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Writing with Light

Posts tagged “Amalfi coast

Weekly Photo Challenge – Green

Ahhh…the green, green waters of Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast.

Sorrento, sunbathers, Amalfi Coast, Italy

Sorrento, boat, Amalfi Coast, Italy

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Summer – “Sorrento Sunbathers”

A birds eye-view of sunbathers looking down a rocky cliff in Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast. Can you feel the summer heat? Trust me it was about 35 degrees Celsius that day.


Follow the Path

I’ve been sitting on this image since the summer. This was taken Amalfi, Italy  as I was walking around, exploring the town. I came across this walkway which led to a small hotel and was enthralled by the curving pathway and the arches. I shot 3 exposures which I tonemapped in Photomatix. I then tried processing it different ways but I just wasn’t happy with the final outcome.

Last week I heard that OnOne Perfect Photo Suite was on sale. I had been meaning to try this software for sometime but just never seemed to have the time. This weekend I downloaded the trial version and I was blown away by it. Once I finished my editing in Photo Suite I brought the image back into Photoshop and used Topaz Star Effects to give the lights just a touch of pop.

Click on the image to see a larger version in the gallery or buy a print.


Coastal View

I need some sun…I need some water (beach water that is). Went back to my Italy images from last summer for this post. I needed a bit of break from the cold Quebec pictures. This image was taken from the Amalfi coast highway just as we were approaching the town of Amalfi.  The sun was shining the temperature was about 35 Degrees Celsius and there was a slight breeze coming off the water….Ahhhhh.

Click on the image to view it larger.

This image is available for purchase in the Gallery.


Topaz Adjust 5 & Sample Images

On Tuesday November 15th Topaz Labs will be releasing its latest update…Topaz Adjust 5. As a long time user of Topaz Adjust I was very excited to hear that they were updating the software but once I read what those updates would include…well let’s just say I’v been spending a lot of time in front of the computer.

Here are just some of the exciting new features and tools you’ll find in the new Topaz Adjust 5

  • Selective Brush. For easy dodging, burning smoothing and removing adjustments.
  • Finishing touches. Features options for borders, transparency, grain, warmth, vignettes and more.
  • Preset collections.  Presets are organized into unique collections.
  • Apply button. Stack multiple effects and presets during the same workflow.
  • Auto create layer. Automatically creates a new layer where your adjustments will be saved to.
  • Effect enable/disable. Clickable preview options that allow you to hide or view a set of adjustments for easy comparison.
  • Histogram. Built into the Preview Navigator window.
  • Ordered interface workflow. The interface is set up in numbered stages for a quick and easy workflow.
  • Individual tab reset buttons. Quickly reset the parameters in a specific adjustment tab without affecting your other settings.
  • Split Screen. Use the 2-screen split view for easy before and after comparison.

Topaz Labs have made some great changes to the plug-in. The interface is now very similar to Topaz Black & White Effects and while its always been intuitive and user friendly it now makes your workflow that much easier.

Original RAW file

Using Topaz Adjust 5

You can click on the images to view a larger size.

The first image is the original RAW file straight out of the camera.  This was taken on the Amalfi Coast in Italy and I wanted to give the image an old 60’s feel to it. The final image, under it, was created with Adjust 5 using the Film Collection and the Timeless IV preset. I gave it a slight boost in detail and added a vignette and then desaturated a touch to come up with this final image.

This new version really rocks but what I love most is that it automatically creates a new layer in Photoshop when you launch the plug-in. With over 100 presets, the new collections & presets really allow you to get creative with your images. The selective brush tool lets you easily and effectively make selective adjustments such as dodging & burning. The Smooth option lets you smooth out details when you need to clean up a sky and the Brush Out tool allows you to easily taper down the strength of effects or remove them altogether.

The tentative release date for Topaz Adjust 5 is NOvember 15th. Check the Topaz Labs site on that date for information.


Mamma Agata – Amalfi Coast Italian Cooking & Wine School

I thought I would post something a little different today. This post is not only about “showing” you how beautiful the Amalfi Coast is but also to share with you an incredible experience that my husband and I had on our recent trip to Italy.

I do not profess to being a great cook nor am I a food critic but I am compelled to let you in on a little secret. Perched on a hilltop overlooking the Amalfi Coast in the town of Ravello lies Mamma Agata’s Cooking & Wine School. In my post on July 14th I promised that I would tell you a little bit more about our day here. Click here to see my first Amalfi post.

As we navigated the narrow and winding roads climbing higher and higher to get to town we quickly realized that our poor little GPS had no idea where it was going. With the help of some very kind locals (and a lot of hand gesturing…I don’t speak Italian and some of the locals didn’t speak English but we managed to communicate) we arrived at the home of Mama Agata. 

When we arrived at the house, which is located on a very narrow street meant only for walking, I knocked on the door. When the door opened I was faced with one of the most incredible vistas…that of the coast.

The cooking school is a family affair…actually a love affair. Chiara, Mama Agata’s daughter, runs the school and was our hostess. Chiara is charming and bubbly, a pure delight who made us feel at home from the minute we arrived offering us a cappuccino and a slice of Mama’s famous lemon cake which by the way was a slice of heaven. Gennaro (Chiara’s husband), who is a  sommelier, makes the delicious wine and Lemoncello that we were served during the course of the day as well as being a very competent right hand man to Mama in the kitchen. Then there’s Papa Salvatore who tends to the garden, lemon trees and animals.  Yes everything that we cook, every ingrediant, comes fresh their garden which is situated on many levels on the sloping hill.

The day consisted of cooking an entire meal from appetizers to Eggplant Parmigiana, Pappardelle con Peperoni e Balbicca (Sausage & Red Pepper Pasta), Pollo al Limone (Lemon Chicken) among other things. Since we were working so hard we, of course, had to take a break between each dish and relax on the terrace with a glass of wine

When all the food was cooked and ready, we enjoyed our meal at a beautifully set table complete with wine, laughter and great conversation. To finish things off we had more lemon cake and Gennaro’s Lemoncello. We were made to feel at home, the hospitality was second to none. Before we knew it, it was 5 O’Clock and the day was coming to an end. Needless to say the food was outstanding and we were so full that there was no thought of dinner that night.

Our table, beautifully set!

Alan taking a break on the beautiful terrace

Chiara with the Eggplant Parmigiana ready to go into the oven.

Don’t forget you can click on any of the images to make them larger.

Eggplant Appetizers

Mama's Garden Shed

Chiara, Alan, Me, Mama Agata

If you find yourself in Italy head down to the Amalfi Coast and spend a day with Mama Agata, Chiara and family. It’ll be the highlight of your trip. Check out their website and you’ll see some of their famous guests…no not us but Pierce Brosnan and his family were there.