May of 2009 was my first trip to Turkey. I have since been back and I am still amazed by this country. In ’09 I spent two weeks traveling from the capitol, Ankara, to Cappadoica, and finally to Istanbul with a group of college friends. In the middle of the country sits the region of Cappadoica- this ancient valley has thousands of years of history and played an integral part in the development of Christianity… it also has some decent views.
The area is famous for its rock structures and caves. Just as in the American Southwest, early people in the region lived in caves both underground and carved into the rocks. When people ask what it’s like, I usually tell them the closest thing is Sedona, Arizona (but with lots of 1700 year old churches).
During my trip I stayed at the Elai Guest Houses, located right next to the Uchisar Castle. Since we arrived in the late afternoon, we didn’t do any sightseeing local to the hotel. The hotel, carved into the lower part of the hillside is a sight in itself (and I highly recommend it). Not knowing that the hillside next to the hotel was indeed the castle, we proceed to spend the evening climbing up it and into it (it was only the next morning that we saw the armed guards patrolling it and heard it was off limits). Still, this provided a very unique photo opportunity! In addition to exploring the bronze-age caves and passageways, we sat in one of the carved out rooms, high above the valley, and watched an amazing rain shower and sunset.
At the time, I was using a Nikon D90 with the kit lens and manually bracketing 3 images. Shooting into the sunset, I used +/- 2 EV from the main exposure. Such a gap in EVs might make for good HDR inputs, but makes the separate images pretty un-spectacular. Below is the 0 EV shot, or the standard metering from the camera’s “auto” settings. In addition to the color and blending adjustments- you can really see how the exposure blending and increases in contrast help to clarify and bring out the detail in the picture. I recently combined the three shots using the Nik Effects Photoshop plug in, and then layered in parts of the original images on top. After some additional color corrections, sharpening, noise reduction, I was able to come up with a shot that accurately reminds me of what it was like to be there for that beautiful sunset.
Cappadocia Sunset Comparison: 0 EV input shot and final blended product