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1

You want to get trim the flat or empty ends of the histogram or levels. There are many great videos and tutorials on it. Here's fixing the levels in photoshop on your photo from your post. You drag the pointers in to where there's more info than a flat line. You'll also need to restore saturation and contrast. I didn't do that to the example:


2

There are quite a few different ways to stretch the contrast of a low dynamic range image, all with slightly different tradeoffs in the actual effects (and side effects). One of the most common is what Photoshop calls "levels" - you essentially choose what levels in the histogram you want to call black, white, and a mid-gray. Here's a decent tutorial, based ...


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