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  • Busy Manarola in summer 2020

    Event though 2020 was a pretty bad year for travelling, I had an opportunity to go to the beautiful Cinque Terre in August. This was still high season but because of all kinds of travel restrictions (and being 2020 in general) it was less busy than usual, however there were still a lot of people hanging out near the water which of course is not great for a shot like this one.

    A long exposure of Manarola, Cinque Terre at sunset

    The best view of Manarola

    Probably the most scenic view of Manarola is from these dark rocks overlooking the bay and the entire town. The sun sets in the sea, behind these rocks which creates strong light on the town. I found that the best time to photograph in these conditions is either right at sunset to achieve a golden hour look or right after the sunset when there is still some warm light but it’s very diffused and soft.

    This photo was taken after the sun was set and when the few clouds on the horizon took the most intense colour.

    I intentionally wanted a very long exposure for a few reasons, one is the aesthetic result that it produces in the water and clouds (though unfortunately we didn’t get enough clouds that day), the other reason is that a long exposure helps with removing moving objects, like birds and people, of which there were many. To achieve an exposure that long I used a 6-stop ND filter as well as a polarizer to bring more saturation in the rocks and the blue sea.

    Raw image
    After Lightroom edits
    After Photoshop

    Post Processing

    Due to the even and soft light all the details were captured in a single exposure making sure that the dark parts of the image, the foreground rocks, retained some detail.

    The post processing, as always, started in Lightroom to balance the exposure, the contrast and the colours. The challenging part of this image was the clean up that was done entirely in Photoshop. The long exposure blurred out and helped with removing some of the people, birds and other distracting elements but there were still many people on the rocks that didn’t move much and that I wanted to remove.

    Photoshop is the best tool for such tasks, using the clone-stamp tool I managed to go around the image and do a lot of cleaning. Check the before-after image to see the difference. At the end I adjusted the contrast in the midtones which gave more saturation and warmth to the town and the sky.

    Raw image

    Cinque Terre and Manarola especially is one of those fairy tale places that you can photographed countless times in different conditions, different times of day and get amazing results.

    • Camera: Fuji X-T3
    • Lens: Fuji 10-24 f4 @12mm f8
    • Single exposure 2 minutes, 6-stop ND filter + polarizer.