I am excited to announce the release of one of the most epic projects Lee and I have been working on this year. As many of you know, Fstoppers teamed up with Landscape Photographer Elia Locardi back in 2014 to produce two separate tutorials on landscape and cityscape photography. This year we caught back up with Elia and followed him around his favorite country and some of our favorite mega cities for "Photographing the World 3." If you have been anxiously waiting for the next installment of PTW, the wait is finally over!
Elia Locardi is a great friend and an absolute monster when it comes to teaching photography and post-processing. If you have never had the chance to learn from Elia, I have embedded the first ever lesson we produced from "Photographing the World: Landscapes" below. Obviously this lesson starts out super basic, but by teaching both on location and also in the postproduction studio, Elia is about to walk you through the entire creative process he uses to capture and edit his photographs. What I love about Elia's teaching style is that he is one of the most articulate and concise educators I have ever had the pleasure of working with, and as you may know, Fstoppers has worked with a lot of photographers over the years.
A New Journey
For "Photographing the World 3," we knew we wanted to follow in the same vein as the previous two tutorials but we also wanted to present Elia with some new challenges. When picking the locations, we let Elia plan out the actual cities and towns we would visit, but we wanted to make sure many of the locations and specific shooting spots were places Elia had either never visited at all or at the very least had never photographed specifically. The main country Elia wanted to explore was his family's native country of Italy with epic cityscape lessons taking place in Dubai and New York City.
In Italy, we were able to explore the coastal towns of Positano and Atrani along the Amalfi Coast. In Positano, Elia was able to start with some basics on scouting, camera settings, and capturing multiple frames so he could teach his signature time blending technique in Photoshop. From there we moved to Atrani which allowed us to capture a beautiful coastal town along with stars in the sky. Having failed many times trying to capture stars in a well-lit town, I was skeptical Elia could actually pull off an image like this but the results below show just how many stars can be capture even when light pollution seems to be a problem.
After leaving the Amalfi Coast, we headed to the Basilicata region of Italy where we visited two of the most unbelievable mountain towns I have ever seen in my life. The first town, Pietrapertosa, challenged us with some of the worst weather we have ever faced in a "Photographing the World" excursion. This gave us the ability to show the patience and frustration a landscape photographer can experience in order to get the perfect shot. In some instances, a second visit might even be needed. The neighboring town, Castlemezzano (which is connected to Pietrapertosa by the longest and highest zipline in the world), offered us yet another great lesson on scouting and working through natural and manmade obstructions. These two locations were my absolute favorite spots from the tutorial and the resulting images should make everyone want to book a flight to Italy.
The next stop was another ancient city that Elia had never visited called Matera. Here Elia was able to teach different scouting and composition tricks as he photographed a traditional view of the city as well as a distant view of the city shot through a prehistoric cave. As you will see in the soon-to-be-released behind the scenes, Matera was filled with some of our highest points (the most amazing Italian food) as well as our lowest point (a tourist stole one of our D500 cameras). The postproduction on these lessons in Matera are also super interesting as Elia for the first time in his career dabbles with light painting to achieve his final photograph.
After traveling through Italy and photographing small rural towns, we knew we wanted Elia to explore the challenges that come with modern mega cities. The obvious choice was to head to the United Arab Emirates and photograph Dubai. The unique thing about a city like Dubai is that the cityscape literally changes every year as new skyscrapers are being completed. Keep in mind, these buildings aren't just skyscrapers but are some of the largest buildings in the world with the Burj Kalifa being the tallest building in the world. It is here that Elia teaches several advanced techniques on panoramic photography and how to blend complex cities scenes. Dubai also offers viewers a unique lesson as Elia shares his favorite photograph he has ever taken: the Dubai skyline with low lying fog.
Our final destination for "Photographing the World" wound up being New York City which ironically is the first American location to be featured in the series. In these New York City lessons, Elia was able to focus on some new tools he has not previously explored on video such as Fujifilm's new GFX 50s medium-format camera, Nikon's new 19mm Tilt-Shift lens, and the ultimate panoramic stitching hardware, the Gigapan Epic Pro. What was cool about shooting in New York was seeing Elia photograph pretty common New York scenes with these unique photographic tools. While this section was challenging for all of us, it was fun to not only teach super advanced techniques but also learn a few tricks ourselves.
What Is Included in This Tutorial
Just like with every tutorial Fstoppers produces, our goal is to help you take your photography to the next level regardless of what genre or specialty you focus on. I've included some of the topics Elia covers in "Photographing the World 3" below but I have to say that many of these techniques can be applied to any type of photography, not just landscape or cityscape photography. In PTW3 Elia intentionally only relies on Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop so that you can master these two pieces of software without having to rely on costly or complicated third-party plugins. Once you learn how to quickly and effectively apply masks, luminosity masks, gradients, color curves, and complex selection paths to your images, you can literally apply these postproduction workflow tools to any type of photograph you want. From my personal experience, the postproduction techniques I have learned both from Elia Locardi and Mike Kelley have changed the way I approach my own photography more than anything else I've ever learned from another photographer (and I do not shoot landscape or architectural work specifically).
- In-Camera Photography Techniques (ISO, Shutter Speed, Aperture, White Balance, etc)
- Overview of Ideal Lenses and Gear for Cityscape and Astrophotography
- Examples of New Lightweight Tripods, Clamps, and Accessories
- Extensive Location Scouting and Tips for Better Composition, Angles, and Vantage Points
- How to Set Up Precise Camera Gear to Capture Hard to Work With Shooting Locations
- Advanced Panoramic Photography Shooting and Stitching
- GigaPano Multi-Row Panoramic Shooting and Stitching
- Working in Urban Environments and Proper Gear Setup and Control
- Solid Neutral Density Filters and Softening Skies and Water
- How to Use Smartphone Apps to Precisely Plan Your Night and Astrophotography
- Capturing Stars and Star Trails Over Urban Environments
- Understanding and Mastering Light (Golden Hour, Blue Hour, Sunrise and Sunset, and Astro)
- Time Blending (combining exposures shot at different times)
- Bracketing and Multiple Exposure Blending
- 100% Manual Exposure Blending Using Zero HDR Software
- Blending Different Moments in Time Together (Blending Different Times of Day Seamlessly)
- Non-Destructive Techniques to Master Raw Processing
- Extensive Non-Destructive Color Correction and Image Adjustment
- Complex Selections and Masking Techniques
- How to Create and Work With Luminosity Masking Techniques
- Advanced Luminosity Masking
- Compound Channel Masking for Precision Selections and Color Corrections
- Advanced Object Removal and Image Cleanup
- How to Replace Skies and Add Depth and Drama to Existing Ones
- Precision Sharpening and Selective Noise Reduction
An All New Behind-the-Scenes Series
If Elia's photography education wasn't valuable enough, Fstoppers has also tried to bring you along on our journey by taking you behind the scenes during the filming of this production. The last 18 episodes of "Photographing the World" have become a cult classic for fans of Elia and Fstoppers, and I'm excited to say that with "Photographing the World 3" we have produced the longest behind-the-scenes mini-series yet. With right around three hours of content, Lee, Elia, and I try to blend the perfect mix of photography education with exotic world travel. The resulting video blogs are both hilarious and exciting, and fans of the original series will be happy to follow along once again.
For more information about the entire "Photographing the World" series, head over to the Tutorial page on Fstoppers.com.