Down to the River, an HDR Sunset

I’ve been wanting to head down to the river for a few days with my camera/tripod/nexus 7 setup to do some HDR photography as the sun set. So, when the clouds broke yesterday afternoon I grabbed my gear and headed down to the river with a friend. The setup worked beautifully. I took two sets of exposures, each set with a different lens. The Sunset wasn’t the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, we were a bit early to get the best colors, but it’s a good demonstration of what I’ll be able to do later in the Summer. I think it’ll be a good seasonal project.

The evening only got more interesting when I returned home to begin the HDR merge. Upon launching Lightroom I was flagged with an available update to the application, one which included photo stacking right in the app. Previously, Lightroom handed stacking through photoshop, working with .tiff conversions of the RAW photos. With this update, HDR is handled all with the RAW images, and the result itself it RAW. It’s pretty cool.

At first glance, the options in the HDR merge seem underwhelming compared to the settings in the Photoshop dialog. Until, that is, you remember that this HDR merge is entirely RAW – there is no need for many development options in the actual merge dialog because all those details can be handled with Lightroom’s normal development settings. Like I said, it’s pretty cool.

The image below was taken with my 40mm prime lens, I have the ghosting correction 1 set to “medium,” because I like the end results on the water. To further develop the image I reduced the exposure slightly, increased contrast, raised the highlights and shadows significantly, and tweaked both the white and black levels. I warmed up the color temp just a tad to bring out what colors were present in the sky, but left the tint alone. All told, I’m pleased with the results.

An HDR sunset down by the river


  1. “Ghosting” is what happens when elements change between exposures, which ends up leaving semi-transparent “ghosts” in certain places of the stacked image. 

3 Comments

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  1. You use your camera and other devices like I use my paints and brushes .

    Sent from my iPad

  2. You may have missed the rainbow yesterday morning about 7:00 or few minutes after. Peg

    Sent from my iPad

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