Lights and Bounds

Lights and Bounds

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Photo taken in the port area of Skopelos, from here it is a small rocky beach behind a walkway from the port. I made this photo at sunset from a series of bracketed shot, where I applied focus stacking between the rocks that are in the foreground and the hill which is seen in the background. I take 5 bracketed shots per series but I decided to use only 3 for it

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I opened my bracketed shots series in Photoshop and I align them for blending (for more information about focus stacking blending please read this article). At the end of this process, I create a series of three shots aligned and ready for edits. I applied luminosity masks to use darks to lighten the foreground, then increased contrast with midtones 3 applied to curves

Using my panel I launched dodge and burn to make some adjustments on the rocks and on the sea, then I launched orton effect to increase glow and darken the image. Next, I create some color correction using lab color and hue/saturation to adjust blues and yellows, then increased contrast again to have more highlighs and more darkenss on the foreground. As always In applied details and sharpness to the entire frame, without including the sea. As a final touch  using camera raw I lowered the exposure and raised slightly up the shadows

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Lens: Nikon 14-24mm f/2,8 (Shot at 14mm)

Five Exposures (-2; -1; 0; +1; +2) x2

ISO: 100 at f/7,1

Software: Photoshop CC2017

Extensions: TTS Fast Panel


Quasar

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I am in the same location of Agios Ioannis in Skopelos. As I said I did a lot of photos here and for a few weeks I will post only about this place 🙂

Here I was always close to the Agios Ioannis beach where I took several photos to the coast of the beach focusing on the rocks near the foreground. In that morning I was lucky benefiting from the cloudy sky in the morning there was a beautiful diffused light over the entire area

 

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

For first thing I prepared all 5 of my exposures captured in photoshop and I started working them using TTS Fast Panel and Luminosity Masks to capture the entire dynamic range. I discarded the most overexposed shot and lowered the lights on the rocks  with luminosity masks applied the curves tool. I made the same thing to increase highlights in the sky.

After I applied a Dodge and Burn tool, to make it more homogeneous light and to finish the work previously done with luminosity masks, same with Dodge and Burn I made some light effects on the lower rocks in the foreground. Using the Fast Panel I launched the effects to enhance and sharpen the details, then Lab Color to give the image more vivid aspect. I increased yellow tonalities checking the effect on the bottom left rocks, I applied at the end a little Orton Effect, contrast and vignetting to accentuate the effects of light in the central part of the frame

 

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Lens: Nikon 14-24mm f/2,8 (Shot at 14mm)

Five Exposures (-2; -1; 0; +1; +2)

ISO: 100 at f/7,1

Software: Photoshop CC2017

Extensions: TTS Fast Panel


Chasing the Sun

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In Agios Ioannis I probably take all my pictures of Skopelos, on my arrival I found a very cloudy day with threatening skies but also with the beautiful rays of light that filtered through the clouds. This is just one of the many shots that I did in Agios Ioannis Kastri, on this picture, I was on the shore of the beach before taking the walkway toward the top of the monastery

 

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

Starting from 5 exposures shots, I blend them using Luminosity Masks and TTS Fast Panel, I used all my exposures exept for the more brightest. After applied details and Orton Effect, I used Dodge and Burn tool to give some enhancements to the rocks and to the mountain. I adjusted the colors to the neutral values using hue/saturation filter, then I applied the LAB Color  to intensify the colors and emphasize the greens

However blues colors remained, very strong especially in the sky as well, with the “click and drag”  function present in hue/saturation filter I have reduced blues in the affected areas. I raised the central photo brightness and increased the contrast using midtones masks applied to the curves (select a midtones mask> curves> change the blending method in soft light). The final touch was to create a slight vignetting for intensifying the dark near the rocks and give more light the center of the frame by adding yet another contrast, this time to the entire image

 

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Lens: Nikon 14-24mm f/2,8 (Shot at 14mm)

Five Exposures (-2; -1; 0; +1; +2)

ISO: 100 at f/9

Software: Photoshop CC2017

Extensions: TTS Fast Panel


A Light in the Dark

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From Skiathos  to Skopelos, another Greek island of great natural value. This island is a spectacle of nature and mountains and has some fantastic location. One of these is  Agios Ioannis, a location on northeast of the island where there is a small monastery on a top of a cliff of the mountains, the whole area of Agios Ioannis, sea, beach, boundary mountains are an incredible sight that it is rarely seen in seascapes.

When  I went to Agios Ioannis I photographed  every part of the place, benefited from the cloudy sky in the morning there was a beautiful diffused light over the entire area, including this opening to the sky, on the road leading to the monastery I stopped on this open to the sea which offered this composition of rocks below

 

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

Although I made a bracketed series of the scene, I realized the whole image with the use of luminosity masks applied to the regular exposure. The reason for this is that the contrasts between the sky and the foreground remained still high despite the bracketing series, where the benefit of using multiple exposures will employ more time.

