Gate to the other side

Gate to the other side

“Gate to the other side”. What would the sky look like if you could see celestial bodies even during the day? This is my interpretation of a seascape at the first light of dawn, under an imposing Milky Way that shines through the gradient of colors of the sky, towards the end of the blue hour.

To create this “time blending”, that is the fusion of two different moments, I kept the camera in the same position for about an hour and a half, without changing the composition and the focal length. This is because, keeping the terrestrial elements of the landscape unchanged, I was able to capture first the Milky Way and, later, the light and the colors of the blue hour. Specifically, the shots for the Milky Way were taken around 3:45 am, while the blue hour at 5:15 am. Although this is a “composite”, the peculiarity of this shot is that the Milky Way has actually “passed there”, but an hour and a half earlier than this light condition.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Samyang 16mm F2 ED AS UMC CS
Focal lenght: 16mm
Shutter time: 15×13 s + 121 s
Aperture: F/2.2 + F/5.6
Sensitivity: ISO1250 + ISO100
 

 

Spikes and slivers

Spikes and slivers

“Spikes and slivers”. Masua, southwestern Sardinia. A striking contrast between natural elements, which generates a sort of symmetry whose plane is the horizon: in the foreground, the sharp and rugged rocks open onto a sea with a smooth and luminous surface. Above, a deep and clear sky, marked by white clouds whose shapes, generated by their movement, recall the spikes of the rocks. At the center is the lonely islet of Pan di Zucchero, symbol of this wild part of Sardinia swept by the wind and sea currents.

To obtain this image it was necessary to use ND filters: a 15-stop solid NiSi to extend the shutter speed to about a minute and a half, thus eliminating sea ripples, plus a 3-stop graduated ND to darken the upper portion of the sky. The latter effect was further emphasized with the use of a red filter in postptoduction.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM
Focal lenght: 10mm
Shutter time: 88 s
Aperture: F/8
Sensitivity: ISO100
 

This photograph is part of a series that has been awarded at the following international photography competition:
– Honorable Mention in the 2020-2021 edition of the FAPA Fine Art Photography Awards: “Pan di Zucchero” – Category Seascapes

 

Slits

Slits

“Slits”. Masua, southwestern Sardinia. A stretch of coast that shows the rugged and wild side of the island, where the rocks, compressed and pushed by the immense forces of the Earth’s crust, have emerged assuming elongated and oblique shapes. The gaps, partially filled by long waves, generate shiny mirrors that contrast with the twisted shapes and rough surfaces of the rocks. On the horizon stands the solitary islet of Pan di Zucchero, right in front of the barely visible building of Porto Flavia.

The composition of this shot highlights the shapes of the rocks in the foreground, which lead the eye to the islet of Pan di Zucchero; it follows that both planes must be sharp and detailed. To avoid the focus stacking technique, which would have required multiple shots with different focus points and subsequent editing in postproduction, it was sufficient to apply the hyperfocal technique: closing the diaphragm very much, but not so much as to incur in diffraction, it was enough to focus a few meters away from the foreground. By doing so, the entire scene is included into the depth of field, with the foreground in perfect focus and the elements in the background in sufficient focus. The long exposure was done with two ND filters, one solid 9 stops and one graduated 3 stops for the sky.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM
Focal lenght: 10mm
Shutter time: 30 s
Aperture: F/9
Sensitivity: ISO100
 

This photograph is part of a series that has been awarded at the following international photography competition:
– Honorable Mention in the 2020-2021 edition of the FAPA Fine Art Photography Awards: “Pan di Zucchero” – Category Seascapes

 

Fracture

Fracture

“Fracture”. Southern Sardinia. The stretch of rocky coast, on which stands the Pixinnì tower and the Punic quarry, is marked by large steps and deep crevices, through which the water flows incessantly. The feeling of being in an extraterrestrial landscape is amplified by the approach of a dense blanket of rain-laden clouds, which obscures the sky and makes one feel crushed between two powerful and impetuous natural elements.
This shot was taken during the last photographic trek with the students of La Bottega della Luce and, actually, the exposure time was interrupted at about 4 minutes because of the beginning of a strong downpour brought by those dark clouds. Two NiSi filters were used to take the long exposure: a 15-stop solid ND filter, plus a 3-stop graduated filter (rotated about 30 degrees counterclockwise from the horizon) to balance the dynamic range of the scene, containing in this way the bright lights in the upper left portion of the frame.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM
Focal lenght: 10mm
Shutter time: 249 s
Aperture: F/9
Sensitivity: ISO100
 

High Nest

High Nest

“High Nest”. Late afternoon’s light on the promontory of Capo Malfatano, Southern Sardinia. The diagonal side light of a cloudy day with a little haze colored the landscape with soft hues, giving it an almost dreamlike atmosphere. One of the most interesting things of this place is its diverse morphology: in this case I’ve found a high vantage point, taking the photograph from the edge of a sheer cliff. Doing so, I tried to replicate the point of view of a bird of prey from his nest, dominating the surrounding land.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM
Focal lenght: 10mm
Shutter time: 1/100 s
Aperture: F/5.6
Sensitivity: ISO100
 

 

Sunrise of fire and mist

Sunrise of fire and mist

Northern Lazio, near Lake Bolsena. This is the valley where rises Civita di Bagnoregio, also known as “The dying town”. Dense fog banks submerge the valley floor, while the first rays of light filter through the clouds. This burst of light only lasted for a few seconds; I’ve been lucky enough to have the camera ready on the tripod, waiting for a shy sunrise that, for this reason, I named “of fire and mist”.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
Focal lenght: 35mm
Shutter time: 1/10 s
Aperture: F/7.1
Sensitivity: ISO100
 

Great Horn

Great Horn

“Great Horn”. Abruzzo, central Italy. Corno Grande, that means Great Horn, is the highest peak of the Gran Sasso massif and of the whole Apennine Mountains. Its unique shape stands out against the skyline and is visible from a great distance. Moreover, the clear sky helped to capture even the smallest details, otherwise invisible in different weather conditions. At the same time, the warm light of the sunset revealed the mountainside’s crags, emphasizing at the same time the three-dimensionality and the textures of the massif, through a contrast of light and color.
A fascinating spectacle, being in the presence of such an imposing peak, while looking at it from a distance and from a high altitude.

