On a recent trip to Costa Rica, I set out to capture a great waterfall image.  The problem is that no one exposure would do the job.  I could capture the sky, and the trees were muddy.  If I captured the trees, the sky blew out.


The Solution

Solving this problem was pretty easy.  It was a combination of production and post.

  1. I put the camera on my tripod and attached a remote to minimize vibration. These are “should do” and not “must do” steps.  Photomatix is very forgiving here with alignment options.
  2. I set the camera to ƒ/22 to get a LONG exposure (smooth water and smooth clouds plus great depth of field).
  3. I chose  Exposure bracketing.  I captured seven exposures that showed the full range of the scene.

HDR Brackets

I then took the image into post.  With a quick trip through Photomatix Pro, I merged them together, solved the ghosting issues, and gave a great end result. The image I created is a 16-bit TIFF file that I can open up in Photoshop or Lightroom and apply additional options like Lens Correction or selective adjustments.

Here’s how I did it.

Disclaimer: This is just one way to achieve this kind of shot.


This Post Sponsored by:

lynda.com Learn photography anytime, anywhere, and at your own pace—from bite-sized tutorials to comprehensive courses. Try lynda.com free for 10 days by visiting lynda.com/ Photofocus.

Mosaic A complete solution for photographers using Lightroom who want to manage and share their photos. You can easily view images with their iOS app or web service. Plus your photos are backed up to the cloud with several plans to match your needs.

The HDR Learning Center Check out new ways to use High Dynamic Range photography to make compelling images. Free tutorials and posts to get results. Produced in partnership with HDR Soft.

500px Join the world’s premier photo community. 500px lets you discover, share, buy and sell inspiring photographs.

Drobo Not only is Drobo 5D fast, but it’s easy-to-use, expandable, flexible, and protected.

The Topaz Labs Image Enhancement bundle. Open up a world of creative possibilities with a seamless, integrated workflow. You don’t need to be a Photoshop wizard to look like one. Click here and use the code photofocus to get a 15% discount.

Let us know your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

About Richard Harrington

Richard Harrington is the founder of RHED Pixel, a visual communications company based in Washington, D.C. He is the Publisher of Photofocus and Creative Cloud User as well as an author on Lynda.com. Rich has authored several books including From Still to Motion, Understanding Photoshop, Professional Web Video, and Creating DSLR Video.


HDR, Landscape, Software


, ,