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The second of the two photographs is out of camera. I under exposed the photos by accident. Such is the flexibility of Lightroom that with ample applications of exposure and contrast one can get the kind of result you see in the first photo. It is a case where I should have taken different exposures, one for the crow and one for the background and melded the two. P.S. I think the bird is giving me the finger, so maybe this shot was cursed from the start.
Exposure compensation is a tool on a camera to fool the camera’s light meter to over or under expose. Under exposure helps get rid of blown out bits in your scene, where there is no detail only white. Under exposure helps because your camera is trying to measure 18% grey, and wedding gowns, snow etc go grey or blue unless significantly under exposed (e.g. minus 2). The idea is that as one gets more practiced we use test shots to get a general sense of the exposure and set exposure compensation to adjust as we go along. Exposure compensation is usually set at smaller increments than is possible by changing any other variable, aperture, ISO, and shutter speed. It’s something that I use all the time, and have to be careful to readjust it back after shooting in challenging situations.