The First Sight

The First Sight

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When I am on places like mountains I always dedicate a portion of time to shooting details while I wait for the best moment to shoot my landscape, this is how I manage to capture pictures like this

After the climb way uphill to the tre cime I arrived in front of the place of the shot, after mounting the tripod I usually take this opportunity to look the surrounding with a tele zoom lens and try to capure something interesting with th changing lights of the dusk

It is in that stretch that I saw a glimmer of sunset light filtering into the sky and illuminate the mountain with beautiful colors with 3 different tones clouds and different lights on the same mountain For this reason I always consider very important to not fossilize using the same lenses but vary them when possible to make the most of the potential that the location has to offer. Even if now is summer you can read more about this topic in my post how to photograph the beauty of autumn colours 🙂


This is a handheld shot, I didn’t take this using bracketing mode but a single shot, for this reason this time I don’t used any digital blending but just luminosity masks to lighten and darken the main areas of the image

I increased details using TTS Pro filters, with the same panel I made all the workflow adding warm colours to the shot, increasing contrast and adjust dark and white points. I fixed colour cast and I increased colour vibrance

I sharpened the final result adding a soft vigneting to give more prominence to the mountain


Camera: Nikon D850

Nikon 70-200 f/2,8 (used @200mm)

Single Shot

ISO: 100 f/13

Software: Photoshop CC2021

Plugin: TTS Pro 2.0


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The small but beautiful lake antorno is located on the road that leads from Misurina to the Tre Cime of Lavaredo, just before the toll road for the park of “Tre Cime”. It is a must for all those who go to the famous park in question but the small Antorno lake deserves a careful visit, especially on sunset

Although its best view is opposite to the sunset, the colors of the mountain that lights up as the sun goes down gives beautiful reflections into the water. I composed this photo with the help of this bush on the foreground and I used it to realize a focus stacking through the element of the frame.


To begin with I stack the images into Photoshop the focused image in all the element of the frame, I used the other expoures to realize a digital blending and create a balanced image. With the use of I launched details filter to increase details on the main spot, than I correct colours and contrast

With the help of  luminosity masks applied to TTS Pro filters I warmened the sky and I increased the dark mood of the image, I also created a orton effect to mitigate the details effect and create a soft glow dreamy feel. Using dodge and burn I gived some last touches to the image, going to increase/decrease lights in the main area of interest


Camera: Nikon D850

Nikon 14-24 f/2,8 (used @24mm)

Three Shots (-1; 0; +1)

ISO: 100 f/11

Software: Photoshop CC2021

Plugin: TTS Pro

Stronghold Temple

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Starting to travel again, I also had the time to spend a night in a village of my old acquaintance from where my family originates, this place is located a few kilometers from my home and I know it very well

Here I spent many years of my childhood and growing up I transformed a lot of my knowledge of the place into a photo scouting. It is here where I soon will organize a full workshop program for explore all the surrounding area

This is one of the spots I planned for the workshop, very nice for both sunrise and sunset. I combined the two moments of golden hour and blue hour waiting for the public lighting to start to create a better mix between the two moments and also benefit from some small light trails as seen below left


I blended the shot using digital blending with my panel TTS Pro, than I recover some dark shot to add lights and light trails to the image. I made the major adjustments using using luminosity masks: create contrast, decrease luminosity, add some warm colours to the sky

With orton effect I added some glow light at the scene and with dodge and burn I recovered some area in the village. As final steps I added details to the whole frame and I decreased a bit the luminosity


Camera: Nikon D850

Sigma 24-70 f/2,8 (used @32mm)

Three Shots (-1; 0; +1)

ISO: 100 

Software: Photoshop CC2021

Plugin: TTS Pro

7 Tips for Better Sunset Photography

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As everyone knows, the best moment to capture the best light is during sunset, this time of day coincides with the best softest light and which gives better colors in the sky and lights. This time of the day is generally between golden hour and blue hour to achieve the best light in the day

Nowadays everyone knows this simple but basic rule of photography, but so how to go further? How can be more professional in this field? Let’s find out in this article through these 7 tips for better sunset photography

1 Scout the Location Before Shooting

Scouting of the location is the requirement of a professional photography, as regards the main difference is made to arrive early and leave late the location. This simple advice will drastically increase the possibility of returning home with a shot of greater interest

Arriving earlier helps to find the right position of the photo, going away late helps to find the right light you are looking for in the shot you’re making. Sometimes it happens that the best moments for shooting are moved from the canonical moments of the golden and blue hour, this is because they are strongly conditioned from weather and location

2 Know the Sun Spot

This is the primary tip for a professional photo, knowing the sun’s position increase the chance to create impactful images. You will understand what the light will do and consequently what your image will look like, in this way you will be able to adjust your photo according to your needs

To find out this position you can help you with many apps, for example I use Photopills that have a very intuitive sun spot section

3 Shoot into the Sun direction

When it is possible I love shooting landscape into the sun direction. Taking the shot into the sun direction greatly increases the possibility of creating impactful images because it includes an important point of energy in the frame

