Straight to the Sun – Cilento Sunset

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


Illusion of Time – Tre Cime

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I come back after several years to Tre Cime of Lavaredo, an incredible and beautiful place known wordwide. Unlike last time I took the typical shot of the view of the Tre Cime closer to the blue hour

At that time some clouds were also rising that, few minutes later, covered the whole view in white, luckily I was able to capture the last images of the day of the visible peaks before they were covered

I take the shot using the focus stacking technique, focusing first on the small flowers in the foreground, then in the central part and then on the peaks. I taked some shots based on the alternation of the clouds on Tre Cime waiting to capture the shot that would make them visible at best, the result of 9 total photos is what you see in the image

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

As mentioned I made this shot using focus stacking technique, I made it blending all the shots avaiable captured here, 9 shots with different focus parts included the image used for the peaks. I don’t use digital blending here because I don’t captured bracketed shots, the management of so many shots with different focus and also with different exposure would have created an incredible and not so usefull job to do in post

Therefore I edited the image using only luminosity masks and my panel TTS Pro, as usual we see the main steps of the workflow:

I added details and contrast to the whole frame, I fixed colours, than glow using orton effect . With the help of dodge and burn tool I lightened some darker part of the foreground and on the clouds

I increased the blue tones of the image adding a cold filter applied to highlights than shadows, I also used light bleeding to add some lights to the sky and colours to the clouds

I desaturate selectively some blue tones of the sky and as final step I added a soft dark vignette to the frame

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D850

Nikon 14-24f/2,8 (used @16mm)

Focus Stacking Serie

ISO: 100 f/14

Software: Photoshop CC2021

Plugin: TTS Pro 2.0


Arms of the Earth

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I returned as a sure shot in this wood that I know very well, in a location not far from my hometown. I come here many times since I was a child but only recently I discovered the photographic potential of this place

Here I begin to know the trees and their peculiarities like this trunk with a particular shape that seems to remember that of two limbs facing the sky behind a gorgeous mid-afternoon light.

In this place together with other spots that you will see in the next posts that I have in mind to create the next photographic workshop to discover these places with you there will be developments in the coming months in this regard 🙂

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I realized this capturing the images using focus stacking and bracketed shots in order to create easily digital blending with my panel TTS Pro. I fixed the lights and shadows using luminosity masks, I increased contrast and darkened the scene to emphatize lights

I launched a dark orton effect and I correct some lights using dodge and burn, as final step I created a vignette to increase the dark mood of the image

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D850

Nikon 14-24 f/2,8 (used @16mm)

Focus Stacking

ISO: 100 

Software: Photoshop CC2021

Plugin: TTS Pro


7 Reasons to Prefer Manual Focus over Auto Focus

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Focus is certainly the main aspect of photography, if the images are out of focus they are ruined definitively. There may be several reasons that lead to an out of focus image, some of which may be the difficulty of automatically focusing on a subject but anyway the best way to get out images perfectly focused is by using manual focus. So here are 7 reasons to prefer manual focus over auto focus

1. Sharpen Images

The main reason for preferring manual focus to auto focus is certainly to get sharper images, the best way to deal with manual focus is to achieve it by using live view, following these simple steps:

  1. Set your lens to Manual Focus
  2. Set Live view on your Camera
  3. Use zoom button to zoom into the are you want to focus
  4. Turn the focus ring until what you see is in focus

In this way you should be able to focus manually with ease. There’s also another step to do just to be sure your images are 100% in focus and extra sharp: compare the images captured with manual focus system and live view with an image captured from live view using auto focus. If you’ve done things right the image taken with manual focus should be with better focus and sharper

2. Photograph with every Light

Focusing with auto focus in low light conditions this one may not work properly or be inaccurate. Imagine shooting during the night, especially for night photography, images like milky way or light painting or startrails, manual focus becomes crucial to focus into a total darker scene

3. Capture low Contrasts

The auto focus to work properly needs some points that are “recognized” to the camera. If you’re shooting something that has similar colors, tones, and textures, or a smooth wall your lens can struggle in autofocus mode. In all these cases manual focus is of great help to be able to focus on subjects with low contrasts

