Saturday, August 7, 2010

Dying Sunflower #11 - HDR

When I was shooting the dead sunflower series, my original intent was to make High Dynamic Range images, so I bracketed each shot +/- 0.7 stops for a total of three captures.  The setup is simple: the flower is sitting in front of a piece of black foam core, lit from the left by skylight from a window and fill light on the right from a Flashpoint 5500K fluorescent bank.  I let the camera determine the exposure and bracket for me.

So today, I finally went through a couple of the Photoshop HDR Pro tutorials that show how to go from Lightroom to Photoshop HDR Pro to Lightroom.  The first few attempts had long tonal range, but looked really flat.  For my pictures, Photoshop HDR presets were very unpleasant.  After some trial and error, I finally hit on a combination of settings and an approach that I like that serves as a good starting point in Photoshop with final polishing in Lightroom.  The HDR technique brought out quite a bit of detail in the black foam core, so I pulled down the "darks" curve in Lightroom until they dropped out.

To see what a monochrome version looks like, I just applied my cyan/sepia split tone develop preset.  I really like how silvery this looks.  If I had to choose one, for this subject, I might lean toward the monochrome.

Camera: Nikon D700 
Lens: AF NIKKOR 180mm f/2.8D IF-ED "Leni lens"
Exposure: ISO 200, f/22 @ 0.6s, tripod (Gitzo Basalt GT2830 and Gitzo GH2781QR ball head)
Lighting: Window light 
Location: Grand Center Artist Lofts GPS
Processing: Lightroom 3, Photoshop CS5 HDR Pro, 

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