I captured this image in Arches National Park last spring. I used a 38-second exposure via a 10-stop solid ND filter. I processed the image in Lightroom Classic CC and converted it to monochrome using Skylum (formerly Macphun) Luminar, and finished it off after returning to Lightroom.
Did you know that with a little tweaking, you can extract tremendous dynamic range from single RAW files in Adobe Lightroom without using HDR? The trick is to take advantage of Lightroom’s Camera Calibration panel. There, you set the initial tone curve of your image (contrast & color). By using a low-contrast tone curve, you can recover more highlight and shadow details than by using sliders alone. If you use Nikon DSLRs, you can choose the “Camera Flat” profile to get more dynamic range. If you don’t have a Nikon camera, you can create your own custom profile with a linear tone curve by using the Adobe DNG Profile Editor. My video above will show you how.
Despite the fact that I’ve owned a copy of Adobe Photoshop since the 1990’s, I’ve rarely made a big deal about it in my workshops and presentations. That’s because the cost of ownership presented a huge barrier to amateur photographers. Moreover, Lightroom has become quite powerful in its own right; many users simply find they didn’t need to leave the Lightroom editing environment.
If you’re using Lightroom via the Adobe Photography Plan (Creative Cloud subscription), then you’re getting the complete version of Adobe Photoshop right along with it. If you have access to this powerful tool, you ought to know how to use it (at least in terms of your photos).
There are so many tools in Photoshop that it’s easy to get lost and intimidated. However, there are a few things that Photoshop lets you do that you can’t do in Lightroom, and for certain photos, those tools can be tremendously useful. Read on to see my list of “go-to” tools.