Aurora HDR – Initial Thoughts

Having recently stumbled on a video tutorial extolling the benefits of expanded RAW processing via Aurora HDR 2019 by Rich Harrington over at Photofocus, I decided to download the acclaimed software and give it a try.

As a long time user of Photomatix Pro for HDR applications in the past and, not having a clear demand for HDR in terms of recent client needs, I had been reticent to make the investment. Yet after processing a single low-light test image, I found myself wondering what in the world took so long to get such a useful tool in the shed.

Midnight Slips – f/11, 6s, ISO250 @ 16mm

Captured via Sony Alpha A7R2 and Zeiss 16-35mm f/4 OSS at a lengthy 6 seconds, the expected result would be (typically) prone to noise at the very least along the edges, if not throughout the entire image and especially when processed via HDR, or High Dynamic Range software – but not so with Aurora HDR 2019.

My personal workflow is generally a fixed one, however, having worked past many gimmicky aspects of HDR processing over the years, when done tastefully (to each their own) they do tend to produce vibrantly appealing print results for landscape, editorial and lifestyle projects that truly stand out in ways others do not in terms of color and detail.

After all, a photograph is not a photograph until it’s a print and, while the internet is saturated with in-one-eye-and-out-the-other imagery, the print world is another story entirely. In the hands of the thoughtful, a tool of this magnitude can truly shine in terms of recovery and composition.

Aurora HDR 2019 provides a wealth of options from gradients to masking brushes to layered workflows – all of which are helpful in achieving the very best result for our given needs. I look forward to sharing more in a video to come.

The days of excessive noise in high dynamic range images are clearly numbered and thankfully so. Don’t believe it? Download a trial version and see for yourself. It just may be the cure that ails many a capture, and breathe new life into the library abyss.

Thanks much for visiting. Questions? Feel free to leave a comment or drop me a line via

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