Quick Digital Imaging Tip 12/101: RAW Rules, But HDR Rocks

Today is day 1 in Laos, but I took today's blog post image a few days ago in Thailand. More than a few bugs are crawling over my laptop's screen. Hot as heck, even at 8:05 AM.

This is #12 of 101 digital imaging tips I plan to post here over the next few months. Stay tuned.

Today's tip: RAW Rules, but HDR rocks when it comes to high-contrast scenes.

My workshops students know me as Rick "RAW Rules" Sammon – because I use Adobe Camera RAW as my main image-editing program.

Adobe Camera RAW is, indeed, a very powerful tool. Among other features, you can rescue areas of an image that are up to an f/stop overexposed by using Recovery and Curves. Plus, you can pull out detail from shadow areas using Exposure, and then pull out even more details by using the Shadow/Highlight control (among other adjustments) in Photoshop.

However, when you try to pull out too much detail from deep shadow areas, those areas can look very grainy. That's why when the contrast range in a scene is more than three stops, I recommend shooting a series HDR images.

I took three photographs and merged them together in Nik Software's HDR Efex Pro to create this image.

Camera info: Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 17-40mm lens.

It's getting hotter by the minute.

Explore the light,

P.S. Click here for discount on HDR Efex Pro and other plug-ins.