HDR From a Single File

I got so many great comments from the Colorado HDR posts, so here’s one more.  This time I didn’t actually shoot multiple images with the intent of creating a High Dynamic Range photo. But in looking at the original image, it just didn’t seem to capture the beauty of the barn.

So in Adobe Lightroom I right-clicked the file and selected “Create Virtual Copy”. I repeated this again to make a second copy. Then on one copy I adjusted the exposure of the RAW file down by -2 stops. And on the other copy I adjusted the exposure up +2 stops.

Next I exported all three exposures of the image into Photomatix via the Lightroom Plugin. Once in that program, I adjusted the sliders just like I was working on multiple images, saved the changes, and PRESTO…the final HDR image appeared back in Lightroom.

As always, there was a little tweaking still to do…curves, saturation, clarity…and I was done. What do you think of the final image?


  1. by Bill Nixon on June 3, 2011  10:21 pm Reply


    I had heard that you could do that with RAW images because of the huge dynamic range. Pretty spectacular brother!!

    • by admin on June 4, 2011  9:28 am Reply

      I've never done one before but had heard that too. My first attempt proved it to be pretty easy. Glad you like it! Recognize the barn? Wasn't lang after this shot when we got to meet Jessie the buffalo! Have you guys started playing with your new Photomatix software yet?

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