Traffic Lights – Porta Nuova Milan

Traffic Lights – Porta Nuova Milan

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One of my favorite spots for taking pictures in Milan is Porta Nuova or Porta Garibaldi district, here in recent years, this place had an important urban development that has completely revolutionized it, transforming it into one of the most visited and fascinating places of the city

The result of this “regeneration” was a modern, eye-catching neighborhood where there are many high-end bars and restaurants, but the whole district is visited by everyone for the modern and characteristic imprint that distinguishes it

It is in this place that I love to compose my shots, adding some light trails coming from the passage of cars, where I waited until blue hour to shot so that I could capture all the moments I needed

In particular I shot from sunset to get the colors of the golden hour, and then I went on until the blue hour to be able to capture more interesting light trails, with the aim of blending everything through exposure blending


WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

Starting from a series of exposure during daylight I exposure blend three exposures to obtain the correct lighting in the image, I added details using  TTS Pro, correct lights and contrast with luminosity mask

I added some glow to the sky using orton effect and paintbrush selectively to the sky, after this I added light trails using another exposure, I merged the exposure using layer mask and paintbrush

With dodge and burn tool I decresed some bright areas and lightened some darker others one in the shot, after this I applied a sharpen filter that I use selectively on the buildings and on the street

After this I increased a bit the color vibrance, than added a soft vignette manually using the glow tool

I really hope you will find this usefull, I always love to ear that from you!


TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-850

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

Three Exposures (-1; 0; +1)

ISO: 100 at f9

Software: Photoshop CC2022

Plugin: TTS Pro 2.0


In the Wood – Autumn Vibes

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The autumn colors are the most beautiful and this year I could not miss the opportunity to photograph them in this month of November. For this reason I went to this beech forest which is about 1000 meters high which in this month offers the best colors

Regarding this time of year, I wrote a guide called how to photograph the beauty of autumn colors, very useful for shooting in situations like this during autumn, the main advices for this are to use a polarizer lens, use the correct lens and set the correct white balance

In this series I was lucky enough to find beautiful lights filtering through the trees and their leaves. In this magical place I will soon organize a workshop, starting next year in addition to this location there are many other places to explore in the area that deserve to be visited and photographed


WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I edited all the shots in the same way, using the same processing. This time i don’t used luminosity masks for exposure blend because all the shots was single exposures but I managed all the images with luminosity masks to increase/decrease luminosity, contrasts etc…

I added a warm light on the highlights, I added a soft orton effect to create a dreamy feel in the wood, also added details to better enhance foliage beauty on the wood. In all the images I pushed up autumn colors using my panel TTS Pro, that has a effect specifically for this

As last step added a soft vignette in all my shot to enhance the mood of the wood and create more atmosphere in all the shots

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


TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-850

Sigma 24-70 f/2,8 (used at 70mm)

Sigle Exposures

ISO: 100 at f8

Software: Photoshop CC2022

Plugin: TTS Pro 2.0


Welcome to Mars – Calascio

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In the village of Calascio, looking towards the valley, you will find this beautiful view where is located this small church

The church I’m talking about is called Santa Maria della Pietà is a religious building located in Abruzzo, next to the Norman castle and the village of Rocca Calascio, open to religious ceremonies only on special occasions and managed by a group of volunteers from the place

The church is located along the path that leads to the castle of Rocca Calascio at 1482 m. on the place where, according to tradition, the population defeated a band of brigands who, coming from the nearby Campo Imperatore in the Papal State, were about to storm the possessions of the Piccolomini family

This area is very visited during the year especially in summer, many tourists come to this village for a daily trip to take a visit to the ancient village and especially for the view of the valley from the castle which is beautiful especially at sunset where the warm colors of the sky radiate the valley with beautiful yellow colors


WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I manage the two images in a very similar way, for both images I used exposure blend to get a balanced images and recover all the highlights and shadows from the exposures

With luminosity masks I finish to correct the highlights and contrast between the two images. After applying orton effect  to create a dreamy feel in the scene especially for the valley image, while for the exposure of the church I increase the warm coming from the sun

With  luminosity masks I increse the warm of the highlight, than I lighten some part of the images using the glow tool, as final I launch a sharpen filter a bit the two images creating for the one of the curch a dark vignette for the foreground

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 24mm)

