Road to the Castle – Rocca Calascio Startrail

Road to the Castle – Rocca Calascio Startrail

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For this post I propose a startrail from the castle of Rocca Calascio. A splendid location surrounded by nature which is one of my favorites for taking night photos

I usually start taking this kind of images when the visibility of the milky way starts to decrease, in fact the lighting that is in the scene is given by the rising of the moon that has irradiated the whole scene in front of me with the castle in the background

To capture this shot I made several exposures, mainly a very long one for the sky and one with ISO 6400 for the background, I then combined both shots in Photoshop


WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I started working on the startrail image to look better, so I increased contrast, decreased luminosity, increased whites and decreased shadows, after this with the help of luminosity masks I blended the image of the castle through the startrail sky image

Once obtained the complete image I used the dodge and burn tool to ligthten some highlights around the castle and darkening some rocks on the foreground, I launched a soft orton effect called orton effect dark that you can find in my pro panel TTS Pro

I fixed some color luminosity in the sky that was too much warm on the highlights due to lights pollution of the area, than I decreased noise always using an effect of my panel

As last step I added a small vignette to increase the view of the castle in the darkness

I always hope you will find this usefull. Love to ear this from you!


TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-850

Nikon 14-24 f/2,8 (used at 14mm)

Image Stack

ISO: 6400 at f/2,8 + ISO 100 at f/2,8

Software: Photoshop CC2021

Plugin: TTS Pro 2.0


Stargate – Rocca Calascio Milky Way

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From the same location I talked last time here is another shot of milky way in the suggestive village of Rocca Calascio

To take this shot I moved to the other side of the ruin in order to capture the door illuminated by the light of the castle during the night. Through a series of shots I managed to decrease the strong brightness that characterized the door due to the long exposure necessary to capture the milky way

I followed the same editing steps of the previous post capturing several exposures in order to generate the output image as I had imagined. So I captured some shots with and without the subject and another with higher ISO to make the milky way better visible


WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I started stacking all the images into Photoshop and worked with smart object and median, in order to obtain a noise free base shot. Nevertheless, after this process the milky way loses some details, for this I used another exposure captured to work specifically on milky way on Camera Raw. With this shot I made the milky way look its best, then with a layer mask I masked the milky way treated on the image obtained in median

After this I used another exposure to paste inside the subject in the frame, in fact I used all separate shots to make this kind of image in order to obtain the best clean result

With the final image obtained I started working on the lights and on the shadows with the help of luminosity masks selectively. With dodge and burn I pushed up brightness and colours on the milky way, than I darkened some part of the foreground to create a more concentrated focus in the center

As latest steps I fixed colours and general luminosity, warming some highlights and making a more uniform look with the lights of the horizon

I hope you will find this usefull. I like to ear this from you!


TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-850

Nikon 14-24 f/2,8 (used at 14mm)

Image Stack Median

ISO: 5000 at f/2,8

Software: Photoshop CC2021

Plugin: TTS Pro 2.0


Galaxian – Rocca Calascio Milky Way

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After three years I returned to one of the locations I know very well to shot milky ways. Rocca calascio is an enchanting village surrounded by nature where time has stopped. Here are the remains of an ancient castle and the village that stood at its feet, all destroyed many years ago by an earthquake. Nowadays a new village has been built for the people who live here and the old village has recently found new life thanks to a strong recovery work given by tourism

I chose the location of this ruin with this door inside which was characterized by having the milky way on the side. I took this photo with a friend, I first took the first shot by inserting the subject in the composition, then I took a series of images with the goal to stack them in Photoshop

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I started stacking all the images into Photoshop and worked with smart object and median, in order to obtain a noise free base shot. Nevertheless, after this process the milky way loses some details, for this I used another exposure captured to work specifically on milky way on Camera Raw. During this process I didn’t have to pay attention how sliders affcted the rest of the pictur because once done I masked out the milky way from the other part of the image

I used the image with the subject to insert it on the others with the help of a simple layer mask. At this point I started the general processing of the image which was essentially composed of dodge and burn on the milky way to bring out its colors and visibility in the best possible way

I adjusted the colors of the image, brought out the yellow glow more without taking away the original blue colors of the sky, I added some shadows details with the help of a specific flter of TTS Pro panel, I also fixed contrast, highlights and shadows using luminosity masks

As final steps I darkened the foreground a bit and I increased vibrance on the colours of the sky selectively

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D850

Nikon 14-24f/2,8 (used @14mm)

Image Stack in Median

ISO: 5000 f/2,8

Software: Photoshop CC2021

Plugin: TTS Pro 2.0


Stars Zoom

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Hello guys! Here I am again with a night picture from the beautiful Rocca Calascio. What you see is the castle, with the path that leads to the slopes of the fortress. The way was glimpsed in the darkness and the atmosphere created by this photo was something that catch me imediately I like very much that mood and I also like the light pollution behind the castle that seems a daylight lighting

Speaking of the sky and the stars this time I tried to do something different, I enjoyed playing with the zooming and  Photoshop levels to create something original and slightly different from the usual, one created is a startrail zoom made by copying the same level multiple times and changing the blending mode into lighten, the sky full of point-like stars seemed to me too reductive for this beautiful castle 🙂

 

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

After created the images stack I changed the blending mode into lighten to create a zooming effect, than i merged the result into a final frame. Using TTS PRO I launched luminosity masks with I increased the lights of the darks and decreased the highlights curves. I created contrast zones to fix the light and the contrast over the main part of the picture

The next step was to fix colors using auto correct, that give me a very good color tone, than I slighlty changed it by reducing blues and increasing yellow using a warming filter.

