Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Pic(k) of the week 28: PODERE BELVEDERE on a misty morning - Val D'Orcia, Italy

End of May, I spend a week on a landscape photo-adventure in Tuscany; a paradise for landscape photography. After some delay due to extensive other travels, I finally got around editing all of my keeper images! 

Likely one of the most photogenic places in Tuscany is the Podere Belvedere, a beautiful house on a small hilltop just outside San Quirico  in Val d'Orcia; probably the most photographed house in Italy . 

Going on a landscape photography trip when the days are the longest, means "early wake-up calls"; when I say early, I mean 04.30am the latest! Even though I'm not an morning person (prefer sunset shoots), I did consistently force myself to be at location before sunrise; rewarding it was!

While the Val d'Orcia region in Tuscany is known for its great foggy mornings, several people confirmed to me that end of May might be a bit late... Well I must have been extremely lucky as on two out of the three mornings the valley was filled with morning fog. 

The image below of the Podere Belvedere, was taken in the middle of a large field full of Tuscan poppies. Beside the great red flowers it was unfortunately also full of landscape photographers! So much for getting there early... With a bit of creative framing, I however was able to come up with a few interesting images. 

Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-H1 with the XF50-140 f2.8 lens
  • ISO 200, 59mm, 1/15s, f16
  • RAW development in Lightroom CC Classic
  • Photoshop CC for Focus stacking
I'm always amazed at the number of landscape photographers who will limit themselves to shooting only wide-angle shots. Especially for great vistas like the ones in Tuscany, I find that a telephoto lens works the best. I personally shot 90% of my landscape images with the XF50-140 of which quite a few were beyond 100mm.

The only challenge of shooting at larger telephoto focal lengths, is the fact that the depth of field will typically be a bit limited; even at f16! Typically I will shoot a series if images (normally about 3 to 5) at different focus points; at least one for the foreground, middle ground and background. I then blend the images together in Photoshop for optimal sharpness across the whole frame. 

To take the images, the latest firmware update of the Fujifilm X-T2 has an automatic focus stacking capability that will take different images at different focus points. It does however not blend the images together. As I was using the X-H1 (which did not have this at the time), so I had to revert to manually changing the focus point for each image. Not a problem as long as one works on a tripod.  

More of my images shot in Tuscany can be found here.

Remember: "Landscape photography is the supreme test and often the supreme disappointment" - Ansel Adams.


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