Neilson Reeves Commercial Photographers Manchester was commissioned by PHS Greenleaf, part of the PHS Group the UK’s leading workplace service provider, to photograph one of their major projects in the Trafford Centre Manchester. Anybody who visits the Trafford Centre cannot help but be inspired by the 40 feet palm trees and wonderful array of both interior and exterior plants and flowers. Well you can thank PHS Greenleaf for the visual pleasure and calming influence these trees, plants and flowers bring to your shopping experience. What you don’t see is the behind the scene’s work that goes into maintaining this oasis of beauty. While your tucked up in the new bed you bought in Barton Square, these guys are 40 ft up pruning palm trees and tending to all the plants and flowers you enjoy during your visit.
The photography brief was quite a challenge because firstly we had to be in the Trafford Centre outside of shopping hours and this meant a 6.45 am start and a deadline of 9am to finish the shoot. Another problem was getting up to a level with the trees to give a realistic perspective to the viewer of the images. And then finally one of the biggest challenges was the light. The reason the light was such a challenge is because the Trafford centre only receives natural light from the windows in the roof. At 6.45 in the morning the light is only just skimming the top of the windows and has not yet entered the main thoroughfare’s that link all of the shops and areas where the Palm Trees are positioned. This means the sky and the tops of the trees are well lit but the trunk and bottom half of the trees are quite dark. Most photographers in this situation would have to make an exposure that would sacrifice detail either at the top of the trees or the trunk. But because Neilson Reeves Photography always shoot commercial work to sell our clients products and the fact the detail in the trunk of a palm tree is just as important as the leaves we decided to shoot HDR or High Dynamic Range.
HDR How We Did It
After carrying out a white balance at each location we were asked to photograph we made 5 different exposures of the same subject. One exposure was for the deepest shadows, another for mid tone and another for all the highlights. When we got back to the studio we blended all the photographs into one photograph therefore expanding the dynamic range of the image. As you can see from the pictures we maintained the blue sky, got all the highlights and detail in the leaves and captured the detail, tone and texture in the trunk of the palm tree. This is a new technique offered by a few specialist photography companies.