I used dodge and burn to lighten the path that lead to the castle, I also launched orton effect decreasing the opacity to 8% to create a soft and dark dreamy atmosphere in the image. The last step was to darken the image e and to launch a noise reduction with very low opacity just to give the last touch

All the effects I mentioned above are inside my brand new panel TTS PRO, that I recommend to download to  fasten your workflow and to have all the effect in one click application!

I  hope you will find this usefull. I love to hear that from you!

 

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

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

Single Exposure

ISO: 3200 at f/2,8

Software: Photoshop CC2018

Plugin: TTS Pro

 


Milky Way Door

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To make this picture I moved to the central area to have a frontal view of the “door” this time in front of me, the moment of shooting the picture is logically different than my previous post, the milky way was much more displaced and higher. This was not one of my favorites spots that night because the light pollution of the nearby cities that are located a few kilometers away from the location selected for this photo definitely comes on stage

I selected two shots for this image, the first with a darken and the second with brighter foreground, in this way i was able to use the brighter shot to bring up the lights on the ruins and the foreground, I don’t use any blending functions but only luminosity masks to bring up exposures and layer masks to paint the areas in.

 

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I started in Camera Raw setting the exposure, shadows, whites to push up initially the milky way withouting destroy the other part of the picture. I’t really important that in this first phase to not add contrast because it will affect all the following work.

Opened the image in photoshop  I started to  to raise up the milky way using  TTS PRO  I made the main adjustments regarding, color, lights and contrast masking the work done only on the milky way, for this I simply used a layer mask and a brush. With dodge and burn I increased the lights around the rocks on the foreground and I darkend the light pollution coming from the city. Using hue/saturations and the color adjust funcions of  TTS PRO i fixed the colors around the milky way, this time turning it slightly more on blue

Always using my panel this time I applied the noise reduction to the image, reducing the opacity a little bit more, the latest touch whas to add a very soft focus around the milky way using glow funcion, you can find the tutorial here

I really hope you will find this usefull. I love to hear that from you!

 

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

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

Two Exposures

ISO: 3200 at f/2,8

Software: Photoshop CC2018

Plugin: TTS Pro

 


Milky Way Door

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I took this photo at the dawn of the moon, the light source that starts from the left is just the light of the moon that began to peek out of the mountains. I made this frame by two shots, I moved to photograph the rock first at the top to take all the milky way and then gradually down to include more foreground

Initially I did some tests shooting here with a subject in the picture and then other tests with a light source inside that little door that is in the ruins, I discarded all these shots because the image as a whole with all these elements was not look good, especially even if the light coming from the door would have made the most striking photo at the same time made it so much artifacts, so I avoided

 

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I followed the same editing line of the previous picture, I started opening the images on camera raw to make the first edits and save the images before apply the Photoshop photomerge in one, once obtained one single frame by this two exposures I applied the free trasform tool to adjust the empty areas and adapt to the frame

So I started edit the image by using camera raw to raise up the milky way than back in photoshop I applied the result only to the sky. Using TTS PRO  I made the main adjustments regarding, color, lights and contrast. I applied the luminosity mask contrast to better control the contrast over the point of lights darks and midtones of the picture

I increased the lights of the foreground applying a curves tool to the darks luminosity masks and I launched dodge and burn with I adjusted with a brush the colors over the milky way and the lights over the darkest areas of the foreground

I also made some adjustment to the colors, I don’t like so much the coolest tone of the night sky coming from this picture, in particular the sky was too much blue saturated, so in this case I stepped up the yellow tones of the light pollution and I decreased the saturation of the blue colors

In TTS PRO in the third page of finishing there are many functions to save and finishing your work, here I applied a small vignette reducing the opacity to 30% and I saved the images by height to simply create a web format image without loosing quality

I hope you will find this usefull. I’m happy to hear that from you!

