At the carnival the other morning, I found this "flag ladder" lying next to a white trailer. I propped it up against the trailer, noticed the strong shadow, and liked the shapes and colors.
Back in the lab, the deep black shadows my eyes saw turned out to be not-so-deep greyish-blue. The photo at left is about the best I could do by just setting the trailer to white point in the Levels control (I use Photoshop Elements 4, so I don't have access to curves.)
I still wanted to see what my eyes "saw", so I used the polygonal lasso tool to select the shadow areas and make them really black. While I was at it, I lassoed the colored parts of the ladder so as to bring up the white areas.
Here's what the end result looks like. Definitely more dramatic, but did I overdo it? (BTW, the jpg here shows some jaggies along the edges of the black shadow, but in the full-sized image, the edge is very clean.)
What do you think?