Hmm not exactly sure I was laughing!
I didnt expose for the highlights..yet the sky is exposed for? Ok....maybe I am missing something here!
I am not questioning expose to the right..in some situations its a good thing to do. However a histogram isnt life or death, many scenes do not display so called perfect hisograms.
Here is a jpeg example of increasing your DR with a shot.
All that was required was a lift in the shadow areas.
With a high dynamic range situation, I would never attempt to raise the quarter tones from a JPEG, because you are working with an 8 bit image, which has relatively few levels in the shadows and you may encounter posterization or poor tonal gradation. It would be much better to work with the full tonality of the camera, either in Camera Raw or from a 16 bit file in Photoshop. See this discussion on [a href=\"http://www.normankoren.com/digital_tonality.html]Norman Koren's [/url] site. As Bruce Fraser pointed out in his camera raw books, it is better to darken a digital image than lighten it. With darkening, you are taking data from an information rich area and transferring it, whereas with lightening you are taking data from an information poor area.
The overall shape of the histogram is not crucial, and it will reflect the distribution of tones in the scene. A high key subject will have values predominately on the right and the converse will be true for a low key scenes. The most important information in the histogram is at the two extremes, where the effects of highlight and shadow clipping will be apparent.
As you can see the DR or the scene was greater than I was able to capture..as I didnt have a ND grad... I had to adjust my exposure to suit, in this particular case, I did wish to keep the highlight areas. Had I done a normal exposure..they would have been washed out.
Unlike film, the digital sensor has no knee or shoulder and is linear throughout its range. If you place the highlights just short of clipping, they will have full tonality and will not be washed out or damaged in any way. If you do accidentally overexpose slightly, ACR's highlight recovery often will rescue the situation, but I do not recommend overexposure.
So expose to the right isnt always ideal for everything...
And I shouldn't have to say this to a fellow photographer, but there is no such thing as correct exposure..only the effect you want.
Thanks for your respect to a fellow photographer, but I submit that with a scene that occupies the full dynamic range of the camera, there is only one correct exposure: the exposure that does not clip either the highlights or shadows. If the dynamic range of the scene is greater than that of the camera, as indicated by clipped shadows and highlights on the histogram (assuming that it is accurate), then you can expose for the most important part of the image, highlights or shadows.
If the scene occupies less than the dynamic range of the camera, as indicated by free space at both extremes of the histogram, they you have some latitude. With negative film you would expose for the shadows. With raw digital, it is best to expose to the right. If this places the mid tones too far to the right, you can take care of this in ACR. If you expose to the left, and there is no clipping, you can also take care of this in PP, but you will lose tones and have excessive shadow noise.
That's is my opinion, but I see that we have Digidog and possibly some other heavys entering into the discussion, and it could get interesting.
BTW, I like your pictures