I love the dramatic and luminous effects created by strong back lighting from the sun. Objects are rimmed with light and translucent leaves and flower petals seem to glow from within. However, such lighting almost always means that the sun will also be in the frame. This creates certain photographic challenges. One is the enormous dynamic range of light between the sun itself and the more shadowed portions of the scene. Another challenge is lens flare, which is only made worse by the use of graduated filters. For such scenes as this I take several exposures, bracketing for all the different light values in the scene. For this image three exposures were necessary. In my foreground exposure I even held my hand over the sun to block out flare. Later in the computer I carefully blended the three exposures together using layer masks, keeping only the properly exposed portion of each. In this way I am able to create a realistic photograph of a brilliant natural scene that would have been impossible to capture using more traditional techniques.
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