 

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

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

Two Exposures

ISO: 3200 at f/2,8

Software: Photoshop CC2018

Plugin: TTS Pro

 


The Wanderluster

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I absolutely love to photograph the night sky and every summer I try to find the right time to dedicate to the milky way and night shots. What you see is a shot taken in Abruzzo, an Italian region where nature is the main element and for me it is one of the main spots for landscapes and the night shots

This area is located in an ancient, uninhabited medieval village, very suggestive but above all ideal for taking shots and the milky way. At regard if you have not yet read it I recommend this article where I wrote how to plan and shot the milky way where you can find usefull information about the dark skies and how to take this kind of shots

This image is the result of a photomerge. I took a series of shots where I went to compose the frame by taking the whole milky way moving to the shots gradually down to including more foreground, I inserted the subject later with a mask from one shot taken separately to avoid the light disturb the visibility of the milky way

 

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

Before open the images in Photoshop I make some edits on camera raw, especially for the colors and the lights, I saved the results and I opened the images as photomerge that composed my based frame, I adjusted the frame using the free transform tool, than I started using camera raw again with TTS PRO where I made the major adjustments for the contrast, highlighs, white and black points for the milky way

Using curves I increased the lights on the foreground helping myself with a brush. With dodge and burn I fixed the lights over the underexposed areas and I added more colors in the sky and on the ruins. Always using my panel I applied the warm highlights fiter that increased the yellow part of the highlights, than I decreased the opacity to 10% to softener the effect

Also made some adjustments at the colors where I fixed the main chromatic tone of the sky. With the clone stamp tool I removed some unwanted spots and some light pollution coming from the nearest city. As last touch I added a soft orton effect to make all more dreamy

You can find all the effects mentioned above in my custom panel TTS PRO, a very useful tool for any type of editing that I recommend to download to speed up and improve your workflow. I also want to recommend to subscribe to my newsletter to have news and updates from me and to receive a welcome gift as well as monthly tutorials about travel and landscape photography

I hope you will find this informations usefull. I Love to ear this from you!

 

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

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

Three Exposures

ISO: 3200 at f/2,8

Software: Photoshop CC2018

Plugin: TTS Pro

 


Hide and Seek

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Hi everyone, this is an old find inside a folder of photos taken years ago in the Regional Park of Gran Sasso. What we see is the Corno Grande, the highest peak in the Apennine range

I love this place, it is natural wild, sometimes inhospitable and above all very quiet, at the sight of the mountain overlooking the whole valley below and is completely different from the rest of the landscape. I recommend everyone to take a trip around here if you do not know Abruzzo is a milestone for photography enthusiasts and is just over an hour’s drive from Rome

I captured this photo with my old nikon 18-105 and I got the image from 3 bracketing shots at sunset while I waited for the sun to start taking some photos to the stars

 

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I discarted the overexposed picture and I merged the two shots using luminosity masks, I used lights applied to curves to fix lighting, always using the masks I reduced darks and adjusted contrast in the frame. With the use of TTS Fast Panel I increased details and applied a soft orton effect



I corrected colors using auto adjust, then I decreased the effect reducing the opacity. With a soft dodge and burn I recover the exposure in the darker part of the mountain and increased the colors around the Corno Grande. I reduced a bit the noise I increased the lights behind the mountain, after I decreased the light in the whole frame to make a more dark look and create more atmoshphere

As always I hope you will find this info usefull. I’m always happy to ear it from you!

 

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Lens: Nikon 18-105mm f/3,5 (Shot at 34mm)

Three Exposures (-1; 0; +1)

ISO: 100 at f/11

Software: Photoshop CC2017

Extensions: TTS Fast Panel

 


Monolith

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Another shot from the wonderful location of Rocca Calascio, a fantastic place where I will definitely come back to do again other milky way shots  because I was pleasantly impressed

In this photo I did something different, since the milky way was to the left of the ruin in the center of the frame I did many shots in this direction but I could not totally miss the opportunity to photograph the castle with the milky way, the castle of Rocca Calascio is the main protagonist of this location. For this reason I took several shots to compose a panorama, from the left to the right vertical

 

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I Photomerged the shots to have a final frame, for first I edited the colors in the milky way to give more saturation and vividness. The following step was to dodge and burn the foreground and the milky way to push out details in the white part of it, with hue/saturation I edits the luminosity of the colors in the sky

Other edits are: increase sharpness, increase contrast and adding a glow effect using orton effect. I fixed hue/saturation around the rocks and on the milky way, to reduce saturated yellow and increase magentas. At the end I increased a little bit contrast using levels and decreased noise.

 

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

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

Three Exposures

ISO: 3200 at f/2,8

Software: Photoshop CC2017

Extensions: TTS Fast Panel

 


The Explorer

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Giuseppe Sapori - The Explorer

Night shot near the Rocca Calascio castle, the visibility of the milky street that evening was great and I composed this image from a series of shots

The result of the frame is a vertical composition of two images to get as much sky and foreground as possible, with the help of a third shot i put the subject in the picture, i wanted to avoid that the reflections of the light disturbed the other shots, the lamp in his hand projected a beam of light reflecting on the ruin at his side

 

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I Photomerged the shots to have a final frame, after a fix of contrast, highlighs and the other effects in camera raw I added the picture with my friend looking on the sky simply using layer mask

I launched dodge and burn with I increased lights around the rocks and on the milky way, with hue/saturations I fixed and increased colors around the milky way.

In all the photos of milky way I always like to add a nice orton effect, never too high but always useful to create a nice mood in the picture. If you try  using low opacity you will always find positive differences. I added more contrast and a yellow touch increase to the highlights, as final touch I added a little vignette

 

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

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

Three Exposures

ISO: 3200 at f/2,8

Software: Photoshop CC2017

Extensions: TTS Fast Panel


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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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