STEP BY STEP

Get cre­ative with dy­namic range

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

1 Merge to HDR

Start by se­lect­ing all the source images in Bridge, then right-click any one of them and choose Open in Cam­era Raw from the menu. They’ll be dis­played in the film­strip panel down the left side of the Cam­era Raw win­dow – use the menu to Se­lect All and then Merge to HDR…

3 Boost flat skies

Cam­era Raw will merge the sep­a­rate shots into a sin­gle DNG file, ready for edit­ing, and this is where you can re­ally en­hance the re­sults. For ex­am­ple, although it’s not specif­i­cally de­signed for skies, the De­haze tool gives our flat-look­ing sky a more dra­matic, stormy look.

5 Add some clar­ity

Some­times you can com­press a wide bright­ness range in an HDR shot so much that it loses con­trast and looks ‘flat’. If so, try giv­ing the Clar­ity slider a hefty boost. This in­creases the lo­cal­ized con­trast in the pic­ture, mak­ing ob­jects and out­lines stand out much more clearly.

2 Pre­view the com­pos­ite

Cam­era Raw will merge the images and show a com­pos­ite pre­view in this win­dow. You can leave the Align Images and Auto Tone boxes checked. The Deghost op­tion is there if you have move­ment be­tween frames. If you turn it on, you’ll see ‘ghosted’ ar­eas show in the pic­ture.

4 Ex­ploit High­lights and Shad­ows

The ad­van­tage of us­ing Cam­era Raw for HDR is that you use its reg­u­lar ad­just­ment tools to im­prove your pic­ture, rather than hav­ing to mas­ter be­spoke and com­plex HDR tools. Here, we’ve jug­gled the Ex­po­sure, High­lights and Shad­ows slid­ers to get the max­i­mum tonal range.

6 Darken the sky

If the sky is still a lit­tle too bright, use the Grad­u­ated Fil­ter tool to darken it down – the DNG file al­most cer­tainly has high­light de­tail in re­serve that you can bring out. We’ve fin­ished off with the fil­ter’s Brush tool to erase the ef­fect on the church tower where it juts up into the sky.

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