While visiting the Chicago Botanic Garden, I photographed a Dawn Redwood bonsai tree. Unlike the massive Sequoias of California, this redwood tree stands at just two feet tall!
To photograph this tiny redwood, I selected my Nikon 70-200 VR2 lens. The zoom lens provided flexibility to frame the tree quickly and precisely. To maximize image quality, I set the Nikon D800 camera to the base ISO setting of 100. I went with a f/11 aperture to get the entire tree in focus. The resulting shutter speed was 1/25th of a second.
Since this is a stationary subject and the shutter speed was relatively slow, I secured the camera/lens to a tripod, locked the mirror up and pressed a cable release to ensure maximum sharpness. Here was the initial photograph:
I thought the image could be improved during post processing if I did something about the chipped plexiglass backdrop. So, I selected the backdrop color in Photoshop and painted over it with a light blue brush. Then, I applied a gradient to the backdrop. Finally, I removed the pot from the frame. My goal during post processing was to make the redwood tree appear as though it was outside with a clear, blue sky in the background.