Castelsardo magic

Castelsardo magic

“Castelsardo magic”. Sardinia, Italy. The ephemeral magic of the blue hour tinges the landscape of Castelsardo with a vibrant magenta, before giving way to the darkness of the night.

The peculiarity of this photograph is that it’s actually made of two shots taken at a distance of several minutes from each other while maintaining the position of the camera and the composition unchanged. The reason for this is the intention to merge the vivid colors of the blue hour and the lights of the town into a single image.
In fact, in the first shot, the scene is bright, colorful and detailed, but the town is “switched off” and a little flat and dull. So, after this first long exposure, it was sufficient to wait for the time the urban lighting was switched on and take a second, shorter shot.
By doing so, it was possible to obtain a more vivid and brilliant scene: the fortress on which the Castel dei Doria (or Castel Genovese) stands is illuminated by spotlights that highlight the texture of the rocky wall, while the coastal tower of Frigiano is illuminated by a magenta reflector, like the color of the sky. The street lamps and the lights of the houses accompany them. The atmosphere is completed by reflections on the still water of the inlet.

To merge the two shots, it was necessary to elaborate them in Photoshop, setting the first file of the blue hour as the base layer and the second file with the lights on as the upper layer. So the blending mode of the top layer was set to “lighten”. In this way, each brighter pixel was superimposed on that of the lower layer, thus obtaining a final image composed of 99% by the base layer, plus the small portions of the upper layer related to the lights of the town.
The only slightly tricky step was the method of blending the reflections on the water since they required a soft, natural gradient. To do this, it was necessary to reveal a further portion of the upper level, darker, relating to the water of the inlet, through a special handmade mask. In this way, with the slightly darker water, the reflections on it of the lights were brighter, maintaining, in any case, the naturalness and realism of the whole scene.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM
Focal lenght: 14mm
Shutter time: 20 s
Aperture: F/5.6
Sensitivity: ISO100
 

 

Blue mirror

Blue mirror

“Blue mirror”. The blue hour fills the sky above Cagliari with vivid and deep colors, while the warm light of the set sun fades, disappearing behind the clouds and the horizon. The running clouds and the skyline of the city, in which the Sella del Diavolo can be recognized, as well as the many lights and street lamps of the Poetto seafront, are reflected on the shiny surface of the Molentargius pond.

This observation point, in addition to being appreciated by birdwatchers due to the proximity to the flamingos that feed and nest in the area, often offers beautiful views to those who love landscapes.
Thanks to the vastness of the salt pond, free from architectural visual impediments of the city, it is easy to enjoy spectacular sunsets, especially in the case of particular climatic conditions. In this case, immediately after a downpour, the clear sky has given great visibility (you can even glimpse the mountainous elevations of the Capoterra area, about 20km away as the crow flies). Moreover, the clouds still present have drawn soft and sinuous shapes in the sky (among which the one in the center of the frame could recall the silhouette of the Sella del Diavolo promontory).

To take this shot, I’ve used two filters. A 2-stop graduated ND filter helped to reduce the brightness of the sky on the horizon, and a 6-stop solid ND filter allowed the camera to extend the shutter speed to over 2 minutes. In this way, the global brightness of the scene is better balanced, while the surface of the water is free from even the smallest ripples, and the movement of the clouds is emphasized.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Samyang 16mm f/2 ED AS UMC CS
Focal lenght: 16mm
Shutter time: 125 s
Aperture: F/7.1
Sensitivity: ISO100
 

 

Gate to the stars – Japanese Torii during the Blue Hour

Gate to the stars.

Gate to the stars. A study of the connection between the Torii and the natural elements which surround it. The Torii is an iconic japanese structure belonging to Shinto shrines, it’s a gate that represents the passage from the secular world to a sacred one. In this photograph I’ve composed a scene in which the Torii can symbolize the boundary between night and day, a moment in time that allows to see our world together with the stars above it.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Samyang 16mm f/2,0 ED AS UMC CS
Focal lenght: 16mm
Shutter time: 5 s
Aperture: F/4
Sensitivity: ISO200

 

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