After we worked on this image as a HDR file we wanted to see how far we could get just using the single middle Exposure.
Shadows look very dark and the highlights are clipped. The histogram confirms our findings.
• Highlights to -100 and Shadows to +96
• Whites to -27
• Blacks to +15
• Clarity to +51
This helped to bring the image to life.
We want to open up the shadows some more and here the Curves work fine.
More Whites Tuning
We want the windows less bright and Whites set to -58 does the job.
More Blacks Tuning
We still would like the shadows more open. Setting Blacks to +38 helped.
In cases where the dynamic range of the scene is not extreme like in this example we can even work with only one exposure. Lightroom 4 with its new tone-mapping controls makes it easier than previous versions.
The camera needs to support very clean shadows and allow enough highlight recovery. The Nikon D3x images worked fine in this regard.
This is a section from our e-books (here the Develop book):