pseudo-HDR – Orchid Xtreme to High and Low

I did a post with this beautiful orchid threesome last year to show how I work with a single raw file to produce a High Dynamic Range (HDR) image “look alike”; what I call pseudo-HDR. Today I want to use this image with it’s incredible tonality, to demonstrate how I developed some high and low key variations.

  • pseudo-HDR – Orchid Xtreme in High Key

Most high key photos are presented in Monochrome, usually black and white, but I thought I’d start with a color version. This is actually closer to reality than the pseudo-HDR example above.

Now to jump into the monochrome possibilities. Using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2, I used a preset for High Key and added just a little more depth and light. Some of the details are obviously blown out but the image makes a statement anyway.

I decided to continue with more variations for the next shot by adding depth to the orchids and darkening the background.

This is pretty close to a straight black and white conversion with more emphasis on the orchids. I lightened the shadows and highlights. The moderately lightened background revealed a mottled look that was caused when I manually added a dark vignette to the color image. I was going to blend it out at first but decided to leave it alone for more of an artistic effect. Sometimes going with the flow works!

As some of you know, I always like to throw in different variations. So, here’s a version that looks a little more warmly expressive.

Again, using Silver Efex Pro 2, I loaded the Sepia preset with a strong light vignette. For this image, I just chose the preset and added a little more contrast to the overall image . . . done! I used Photo Filter in Adobe Photoshop to shift the color to more of brown using a blue filter. If you look closely you can see a very slight magenta glow where the vignette blends into the dark background. I kind of liked that.

  • pseudo-HDR – Orchid Xtreme in High Key

I’m ending with this low key version. I’m sure that low key images are well suited for lots of subjects and with a little work, this one could benefit. So, I’ll give a couple of examples that I like. These are all pretty subjective as far as taste. :-)

How low can you go?

Note: I’m traveling for a few days and won’t have much access to my technology. I’ll try to respond to comments.

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