Secret cove

Secret cove

“Secret cove”. Southwestern coast of Sardinia, Italy. As a rainy and windy day comes to an end, the colors of the sunset paint the sky and the crystal clear water of an hidden cove with vivid and deep shades of blue and pink.

This shot required a 9-stop solid ND filter to extend the shutter speed to nearly 2 minutes, plus a 3-stop graduated ND filter to darken the sky and balance the overall brightness and contrast of the scene. In this way, emphasis was given to the fast movement of the clouds pushed by the wind and the transparency of the water of the cove.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM
Focal lenght: 10mm
Shutter time: 91 s
Aperture: F/8
Sensitivity: ISO100
 

Mangiabarche blue hour

Mangiabarche blue hour

“Mangiabarche blue hour”. “Boat-Eater” Lighthouse, Southwestern Sardinia, Italy. A fleeting and dreamy moment of stillness during the blue hour, in a place often lashed by strong winds and waves.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Pentax K 200/2.5
Focal lenght: 200mm
Shutter time: 1/15 s
Aperture: F/8
Sensitivity: ISO100
 

Jump in the sea

Jump in the sea

“Jump in the sea”. On the west coast of Sardinia, among all the wonders that nature offers in this beautiful island, there is something truly special: the only one of its kind in Italy, is the Capo Nieddu waterfall. The thing that makes this waterfall unique is the vertical jump of about 40 meters that the small Riu Salighes makes directly on the small pebbly cove, right in front of the sea.
The view is fascinating, due to the majestic wall of basalt from which the brook flows, and the warm light of the sunset that saturates the colors makes the scenery even more spectacular.

To capture the magnificence of this sight, including the setting sun, I’ve decided to compose a panorama made of 4 vertical shots. As a result, the view is much wider if compared to a single horizontal shot, and it stretches from the cliff and its waterfall to the horizon. Moreover, in order to balance the brightness of the scene, I’ve used a 2 stop graduated ND filter to darken the sky a bit.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM
Focal lenght: 14mm
Shutter time: 1/13 s
Aperture: F/7.1
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
 

 

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

 

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
 

 

The bliss of tranquility

The bliss of tranquility

“The bliss of tranquility”. A fleeting moment of perfect beauty in Sardinia, Italy. The bright and warm light of the sunset illuminates the clouds and, near the lakeshore on which they are reflected, some horses placidly graze.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
Focal lenght: 35mm
Shutter time: 1/60 s
Aperture: F/8
Sensitivity: ISO200
 

 

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
 

 

Salar de Cagliari

Salar de Cagliari

“Salar de Cagliari”. A clear sky, studded with clouds that have recently brought a downpour, is mirrored on the shiny surface of the Molentargius salt ponds, during a sunset with vibrant colors. A scenery like this has many elements in common with the wonderful Salar de Uyuni, but in a smaller version, in beautiful Sardinia.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Samyang 16mm f/2 ED AS UMC CS
Focal lenght: 16mm
Shutter time: 1/4 s
Aperture: F/8
Sensitivity: ISO100
 

 

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