4. Capture out of Focus images

One of the strongest photography composition guidelines is framing. Composing a framing with an out of focus element can be a successful compositional element of a photo and can lead the viewer’s eye through the main subject. Manual focus helps in this sense to be able to take our images with such compositional techniques and play between in focus and out of focus elements

5. Photograph with Fog

Fog is that element that helps make the image more striking and create a beautiful atmosphere in the image. But fog will reduce contrasts and scatter light in the scene, and focusing with fog can be difficult with auto focus if there’s not strong contrasted element in the scene. In all the cases of fog and misty landscapes using manual focus will avoid the problem of having out-of-focus images in fog

6. Focus Stacking

Focus stacking is one of the most used technique to ensure all of images elements are in focus. With focus stacking you take many images of the same scene with different focus in order to achieve a completely focused images with all the elements of the scene perfectly in focus. I created a detailed guide on how focus stack your images using bracketed shots. For a precise use of focus stacking it is very imporant to use manual focus, because it allows you to have great control of the elements of the frame in at different focal angles

7. Moving Objects

This point can be connected with the previous one but also because mobile elements are present in landscape photography. Imagine having to focus stack on flowers in the foreground that are moving on a windy day, or simply wanting to give movement to an element of the photo while keeping the focus fixed in one point. All of this with auto focus would be slower and even more difficult to achieve

Conclusions

Even if manual is better for all the reasons we talked about automatic focus can be very usefull in other situations, the auto focus should be used for:

  • Photographing animals, sport or other scenes where the subject is moving
  • Photographing events and concerts where the subject doesn’t stand still
  • Photographing handheld

Even if auto focus are certainly valid in different cases, for professional results rely to manual focus is the best solution. In any case relying on own’s eyes and judgment is always the best choice


In the Wood

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The autumn scenarios are of great inspiration this period for me and for this reason this week’s photo is centered on a autumn forest scenery. I found many leaves on the ground and no longer on the trees but despite all the forest was enveloped by a magical mysterious autumnal atmosphere

In this photograph I tried to focus more on capturing the sun filtering through the dry branches of the trees, pushing myself as low as possible with the camera to have an overbearing foreground

I made this shot in focus stacking because I had in front of me several points with different focus starting from the roots up to the trees that are at the bottom of the woods

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I started stacking all the exposures into a final image, after this I fixed all the highlights and contrast using luminosity masks. The image needed a perspective correction that I made through the use of Photoshop Warp to bring the roots a little closer and arrange the other trees in the forest

I increased details and created a glow atmosphere with orton effect using TTS Pro, with a paintbrush I glowed also the highlights to increase the sense of glow coming from the sky

After fixing color vibrance and saturation I added a small vignette to focus more attention on the sun spikes and the main tree

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

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

Focus Stacking

ISO: 100 at f/22

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS Pro


Side Walk

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Waterfalls and autumn are two elements that always get along very well. During the autumn season I always try to find some beautiful glimpses with waterfalls inside woods and small forests, the water as I wrote in my tutorial dedicated to autumn how to photograph the beauty of autumn colours ,is a very strong element for autumn shots

I took this photo without the help of any filter since the water flow was very strong and I didn’t want to risk an excessive loss of water texture

I used focus stacking in this photo by focus on the foreground and then on the rest of the scene, since the focus point was the same

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I create the shot to edit blending the shots needed for focus stacking. Also with this image for every focus point I take two exposures, darker and brighter in order to digital blend the shots before proceed with focus stacking

I increased the highlights coming from the aperture on the trees to increase the sense of glow in this picture and I pushed up orton effect and glow effect for this

I increased details selectively on the rocks and on the trees, with luminosity masks I fixed contrast and lights over the scene, I added glow in the scene also using the glow tool

As final steps I increased the color vibrance and pushed up the autumn colours

All the edits are done with my TTS Pro panel, I hope you will find this usefull. I always love to ear that from you!

