Free RAW Photo: Cathedral Valley Road (Utah)

This free RAW photo was taken during my last pre-pandemic trip to the Southwest. It is from one of my favorite places, Cathedral Valley in Capitol Reef National Park in Utah.

I was shooting with Fujifilm XT2 and my favorite wide-angle lens, the Fuji 10-24mm.

Exif Data:

When you load the RAW photo to Lightroom and check the histogram, you will see the indications that the image is overexposed and the highlights are clipped.

Free RAW Photo: Cathedral Valley Road (Utah) 1

But in reality, it is not.

Let me explain.

For some inexplicable reason, Lightroom builds the histogram using JPEG previews instead of actual RAW files. Since the dynamic range of JPEG images is always smaller than that of RAW files, it is common for Lightroom to mislead you. The RAW file is fine; you will not have any issues recovering the highlights (sky area).

Plus, you can check my dedicated tutorial on how to recover overexposed images in Lightroom.

The free RAW photo is overexposed because I use the technique to expose all my photos called “exposure to the right.” What it means is that I slightly overexposed all my photos but making sure I do not clip the highlights. I adjust the exposure late during the editing in Lightroom. The technique allows me to produce high-quality images with almost no digital noise in the shadows.

Good luck with editing.

Free RAW Photo: Cathedral Valley Road (Utah) 2

Free RAW Photos for Editing Library

My RAW Editing Version

And here is my editing version of the free RAW image. You can access all my editing steps from the Snapshot Panel of the Develop module in Lightroom.

First, I decided to improve my composition. I change the aspect ratio from the original 3:2 to 16:19. My goal was to use the Cathedral Valley Road as leading lines to invite the viewer deeper into the scene.

Next, I made sure the dominant area of the sky is not oversaturated and not too contrasted.

Free RAW Photo: Cathedral Valley Road (Utah) 3

What About Copyright?

All free raw images I share, I took myself, and they belong to me. They are not sourced from the public. But they are still copyrighted. 

You are free to edit my RAW photos. And if you want to share them on your blog or social media, go for it; all I am asking is to credit me with the link to my site. And you can not use them commercially.

Free RAW Photos Library

Please remember to download my free Lightroom develop presets for faster raw editing.