Rolling hills of Tuscany

What technical / artistic feedback would you like if any?

This is my first post on here for an image critique so any feedback is welcome! I am very keen on improving my photography so every comment about composition, post processing, ect. would help me out tremendously.

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

(If this is a composite, etc. please be honest with your techniques to help others learn)

Sony a7iii on a tripod
Tamron 28-75mm at f16 / ISO 100 / 250s exposure
CPL + 10 stop ND + 3 stop ND grad (soft edge)
Removed some minor distractions and added a subtle Orton Effect in post.

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IG: @martinmaier_photography

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.

Most excellent image, Martin. The low key lighting and clouds treatment with such a long exposure looks great. I really love the gently rolling country scene, and nicely composed off center, too. Wow, those hills are gorgeous!

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Judging from your first image, it is we who should be learning from you and not the other way around. Marvelous image, Is this a 250 sec exposure? It’s amazing that the trees stood still for that long. Cypresses are pretty sturdy, however. The long exposure created a sky that complements the rolling grass very nicely.

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Martin, Welcome to NPN and a beautiful first post. This is a case where the three simple elements of the scene complement each other perfectly. For me these seemingly simple images are my favorites and this one is just wonderful. I have no suggestions for improvement. I look forward to seeing more of your work.

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Thank you very much Bill. Tuscany really is a sight to behold. You should definitely go visit sometime.

You are too kind Igor :slight_smile: It actually was a 275 second exposure and I had to brighten the image up by an additional 1.5 stops in Lightroom. The tree trunks are sharp but the tops do have a slight motion blur to them. Pretty much everything in this scene was moving during the exposure which gives the image an ethereal feel I guess.

Welcome to the network Martin. Great first post!

No nits from me but a question. Did you dodge and burn this scene much or was the light scattered by the cloud cover. It’s effective either way.

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I really like this image. I love the use of the long exposure and the subtle colors in the sky. The greens look great too. I think the only thing I would try is some midtone contrast using lum masks, but just on the foreground a tiny bit. Maybe not. Cool shot man.

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The clouds basically did most of the job for me. All I did was adding contrast, darkening the bottom of the image to create a stopping element and accentuating the light on the slopes. The Orton Effect finally gave the image a soft glow.

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Thank you so much Matt! Your podcast introduced me to NPN and so far I really like the experience :slight_smile: Honestly I have been dreading to learn luminosity masks because it seems really complicated. I guess this will be the next big step in improving my editing.

Welcome to NPN Martin, stunning image as your first post! While it is good the way it is, I think it could be taken to the next level with a few more adjustments.

I found the bright sky distracting so I burned the brightest areas along with adding a grad to the very top of the sky to help keep the eye drawn in. I also felt the trees were too dark so I used a luminosity mask to select the very dark tones and dodged them a bit. I also selected the light tones in the foreground and dodged them to help them pop out.

These days luminosity masks are relatively easy to learn, the hardest part is knowing what to do with them, which will come with lots of practice and learning from others.


Martin, welcome to NPN. This is a lovely first post. The waves in the hills are outstanding and the long exposure lets the clouds mimic the sense of motion in the hills. David’s adjustments add some extra drama and interest.

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Welcome to NPN! What a fantastic image and first post. Wow, this is wonderful.

I think David’s edits have elevated this at least a notch. Your original presentation is beautiful as presented. My original feedback might have included backing off the darkness at the bottom. Yeah, I get the “stop” factor, framing, anchor, etc., but to my eye it’s a little unnatural. But a very minor point since your presentation and processing is impactful - did I say beautiful? :wink:

Once you learn Luminosity masks and masking in general, you’ll learn to “paint” with soft brushes to target certain areas as David did in his edits. Along with dodging, burning, processing images starts to become fun (did I say that?) - or at least I feel some creative control.

Anyway, this is one of those images that is clearly worth the effort to make it it’s very best.

Again welcome! We look forward to seeing more of your work and your participation!



Welcome to NPN Martin, what a great first post. The pastel colors in the sky are very nice, and I love the streaked clouds from the long exposure, very nicely done. I really like what @David_Kingham did with his rework. The subtle dodge/burn tweaking type comments you get here at NPN are often the difference between good and great images. To me this is some of the most valuable input you can get from others to improve your images. The contours in the field here look great with David’s tweaks.

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Thank you very much for the great feedback David, Mark, Lon and Ed. It was really motivating and I appreciate it a lot :slight_smile:

Quick editing update:

I had to give this whole luminosity mask thing a try after seing David’s re-edit. Honestly the basics are really easy to get into. I can’t even begin to imagine what really skilled photographers are able to achieve with this technique. Can’t wait to learn more!

Anyway, here is my updated version with just a few hours of practice :slight_smile:


Hi Martin, welcome to NPN! Wow, you did a great job incorporating the comments in your update. And that’s after a few hours! I used more than a year :wink: Lum masks are a game-changer, they’re really worth learing everything about!

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Really nice work Martin! I’m impressed how quickly you learned this, looking forward to seeing more of your work.

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I love the simplicity and grace that the image reveals. The long exposure on the clouds is lovely, and those slightly rolling hills provide a wonderful foreground. I like the edits that David made also.