so I left the image as I´d originally taken it. Below image is much better balanced:
The table and chairs have a special glow to them, coz I usually use a medium soft highlight tone of -1 which gives me more tonality and flatter gradation in the lighter tones of the image. However you gotta watch it: Don't use -1 or lower highlight tones in images with predominantly lighter tones (eg. with a lot of sky) as the resulting contrast is too flat and you don't get no more pure white. For me the image below´s on the edge in that respect: Contrast in the floorboards and the wall is maybe a touch too flat:
The below image has a broad gradation from black over mid-tones in background to white, nicely bringing out the texture in the wall and the floor:
Summarizing my preferred ACROS settings are:
- ACROS-R (red filter) or ACROS-Y (yellow filter)
- Dynamic range on Auto or max. 200% (400% flattens gradation too much)
- Highlight tone -1 or 0, depending on the amount of light tones in the image
- Shadow tone +3 to deliver those punchy black shadows
- Noise reduction -3
- No additional grain (ACROS has an ISO dependent grain built in)
- Limit ISO to 1600 for architecture & landscapes to limit grain
Hope you enjoyed the read, please let me know your comments or questions below (or leave me a note on my about page), I will be most happy to answer them as soon as possible. Many thanks for visiting, best regards
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