Shooting into the sun direction also allows you to play with the sun’s spikes when it “lands” on some element of the frame, a condition that I love to capture in my landscapes

4 Always Bracket your Shots

When shooting towards sunset the possibility of having images with a great contrast is very high. Usually high contrasted images are very difficult to manage and for this reason I always shoot using bracketing mode

The bracketing mode grants to obtain a wide dynamic range of the scene through a series of exposures, furthermore, this guarantees an excellent result for digital blending of the image in Photoshop

5 Try Differents Focal Lens

As a landscape photographer I have always captured many photos using my wide angle, but during time I learned the importance of experimenting with other points of view and other focal lengths to achieve best results

In some cases, using different lenses instead of wide angle can give better results, it all depends on the location and situation, it is the case of the gallery below that I took in the mountains or in the hills. At a distance I had points that hit the eye with a wide angle it would not have been the same results

6 Focus on Composition

Everything said above is important but it is nothing compared to a good composition, this is the main tip that allows you to create an impactfull landscape. Don’t always focus yourself on shooting at eye level, include the right portion of the sky / foreground in your photo and balance the elements for a perfect composition. On this topic I have written a specific guide that I recommend you go and read called 7 Composition guidelines for better landscape photography

7 Luminosity Masking

Luminosity masks are the best way to bring out the best on your sunset images, using luminosity masks and digital blending can easily include in your image all the main elements of your shots and create a balanced images with a full dynamic range

You can read more about luminosity masks in many articles of this site and you can take a look better at them on my dedicated guide mastering luminosity masks. Don’t forget to going deepen downloading my FREE panel for Photoshop and if you want to go deepen you can discover TTS Pro for easy and professional digital blendings


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Orvieto is a very pretty town in central Italy, with an excellent historical and artistic heritage. Its splendid cathedral is the most visited spot in the city very similar to the most famous cathedral of Siena

This wonderful cathedral is not the only spot you can visit here, you will find also the the St. Patrick water well, another great spot in Orvieto. i visited both during my day here so i don’t rule out future photos at the water well too 🙂


To make this shot I used the vertorama technique using a series of horizontal shots. Usually I don’t apply this technique so much and I prefer direcly shooting vertically but on this occasion it was necessary to include the whole cathedral in the scene.

I selected all the images an created the output images, I managed lights and shadows using luminosity masks than I added contrast and details using TTS Pro. I removed all the ghost in the frame and I clean the scene from unwanted elements

I decreased the luminosity of the scene using color lookup filters applied selectively on the shadows and highlights, than I also launched a soft orton effect to create this glimpse glow effect

Using dodge and burn I lightened some part of the scene including cathedral, as final step I created a soft vignette to darken the foreground area


Camera: Nikon D850

Nikon 14-24 f/2,8 (used @14mm)

Single Shots

ISO: 100 

Software: Photoshop CC2021

Plugin: TTS Pro

The Hills of Val d’Orcia

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After a winter without travel, I finally had the opportunity to leave for this magnificent location in Tuscany. Very famous but also very photographed is the third time I come here in few years. Tuscany offers fantastic photography spots in every angle and with the help of google earth before travel it is the perfect place to photograph

Here it comes handy necessary the use of a telephoto lens, not that with other types of lenses you do not take as many beautiful photos but at my view the telephoto lens here leave space to focus more on details and gives you the chance to take home a few more shot

This small collection is an example of some shots taken from the top of some hills, details of some very suggestive farms at various times of the day, I love the alternation of light and the contrasts that are created by playing among the details of the hills


This series is composed by single shots so no digital blendings was done for this images. I applied the same “treatment” for these shots: increase details, sharpness, applied a warm filter

For some shots I also applied a soft orton effect, I increased a little bit contrast and fixed highlights and shadows using luminosity masks. I made all those steps using TTS Pro and as final step I applied a soft vignette to all the images to give more prominence to the main subject


Camera: Nikon D850

Nikon 70-200 f/2,8

Single Shots

ISO: 100

Software: Photoshop CC2021

Plugin: TTS Pro

Easy Digital Blending using TTS Pro

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In this video we will see some fast and easy digital blending techniques using to using TTS PRO panel

It is possible to digital blend two or more exposures through the use of luminosity masks or through the digital blending functions included in the third page of the panel called Blend

1. Fast Blend

One of the most easy and fast techniques is the use of Fast Blend, if you have the darker image on top use fast blend darks, in the case you have the brighter image on top use fast blend lights. With this TTS Pro function with just one click the image on top is digital blended with the bottom image

2. Auto Blend

Auto Blend offers the possibility to choose the degree of digital blending among the images, using a series of luminosity masks to apply to the selection. In this way you can visually choose by scrolling with the selector, which mask applies best to your image

3. Blend using Luminosity Masks

TTS Pro allows you to freely use the luminosity masks not only for edits on adjustment layers but also for digital blending directly two or more exposures. An interesting and simple technique is to use the channels section in the first page of the panel and after selecting a mask, create a black mask adjustment layer to apply the selection directly. Below the steps:

  1. Go to Luminosity Masks page of TTS Pro
  2. Select Channel drop down menĂą
  3. Select a mask
  4. Select black mask from the adjustment layers buttons

