Deke’s Techniques 280: Developing HDR Images in Camera Raw

In this week’s free Deke’s Techniques episode, Deke shows you how to develop a stunning 32-bit HDR photo (of the suitably stunning Landscape Arch in Arches National Park) in the oh-so-useful Camera Raw inside Photoshop CC.

This image (and the one of sister-arch Skyline that Deke featured in this post) were created from a series of five bracketed shots representing five different stops along the exposure continuum.The result is that you get to combine extremes of both light and dark detail for a spectacularly descriptive photo (as one might want of a particularly spectacular landscape.)

The first step is to apply a quick Camera Raw pre-treatment to all five exposures in order to fix lens distortion and get rid of some noise. Then the five images are merged in Photoshop to create the relatively horrible photo on top in the image below. Finally, Deke exploits Photoshop CC’s new ability to apply Camera Raw as a smart filter in order to coax out the detailed creation on the bottom:

Landscape Arch in HDR

OK, it’s possible that wrangling the 962-MB monstrosity of a file that results from this process might curtail your Photoshop fun and flexibility. For members of, Deke’s got an exclusive movie this week in which he shows you how to downsample the image to 8-bit/16MB—in other words, something you can actually work with. If you’re not a member, you can get a free week’s trial at to check out the entire collection of Deke’s Techniques (and anything else from’s vast library that might catch your eye.)

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