Digital Capture and Processing of High-Contrast Scenes

Many of the most dramatic landscape photographs are taken in high-contrast light, with sunrise or sunset light stabbing through the clouds and spotlighting a distant peak or sandstone tower, leaving the equally important foreground in deep shadow. Capturing a full range of tones in such high-contrast situations and reproducing them in a way our visual system considers natural has challenged landscape photographers ever since photography was invented nearly 200 years ago.

High-contrast scenes are difficult to photograph because of differences between our complex visual system and a camera’s sensor. Our eyes can see a huge range of light intensities from brightest highlight to darkest shadow. ...

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