You’ve probably been in this predicament. You are photographing a scene where the dynamic range between lights and darks exceeds your camera sensor. For instance, your scene includes a bright sunset sky and the landscape below in deep shadows. The normal solution is a graduated neutral density filter. However, this device doesn’t work if you are composing with an ultra wide lens.
In this free video, world renowned outdoor photographer Ian Plant tells you how to overcome this problem with simple image blending. To blend images in the editing software, you need to take several exposures. One is optimized for the highlights, making sure to avoid overexposure. Another includes all the shadow detail to avoid underexposure. A third exposure covers the mid-range data of your image. Ian shows how to blend images with his three static photographs of same scene, a National Park cave in the Patagonia region of South America.
The software program to blend images resides in Adobe Lightroom. It’s called Merge To HDR. With a few simple steps, it merges his three images and creates a single preview image. Lightroom then gives him the option of auto align and auto tone. Next, Deghosting will correct any errors in motion, for instance moving clouds or splashing waves. These final corrections create a single DNG format RAW image file from his three source files. To blend images for fine tuning the final HDR file, Ian goes into the Develop module where he uses the Tone tool to make minor adjustments such as contrast, whites, and blacks. The final result is Ian Plant’s beautiful South American scenic created by using Lightroom’s Merge To HDR to blend images together.