The Rock

The Rock

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Giuseppe Sapori - The Rocks

During my stay in Ischia I could not visit the characteristic Castello Aragonese. , Is a rising fort on a small island of volcanic origin slightly detached from Ischia and connected  through the bridge you see on the right. The whole island of Castello Aragonese can be visited and is also very interesting, if you want to get to the top, there’s also a lift that allows you to save you skip 60 meters high.

I went to the castle a few minutes before sunset , I did not have much of a hurry because my intention was to photograph it during the blue hour… so it was, I came across this little corner of the beach that run along the bridge leading to the castle, I take on the place some shots between the different moments of the sunset.

I started working with luminosity masks to blend the exposures, sky was manually blended from another series of exposures I take before. After the blend of the images with luminance masks I started increasing colors (more yellows) to create a cool mix between golden hour and blue hour. I put a little Orton Effect to the image to create a gleam effect to the lights behind Castello Aragonese, some detail increase and contrast adjustments using my action pack and that’s it.

 

TECHNICAL STUFF 

Camera: Nikon D-800

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

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

ISO: 100 at f/9

Software: Photoshop CC2015

 


10 Tips To Improve Your Landscape Photos

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I Have always been a lover of  Landscape photography. A suggestive spot, natural locations or a beautiful sunset over the sea for me have always been something unique, a moment to stuck. In my experience I have made ​​many mistakes during my shots over that places, but I’ve also learned from them what are the main warnings to keep in mind when need to photograph a landscape. So in this article I will  share with you 10 Tips To Improve Your Landscape Photos, hope you will find them usefull:

Plan for your shots

If you plan well your photos, you’re already a step piece. This means to know the shooting place and location features.  In  Landscape Photography we need to know so many factors such as the position of the sun, weather conditions, moon phases and moon sunset for the milky way.

There are so many apps that allow you to know the conditions of  your shooting location. I usually use Photo Emeries, Photo Phills and Golden Lite, they are all good for the direction of the sun, or times for the golden/blue hour, or even where you will locate the milky way in the sky

Giuseppe Sapori - Moonwalk

Arrive Early to get the best position

It seems a small thing but it isn’t, get there early helps you find the best position before other photographers, you will also have all the time to understand where it will comes the sunrise or sunset and calculate the shot. For example when I was in Oia Santorini, many people wanted to take the famous sunset, the best spot was invaded by many tourists and photographers.

I arrived at my spot at least 4 hours before sunset (it’s too much I know, but in my case it was really necessary) finding the spot I chosen, during this long time I set the camera, I cleaned my lenses, I set the shot while I made an aperitive with beer and chips while waiting. By the time all the others  photographers and tourists crowded behind me in bizarre positions 🙂

Giuseppe Sapori - Oia Sunset 2

Clean your lenses

If you arrive early to your location you will also have time to give a clean the lens you decide to use. The best solution is to use specific products for lens cleaning but if you don’t have something of this try to clean them using cleenex.  Avoid absolutely to breathe on the lenses and to give him a clear brief with the shirt 🙂 breath is not suitable to clean and shirt can drop pesky lint that attach to the lens

Always use tripod

In one word “essential”, to get the freedom to shoot with manual focus, with long exposure times and with bracket shots. Depending on the light and the type of photo it may not be necessary but photographing landscapes at dusk  is a prerequisite

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Don’t move tripod

In landscape photography tripod always it assumes a fundamental role, but personally I think it also aids in shooting creativity. Once I have chosen a good position I hardly move my tripod, this because it allows me to be able to catch and shoot the various moments of light alternate with the passage of time. This means choosing the best light, the best color or just have the choice to do it.

For example in the pictures I took in the new district of Milan Porta Nuova I stayed for about two hours withoud moving my tripod capturing everything I needed even if far apart them in a time frame. At home with Photoshop I merged all the layers I needed to put it all together in one frame: light trails, city lights and sky with the colors of the first sunset. Moving tripod or changing the direction of the camera this would have been impossible

Giuseppe Sapori - Faster ride

Manually focus

The auto focus is definitely more practical, but to improve it and sharpen your images nothing is better as manual focus, expecially in cases where there is low light manual focus is the best choice.

