The Right Tool
Soonmin Bae is a Ph.D. student at MIT and this week she published a new Siggraph Paper: "Two-Scale Tone Management for Photographic Look."
Analog purists may reel at the technical jargon, but in her paper Bae shows several interesting effects for B&W photographs (and some color ones) that she's discovered simply by examining come well-known classical "fine printing" photographs of the Ansel Adams variety and then reduces the general feeling of those effects to a set of functional algorithms.
The computer may not understand the "feeling" of a "fine arts" print, but Bae's results, to this viewer, seem to work pretty darned well associating texture and detail to contrast range corrections, in particular, seems perfectly sensible and maps perfectly to common darkroom techniques like dodging, burning, and split-contrast printing.
That, combined with Rob Fergus et al's "Removing Camera Shake from a Single Photograph," might raise the ire of plenty cheezy ULF shooters, used to dragging their heavy tripods up the sides of Yosemite like it was their own personal Golgotha. But for the rest of us, bon appetit.