Pinnacles of stars

Pinnacles of stars: the Milky Way in southern Sardinia, Italy.

“Pinnacles of stars”. During a perfectly clear night, the Milky Way rises just above the sea stacks of Sparrow’s Nest, in the small island of St. Antioco in Sardinia, Italy. The favorable weather’s conditions helped me in capturing the bright core of the galaxy and a great amount of stars.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Samyang 16mm f/2 ED AS UMC CS
Focal lenght: 16mm
Shutter time: 13 s
Aperture: F/2
Sensitivity: ISO1250
 

 

Stones and stars

Stones and stars: the Milky Way in southern Sardinia, Italy.

“Stones and stars”. Above a rocky stretch of coast in the southern part of Sardinia, the Milky Way rises in the clear sky of the night, showing the bright core in all its beauty.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Samyang 16mm f/2 ED AS UMC CS
Focal lenght: 16mm
Shutter time: 13 s
Aperture: F/2
Sensitivity: ISO1250
 

 

Pointing to the core

Pointing to the core: the Milky Way in southern Sardinia, Italy.

“Pointing to the core”. First photograph of the Milky Way of the summer 2020, taken in the south of Sardinia on a particularly clear and serene night. The island is one of the places in Italy with the least amount light pollution, making particularly easy to catch the faint light emitted by the Milky Way.
In this shot the planet Jupiter shines bright on the left of the Milky Way’s core and its light is reflected on the surface of the sea.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Samyang 16mm f/2 ED AS UMC CS
Focal lenght: 16mm
Shutter time: 13 s
Aperture: F/2
Sensitivity: ISO1250
 

 

Dragon scales

Dragon scales: a minimalist seascape of wild nature in Sardinia, Italy.

“Dragon scales”. As the dorsal scales of a sea dragon, these rocks emerge on the surface. The water flows across the saw-toothed spikes as they put up resistance to the movement of the sea.
This kind of sceneries attracts me a lot, due to the strong contrasts they are made of: solid against liquid, rough against smooth, dark against bright. This is the complementarity that represents the inner beauty of nature and I find it very fascinating.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Pentax SMC D-FA 100mm f/2.8 Macro WR
Focal lenght: 100mm
Shutter time: 10 s
Aperture: F/7.1
Sensitivity: ISO100
 

 

Paradise sunset

Paradise sunset: vivid colors in a rocky stretch of coast, Sardinia, Italy

Paradise sunset. The warm light of the setting sun has painted the running clouds with vivid colors, balancing the harshness of the windswept rocks. This is one of my favourite conditions in Sardinian seascape and landscapes, where the opposites meet one another: soft and hard, bright and gloomy, vivid and muted. This kind of complementarity is one of the things I often search for.
Taking this photo didn’t require any specific technique; in fact, as for other similar cases, I’ve used a 10 stops ND filter to extend the exposure time, making the clouds movement more visible, plus a 2 stops graduated ND filter to darken the sky a bit. However, the thing that complicated the shooting has been the strong wind coming from the sea: this caused an intermittent spraying of seawater droplets on the filter, forcing me to clean-shoot-check-clean-shoot-checkagain. To make things worse, a 30 seconds exposure is a lot of time in a situation like this. As a result, due to the unsuccessful attempts and the time needed to clean and mount the filter again, just a couple of shots turned out to be really usable.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Samyang 16mm f/2 ED AS UMC CS
Focal lenght: 16mm
Shutter time: 30 s
Aperture: F/4
Sensitivity: ISO100
 

 

Ancient paradise

Ancient paradise: sunset over a rocky stretch of coast, Sardinia, Italy

Ancient paradise. One of the peculiarities of Sardinia is the greatly varied coastlines: every part of the island has some unique features which, in addition, change within a few kilometers. It’s easy, for example, to find a beautiful stretch of fine-grained sandy beach followed by a cliff or a rugged cove. In this case, with this photograph I’ve wanted to show a place which has a “prehistoric” look, made of many scattered and weatherworn rocks, some of which have become islets. The roughness of the coast is enveloped by the warm and pleasant colors of sunset, mirrored on the surface of the sea. Thus, I looked for a sense of wonderment conveied by the imposing, wild and, at the same time, beautiful appearance of this stretch of coast.
To capture this image I’ve used a 10 stops ND filter, which extended the exposure time to 30 seconds, and a 2 stops graduated ND filter to darken further the sky. As a result, they’ve emphasized the movement of the clouds and balanced the global brigthness.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Samyang 16mm f/2 ED AS UMC CS
Focal lenght: 16mm
Shutter time: 30 s
Aperture: F/5.6
Sensitivity: ISO100
 

