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As we transition from talking about Lightroom to talking about Photoshop, I'd like to discuss a feature that was an update to Lightroom 4.1, which actually involves both applications working together, and that's around HDR, or High Dynamic Range imaging. So, let me select these images, hit the Spacebar, and you can see what I have done here is I've bracketed these. These shots are underexposed to give me as much information as the highlights as possible, transitioning to even, and then eventually, overexposed, so that I can see all of the information in the shadows.
So, with those images selected, I'm going to right-click, and come down to Edit In > Merge to HDR Pro in Photoshop, because as of 4.1 Lightroom, can read 32-bit file. So, what I'm going to do is I am going to put these all together in Photoshop, and then I'm going to use Lightroom. So, let's do that, and what will happen is Photoshop will launch, it will align all of those files, it will align of the layers, and it will bounce me into Merge to HDR Pro. Okay. So, here I am in Merge to HDR Pro, and what's really important is, if you're greeted with this dialog, we don't want worry about any of these controls; all we want to do is yield a 32-bit file.
So, we should see this very simple dialog here. We see all of our bracketed exposures on the bottom, and I'm going to click Remove ghosts. You don't need to do this for all images, but certainly with as many as I have, it's a good idea. It's going to scan through all of those images, and remove anything that might be moving between them, so grass that's blowing, clouds that are moving; it's going to get rid of the ghosts. Now, I can see by this green outline down here at the bottom that it's mapping the content of that particular image, and that works well, because I like this guy with the New York cap; that's where I shot this.
But if I wanted to override that, I can click one of these other images down at the bottom there, and change which one I'm mapping the content in the image to. But let's go with the one that it originally recommended, and just to show you really quickly, by combining all those together, I have all of the highlight detail, and all of the shadow detail, and we're just going to click OK, or hit Return. Now we're here in Photoshop, and this step is really simple. All I do is hit Command+W to close it, and we're going to click Save. Now if we pop back over to Lightroom, we've got a new file here, and that's the 32-bit file.
Now, it doesn't look very different, but we see that it's HDR-Edit, and it's a TIFF, and Lightroom can read that 32-bit TIFF. These other ones here are JPEGs. I am going to double-click that file, and I can do all of the things I'm used to doing in the Develop module, but with all of that extra data. So, let's go to Develop, and you see that the Exposure slider gives me access to the full range of that file. So, I can back that down a little bit, I can further control my Highlights, I can boost my Shadows, and then let's say we want to throw in just a tiny bit of Clarity, and let's just stop there, and make that black and white.
I can yield a really neat black and white image using HDR. Normally, when we think about High Dynamic Range, we think of sort of candy colored, really excessive, saturated images, but it's really effective for high contrast black and whites, especially landscapes, and things with a wide dynamic range, so definitely give that a try. It's a really fun way of using both applications together.
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