26 February, 2013

Follow Your Heart | Positano

Lately, I’ve had some pretty bad luck with the weather. In the past 2 weeks for example, I’ve only seen the sun come out twice. It’s unfortunate but it’s all part of the game of full time travel and destination photography. Sometimes you win with epic skies, and sometimes you lose with solid grey overcast and rain. There’s really nothing to be done about it but accept it – or in my case, use it as an excuse to take shelter in my little hotel room and catch up on some much needed photo editing.

Since the constant grey sky has been so persistent, I wanted to edit a photo that would help lift my rain drenched spirits. So of course, the first Lightroom Catalogue I browsed was from Italy, specifically my summer visit to the beautiful Amalfi Coast. It instantly made me feel better when I remembered an entire trip of warm and perfect weather.

In my opinion, Positano is one of the most photogenic Italian cities and certainly one of the most beautiful along The Amalfi Coast. With it’s southern positioning, it can be equally beautiful at sunrise and at sunset, with each time of day providing unique and interesting lighting scenarios. On a clear night after the sunset, the blue hour can also be extraordinary. In that case, my recommendation would be to find a restaurant with a nice view and enjoy the scenery with a good bottle of local Italian wine… On second thought, make that two. 🙂

After the sun sets in Positano, one of the most beautiful towns along the Amalfi Coast.

Technical Mumbo Jumbo || Before and After

Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: 24-70 f/2.8 (Shot at 28 mm)
Tripod: RRS TVC-24 / BH-40 Ballhead / RRS L-Plate
ISO: 100 at f/8
7 Exposure Brackets

Location: Shot in Positano, Italy – August 2012, and post-processed in Yangshuo, China – February 2013.

Hardware: 15” 2011 Macbook Pro, Wacom Intuos5 Small Tablet

Software: Lightroom, Photoshop, NIK Color Efex Pro 4

Technique and Details: Manual Exposure Blending using Luminance Masking

To blend 5 of the 7 exposures together, I used a new Luminacne Masking Technique that I’m developing. Once I finish fine tuning the process, I’ll create the video tutorials.

Espresso: Lavazza Oro! Zoooooom!

About the Author

Elia Locardi is an internationally acclaimed professional travel photographer, writer, public speaker and highly skilled educator who spends his life seeking out and capturing some of the most beautiful and inspirational locations in the world. Recently featured by Professional Photographer Magazine, CNet Australia, and Wacom USA, Elia has cultivated a highly engaged social media following of nearly 3 million people across Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Instagram. On the road full-time, he teaches the Art of Photography here on www.BlameTheMonkey.com, collaborates with various brands, sponsors and tourism boards, and leads Photography Tours and Post-processing Workshops worldwide.

  • Awesome! Looks like a lava flow of buildings and lights coming off the mountain. Looking forward to your tutorial!

  • Greg

    Im looking forward to seeing the new masking technique explained in detail.

    With the incredible abilities of LR4 to deal with shadows and highlights, I’m curious if you’ve ever compared processing a single frame vs. your blending or straight up Photomatix results. I suspect you have and would love to hear or see your thoughts on the comparison.

    • Mostly I’ve noticed that using an exposure shot at a low ISO is better than recovering 1-2 stops, especially in the darks. You get much less noise that way. In some cases, it’s negligible but if you like working down to the pixel level like me, you’ll notice it for sure.

  • Elia, I’m curious as to why clone out most of the boats? Beautiful shot though!

    • Some of them came out a bit blurry due to the longer exposure. I left some of the sharp ones in and took out the rest.


  • Elia, excellent photo and I appreciate you putting in the before and after images. Recently found your blog, looking forward to seeing more. Cheers!

  • Ehlana Chou

    Beautiful photo! Can I ask where you took this photo from? I’m attending a wedding on the Amalfi Coast this summer. It will be a first, and I’d love to visit your spot. Thanks!

  • Omkar Kokamthankar

    How did you get the color of the trees??(The once located to the right in the frame)
    And a terrific Image Like Always!! 🙂