This image that I made in San Clemente (California) on a nice evening brought to my attention that the “Standard” version of CS3 does not have High Dyanamic Range (HDR) capabiltiy. For images that are high contrast such as this one, I had needed to buy the CS3 “Extended Version”. I missed that small detail when I purchased my upgrade and bought the Standard version.
Even though I had exposed this imge in RAW, I almost have to select which part of the image do I want to preserve, the foreground or the clouds and sky. It was the interesting cloud formation that was developing which is what stopped me here to make the image. I also like the road dropping down the hill as well, but it was the clouds which did it.
For this picture, I am still trying to pull out the visual effects that I want with just one image. Using ACR 4.1 I can easily save the shadows. But even the exposure that I chose that favored the sky, I had to really pull in the highlights to save the cloud detail that was getting blasted by the setting sun. The problem was, that as I saved the highlights, I was really packing a lot of image data into the histrogram of the shadows.
When I finished my ACR conversion, I could selectivly save some more of the highlights with the Black and White adjustment layer, working the yellow and red sliders and watching the resulting effects.
Then I added a curve adjustment layer to perserve the highlights and cloud detail while trying to save the foreground. The problem was that as I tried to tweak the shadow curve, if I used to much of an adjustment I was getting some minor posterization of the lower midtones, which did not look good at all.
It now appears that I am going to have to practice my extract selection for the bottom third of this image and add another adjustment layer to bring out some of the details to help balance this image. Looking at this image above, for me there is just not enough detail in the bottom third of the image.
I don’t usually have HDR images, more times than not, not enought dynamic range. So for me, the question is do I need to buy a HDR software or figure out the fixes with the CS3 Standard version.
Best regards, Doug