Manual Blending Workflow

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Take a look at the workflow I used to process this photograph from Eagle Creek in Oregon.

Raw Image

Raw Image + iHDR Highlight Blend

Take a look at the RAW image above on the left – the trees look just right, but there are some blown highlights in the water. This is a typical problem when shooting water. The solution is simple. I process the same image again – this time for the highlights in the water. I blend the two images using layers and masks in Photoshop. The result looks like the image on the right. Both the trees and the water are properly exposed, and we can see details in highlights as well as shadows.

The next step is to make some minor adjustments to restore contrast in the image. I use a stylus to draw selections with my Wacom graphics tablet and create masks to make adjustments that are targeted to specific areas. A little bit more contrast at the river’s edge, some softer contrast in the water… and so on. The image below shows the layers and masks I used to make those adjustments.

Raw Image + iHDR Highlight Blend + Targeted Adjustment

About Author Jay Patel

I could startoff like this – “Seeds of Jay Patel’s appreciation for beautiful places were planted early in his childhood….” but it would get boring really fast. I will just sum it up and say that I am a Landscape and Wilderness Photographer who loves to capture dramatic light. My photographs have been published in various magazines, calendars and advertising materials throughout the world.
Patience is a virtue...unless you are chasing your dreams