If you want to be sure to don’t mistake with the manual focus I can suggest a little trick: Set the live view and enlarge the picture on the part to focus on, turn the focus ring until the image is perfectly in focus and then returns to classic view in this way it will be easy and fast do it

Bracket your exposures

It ‘a personal taste choice, some photographers prefer to work with single RAW but personally I bracket all the time because it allows me to capture the entire dynamic range in a picture and to work more freely. Have a series of shots allows great control on the result final, all this is not always possible with the individual RAW exposure

With foreground is better

Many photos of landscapes made by the greatest photographers are characterized by this element, in fact, never underestimate the potential of the foreground which serves to capture the attention of potential frame viewers. For example when we are capturing a mountain, or a sunset in the background have an interesting foreground to insert make the image much more complete and interesting, helping to broaden the overall vision. It can make the difference

Giuseppe Sapori - The last light

Shoot looking into the sun

Shooting into the sun will completely transform your images. Sun will add a wonderful point of light into the frame, it will change and enhance the entire balance of light in your picture. Don’t worry if the image may be too overexposed in some places, taking with brackets shot you can bring back the light where you need to create a more dynamic and natural look

Giuseppe Sapori - Coastal Sunset

Focus stack

This last point of 10 Tips To Improve Your Landscape Photos can be connected with point number 8 “with foregound is better”. When I spoke about foreground, it can happen that the image is not perfectly sharp between the foreground and background. For this reason, using the focus stacks  is important to have a perfectly focused image in all its parts without sacrificing a full-frame elements. I talked about the stack depth focus in this article.

Giuseppe Sapori - The Heaven Mirror

these are my 10 Tips To Improve Your Landscape Photos. if you were to tell me your what you put it? Your point of view is important, write me in the section below


Sant’Angelo

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Giuseppe Sapori - Sant'Angelo

I spent a wonderful weekend in Ischia in the early June of this year, this island is located in the south of Italy just close to the city of Naples. I did not go on this island for many years and it was nice to come back to relive those places, those people that sea. First photographic exit on the island of Ischia I went to Sant’Angelo district, one of the most beautiful island, here a ground strap meets a small island by creating a shortcut very particular. I took several photos throughout the area including this one which is taken from the road that leads to Sant’Angelo. Photo made from 5 exposures and combined with luminance masks, I did not madevery large interventions save as saturation to bring out the colors of the sunset.

 

TECHNICAL STUFF 

Camera: Nikon D-800

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

Five Shots (-1; 0; +1)

ISO: 200 at f/7,1

Software: Photoshop CC2015


The Flight

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Giuseppe Sapori - The flight

This is one of many beautiful views that can be seen from the city walls of Dubrovnik, what you see in the distance is Fort Lovrijenac, a stronghold of the sea famous for its plays and importance in resisting Venetian rule, it overshadows the two entrances to the city, from the sea and by land.  Fort Lovrijenac was als a important location of the TV Series Games of Thrones On the right you can see parts of the walls almost completely refurbished and in very good condition, the full tour allows you to do a lot of good pictures between sea and city views.

I climbed the walls around 5.30 pm in order to have time to do the full tour and at the same time benefit from a favorable sunset light for photos, in this case the misfortune to have had the bad weather in the days of Dubrovnik proved providential having the opportunity to photograph beautiful cloudy sky. I took this picture freehand leaning from the walls to catch as much as possible the sea and the Fort Lovrijenac, I made 5 shots but I used only 4, the last was too overexposed.

 

TECHNICAL STUFF 

Camera: Nikon D-800

Lens: Nikon 14-24mm f/2,8 (Shot at 18mm)

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

ISO: 100 at f/7,1

Software: Photoshop CC2015


The Last Light

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Giuseppe Sapori - The last light

The beach of Maiori during sunset, I took this picture in the few moments of light available before the sundown, it was beginning to be dark when I found a small pier looking out to sea, there was only a fisherman just ahead. I placed a few meters before him shooting towards the Gulf of Amalfi, the sea was very much moved and several times I had to clean the lens from a few sketches that even at a distance came on my lens.

