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.
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.