Lauterbrunnen Valley – Exposure Blending to Capture the Scene

| February 10, 2011
lauterbrunnen vally from murren switzerland

The awesome beauty of Switzerland’s Lauterbrunnen Valley

Exposure Blending the Lauterbrunnen Valley

There is a bit of a trick to pulling an image like this off. The wide dynamic range of this scene from the brightly lit clouds to the shadows in the trees are beyond even my $4,000 camera’s capabilities. What to do? Since I did not have any graduated neutral density filters with me, I had to take at least two exposures to capture this scene. One shot was captured at a normal, or “0” exposure value (EV), and the other was shot using a negative exposure compensation setting of -2EV. The -2EV shot dropped the light hitting the sensor by two full stops, which made the landscape too dark but allowed me to capture all the detail in the brightly lit clouds. The 0EV shot contained all the detail in the landscape I needed. So, to get the entire value range of the image into a single shot, I brought both exposures into Photoshop and put them on two stacked layers. I then used a layer mask to blend the two together. This is not cheating, it is just a way to work around the limitations of the camera’s sensor to capture the true beauty of the scene before me.

This shot was taken from Murren, Switzerland at about 2000 feet above the valley floor. The only way to get to Murren is by hiking or by a combination of cable car and train. I loved laying in bed at the Eiger Guesthouse after a restful night’s sleep and hearing the subtle click and clack of the first train in the morning at about 6:45am. This view stopped me in my tracks and caused me to think, “Can this actually exist?” The natural beauty of Switzerland is beyond belief!

Other posts related to this trip to Switzerland

Tags: ,

Category: Photography, Switzerland, Travel

Comments (2)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. AutumnLeaves says:

    I’d be like you, Lee – not wanting to miss a beat. That second photo is especially exquisite!

  2. Lee says:

    That’s the spirit Sherry. I totally agree!