Sigma 24-70 f2,8 (used at 70mm)

Three Exposures (-1; 0;+1)

ISO: 100 at f8

Software: Photoshop CC2021

Plugin: TTS Pro 2.0


Eden – S. Benedetto Waterfalls

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Images from the San Benedetto waterfalls, I photographed the main waterfall and the main course of the river that follows on the right side

This small very suggestive place is located a few kilometers from Rome, the waterfalls with their swimming pond are a natural oasis for those who decide in summer to take a bath immersed in nature or to take an excursion to a small natural oasis

I photographed the main waterfall through a with a framing in the composition, after having made several tests also considering the distance, this composition seemed to me the best 🙂

the second shot I propose it instead as an auxiliary to the first as it traces the course of the river that derives from the waterfall, a very close view of the river


WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

For both images the workflow was very similar, after digital blend the images using different exposures, I increased details and fixed lights and contrasts with luminosity masks

I launched a soft orton effect to create more atmosphere at the image and applied a warm filter to the highlights especially in the main waterfall image where I create a glow effect on the top right to intensify the warm light coming from the sky

With the help of  dodge and burn I darkened some part of both images was too overexposed, I darkened a bit the images and I added for both a fade film effect with a 50% opacity

As last step I create a strong vignette through my panel  TTS Pro

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 24mm)

Three Exposures (-1; 0;+1)

ISO: 100 at f8

Software: Photoshop CC2021

Plugin: TTS Pro 2.0


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


The Great Henge – Molina Watefalls

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This week I propose a photo of the Molina waterfalls near Verona, a photo taken this summer as you can see from the beautiful bright colors and the intense green of the surrounding vegetation

These waterfalls are located within an area served and equipped where it is possible to go up the river and meet many and suggestive waterfalls like this one

I shot this location getting as close as possible to the water and first making a series of bracketing shots using low iso, in order to increase the shooting time and to have the desired number of shots to digital blend the exposures. After this series I also captured one more shot at 3200 iso to save all the leafs in the scene from movement

The wind and the waterfall movement here moved all the leaves a lot and it would have been impossible to take a shot with the static leafs still as I wanted. this is a little trick I talk about in my guide all you need to know to photograph waterfalls

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I digital blended my shots using TTS PRO, than I used the extra image with freezed trees and leafs to paint over the blended image the leafs without movements

I correct colour cast in the image, than with the help of luminosity masks I fixed contrast and highlights. After this I increased the warm color of the light coming between the trees than I launched a soft orton effect to create a myterious look of the wood around

With the help of the glow tool I create a light glow around the area of the waterfall and on the light coming from the leafs

I increased vibrance of the colors decreasing the green than I created a vignette to give more prominence to the waterfall

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D850

Nikon 14-24 f/2,8 (used @14mm)

Three Exposures (-1; 0; +1) +1 to freeze the leafs

ISO: 100 f/10

Software: Photoshop CC2021


5 Reasons to use Luminosity Masks in all your Processing

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Since I started editing my first images the main goal was always to make targeted and selective edits in my images. At first time I relied on third-party software for post processing, so I enjoyed their HDR tone mapping features to edit all my landscapes and cityscapes with good results

Over the years I realized that the tone mapping process and the presets I used were too limited and that to improve the image quality and my post processing I needed to do more, that’s how I discovered luminosity masks. In the following article we will talk about how this become over the years my main post processing method

1. Image Quality

Going back to the introduction, the HDR images were always too saturated or too noisy due to artificial and confusing processing that affect image quality

With luminosity masks instead you will work only on the raw file and you will only affect the values you want. The result will be a high quality image with the ability to manage lights, shadows and details like an HDR


2. Full Control of Editing

With luminosity masks you decide which area of ​​the image want to affect and on which image work, by selectively deciding the various points of the shot. With third-party filters and softwares you cannot always decide how and in which points to work your photo


3. Digital Blending

If you use luminosity masks and you capture bracketed shots you can easily digital blend your shots into a single perfectly balanced image. Personally, during my processing I edit almost all my images in this way because it gives you a great control of all processing. By selecting the appropriate luminosity mask and by choosing the opacity of your tool the precision of the changes you can make are awesome

For example in the image below, I used digital blending only to take advantage of the details and colors of the sky of the darkest exposure. To make this I used a brush with a 50% opacity to benefit only of information from the sky I need without making it too dark