For this reason I applied the luminosity masks to the affected areas of the sky using lights masks, the sea and rocks using darks masks, working them almost exclusively with the curves tool. Always applying the luminosity masks, I used dodge and burn on rock and water, applying them to hue / saturation tool I reduced the saturation of water colors with contrasts had intensified excessively.

Other uses of  luminosity masks are on the sky to increase the color tones and midtones to increase the contrast. At the last I increased the details in the whole frame, all the changes were made using my panel that you can download free in the download section

 

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Lens: Nikon 14-24mm f/2,8 (Shot at 14mm)

Five Exposures (-2; -1; 0; +1; +2)

ISO: 100 at f/7,1

Software: Photoshop CC2015.5

Extensions: TTS Fast Panel

 


The Pool

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Second image from Skiathos, this location is not far from that of my last post, always along the harbor. The view facing the sunset was without any doubt the best so I decided to place me in front of this small cove. The continuous passage of the boats that were directed towards the port of Skiathos has facilitated much what I wanted to do, that is to take as much as possible water movement. Not having a ND filter with me on that occasion I tried to stretch the exposure as much as possible using exposure compensation.

At the passage of a ferry I risked to water all my equipment because it came a crazy wave and I was able to bring out the tripod just a moments before 🙂 I captured 5 bracketed shots for the base shot and then I started doing several shots to capture the waves until I found the longer and softer

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

The shot with long exposure had absorbed much of the foreground I used it as a starting base exposure, I blended the sky using Luminosity Masks applied to the darker exposure. Always using the darker exposures I darken he rocks just to the bottom of the image using manual blend. With Camera Raw I adjusted the contrast and highlights, this time also increasing the value of Clarity usually do not use, but this case the foreground need it. I used the function Dodge and Burn, High Details and Lab Color that you find in my TTS Fast Panel. As final touch I increased sunset color and a little vignetting effect using Color Efex Pro

 

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Lens: Nikon 14-24mm f/2,8 (Shot at 14mm)

Five Exposures (-2; -1; 0; +1; +2)

ISO: 100 at f/7,1

Software: Photoshop CC2015.5

Extensions: TTS Fast Panel

Plugin: Color Efex Pro


Sunset at the Harbor

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From Aegina to Skiathos, this is a beautiful and famous island which is located in the archipelago of the Cyclades. Much of Skiathos island fame is the fact that it was the main location of the famous musical “Mamma Mia”, where exactly here were filmed most scenes of the movie. This is the port of the city island taken over by a small hill in front of

I take several shots on this hill since they had a favorable position towards the sunset and the city harbor. I made a small stack of photographs to take as many as possible in the frame rocks and make the image more depth

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I start as usual using Luminosity Masks to blend all the bracketed exposures taken in the port of Skiathos.  When I got a final image I combined this with the image I had taken further down with rocks to merge them together to get such a small vertorama. With the resulting “basic” image of  I started to change the lights, shadows, highlights the Curves tool inside Camera Raw

Using  LAB Color I pushed up vibrance and yellows color, then I applied Dodge and Burn tool on the rocks to make them brighter. I increased details in the whole frame, then, with a small gaussian blur, I removed a small noise in the water. For this I applied gaussian blur with a black layer mask (hidden), with a white brush I painted all the water to smooth it. Finally I increased the contrast using curves tool  and created a slight vignetting to give more prominence to the central area

TECHNICAL STUFF 

Camera: Nikon D-800

Lens: Nikon 14-24mm f/2,8 (Shot at 14mm)

Five Exposures (-2; -1; 0; +1; +2)

ISO: 100 at f/7,1

Software: Photoshop CC2015.5

Plugin: Color Efex Pro


When The Sun Goes Sleep

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As I wrote in my previous post I took a lot of photos in the archaeological area of Aphaia. With that beautiful temple all for me I could not portray the temple in different angles and this is one of those romantic photos made. I tried several angles until I founded one where the sunlight filtered through the columns of the Temple of Afaia. I take 5 bracketed shots of which the last holding my finger in front of the camera in the direction of the sun to avoid too many lens flares. The finger at the point of greatest sunlight is a very effective method to prevent that lens flare ruin all the shots. This little trick is to take advantage of the increased exposure to the sun covered by the finger and without lens flare, to erase all those formed in any previous exposures taken.

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I started Blending the exposures using Luminosity Masks, to brighten the foreground and the columns of the Temple and I apply the adaptive wide angle Photoshop function to correct the perspective of the Temple. I removed all the lens flare using the overexposed shot lightened slightly the sunlight, after I increased contrasts and yellow colors to the whole picture. I take a little Dodge and Burn over the underexposed areas of the frame and then I increased details of the picture using high frequency separation method. The final touch was adding a final LAB Color to push up all the colors of the picture, I use a black brush to mask out all the excessive red spikes of the sun through the columns.

