Last summer, an Ephraim sunset and 2 adirondack chairs gave me a gentle push into the world of HDR. This year, another Ephraim sunset and 2 different adirondack chairs raised a new question - Can you pull off an HDR image in Lightroom without any plug ins or 3rd party software?
The first step was establish a baseline for comparison. The above image is the composite of 5 frames shot +-1 EV apart and then run through the ever popular HDR Soft's Photomatix Pro with the default settings and no further adjustments.
The next step was to take 1 of those 5 exposures and see how close I could come to the above by processing it within Lightroom. The shot below (-1 EV) was the starting point.
Fill Light, the Graduated Filter, and/or the Adjustment Brush. Fill Light is still really a global adjustment so toss that one out.
As I have a fairly defined line delineating light from dark, I decided on the Graduated Filter - 2 of them in fact. The first I used to drive up the exposure of the foreground rocks, chairs and sidewalk. The second one focused on reducing the brightness of the sky. Here's the end result.
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