Head for the hills
Chris Rutter shows how you can get HDR landscapes by shooting and combining images
Use HDR techniques to capture landscapes and skies with more than one exposure and then blend them together later
When you shoot landscapes where the sky is much brighter than the foreground, the level of contrast makes it impossible to keep detail in both areas. The traditional way to keep detail in both would be to use a graduated neutral density filter, but if you don’t have these there are alternative solutions.
One way to capture detail in all areas is to shoot three images, one exposed for the shadows, one for the mid-tones and one for the highlights, and combine them together in special software. This is known as high dynamic range (HDR) imaging, and it’s a great way to capture more highlight and shadow detail. However, it can be easy to over-cook the adjustments available in HDR software, producing garish, unrealistic results.
There is a simple alternative technique that you can use for many scenes, which avoids many of the pitfalls of conventional HDR imaging.
It can be easy to over-cook the adjustments available in HDR software, producing garish, unrealistic results… There is an alternative technique that you can use for many scenes
You simply take at least two images, one exposed correctly for the sky and another exposed correctly for the foreground. You then combine them using a Layer Mask in Photoshop or Elements, revealing the correctly exposed parts of both photographs.