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filmscanners: Merging multiple scans in Photoshop to deal with very high-contrast scenes

Has anyone here done any significant work with merging multiple scans to
overcome limitations of film in high-contrast scenes?  I'm talking about
exposing exactly the same scene over a couple of frames with different EVs, then
scanning the results, overlaying the scans in Photoshop, and carefully editing
each layer so that the best exposure is revealed for each part of the scene.
This is a tremendous amount of work and I've only done it on a handful of
occasions, and it does require a static subject (unless your camera can bracket
in multiple exposures very quickly) and typically a tripod mount, but some
scenes practically require it in order to get anything useful.

I'd be interested in hearing about the experiences or experiments of others in
this domain.  What techniques do you use, what pitfalls have you found, and what
kind of results have you obtained?

I have one image on my site composited in this way:


I'm not thrilled with the results, but there was simply no way to get anything
useful with one exposure, as the stupid sign on the tower was blindingly bright,
and the rest of the scene was fairly dark; in one exposure, you could get the
tower exposed right with a blinding ball of pure white in the center, or the
ugly signed exposed perfectly but immersed in near-total darkness.

  -- Anthony


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