4. Choice the Mask for your Needs

The selections made through the luminosity masks are specific, moving through the selection of masks is like choosing an area from the smallest to the largest for that type. Whenever shooting in high contrast situations (such as in the same direction of the sun) selecting the specific area of ​​light to decrease or shadows to increase becomes a great help


5. Speed up Processing

Since I use luminosity masks, the time spent editing images has been significantly reduced. Digitally blending images with luminosity masks is quick and easy, imagine doing the same job manually by selecting each area manually before blending it… it will take a long time

In the past I’d upload brackets in Photoshop and play with some sliders on the whole image, wasting a lot of time to adjust contrasts, lights and shadows always different

Now my processing is fast and fun and mainly consists of painting or applying some filters to the various exposures. At the end of the process I feel a sense of achievement to give to the image my desired design


Conclusions

Luminosity masks aren’t for everyone. They take a little time to understand and learn about it. They’re certainly more difficult to master than third part software and filters, but I assure you that once you master them you will never be able to go back. In my opinion, regardless of the quality of the third party software, nothing can give you control back than digital blending using luminosity masks

If you don’t know where to start, I have created a specific course on luminosity masks where you will get all the tools to start working using them and with pratice become a master


My free Luminosity Masks Resource

I created a panel to easily launch and select luminosity masks, the panel is the TTS Fast Panel and it’s completely free. With this panel you can manage the luminosity masks like a pro and benefit of some filters created by me and that I use very much in my processing

Don’t forget to give me a feedback about it in comments


Straight to the Sun – Cilento Sunset

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While I was hiking near a promontory in the Cilento area I came across this splendid view of the sea, with a practically perfect sunset with the sun going falling down between two mountains in front of me. Despite the beauty of the place, however, shooting here was very challenging

There was to consider that I was shooting in the direction of the sun, so in a situation of great contrast, also I had to capture all my shots with focus stacking to contrast the wind that came from the sea made all the leaves that I had inserted in composition

For this reason I captured a series of bracketed shots to save the sky and be able to retrieve the information I needed in processing and in addition to this I captured another series of focus stacking shots to save some elements of focus

I am satisfied with the final result even if the processing that I report below as usual was quite long and complicated 😅

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I started working on my image with TTS Pro with I digitally blended all my shots to obtain a balanced image with all the informations recovered in the sky. After this I go through focus stacking technique to save focus in the foreground around the leafs, to make this I used a couple of shots more

Once I obtained the image I started working on it with luminosity masks to recover the highlights in the sky, contrasts, blacks and shadows. I correct color cast in the image, than I fixed again the luminosity of the sky, after this I applied a orton effect to increase the sense of glow warm coming from the sun, I added details, sharpness and increased vibrance

I removed some unwanted spots in the water and reduced the photo noise, created by the shots I used for focus stacking that were captured with high ISO to avoid long exposure

As last touch I fixed lights and I created a manual vignette to emphatize the light source from the sun

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D850

Nikon 14-24f/2,8 (used @24mm)

Focus Stacking Serie

ISO: 80 f/22

Software: Photoshop CC2021

Plugin: TTS Pro 2.0


Returning to Sand

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A new photo from the Cilento coasts which represent one of my favorite places to take seascapes in Italy. In this place beyond the mountain in the evening it often clouds up, giving very suggestive points of views. Here many beaches have interesting rocks to approach and take pictures with interestng foreground elements with which to make compositions

I took this photo using the focus stacking technique, for this I captured a series of exposures to capture as much diversity of focus between the various areas of the image. To this series of photos I then added another series of long exposures to capture the water with greater movement

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

After completing the blending of the images with focus stacking I make anther blend for the sky and for the long exposure of the water. All the blend for the sky and for the water was done with the help of luminosity masks and paintbrush

With a final blend image I used TTS Pro to lauch more details on the picture, I also increased vibrance, added some cold filters to highlights and shadows. I fixed contrast and I used dodge and burn around the rocks on the foreground

As final step I sharpened the image and I created a vignette to make the scene more dark and with a mysterious style

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D850

Nikon 14-24 f/2,8 (used @16mm)

Focus Stacking Serie

ISO: 80 f/11

Software: Photoshop CC2021

Plugin: TTS Pro 2.0


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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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