Luminosity Masks Reveal Shadow Detail

Page Title The Luminosity Channel

Revealing Shadow Detail With Luminosity Masks

Often when we are shooting scenes with a large dynamic range (meaning really bright highlights and very dark shadows) we are challenged to expose for all areas of the scene well. Often the best way to capture the dynamic range in these types of situations is to either use graduated filters or to bracket our exposures and use an HDR software or blend our images together.

Using a graduated filter is a good method for managing the dynamic range in a scene but can be problematic if you have objects that protrude above the gradient line on our filter. Therefore they are ideal for capturing images with a flat horizon and no objects protruding above the horizon line. The issue is this doesn’t happen very often, and typically you are looking for subjects to break your horizon line so your images have more impact.

In these cases a better method for capturing the dynamic range is to bracket our exposures between the highlights and the shadows then blend these images together. This tutorial shows you one of my favourite ways of blending these types of images. I do this by choosing an image exposed properly for the sky as my base image, then blending the shadow detail into that image from an image that has been exposed properly for the shadows.

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