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

 

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

 

Last light on the fortress

Last light on the fortress

“Last light on the fortress”. Rocca Calascio, Abruzzo. The highest fortress of the entire Apennine range is illuminated by the last soft light, after sunset. The imposing and solitary aspect of the fortress stands out on the surrounding landscape but, in some way, it blends harmoniously with the mountain, as if it were part of it and of the rocks that characterize it.

The clear air of a cold and cloudless winter day makes the peaks of the Apennines to the south-east clearly visible, many kilometers away and colored by the shades of twilight, in a calm and dreamy atmosphere that precedes the darkness of the night.

To capture this view, a graduated neutral density filter has been useful: it darkened the sky and the elements on the skyline, making the brightness of the scene more balanced.

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
 

 

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