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Monday, January 5, 2015

High Contrast Photography

A great article by Outdoor Photographer:

High-contrast scenes always have been difficult to process, but Adobe made this task considerably easier with the Process Version tools in Lightroom 4 and 5. Thanks to revamped underlying algorithms, we now have powerful new Highlights and Shadows tools for handling high-contrast scenes without resorting to HDR or blending exposures in Photoshop. In this excerpt from my ebook Landscapes in Lightroom 5, I take you step-by-step through processing a high-contrast image in Lightroom, showing how these new tools can make this once difficult job relatively easy.

How would you process this image? What would you try to convey? Take a minute to evaluate this unprocessed Raw file and think about what direction you might take (Fig. A).

An early November snowstorm dropped five inches of snow on Yosemite Valley, coating colorful autumn trees with white. The skies started to clear just after sunrise, so I headed to a familiar spot along the banks of the Merced River with a great view of El Capitan. I kept switching from vertical to horizontal framing, and from tighter to wider views as the light and clouds shifted. This is one of the wider vertical images, with a great combination of sunlight and clouds.

I want the final photograph to convey the drama and majesty of this classic Yosemite scene. That will require darkening the top half of the image, where some of the sunlit areas are on the verge of being washed out, and lightening the murky reflection. But although I want to compress the overall tonality, I don't want to flatten the image too much. It needs to have local contrast within the top half of the frame as well as the bottom half. Luckily, the Highlights and Shadows tools in Lightroom's 2012 process do a wonderful job of balancing high-contrast scenes without flattening local contrast.

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE: http://www.outdoorphotographer.com/how-to/shooting/harness-high-contrast.html#.VKrY3YrF-lJ
High Contrast Photography
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