Chris Peterson wrote:
geckzilla wrote:There's nothing that causes local contrast halos but the clarity slider, which may have another name in any other editing programs. I'm only aware of Adobe's Camera Raw.
Most sharpening algorithms produce contrast halos. Also, in an image like this that is likely to need its dynamic range adjusted, areas might have been masked, feathered, and individually adjusted (for instance, the Moon). This can also lead to that contrast effect you observe. Nothing wrong with any of that, of course, particularly if the intent was to produce an image that captures the visual impression of the event (which a simple camera image will not necessarily do).
In particular, having personally tried to capture similar scenes with subjects of varying brightnesses (in this case, the sky, the moon, and the ground), and post-processing them to get closer to the desired ratios, I suspect he ended up with an exposure that left the sky, and particularly ground, darker than desired, or than the human eye perceives them in relation to the moon. The human eye and mind simply have an amazing ability to adjust unconsciously for different brightness levels like this, so we perceive such scenes much differently than a camera does.
So he probably had to increase the brightness of the sky, which as a side-effect enhances visible noise, and left a slight dark halo around the moon where he or a Photoshop filter feathered the effect, and increase the brightness of the ground even more.
Then the foreground probably looked a little dull, because he expanded a relatively small part of the brightness range into a bigger range, so he would have done some local contrast enhancement (one of several types of HDR processes fundamentally similar to an unsharp mask) to make the foreground look more natural, which also resulted in a faint light halo around Castle Rock.
Lastly, he would have wanted to use noise reduction to try to make the noise less distracting, which tends to smear fine details and is evident as a sort of water color effect on the grass and rocks.
This is a tough image to take. If the moon is eclipsed at exactly the right time, the sky will be bright enough to complement the moon properly. However, the moonlight and diffused sky light together do not provide enough light for the ground, so it's still guaranteed to be dark.
Meanwhile, during a lunar eclipse, the sun is below the horizon, and even if it weren't, it would cast shadows that make the foreground look harsh, and filtered through the dust in the lower atmosphere, would add a sharply contrasting red hue to the ground.
So the photographer had to know what his ultimate goal was in getting the initial exposure in a range he could use, then put quite a bit of effort into post-processing the image to give us this final version. He arrived, in my opinion, at a very good representation of how we perceive the relative brightness and colors of these objects, even though it came at the cost of foreground details and a few processing artifacts.
"Any man whose errors take ten years to correct is quite a man." ~J. Robert Oppenheimer (speaking about Albert Einstein)