Taeger Enhancement

This enhancement method was sent to me by Bernd Taeger over at Sony Talk Forum. I don't know if he developed this method himself, but I'll name it after him anyway. As you'll see, this enhancement produces some pretty dramatic results.
Steps in Photoshop
  1. Download and install the Adaptive Equalization plug-in
  2. Convert the image to grayscale using any method you like.
  3. Flatten the image to background.
  4. Duplicate the Background layer. Call this new layer "Layer 1"
  5. Click on Layer 1
  6. Hit Ctrl-I (Command-I) to invert Layer 1
  7. Hit Ctrl-Alt-~ (Command-Option-~) to select the negative highlights (positive shadows)
  8. Click on "Apply Vector Mask" icon to apply selection to Layer 1 MASK.
  9. Click on Thumbnail for Layer 1
  10. Hit Ctrl-I (Command-I) again to un-invert Layer 1
  11. Set the blend mode for Layer 1 to "Color dodge". Set opacity to 50%
  12. Duplicate Layer 1. Call this new layer "Layer 2"
  13. Click on the MASK Thumbnail for Layer 2.
  14. Hit Ctrl-I (Command-I) to invert the MASK for Layer 2.
  15. Set the blend mode for Layer 2 to "Color burn". Set the opacity to 70%
  16. Hit Ctrl-Alt-Shift-E (Command-Option-Shift-E) to apply all previous layers to a new composite layer. Call this new layer "Layer 3"
  17. Select Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp mask...
  18. Set Amount: 81%, Radius: 27 pixels, Threshold: 0 levels.
  19. Set blend mode for Layer 3 to "Normal" and opacity to 80%.
  20. Duplicate Layer 3. Call this new layer "Layer 4"
  21. Select Filter > IP*Process > Adaptive equalization...
  22. Set values to 0, 0, 0, 120%
  23. Set blend mode to "Overlay". Set opacity to 25%

Sample photograph (click on photo for full size):

Converted with gradient map:

With Taeger enhancement:

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