TECHNICAL STUFF 

Camera: Nikon D-800

Lens: Nikon 14-24mm f/2,8 (Shot at 14mm)

Five Exposures (-2; -1; 0; +1; +2)

ISO: 100 at f/9

Software: Photoshop CC2015.5

Plugin: Color Efex Pro

 


Afaia

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During my stay in Aegina I went to the famous Temple of Aphaia, is the main attraction of this Greek island and I must admit that it is a wonderful spot. The Temple of Aphaia is located on a top a promontory overlooking the cliffs of Agia Marina, get there at sunset was not easy because of the Greek island public transport had a fairly limited hours and I found myself without a car. So I decided to climb by bus and then get off to Agia Marina on foot through a small mountain path. Whereas at that time there were no more public transport who got in around the archaeological site was almost desert. So I had this spot all to myself till the complete closing time of the place 🙂 As I said I did a lot of photos and this is the frontal view of the Temple of Aphaia. I made a bracketed series of about 5 shots but I’ve used less than half in my final image the more overexposed one used  to lighten the foreground that was so dark

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

Starting from the correct exposure I focused to clear shadows of contrasts of the strong sun. I used Luminance Masks to blend the two layers. Always with the help of overexposed shot I cleared the sun’s rays to make a greater impact. I used the Lab Color with 60% opacity and then stepped up yellow using Hue/Saturation. Then I take a small Dodge and Burn on the rocks and on the temple itself and then I increased the details throughout the frame. Finally I slightly increased the contrast to give more prominence to the sky and added a small vignetting with Darken Lighten Center in Color Efex Pro at 35%

TECHNICAL STUFF 

Camera: Nikon D-800

Lens: Nikon 14-24mm f/2,8 (Shot at 14mm)

Five Exposures (-2; -1; 0; +1; +2)

ISO: 100 at f/9

Software: Photoshop CC2015.5

Plugin: Color Efex Pro


A Secret Place

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After days spent in Athens I moved on a island that is located in front of Athens… the island of Aegina. Is a peaceful island away from mass tourism, where there are mainly locals and Athenians who come to spend their holidays on an island easily accessible. When I took this picture I was in the island’s capital “Egina” which of course is the reference center of the whole area. I found this micro beach on the road leading out of the center of Aegina on which there was this small dock on the sea.

I take some shots using bracketing over the area to have good exposure for the sky and clouds and I shot a exposure to get a strong focus on the foregroud. With the passing of time that carried on the increasingly light toward the blue hour, I started doing more and more tests with exposure compensation up to that have not come into a state of low light. I set a value of -5 exposure compensation on my D800 with a 20-second exposure time, I managed to get good results (I know I have to decide to buy photo filters) 🙂

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I start my edit with the sky, using the Luminosity Masks it was very easy to bring down the exposure of the sky without affecting the entire image. Then was the turn of a Dodge and Burn intervention to clean water from reflections and to brighten other part of the frame too darks. With the help of Color Lookup adjustment layer I added two effect to the frame, I am talking about Foggy Night and Drop Blues using a lower opacity 15-20% to give a small surreal effect to the frame. Using this technique I give more impact to the sunset light on the edge. As a final step I increased the details on the entire imag and contrasts, again making use of Luminosity Masks combined with the curves tool. For the last touch I use Color Efex pro filter to add a small vignette using Darken Lighten Center filter.

TECHNICAL STUFF 

Camera: Nikon D-800

Lens: Nikon 14-24mm f/2,8 (Shot at 14mm)

Five Exposures (-2; -1; 0; +1; +2) + Long exposures shots

ISO: 100 at f/11

Software: Photoshop CC2015.5

Plugin: Color Efex Pro


Lycabettus

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giuseppe-sapori-lycabettus

The one on the far right is the Mount Lycabettus, a hill where you can admire a beautiful view of Athens as well as having a nice restaurant at its top. It is easily reached by a funicular from Kolonaki, another beautiful area of Athens. Mount Lycabettus is one of the Greek capital attractions, and there are also of course I was in, but just as I did to the Acropolis also in this case I decided to portray the mountain from the outside, overlooking the city. We’re at in the same area where I took Acropolis that you find in my previous post, I made the image from 3 exposures.

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I started as usual using the luminance masks to combine different exposures together, I then stepped up hightlights for the sky and contrast for the city always using luminosity masks. With the help of Color Efex Pro I applied Skylight filter for intensifying the shade of yellow reducing the opacity around 60%. Then, it was the turn of  details pushed up selectively and of a soft dodge and burn effect using white and black brush with 2% opacity, by the trees (to create more light through the leaves) and darken areas of the rocks in the foreground. As a final touch, I created a small vignette to give greater prominence to the central part of the frame.

TECHNICAL STUFF 

Camera: Nikon D-800

Lens: Nikon 14-24mm f/2,8 (Shot at 14mm)

Five Exposures ( -1; 0; +1)

ISO: 400 at f/4

Software: Photoshop CC2015.5

Plugin: Color Efex Pro


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Hi, my name is Giuseppe Sapori, a professional photographer and author of this website, created by yours truly to show my work and share with you the techniques I use. My expertise is in the field of Landscape Photography... (Read More)

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