Capture One Pro 7 is not just an excellent RAW converter. Like Adobe Lightroom it has some quite sophisticated adjustment controls. In particular, the Capture One High Dynamic Range sliders are very good at extracting the maximum latent highlight and shadow detail in RAW files. This is not HDR in the usual sense, where you combine shots at different exposures – it’s simply a way of extracting the maximum tonal range from a single image.

Capture One Pro is already very good at extracting shadow detail, and this example shows just how much more there is available to be brought out. It’s a pretty extreme example, but it makes the point very effectively.

Capture One high dynamic range

This is our start shot, a silhouette of a ruined church on a hilltop at sunset. The sky looks nice, but there’s no visible detail in the church at all.

01 Auto Adjustments

Capture One high dynamic range

You can use the Ctrl/command-L shortcut in Capture One to apply a series of automatic adjustments. These include the Exposure slider, to alter the overall brightness of the image (shifting the entire histogram left or right, in effect),

You can see the difference if you compare the sliders in the unadjusted start shot (above) with the adjusted picture below. Capture One has increased the Exposure value to 2.22 and applied a Highlight adjustment of 14 to pull back the highlight areas.

Capture One high dynamic range

02 Shadow enhancement

Capture One high dynamic range

The shot looks better already, but I’m going to take it further by pushing the Shadow slider to the right. This lightens the shadow areas (the darkened church) without affecting the rest of the image.