However not being the owner of an ND filter I took this photo only using a slower shutter speed and a good exposure compensation, I have to say that I am very satisfied of the final results but all the credits go to the sunset cause I was helped by the little lights remainings which allowed me the fog effect in the water. With Photoshop I tried to step up the contrasts, the details on the rocks and further blur to the water, specially in the central part of the image

 

TECHNICAL STUFF 

Camera: Nikon D-800

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

Five Shots (-2; -1; 0; +1; +2) with around -2,5 sec. exposure compensation

ISO: 100 at f/8

Software: Photoshop CC2015


Coastal Sunset

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Giuseppe Sapori - Coastal Sunset

It follows the serie of photos taken in Amalfi during my stay in the beautiful Amalfi Coast . This is a landscape of the top watching Amalfi touched by the setting sun. To Give Some landmark is simply treats the other side from my latest post. As in the previous photo I take a series of exposures before coming down to Amalfi town when the sunset ends

 

TECHNICAL STUFF 

Camera: Nikon D-800

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

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

ISO: 100 at f/10

Software: Photoshop CC2015


Amalfi coast

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Giuseppe Sapori - Amalfi

 

This is the famous Amalfi coast, framed on the way to Amalfi, definitely my favorite shot in this part of south Italy. I took this picture after taking some shots at the port, as in my latest post. I started to go up on the Amalfi coast  by walk (which in the meantime was swarming with cars whizzing fast), to reach a first top where you could admire the beautiful Amalfi Coast in all its glory. I have been in this spot for about 20 minutes taking photos during different times of the Amalfi coast seascape during the golden hour.

When I go home I select the exposures taken in the first part of my take because they had a shade of yellow and the most characteristic colors than the other.  In Photoshop I used  my actions Luminosity Masks to do manual blend, my other actions to add, details, sharpen, orton effect and lab color.

 

TECHNICAL STUFF 

Camera: Nikon D-800

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

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

ISO: 100 at f/10

Software: Photoshop CC2015

 


Twelve Sides of Gold

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Giuseppe Sapori - Twelve sides of Gold

This is the Seville Tower of Gold (in Spanish Torre del Oro) is one of the landmarks of the city, the whole area surrounding the tower is a belvedere through Guadalquivir river. The river banks are a nice walk with bicycle lanes, a bridge overlooking the river where it can be admired a landscape of the city flanked by the tower. The Tower of Gold is composed of twelve sides and 36 meters high is an important symbol for the people of Seville, the story has it that a result of the Lisbon earthquake, the tower was badly damaged and on that occasion the Marquis de Monte Real we proposed the demolition to widen the adjacent street but, in the face of strong opposition from the local population, the idea of ​​the demolition was abandoned. I planned this photo after a small scout of the area, having seen the bridge in fact, my first idea was to photograph the tower from the bridge, but did not offer the view I was hoping for… So I went down to the base of the bridge where I found the picture you see, the bar on the right with a little muddy foregroud, riverside and the beautiful tower of gol in the background was exactly the composition I was looking for.

When I take these shots I take exposures for the foreground and for the tower, to have all the images needed to apply a bracketed focus stacking. (for any clarification there’s a tutorial here). So 3 exposures to focus on the part of the foreground and 3 other exposures to focus properly the tower, I combined them with photomerge and then proceed to the traditional interventions with Photoshop. That’s all!

 

TECHNICAL STUFF 

Camera: Nikon D-800

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

Three Exposures (-1; 0; +1;) for the foreground

Three Exposures (-1; 0; +1;) for the highlights

ISO: 200 at f/8

Software: Photoshop CC2015


Tutorial: Bracketed Landscape with Focus Stacking

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The technique of the Focus Stacking consists in taking a series of pictures gradually changing the focus between the one and the other; being processed will join the shots, taking advantage of each image only those parts that appear to be in focus. In landscape photography the main rule is to focus all the elements of the foreground and take some exposure for the sky or highlights.