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

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

Focus Stacking

ISO: 64 at f/11

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS Pro


The Touch

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Not so far from the city of Rome some forests still looks green, it will take some other week to turn to the beautiful autumn orange. Meanwhile, here is another image of a waterfall captured directly from its shore, the series of waterfalls in this area creates a deep pool of water on multiple levels

Since I was in a wooded area quite closed from light, I went here during the day with full daylight, to benefit from a brighter light to sufficiently illuminate the scene. From the right suddenly a strong light filtered towards the water and the leaves that were in front of me and that I used as the main subject of the foreground, as a touch of light in a darker scene

I capture this photo through focus stacking and perspective blending techniques, so I capture different focus on the scene and I blended togheder to obtain a perfectly focused frame, I already corrected the perspective with the waterfall using another waterfall picture with an undistorted perspective

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I captured 4 different focus point in the scene + another picture for the correct perspective of the waterfall + another one for saving the moving foliages

For every focus point I got two exposures darker and brighter that I used for digital blending. Once I composed the base working image, I started editing the image using TTS Pro. With luminosity masks I fixed the highlights and shadows in the frame and with dodge and burn I decreased all the strong lights in the frame

I used orton effect here, perfect for this kind of scenes and with the use of glow tool  I created some glowing lights in the picture. I increased the color vibrance, increased details and sharpness on the rocks and on the leafs

As final step I launched a soft vignette to favor the impression of a mysterious image to the viewer

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

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

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

Focus Stacking

ISO: 64 at f/14

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS Pro


The Waterway

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Near Rome there is this graceful waterfall which takes the name of Mola like the millstone located next to an old mill, built in the 1500s. The artifact was used for the milling of wheat from flour, exploiting the waters of the river

The waterfall is surrounded by greenery a few kilometers from the town and the canalization works, the lock and the remains of the tuff perimeter walls are still visible from the old mill

I captured this shot using focus stacking technique so capturing a series of exposures near the foreground water and another series for the trees, no other shots was necessaries for the mid elements

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I blended all the shots captured using focus stacking in order to create the image perfectly focused. In this shot I also used another technique which I have never talked about so far but which I promise to deepen in the coming months, that is the perspective blending

With the use of perspective blending I corrected the perspective between the water in the foreground and the waterfall which was distorted by the vertical line, it often happens that moving the angle of view too low, the images in the background are excessively affected by the distortion of the wide angle but correcting properly the perspective can achieve a optimal result

Once corrected all I started adding details, contrasts and correcting the lights using TTS Pro panel, after this I added  orton effect, I love this effect in nature sceneries and the glow tool over the water and the sky

I increased the yellow colors using luminosity masks applied to shadows and blue tones applied to highlights. I also fixed the vibrance of colors and the whole luminosity of the shot

As final step I also added a manual vignette to the foreground

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

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

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

Three Shots (-1; 0; +1) focus stacked

ISO: 100 at f/13

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS Pro


Coastal Beauty

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I shot for three consecutive days in this location in search of the best clouds and the most interesting colors, at the end I preferred for this image in focus stacking with this rock in the foreground using two different focuses between foreground and the mountain. I used a nd filter with -6 stops to make this, I love the submerged part of the rock blurred by the long exposure of the water

This area is one of my favorite locations to photograph the sea. I’m talking about Cilento area in the south of Italy. I love the rocky beaches with the mountain in the background typical of this area. The sunsets here are always very special and full of beautiful colors, every year I try to spend a few days here taking these colorful seascapes

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I captured this with 5 brackedet shots that I merged using TTS Pro with digital blending creating 2 different shots that I blended with focus stacking. With luminosity masks I fixed the highlights in the sky and I lightened the darker parts of the rocks

After increasing the color vibrances, I used dodge and burn to fix some darker areas around the rocks and darkened the general luminosity of the picture using a vignette

I increased the contrast applying luminosity masks to curves adjustment layer, after a general layer fixes a gived a soft orton effect to create a soft glow effect

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

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

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

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

ISO: 100 at f/16

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS 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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