I am running into an unusual sharpening issue. I have been working with an image and applying levels to compensate for an image with a histogram that has 20% empty on the left side so the darkest area is a gray. When I get the image looking natural I notice dark halos around areas that are almost pure white, primarily the water droplets. OK, fair enough. Did I oversharpen? I don't think so as so far I've only applied Capture Sharpening at 300%, 0.3 Radius, and 0 Amount. I've increased the contrast slightly but it shouldn't make that much difference. So I go back to the original SOOC JPG to see where I am picking up the black halos and I see them in the original.
Here is a pixel-peeping image of the original. What I am finding is that, because the issue is in the original, anything I do that would increase sharpness or contrast, seems to be also greatly exaggerate the problem.
What I think I need is a way to change all the black pixels to a gray that matches the right side of the histogram, then I can apply normal Level and contrast adjustments without increasing the black halos.
I tried several techniques in PS CS5, including Replace Color but I haven't yet hit upon the right technique to change just the darkest pixels to a little lighter without affective the look of the entire image.
Any suggestions would be most welcomed!