When i was at the lake in Campo Imperatore I shot a large number of exposures to focus on all the rocks it was, sky and mountain. When I go home indeed I realized that I really need only one of the exposures for the foreground, and only one of exposures for the mountain, focus stack all the rocks one by one in this case was not so necessary, cause the focus was pratically the same for each rock. I did not think about it 🙂

So in this tutorial I will show you how to apply focus stacking in a foregrounded landscape using Bracketing mode and how I use other exposures for my final image.

 

Shooting and preparing the images

I took a series of exposures bracketed images ( -1 , 0, +1 ) for the rocks in the foreground and an additional bracketed series of shots focusing the mountain set on ∞  ( -1 , 0 + 1 ).

Added to this, there is another shot that I took in the late evening to replace the mountain covered by clouds. For a total of 7 exposures.

ESEMPIO

ESEMPIO1

I take all the shots using tripod, ISO 100 and f/11

Below all the steps I do that show you  how to focus stack and how to make a blend with additional exposure

 

Stacking and Auto Blending

1. Launch Lightroom and select all the stack images.

2. Right Click on the images selected. Develop settings>Sync Settings

3. Adjust for all the stacked images,  distortion,  white balance, contrast ecc…

4. Right Click again and select Edit In > Open as Layers in Photoshop

5. Select all the layers and Go to Edit>Auto-Align Layers, with settings as follow:

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6.  Regroup layers by exposure.

For a 2 series of bracketing (-1; 0 +1) x 2 I had 2 overexposed, 2 correct and 2 underexposed images.

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7. Highlight images by group and blend them, Edit>Auto-Blend Layer like below:

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Photoshop will blend the highlighted images creating a layer mask for each image, to show in white the sharp and in black the hidden areas. Select this layers and merge them.

 

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Theese three images are now a “Bracketed Focus Stacked Series”, you can now edit them with Photoshop as you do with a normal bracketing series.  I usually edit theese shots using Luminance Masks to select all the brights and shadows I need without affecting the entire picture in order to create a final quality image.

 

Exposure Blend

Remember the seventh exposure that I said at the beginning? I’ve taken it just before leaving the location, cause I had seen that the mountain began to discover from the clouds. In that picture I had masked only this part of the mountain without affecting the sky.

1. Put the new layer at the top, and auto align again with Edit>Auto-Align Layers

2. Create layer mask and click (Ctrl+I; PC) or (Cmd+I MAC) to invert it

3. Select now a white brush and paint in the areas of the sky that you want to blend in

4. Press( Ctrl+E; PC) or (Cmd+E; MAC) to merge layers

Schermata 2016-01-17 alle 14.48.55 Schermata 2016-01-17 alle 14.50.16

 

Conclusions

The final question is “How many images do I need, and where should they be focused?”

The answer depends on what your scene looks like and what effect you’re trying to achieve.

At a minimum, you need to have each scene element you need be sharp, at least one (or a series of bracketing shots)

Sometimes you can do that by focusing specifically on each element you care about. For example in presence of many close-up elements in the foreground, ( leafs, flowers and other things that wind can move). In this case take many exposure as for the element you need.

 

 


The Shelter

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Giuseppe Sapori - The Shelter

In September I started exploring some areas looking for a place to photograph the Milky Way, since I had time until October to see it. So I start explore the area of Gran Sasso – Abruzzo an afternoon in late September located in Campo Imperatore where is an astronomical observatory. In the plain of Campo Imperatore it’s possible to admire a beautiful view of the mountains, the other ( behind my shot ) is located  the astronomical observatory and the Hotel Campo Imperatore, red coloured to be visible during the harsh winters of snow. During my tour, I scoured log cabins that serve the explorers to shelter from the cold during the crossings and this is one of those, A peaceful, greeny mountain landscape, il the result.

I shot 5 exposures for this picture, but I’ve only used 3, starting from the darker one. Indeed  the light was still too high and usually shooting always times close at dusk, so I started using the underexposed image using the others to bring up on light and detail. In this image I used the color lookup function to give greater emphasis to the greens and shades of sky.

 

TECHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

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

ISO: 100 at f/6,3

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

Software: Photoshop CC2015


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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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