Subject: Re: Cloud detail & ACR
I find that I can get pretty much the same results for rather less hassle by using just the one RAW development, but optimised to get the best possible dynamic range (as I described above).
I found that the gains from two separate developments in RAW weren't huge - it only worked well for me in images with really dramatic separation of the dark portion/light portion - if there were areas of midtones, I found the masking required to combine the images to avoid getting odd results was so fiddly that it was easier to do it the other way - but I wouldn't say one way of extracting the maximum possible information out of the RAW data was necessarily superior to the other. You do have to watch shadow noise if you try to bring up too much detail in the darker areas - the only way around that is to get more light in - either by using a graduated neutral density filter to calm down the sky or by taking two or more shots at different exposures.
I've tried the two shots route - and if the subject is truly static that undoubtedly gives the best results, but even motion of tree branches or grass or clouds blowing in the wind can really muck that up!
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