HDR editing in Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom

Started Oct 17, 2012 | Discussions thread
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tom60634 Senior Member • Posts: 2,130
HDR editing in Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom

Something new to me that may also be new and of interest to the forum members.

Awhile back I remember reading about Camera Raw's additional ability to process 32 bit files and therefore be able to edit HDR Pro files. My camera,at the time, would only shoot .3EV difference per burst and wasn't a good candidate for HDR, I would have to always have a tripod with me to get the necessary minimum 1EV difference between exposures. I recently purchased a new camera that allows me the 1EV difference between in a 5 shot (or 3) sequence. So I decided to give Camera Raw a shot as an HDR editor.

It seemed to work and nicely at that.

Certain advantages became apparent, the first being that I find the Photomatix, HDR pro and other editors controls fiddly and not intuitive. Using Camera Raw/Lightroom allows you to use familiar tools and workflows, making the edits smooth and quick. The big difference is that you are working with a file that has 2 to 4 stops more dynamic range to manipulate.

The other advantage, at least to me, is that the result is a very natural looking final photograph, relatively noise free and not obviously over done. In the photo that I've attached please note the lack of the angry cloud syndrome, where all clouds become dark and ominous.

Normally this early AM shot would have a street level that would appear more cave like with most detail buried in an almost totally black shadow or if exposed for shadow detail the mid tones and highlights would be burnt out.

I shot a 5 burst exposure with a difference of 1 EV between exposures. I chose the -1,0 and +1 shots and loaded them into HDR Pro. I then set Camera Raw to open Tiffs. I saved the HDR Pro file  as a 32 bit tiff file. I then opened the tiff file in Camera Raw and edited as a normal file, switched the file to Photoshop for resizing and sharpening.

I find the result relatively nosie free and natural looking plus without one moment of studying new techniques and work flows.

Camera Raw 32 bit HDR edit

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Olympus OM-D E-M5
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