Darktable Tricks & Tips: Getting creative with Shadows & Highlights

Using Darktable isn’t just about getting all your images technically correct. There’s plenty of room for creativity if you explore the outer edges of module settings, use masks, apply blending effects, create HDR’s and more. Here’s an example using one of my favorite modules, Shadows & Highlights with a little extra help from Contrast/Brightness/Saturation.

Taken at Arches, this is the image as it came out of the camera. Not awfull, but not great either. The sky is really blown out. :/

Unprocessed image.

Unprocessed image.

With the application of modules as described in DMV Darktable Modules Visited, an all-around good image appears although the sky is still a bit hot. Shadows & Highlights did the most to make this a better image, recovering a lot of lost detail while still maintaining a reasonably realistic image. I could have recovered even more detail had I shot in RAW mode. Ideally this would have been a good scene to do a three or five exposure HDR.

Corrected Image.

Corrected Image.

And finally, getting creative with the contrast/brightness/saturation module and the Shadows & Highlights module, we can arrive at a rather surreal looking image suitable for your next album cover. 🙂 At your disposal is a nearly infinite combination of modules and settings plus all the blending modes you’d find in Photoshop or Gimp.

Photo by Kenn Ranous

Reduced saturation and brightness on highlights (sky) and boosted saturation on shadows (under the arch) creates a surreal effect.

Kenn Ranous

Boosted saturation on shadows & highlights and reduced brightness on highlights.


Thanks for l00kin!


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