Somebody ripped my picture


Camera: Sony A77ii - 1/125s, F/4.5, ISO 100, 120mm
Lens: Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD

Truth be told, I cannot blame anybody but myself. While it looks like somebody ripped my picture, the effect merely derives from a choice I made while shooting the scene, as I decided to underexpose my image by 3 full stops to avoid clipping the highlights in the sky. 

The part of the picture you do not see was neither ripped nor deleted. Rather, the lava rock of Capelinhos Volcano (Faial, Azores, Portugal) sucks light like crazy, to the extent that it appears almost completely black in my underexposed, backlit and only partially post-processed image.

Photographers know that the shadows in a picture are sometimes so dark that opening them up in post-production is equivalent to opening a noise-filled Vase of Pandora, with very little details. 

It is exactly what I expected with this photograph. However, much to my surprise, when I opened the shadows by 100% in Adobe Lightroom, I found out that my camera had actually captured a fair amount of details in the very dark part of the image.

Non-photographers would probably simply look at the picture and delete it right away. That is unfortunate! Nowadays, consumer and prosumer cameras are often just as capable as the so-called professional ones. Result? They will throw away potentially great shots just because they do not know how to edit them. 

Check the before and after below and feel free to use the slider. 

 
If you are a photographer, I am pretty sure you have been looking for strong halos in the 'After'. 
There aren't any, right? Pretty remarkable for such a high contrast scene!

To be honest, I actually did get some halos, but I fixed them in Photoshop using the absolutely best technique currently available for this purpose. I will write a post about it in the very near future.
 
This is the most extreme case of successful shadow recovery I stumbled upon so far and that's why I am sharing it with you.
To see my very best image of Capelinhos Volcano, click here.

Cheers,
Enrico
 
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