This photograph has been taken from Rocca Calascio, about 20 Km far from the subject as the crow flies, during the sunset. This is actually a panorama made of 10 vertical frames, stitched together to form a 109 MPixel image. Another detail about this shot is that I’ve used a vintage lens, specifically a Pentax SMC 200mm F2.5, built almost 40 years ago and made of steel and glass (no traces of plastic, except for the focus ring), as a sort of technical challenge and to discover if it makes out well against the high tech modern lenses. On paper, it could not seem the best companion for natural landscape. I have to say I’m quite satisfied, even if it’s heavy and not weather sealed.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Pentax SMC K 200mm f/2.5
Focal lenght: 200mm
Shutter time: 1/20 s
Aperture: F/8
Sensitivity: ISO100
 

This photograph has been awarded at the following international photography competition:
– Honorable Mention in the 2020 edition of the ND Awards: “Great Horn” – Category Panoramic

 

Kings fortress

Kings fortress

“Kings fortress”. In the heart of Abruzzo, not far from the Gran Sasso massif, on the top of a mountain stands the castle of Rocca Calascio. A majestic fortification, the highest of the entire Apennine chain at 1460 meters above sea level, which dominates the surrounding landscape and watches over the valleys below.

Reaching the castle before dawn, from the village in the valley, is a fascinating experience in itself. Crossing the ancient village whose stone houses and the alleys are lit only by lanterns, and then finding yourself walking a snowy path that climbs up the mountaintop, makes you feel like you are in a fairy-tale.
The sight that you witness, once you reach the crest, is breathtaking: the eyes can see up to the horizon, in every direction you look. The distant snow-capped mountains, despite their majesty, appear small. Enveloped in surreal silence, the fortress emerges from the darkness; first as a silhouette, in the faint light of the blue hour, then as a clear and imposing figure that stands out above everything, illuminated by the brilliant and warm light of a winter sunrise.

Capturing this high-contrast scene required the combined use of a graduated ND filter and exposure bracketing. The filter alone, in fact, was not enough to reduce the brightness of the sky enough to allow the camera to fit the entire dynamic range in a single shot. However, it helped to minimize bracketing: in fact, two shots were enough, one exposed for the shadows and the darker mid-tones, while the other exposed for the highlights and brighter mid-tones. As a result, blending the exposures in Photoshop was smoother and more natural.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM
Focal lenght: 10mm
Shutter time: 2,5 s
Aperture: F/8
Sensitivity: ISO100
 

This photograph has been awarded at the following international photography competition:
– Honorable Mention in the 2020 edition of the ND Awards: “Kings fortress” – Category Landscapes

 

Winter silence

Winter silence

“Winter silence”. The alarm clock rings almost two hours before dawn. In the Abruzzese village of Rocca Calascio, not so far from the “Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park”, the temperature is definitely below zero. After a few brief preparations I go out and reach the car, in the light of the lanterns; proceeding very slowly, along the road that climbs the mountain and leads almost to the fortress, I park at about three-quarters of the way, to avoid not being able to continue in the event of an icy section. I continue on foot, in the silent darkness, warming up as I approach the destination: I pass the tiny ancient village, all made of rock, including the completely frozen paths and stairs, and then find myself walking along a snowy path. The headlamp allows me to clearly see to my left the massive grandeur of the peak and the fortress that rises there and to my right an escarpment of dense trees.

Before long, I find the small church of Santa Maria Della Pietà in front of me, a beautiful Renaissance work with an octagonal base and a large solid wooden door. It looks like a gem, there on the mountainside, microscopic compared to the vastness of the surrounding landscape.
So I decide to represent the impression that this small and fascinating architectural treasure has given me: I go up a little further along the path and find a suitable composition. In the meantime, the first light of dusk marks the beginning of the morning blue hour, revealing the white geometric shape of the church, facing an immense mountainous panorama. The nearest hills are mostly bare and with soft and sinuous shapes but, on the horizon, you can see the silhouettes of the highest and snow-capped peaks, including the unmistakable Corno Grande, the highest of the Gran Sasso, and all the Apennines.

The silence is surreal and, at this altitude and with such a clear sky, the little diagonal light is enough to make all the details of a natural landscape as wild as it is delicate shine.
A place and an experience that have remained indelibly in my heart.

To take this shot, I used a 2-stop graduated ND filter to slightly darken the sky, balancing the lighting with the foreground. The central area of the frame is thus more illuminated, from the church to the horizon.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm 3.5 EX DC HSM
Focal lenght: 14mm
Shutter time: 89 s
Aperture: F/7.1
Sensitivity: ISO100
 

This photograph has been awarded at the following international photography competition:
– Honorable Mention in the 2020 edition of the ND Awards: “Winter silence” – Category Landscapes

 

Dawn at high elevation

Dawn at high elevation

“Dawn at high elevation”. View from the summit of Rocca Calascio, Abruzzo, at 1460 meters above sea level. The twilight reveals a snowy mountain range under a clear cloudless sky. Below, the villages are still illuminated by street lamps, waiting for the first rays of the sun.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Pentax DA* 50-135mm f/2.8ED [IF] SDM
Focal lenght: 50mm
Shutter time: 55 s
Aperture: F/7.1
Sensitivity: ISO100
 

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