Furthermore there’s always possibility of freely applying the masks to a previous layer mask created and then paint over the image in order to manually do it. Below the steps:

  1. Go to Luminosity Masks page of TTS Pro
  2. Apply a layer mask to the exposure you want to blend
  3. Select Channel drop down menĂą
  4. Select a mask
  5. Press Ctrl+H (Win) or Cmd+H (Mac) to apply the selection to the mask
  6. With a black brush paint the areas you want to manually blend

you can find all the steps described in the video below

Enjoy the video

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Which PS version is compatible with TTS Pro? TTS Pro it’s compatible with all photoshop CC versions

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The download have instructions? There is a pdf online link inside the panel, that explain the correct use of the panel with youtube links, anyway the panel is very intuitive and easy to use

Will this work with Photoshop Lightroom or Elements? I’m afraid but the panel only running in Photoshop. Currently the panel works in all versions of CC (including latest)

What does lifetime updates mean? Lifetime updates means that all customers of TTS Pro get every single new update for free. They do not have to purchase the new releases of TTS Pro again when it will be update

Which languages does TTS Pro support? The panel works in all language versions of Photoshop, but the panel is always in English

What is the current version of TTS Pro? The current version is 2.0

Will this work on a Mac computer? This will work on both a Mac and PC

Is this Windows 10 Compatible? This is 100% compatible with Windows 10

The Power of Blue Hour Photography

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Some time ago I wrote an article on how to shoot during the golden hour, this is usually the best time of the day to shoot sunsets with the best and most powerfull conditions for photography. However golden hour does not always provide stunning results, it may happen that the weather is not good, or with a flat sky. In all these cases blue hour is a very good alternative

But blue hour is more than that, it depends on what are you looking for but in most cases can be to prefer to golden hour. So we see in this article the power of blue hour photography and when exploit it

1. Enhance Mood

The aspect that I prefer about blue hour is the mood of the images, the blue hour manages to give a unique atmospheres that no other time of day can give. In all these cases especially with the help of dramatic clouds it is a unique way to deepening the mood of images

2. Long Exposure

With coming dusk the exposure time lengthen, taking advantage of this conditions is the key point of blue hour, long exposure can completely transform the scene. For example in landscapes to benefit from the movements of clouds or water, in cityscapes with light trails

3. Combine Blue Hour with Golden Hour

Another aspect I love about blue hour is the chance to mix it with golden hour. In every sunset there is always a moment where the golden hour gives way to blue hour. The mood contains the power of blue hour and the warm as golden colours on the horizon

4. Light Trails

Light trails are one of the strongest composition of long exposure photography, especially the cityscape are particularly suitable for this kind of photos. Usually light trails are made during the blue hour, for this reasons it gives the chance of mixing the colors of blue hour and the yellows of city lights, two complementary and attractive colors for the viewer

5. Reflections

Blue hour is a great chance to capture reflections on the water, no matter if in the city or shooting landscape, the result is sure. During blue hour, reflections are amazing and taking advantage of this time of the day is the right time to deal with it

6. Look for Unique Light

Sometimes when the light is falling down a beautiful light can emerge, it’s a totally random and unexpected look that often occurs on very cloudy days but can completely transform your shots. This is the case of my photo taken in Amalfi when a coming storm contrasted with the last colors of the sunset creates a stunning and a unique light

7. Digital Blend

I’ve spoken about the chance to combine golden hour with blue hour while shooting, but we can do this also using Photoshop. In the image you see I have digital blended two different images with different lights, the warm colors of the golden hour and the cold one that characterizes blue hour, in a time that runs between about 30 minutes

8. Emphatize Blue Colours

It can be useful to increase the blue tones of the blue hour in our images, this to make images that are not in enough blue mood in order to increase the dark/blue atmosphere of our photo

We can proceed with the increase of the blue through the use of camera raw blue tones slider or through the use of Photoshop filters. Using TTS Pro Panel there are functions to increase the blue hour such as the golden hour through the application of selective filters that take advantage of luminosity masks


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Years ago I had the chance to visit the now famous Resia lake in winter. It was interesting to see live one of the most bizarre places in Italy. The history behind this bell tower wants that the construction of a large dam in 1950 unified the first two previous lakes and submerged the ancient town of Curon Venosta which was rebuilt further upstream

In the summer season the scenery is certainly much more interesting than in winter but in winter the frozen surface of the lake allows you to go up to the bell tower on foot and take different angle shots


For both images I did a few edits and the images was very fast to complete. I used single exposures here that I edited using luminosity masks, I used TTS Pro to enhance details, colours and contrast

I used a soft orton effect on the image and I used dodge and burn over the shadows areas to decrease the blacks. I lightened the highlighs in the sky using luminosity masks and decreased the brights in the foreground to decrease the whites

I also increased colours vibrance and decreased the luminosity of the whole frame using levels

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


Camera: Nikon D-800

Nikon 14-24 f/2,8 (used at 15mm)

Two shots

ISO: 100 at f/13

Software: Photoshop CC2021

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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