Perched On The Edge Of The World

Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy

It’s hard to say which was my favourite town of the Cinque Terre. Occupying seemingly impossible spots on the Ligurian coast of Italy, they each took a place in my heart for years to come. This shot of Manarola was taken from a viewpoint in the preceding town, Corniglia. I thought that some of the vineyards in the Lavaux region alongside Lake Geneva were steep, but I think the vines on these cliffs could easily give them a run for their money!

I did some heavy post-processing on this shot and I’m fairly pleased with the outcome. I really wanted to convey the grand scale of the landscape. The best way of doing that was to highlight the size of the town of Manarola against the backdrop of the coastline. Unfortunately this shot was taken at a pretty high zoom on my old point and shoot camera, and the colours were very drab and lifeless. So I decided to go for B&W to neutralise that problem.

The shot was also lacking contrast, and Manarola was blending in with the rest of the landscape. I wanted to make it stand out a bit more. I used the Radial Filter in Lightroom for the first time, adjusting the exposure on the area around the town to make it a bit brighter. I then took the Adjustment Brush to darken the exposure on the rest of the image to amplify the effect. For comparison here are the before and after shots. Which do you prefer?

Manarola - Original

Manarola – Original

Manarola - Post Processed

Manarola – Post Processed

Have you visited the Cinque Terre? Which was your favourite of the five towns? Have you used the Radial Filter or Adjustment Brush in Lightroom much? I’d love to hear from you!

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22 thoughts on “Perched On The Edge Of The World

  1. Feisty Harriet

    I really like your processing, actually. I usually prefer very little processing, but I think the black and white and constrast changes make this photo really standout compared to the original.

    xox

    Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      Thanks Harriet, I don’t normally process quite as much as this! But I’m glad you think it works. I post very few B&W shots but I really thought it made the difference here.

      Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      It’s such a fantastic place! You can easily see why it is such a draw for tourists visiting Italy, and a great location for anybody who enjoys photography. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      Thanks Jude. As always I really appreciate your critique, and I’m glad that you agree on the B&W. Removing the colour from a shot is not something that comes naturally for me, especially in an area as vibrant at the Cinque Terre!

      Reply
      1. Heyjude

        Mmm… it is more difficult to imagine when the image is particularly colourful, but often they work the best – when there is a lot of contrast. I struggle to find it working well with flowers, unless they have a very distinct shape or texture. To me flowers ARE colour. Landscapes however can work very well, as you have demonstrated.

        Reply
  2. Cindi

    Love the blue and green of the original – they represent that region of Italy to me. But the contrast of the town and the water in your processed image – and especially on the full size view, the texture of the vineyards – make that my favorite of the two.

    Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      Thanks Cindi. I agree the B&W shot works much better when you look at it full screen. It loses something with the smaller size. I’d really like to update the format of my blog to give me a bit more space for the feature photos. I just need to find the time!

      Reply
      1. Cindi

        WordPress themes are a little constrictive in that way! A couple photographers I follow have themes that display huge images, and they don’t look great on either of my computer screens. I prefer ones like yours, where I can see the entire image with a neutral background and then enlarge the ones I want to see the detail. (Just my amateur and personal opinion, of course!)

        Reply
        1. Ben Post author

          Thanks for your perspective Cindi, I had never thought about it like that. I do know what you mean about the big photographs. I think I might stick with what I have for now!

    1. Ben Post author

      What was it about Vernazza in particular that appealed to you? I went for a short walk up into the cliff-side from the town and there are some really fantastic views over the rooftops.

      Reply
  3. Nancy Power

    I do love the monochrome version as it’s very enigmatic and has the feel of an old Italian film about it. On the other hand, the colours in the original are beautiful, if a little hazy in the background. Guess I prefer the B&W!!! Beautiful shot either way Ben!!

    Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      Thanks for checking out both images Nancy, I think like you say each has its own merits. I had many great colour images from Cinque Terre, this was one of the only shots I thought worked in B&W too. I’m glad you agree! 🙂

      Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      I know exactly what you mean, each one seems just as fabulous as the last. Unfortunately most of the trails were closed when I visited due to bad weather over the spring. but I am determined to walk the entire route on my next visit!

      Reply

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