Shooting RAW - Increasing Dynamic Range


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Tzuen

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Jul 29, 2004
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#1
We often don't have the luxury of shooting in the perfect light. Pictures taken in the early afternoon suffer from harsh light and stark shadows which limits what can be captured. This is when shooting in RAW proves to be most useful. In the example shown in fig 1, this was the image as shot out of the camera (ignore the composition). The building in the picture is exposured correctly and alot of shadow detail can be seen. However this leads to a overexposed and largely white sky.



fig 1​

With RAW, adjusting the exposure compensation in the RAW convertor, we can see that there is actually a rather nice sky recorded. See fig 2.



fig 2​

With RAW we don't have to settle for one or the other but can combine both "exposures" in PS to produce an image with increased dynamic range. First adjust the exposure compensation in RAW exposing for the buildings and save it in photoshop as 1 file and repeat this process saving another file exposed for the sky as seen in fig 1 and 2. Copy the background layer of fig 1 onto fig 2. Align the 2 images such that they line up. With the fig 1 layer selected, hit (Ctrl-Alt-Shift-~) to select the lighter parts of the image and hit DEL to remove it from the layer. Voila. Adjust the opacity of the fig1 layer to taste and we have something like fig 3. An image with shadow detail as well as more dynamic range.

I hope this was helpful.



fig 3​

*Note: This can be done with 2 exposures done in JPEG but unless you used a tripod when taking the pictures, its hard to get the exact same framing.
 

Tzuen

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Jul 29, 2004
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#4
Glad someone found it useful :)
 

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