This is another “Just Beyond Reality” HDR image. Well, maybe way beyond reality. Anyway, it’s not often that I dive into the deep end of the HDR pool but this flower (don’t know the name. Help!) is a perfect candidate for some over the edge post processing.
My original image was nice but not very dramatic. I went through many stages to take this image from HDR reality to what you see here.
Processing: Five images from -2 to +2 ev were combined and tone mapped in Nik HDR Efex Pro where I used a filter called Granny’s Attic. I also added some Structure to the overall image and set the HDR Method to Sharp with Method Strength at about 90%. This gave me that almost brittle look in the leaves. Before leaving the Nik software, I brought the colors back to a truer look and added a very mild dark vignette.
In Adobe Photoshop, I used Curves to add more contrast and then Hue/Saturation to take the colors out of the reality zone. I wanted the reds and yellows to really pop. After all, this is an exercise in Photo Art. My next step was to use High Pass filter for sharpening. And finally, I created a new layer and selectively painted darker areas to allow the flower and it’s leaves to stand out against the subdued background. My very last step was to use the Spot Healing Brush tool to eliminate lots of tiny white specks on the leaves. Sure, it’s not natural but nothing about this image is. Again, Photo Art!
I had to have just a little more fun with this one so I used Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 to do a monochrome conversion. Then I used the option to do some selective painting back in Photoshop. I finished by adding just a bit of color back to the leaves and fading the color tones in the flower.
Equipment used: Nikon D700 with 28-70mm f/2.8 lens set at 70mm, f/2.8, ISO 400.