 

Watching the horizon

Watching the horizon: twilight colors in a rocky cove, Sardinia, Italy

Watching the horizon in south western Sardinia, Italy. The harsh and serrated outlines of a rocky cove stand out against the polished and clear surface of the sea, during a vivid twilight.
In winter, finding heavenly coves to capture the beauty of sardinian sunsets is an amazing experience. Every stretch of coast hides a treasure, giving endless possibilities.
To capture this view, I’ve used an ultra wide angle lens with just one filter attached: a 2 stops gruaduated ND, aligned with the horizon, which darkened it and balanced the overall brightness of the scene. Differently to what it could seem, it was very dark: infact, the sun was set more than half an hour before. Therefore, there’s been no need to use a full ND filter to reach 30 seconds of exposure time.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM
Focal lenght: 11mm
Shutter time: 30 s
Aperture: F/8
Sensitivity: ISO100
 

 

Dark mirror

Dark mirror: Milky Way mirrored on a pond in South Sardinia, Italy

Dark mirror, Southern Sardinia, Italy. In a perfect night of new moon, the Milky Way shows the bright core in all its magnificence. A faint reflection of it is perceivable on the still surface of a little pond, separated from the sea by a thin edge of rock.
Technically speaking, this is a fairly basic shot to execute. However, since the APS-C sensor of my camera and the lens I use are not exactly the best in class to shoot the Milky Way, I resorted to a “trick” which allows to improve the final image quality. Specifically, in order to capture as mush light as possible without incurring in an excessive noise penalty and avoiding at the same time the star trailing, I’ve blended 10 exposures for the sky, plus 4 for the foreground, with the addition of the dark frame.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Samyang 16mm f/2 ED AS UMC CS
Focal lenght: 16mm
Shutter time: 13 s
Aperture: F/2.5
Sensitivity: ISO3200
 

 

Carved pond

Carved pond: seascape with the blue hour colors, Sardinia, Italy

Carved pond. The sun has finally set, after a long and hot day of summer. The last light diffuses in the warm and humid air, painting a soft gradient of colors that mirrors on the still and shiny surface of a pond, inside the ancient punic quarry of Pixinnì, guarded by a watchtower.
The elements which I’ve wanted to put in relation one another in this photograph are the clean sky, whose delicate colors are mirrored on the polished surface of the water, and the harsh rocks of the quarry, whose rough surfaces have been carved first by the hands of men and then by the action of the wind and the water. As a result, there’s almost a sense of harmony between the opposites.
To capture this view I’ve used an ultra wide angle lens and two filters: a 6 stops ND which extended the exposure time to two minutes, smoothing out in this way the surface of the sea, and a 2 stops graduated ND filter, which darkened the sky just enough for better balancing the brightness of the scene. Then, with a fairly straightforward post processing, I’ve adjusted the local contrasts and the color balance of the scene, with the use of the luminosity masking.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM
Focal lenght: 10mm
Shutter time: 120 s
Aperture: F/8
Sensitivity: ISO100
 

 

Toward the totality

Toward the totality: total lunar eclipse in southern Sardinia, Italy.

Toward the totality. 2018, July 27th: the century’s longest total lunar eclipse occurs and, at the same time, the planet Mars reaches its opposition while it’s at its closest to Earth since 2003. As a result, this rare coincidence gifts us with a surreal and amazing night show.
Impossible for me to miss such a great wonder of nature. So, after some days of planning through the useful PlanIt app, I chose the beautiful Capo Carbonara, in southern Sardinia, to witness and capture the event. Not having with me a long tele lens, I decided to compose a particular scene, in order to show in a single frame the progression of the eclipse toward the totality, right above the lighthouse of Cavoli island.
Starting from about 21:00 to 23:00, I kept the camera steady in position capturing every phase of the totality every four minutes. Since the Moon has been inside the totality for almost the whole time, the arc drawn by it is colored with a vibrant tone of orange, differently from the “usual” eclipses in which this color is visible just for a few moments. Moreover, thanks to a clear night, the planet Mars has shone bright of a pale amber color.
During the totality, the Milky Way has been clearly visible at naked eyes. Nonetheless, my planning and my gears made me opt for a startrail, in order to emphasize the (real and apparent) movement of the heavenly bodies.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Pentax SMC DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 ED (IF) SDM
Focal lenght: 50mm
Shutter time: 0,8 s / 1 s / 1,3 s + 302 s
Aperture: f/3.5 + f/4
Sensitivity: ISO800 / 1000 / 1250 + 200
 

 

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