Like my Star Magnolia Panorama, I shot these Clematis flowers using a lightbox as the background. The image was shot in three pieces, each piece an HDR blend of six exposures. Exposure times ranged from 1/100 of a second to 2 seconds (each exposure was at f/11 and ISO 100 with a 40mm macro lens). I took care to keep the exposures consistent across the different pieces of the image by using the same progression of shutter speeds.

Clematis by Harold Davis

Clematis © Harold Davis

In post-production, I first combined each set of images using hand-layering in Photoshop, and also Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro. Next, I stitched the pieces together in Photoshop to create my Clematis panorama. Provided one shoots carefully, the stitching part of this process is not that big a deal.

What is a big deal is arranging the image in the first place. You can’t just expect to plunk some Clematis flowers on a vine on the lightbox (or a Magnolia branch for that matter) and have the composition work. Creating one of these images is a matter of radical deconstruction, followed by reconstruction to create the Platonic ideal of the flower—an image of the flower as it should have been, rather than as it was.

This entry was posted in Flowers, HDR.


  1. EdB April 29, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

    Harold, you often mention your lightbox and I’m trying to imagine how you use it for these wonderful flower shots. Photograph from above, flowers inside the box? Have you written on the lightbox or posted any pics of it?

    Ed B

  2. Harold Davis April 29, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

    Hi Ed, Thanks for writing. I shoot down on the lightbox usually, but sometimes use it vertically as a background. There’s a decent setup shot of the lightbox in use on page 184 of my Photographing Flowers book. Best wishes – Harold

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