HDR or Adjustment’s in Camera Raw – Which is it?

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Starting with the above set of images (which were also used in my previous article), look at the following images and see if you can find the HDR image?



If you guessed the first one was the HDR image, you are wrong.  The first image was tweaked with a few Adjustment Levels in Camera Raw.

Adjustment Levels in Camera Raw


I have covered Camera Raw before.  The detail in original image was very good, so was the exposure and saturation.  But, the sky was too pale and some of the trees were a little flat.  In Camera Raw, I just added two Adjustment Levels – one for the sky and another for the trees.  The final image looks great!

HDR in Photomatix



I planned on using this photo series for HDR, and tried both Tone Mapping and Exposure Fusion methods in Photomatix did not produce the best results.  Sometimes, when you plan on HDR, there is a better solution.


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3 Replies to “HDR or Adjustment’s in Camera Raw – Which is it?”

  1. I guessed wrong. I think you did a great job of showing how truly powerful Camera RAW is. Sometimes we forget that not every “new” software or technology is the best application for our specific needs.

  2. I’ve been talking to (and showing) friends images that they swear are HDR that have only been saturated using either Lightroom, ACR or Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layers in PS. With the proper use of maximizing saturation one can get HDR like effects. Nice post. Glad to see someone seeing that sometimes HDR isn’t the only way to crank up an image.

  3. Thanks for the comments!

    Many times HDR is pushed to far. My favorite program to boost color and restore detail is LightZone. If LightZone supported the 7D Raw Files, I would have included it in the post.

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