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When I first saw this scene I immediately pictured this tree as an old guardian, overlooking and protecting the dead forest a few hundreds meters away. Being a fantasy enthusiast, the scene I had before my eyes could have been taken directly from a novel. The setting for this shot is the amazing atlantic island of Madeira, in Portugal.
This location has been captured hundreds of times, even by photographers way better then I am. Nonetheless I tried to make this shot mine by using a technique called time blending, which allowed both the setting stars and the rising sun to be in the final image. To do that, I meticulously planned this shot well in advance and started the 1.5 hours hike at 4:00AM in order to be at the spot in time to capture the night sky. I was lucky enough to have a perfect clear sky during the blue hour, which was followed by an impressing sea of clouds above the atlantic ocean.
As previously mentioned, to recreate the shot I had in mind I had to take two shots with some minutes delay with different exposures, one during the blue hour and the other one at dawn. It´s always difficult to wake up in the middle of the night and start hiking, especially when you don´t know whether you'll get the weather conditions you hoped for. This time, however, I was more then lucky. In post processing, not much work was needed. I only had to blend the two exposure and to recover some deep shadows.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor