I joke (and mostly it is not a joke) that all my photos are HDR—High Dynamic Range. This image of the world within a seed pod is no exception. The seed pod was in a bud vase, with backlighting from a lightbox and some front lighting from the afternoon sun coming through the window. I used my 85mm tilt-and-shift “Edward Weston” macro lens to shoot seven exposures at f/64 and ISO 100. The exposures ranged in time from 1/60 of a second to ten seconds.
I used two of the exposures to create a Photoshop composite that showed the delicate outer lines (exposed at 1/15 of a second so the lines were dark) and the darker inner core (exposed at ten seconds to fully render detail).
This got me 85% of the way to where I wanted to be. I then blended all seven exposures in Nik Software’s HDR Efex, and used two different Nik HDR Efex layers at low opacity to finish the image.