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Shadows look like black dirt

I get a lot of prints from my Stylus Photo 750 where shadows look like black dirt splotches instead of natural transitions from light to dark.  I'm experimenting to sort out all the variables and a lot of it certainly has to do with the scanner.  It is much worse from slide scans than from print or negative scans, yet it always looks worse in print than on the monitor, and I wonder how much of it has to do with icm profiles.  Typical examples are on people's hair.  I see blond hair with coal-black patches on it, whereas the same image printed by a photo lab shows natural looking shadows.  I'd like to hear from anyone else who's had to deal with this problem.

--Evan Anderson
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