Calla Lilies again…

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III__TS-E90mm f/2.8__f / 32__ISO 100

Here is another image in my new Cally Lily series, this one from the third day of this setup.  As with the previous image, this photograph was made with Photomatix, this time with seven exposures.  The morning sun is coming through my window from the upper left hand corner.  I first saw this lighting effect on the previous morning, unplanned and unexpected, but I was so revved up I blew the composition.  So I noted the time in the EXIF data and returned to try again the next morning.  I didn’t move the large blossom, but needed to create better spacing between it and the small flower.

John and I have been using Adobe Photoshop CS5 for about one week, including HDR Pro.  I think it has great potential but we haven’t fully explored it yet.  More on that later…

I look forward to your comments.  Let me know which one you prefer!



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Published by William Neill

William Neill, a resident of the Yosemite National Park area since 1977, is a landscape photographer concerned with conveying the deep, spiritual beauty he sees and feels in Nature. Neill's award-winning photography has been widely published in books, magazines, calendars, posters, and his limited-edition prints have been collected and exhibited in museums and galleries nationally, including the Museum of Fine Art Boston, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, The Vernon Collection, and The Polaroid Collection. Neill received a BA degree in Environmental Conservation at the University of Colorado. In 1995, Neill received the Sierra Club's Ansel Adams Award for conservation photography. Neill's assignment and published credits include National Geographic, Smithsonian, Natural History, National Wildlife, Conde Nast Traveler, Gentlemen's Quarterly, Travel and Leisure, Wilderness, Sunset, Sierra and Outside magazines. Also, he writes a monthly column, On Landscape, for Outdoor Photographer magazine. Feature articles about his work have appeared in Life, Camera and Darkroom, Outdoor Photographer and Communication Arts, from whom he has also received five Awards of Excellence. His corporate clients have included Sony Japan, Bayer Corporation, Canon USA, Nike, Nikon, The Nature Company, Hewlett Packard, 3M, Freidrick Grohe, Neutrogena, Sony Music/Classical, University of Cincinnati, UBS Global Asset Management. His work was chosen to illustrate two special edition books published by The Nature Company, Rachel Carson's The Sense of Wonder and John Fowles's The Tree. His photographs were also published in a three book series on the art and science of natural process in collaboration with the Exploratorium Museum of San Francisco: By Nature's Design (Exploratorium / Chronicle Books, 1993), The Color of Nature (Exploratorium / Chronicle Books, 1996) and Traces of Time (Chronicle Books / Exploratorium, Fall 2000). A portfolio of his Yosemite photographs has been published entitled Yosemite: The Promise of Wildness (Yosemite Association, 1994) which received The Director's Award from the National Park Service. A retrospective monograph of his landscape photography entitled Landscapes Of The Spirit (Bulfinch Press/Little, Brown, 1997) relates his beliefs in the healing power of nature. William has taught photography since 1980 for such prestigious organizations as The Ansel Adams Gallery, the Friends of Photography, Palm Beach Photographic Workshops, The Maine Workshops and Anderson Ranch Workshops. He specializes in landscape and nature photography and is concerned with conveying the beauty seen in Nature. Currently, he teaches online courses for and One-on-One Workshops in his home studio near Yosemite National Park.

6 replies on “Calla Lilies again…”

  1. I really love the effect in the light of the stamen and all of the details really speak to me of the delicate beauty of the flower. I love HDR and find that I too have some learning to do in CS5 HDR Pro. I love the simplicity and exquisiteness of the image.

  2. Thanks Gina!

    Hi Ed, John’s comments do a good job of explaining the need for multiple exposures. Although the extra data might not be necessary to create a adequate version of this image, since we are often asked for very large prints, 26×40 and up, experience teaches me that the extra quality and data make the difference between good quality and excellent quality.

    Cheers, Bill

  3. Hi Ed,

    Not to speak for Bill, but having worked on these images, I can tell you without a doubt that HDR was needed. What may be hard to recognize is the “spotlight” hitting the back of the stamen on the closest Calla Lily. Much brighter than even the lightest tones on the back lily. As for 7 exposures vs. less; more exposures at a closer interval (i.e. 1 stop brackets instead of 2) will give you much smoother transitions and a much nicer file to work with. Especially if you’re going for a realistic approach.

    I’m sure Bill will have more to add, but I hope this helps clear a couple things up.

  4. Since you want the background dark and the tonal range of the rest of the scene – the flowers/stems – is likely within the dynamic range of your sensor, I’m not sure why HDR is needed – much less seven exposures. If you expose for the brightest portion of the scene and simply let the dark background fall where it may, what does that image look like? Seems that it would be very close to what you show here. No? If not, it seems that the slightest bit of dodging on the darker flower parts should suffice.

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