Following up on some more add-ins for Aftershot, I reloaded the 64-bit version of Bez, a neat tool for managing tonality and this new version is smooth and fast. Bez (which comes from its use of Bezier Curves) was originial develop for Bible to bring in Lightroom like tonal controls. I like the 5 tone narrow curves that mimic the basic brightness controls in recent versions of lightroom. You get separate sliders for Shadows(Blacks), Low Midtones(Dark Grays), Grey (aka Mid Gray), High Midtones (Light Grays) & Highlights (Whites). It also incorporated an opacity slider, useful to reduced the effect of the filter itself. It definitely enhances Aftershot tonal controls.
The other add-in of interest when considering tonality is Zone. It is a new, well I haven’t noticed it before, and it simply lets you see the Zones (from dark to light) as used by Ansel Adams in his Zone System. When you active the Preview Zone Systems by tick the radio button, the photo you are working on becomes black & white and the hightlight a zone slider is activated. Sliding the the zone changes from 0 (the darkest) up to 10 (the lightest). Each zone is highlighted in a dull yellow as you step through the zones.
The magic happens if you see that one zone overpowers the image (in this case the shadows are very dark and lack detail and represent a large portion of the image) so you can then adjust the appropriate bez sliders. I prefer the 5 tone sliders at the base of the Bez panel. Remember each of the 5 tone sliders crosses two zones in the zone system.
It is also very important to turn zone off, once you are happy with the tonal balance, So that the final photo is correctly rendered (in colour).
There is no HDR technique here, although I am capturing a AdobeRGB colour image (thus high bit colour). All I have done is looked at the 10 zones of Ansel Adams system and made sure I have balanced the tones in each zone. It this case it has bought detail into the shadows and midtones, at the same time this lifts the apparent intensity of the green foliage.