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  • Sunset in Vernazza

    The classic view of Vernazza, Cinque Terre after sunset

    Vernazza, being one of the most scenic villages of the Cinque Terre is also one of the most photographed ones. This is the classic spot that offers the view of the whole town and the bay. The sun sets behind the distant hills which makes this location perfect for shooting sunset.

    Trying to achieve a unique image of a place like this one is challenging and some of the few things that we can do in the field is using some unusual photography technique or witness some interesting weather conditions. In this photo I used a long exposure of 1 minute. As for the weather conditions, the sunset wasn’t as spectacular as I would’ve hoped for but when the sun dipped behind the hills it produced this interesting purple glow on the clouds which also was reflected in the water.

    It’s always a good idea to go and shoot a sunset in a popular and beautiful place like this one as you never know what kind of conditions you might find.

    The long exposure

    For this scene I wanted to take a long exposure of 30 seconds or longer. This produces smooth water and clouds and puts more emphasis on the town. To achieve a long exposure without decreasing the aperture too much I used an ND filter of 6 stops and to darken the sky a 3-stop grad ND. In addition to this I also added a polarizer which removed some of the reflections from the water and made the colors more saturated.

    The resulting exposure at f9 was 1 minute long and was properly exposed for the highlights in the sky. The shadows in the town and the hills were not too underexposed and it was easy enough to recover them in Lightroom.

    Post processing

    Most of the work was done in the field, by using filters to achieve a long exposure and to balance the dynamic range of the image. The post processing was done as usual: in Lightroom, to correct the white balance and to adjust the exposure by lifting the shadows. Photoshop was used first of all to clean up the image by removing some distractions and color correct the image. The last step was to bring back the colors in the clouds and the water, adjust the contrast and dodge and burn certain areas to put more focus on the town.

    Raw file
    After edits in Lightroom
    After edits in Photoshop

    Overall, achieving a unique result is a combination of technique, luck and some personal touches in the edit:

    Raw image
    • Camera: Fuji X-T3
    • Lens: Fuji 10-24 f4 @12 f9
    • Single exposure, 1 minute