I’ve decided to use my Micro (Macro for non-Nikon users) lens for a few HDR (High Dynamic Range) floral images. This Camellia graces our backyard and is really pumping out some beautiful blooms right now. This, almost full view shot shows the beauty of the delicate petals and the interior details.
For a slightly different variation, I’ve included this Split Toned, green and magenta version.
Processing: I used 5 shots from -3 to +1 ev to produce this image. When working with a very light subject like this, I’ve found that setting the camera auto exposure at -1 ev, gives me a better exposure range for HDR imaging. Without the adjustment, any exposure above +1 ev is almost completely blown out.
Of course, if you use manual exposure settings, a reflective light meter is the best choice for a base exposure. My personal favorite is an old Minolta IV F that I’ve used for just about every kind of situation from outdoor scenic to studio, strobe portraiture and other contexts where very precise exposure is critical. Even though we can balance our “not so great exposures” with technology, there’s nothing like nailing it the first time.
But back to Camellia. I used Nik HDR Efex Pro for tone mapping. These delicate blooms have so much texture and color that not much post processing is needed. Adobe Photoshop worked for balancing the colors and lighting dynamics with Hue/Saturation and Curves. I chose to not add any sharpening for this shot because the Nikkor Micro lens pretty much takes care of that and I wanted to retain the soft, mellow texture of the petals.
I used Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 for the monochrome conversion and then loaded the image into Adobe Camera Raw for the split toning. Just another interpretation.
Equipment used: Nikon D700 with 105mm f/2.8 Nikkor Micro lens at f/22, ISO 100. Bogen/Manfrotto 3221 tripod with Manfrotto MH054M0-Q2 ball head.
Beautiful photos of some subjects, especially flowers, can be obtained with only one exposure. I will sometimes use the -1 ev version and use very simple tone mapping and color correction in Adobe Camera Raw. Of course, I can’t get the total tonal refinement of multiple exposure brackets without doing lots more post processing.
This image is an example of a single exposure with lots of post processing.