Jewels of the night

Jewels of the night

“Jewels of the night”. Pixinnì watchtower and Cala Segreta, southern Sardinia. The darkness of the night and the clear sky (Sardinia is the Italian region with the least light pollution, i.e. dark nights) offer two jewels: the clearly visible core of the Milky Way and the transparencies of the crystalline waters enclosed among the rocks of the cove.

This nocturnal landscape required, in addition to the usual planning, the use of two distinct techniques: to capture as much light and details of the Milky Way as possible, without having to deal with massive digital noise (due to the high ISO sensitivity) I took 18 shots of the sky, subsequently aligned and merged in post production. As for capturing the foreground (rocks, sea and tower) I’ve shot a single exposure, adding a bit of light painting withe use of a LED “magic wand” set with a suitable color temperature, thus illuminating all the details that can be seen in the photo. Using Lightroom and Photoshop, I then proceeded with the editing and the adjunstments of colors and brightness of the foreground and sky.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Samyang 16mm F2 ED AS UMC CS
Focal lenght: 16mm
Shutter time: 18×13 s + 70 s
Aperture: F/2.2 + F/3.5
Sensitivity: ISO1250 + ISO400
 

 

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
 

 

Boat Eater realm

Boat Eater Realm: a seascape of an iconic place of Sardinia, Italy.

Boat Eater realm. In the small island of Sant’Antioco, south western Sardinia, there’s a well known place for the presence of a lighthouse. This part of the island is often subject to strong winds and fierce waves, so much that many boats sank right near the lighthouse. In this glimpse on the coastline, in front of which the Boat Eater lighthouse stands, I wanted to show in a “dramatic” way the harshness of nature, whose riskiness is often underestimated.
Even if this shot seems like a normal portrait view, in reality is a vertorama, in other words a portrait oriented panorama: it’s the sum of four landscape oriented shots, starting from the foreground and ending in the sky. This technique allowed me to capture a wider view of the scene, that a normal wide angle lens wouldn’t have managed to take; as a result, the foreground starts just some centimeters beyond the legs of the tripod. Moreover, to extend the exposure time, I’ve used a 10 stops ND filter, as usual.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM
Focal lenght: 16mm
Shutter time: 25 s
Aperture: F/5.6
Sensitivity: ISO100

 

 

Amphitheatre waterfalls

Amphitheatre waterfalls: hidden gems of great beauty in sardinian back country.

Amphitheatre waterfalls. Sardinia is a region mostly renowned for its beaches and summer vacations destinations, being a mediterranean island; however, hidden in the back country there are so many amazing places that make Sardinia a real “treasure island”. One of the natural gems that I have had the pleasure to explore are the Lequarci waterfalls: as for many other waterfalls of the island, it’s possible to enjoy their beauty only after a rainy period, because they are fed by a torrential river. Therefore, during summer or a dry month, there are no waterfalls at all… Luckily, even if winter 2019/2020 has been quite dry, after a steep but not overly demanding trekking, I’ve reached the top of the plateau and I’ve found a sufficient flow to show the beauty and magnificence of Lequarci. The waterfall, branched in two main courses, takes a jump of 50 meters from a massive ridge of rock, to fall on a stony bed in the middle of a wood. The ridge’s shape, which resembles an amphitheatre, make the view on the valley even more scenic.
To capture this view I’ve used a 9 stops ND filters, which extended the exposure time, emphasizing in this way the water’s flow, and a 2 stops graduated ND filter to darken the sky a bit, avoiding to overexpose the brightest parts. Considering that the weather conditions and the light were about optimal, the photo editing that followed has been quite straightforward, requiring just some color and contrast adjustments made with the luminosity masking technique.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM
Focal lenght: 10mm
Shutter time: 119 s
Aperture: F/7.1
Sensitivity: ISO100

 

 

Last snow on the Kinkakuji golden pavilion in Kyoto

Last snow on the Kinkakuji.

Last snow on the Kinkakuji. After a light snowfall in Kyoto, some white spots still adorn the dark roofs of the Kinkakuji golden pavilion and its surrounding garden. The lightly rippled surface of the pond reflects the shiny color of this unique monument.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Pentax smc DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR
Focal lenght: 28mm
Shutter time: 1/500 s
Aperture: F/5.6
Sensitivity: ISO200

 

Sacred elements – The waterfall of Minoh in autumn

Sacred elements – The waterfall of Minoh.

Sacred elements. A view of the waterfall of Minoh, inside the Meiji-no-mori park, in early autumn. The Momiji tree that grows close to the wall of rock, whose harsh surface is polished by the flow of water, stretches toward the waterfall, as if it would breathe the air full of droplets.
Using a 6 stops ND filter, which extended the exposure time, I managed to emphasize the shape and the jumps of the waterfall, as well as smoothing out the surface of the pond.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Samyang 16mm f/2,0 ED AS UMC CS
Focal lenght: 16mm
Shutter time: 13 s
Aperture: F/5.6
Sensitivity: ISO100

 

 

Threshold of Earth – The sun rises through the Torii

Threshold of Earth.

Threshold of Earth. A part of the 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, in other words it’s a gate that represents the passage from the secular world to a sacred one. In this photograph I’ve aligned the rising sun and the Torii with the intent of representing this one as a threshold of a passage that connects our world with the sun, one of the most sacred natural elements, that gives life to our planet and venerated by human being since the dawn of history.
This photograph required some of planning. I wanted to align the rising sun with the Torii, positioning the latter at the same time at an angle of 45 degrees. As a result, the two opposite pillars of the gate would have pointed directly the sun. In order to obtain this “construction”, I made use of a useful smartphone’s app which keeps track of the ephemeris and the relative position of the stars in relation to the photographer’s point of shooting. The app has simplified this planning significantly, reducing at the same time the chance of failure. After that, the shoot and the subsequent post processing have been fairly straighforward: essentially, it’s a simple silhouette which required some adjustments in contrast and color, plus a crop to my taste to modify the aspect ratio of the image, making it appear wider.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Pentax HD DA 20-40mm F2.8-4 Limited DC WR
Focal lenght: 36mm
Shutter time: 1/1000 s
Aperture: F/9
Sensitivity: ISO100

 

This photograph has been awarded with a nomination in the 2017 edition of the Fine Art Photography Awards: Crossing the threshold of Earth” – Category Open Theme

 

Illusion of time – Long exposure of a Japanese Torii at dusk

The illusion of time.

The illusion of time. Another part of the 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 took advantage of the soft light of a cloudy day and, by capturing the scene after the sunset using a long exposure, I tried to convey a sense of stillness: the boundaries between the water and the sky almost disappear, leaving the Torii and the distant mountains in an undefined space, untied from the flow of time.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM
Focal lenght: 10mm
Shutter time: 111 s
Aperture: F/5.6
Sensitivity: ISO100

 

Note that this photograph has been awarded with a Nominee at the 2018 edition of FAPA Fine Art Photography Awards

 

 

Gate to eternity – Japanese Torii during sunrise

Gate to eternity.

Gate to eternity. Another part of the 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 doorway to the light, source of life and joy diffused on our world by the sun.

EXIF:
Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Samyang 16mm f/2,0 ED AS UMC CS
Focal lenght: 16mm
Shutter time: 46 s
Aperture: F/9
Sensitivity: ISO100

 

Note that a black and white version of this photograph has been awarded with two Honorable Mentions at the 2012 edition of ND Awards: “Gate to eternity” – Category Special/Long Exposure + Category Fine Art/Landscapes

 

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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