Jun 232013


When taking landscape photos I have found that taking 3 photos of the same scene and combining them into one gives me more leeway in how I can optimize the image. The trick is to take one normal image and then a second that is two steps too dark and a third that is two steps too bright. When all three images are combined into one, detail can be pulled out of the shadows and highlights that normally, with one shot, would be unavailable.

To combine the shots I use Photomatix. Mostly because Trey Ratcliff uses it and I hope to be half as good as he is some day. The combined image can be processed as HDR, High Dynamic Range, using a process called tone-mapping which tweaks the colors or as a regular image back in Lightroom.

For this image, taken on a hike above Harris Park outside Milton Freewater, I chose to use HDR because it pulled the colors out of the rocks. If I had to do it over again, I would have bumped all the photos one stop darker so I could get more detail from the clouds. I allowed the camera to set the exposure while pointing at the dark rocks so baseline photo was underexposed. If I had been paying attention (we were just out for a fun hike) I would have set the exposure one step darker.

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