MatericLook: Amaghu Valley by Francesco Perratone, Armenia Photography and art

A work from the Armenia Photography series, a sunset view of the beautiful Amaghu Valley, where Noravank Monastery sits.

The valley is named after the river Amaghu, in some places it’s narrow, becoming a real canyon. Located in the Vayots Dzor region, is not far from the city of Yeghegdnazor.

The valley’s peculiar features (apart from the fascinating Noravank Monastery) are its cliffs, whose bright red rocks emerge on their sides. The drive to the monastery is nice and pleasant. This particular view comes from the bottom of the valley, before starting the short climb to the religious building.

For this image I used first of all the usual techniques, like HDR, multiple exposures and a small bit of digital painting. Then I started experimenting a bit…

I intensified the light/shadow contrast by using harmonious curves, with a “rhythm” similar to those extrapolated from classic sculpture. Finally I combined the dark and light areas with the existing luminance details, before applying them to the work.

I would say the results aren’t bad. In this particular image I followed the pre-existing land profiles. As a result the influenced areas are fitting nicely without a strong distinction.

I’d like to do more experiments in this direction, probably with other kind of images, more abstract, where the contrast can be stronger.

As (almost) all my works, this is available as a print on large canvas (limited) or cotton paper (signed). If interested you can take a look at the shop. If it’s not available yet you can contact me directly.

Here are some free works for download as wallpapers and some animations to watch.

If you like this or other of my works, please consider supporting me on Patreon with 1$/month. You will receive exclusive works and participate to the creative process!

Thank you!

Digital Art, Photography

Armenia Photography & Art – Amaghu Valley


MatericLook: Italian Bucolic 00 by Francesco Perratone, Italy Photography and art

A relaxing, bucolic image from Northern Italy.

I layered some effects and toned some areas to give a paint-like feel to the pic… It should convey calmness when put on your office screens, now that the holidays are gone! (At least here in Italy!) 😉

Also a forthcoming change could be perceived now that, after some work, the top of the trees look naked, with no leaves left…

The image is available in hi-res to my Patreon supporters pledging from $3, resolutions are the same as free wallpapers (4:3, 3:2, 16:9).



Digital Art, Photography, wallpaper

Italy Photography Wallpaper – Italian Bucolic 00


MatericLook: PouringLights_00 by Francesco Perratone, Armenia Photography and art


This is a shot from Geghard Monastery in Armenia. This is the dome, seen from inside one of the churches constituting the complex.

The place is really nice and fascinating. The spear that wounded Christ was allegedly brought here by apsotle Thaddeus (currently stored in Echmiadzin). I will publish some works form the outside too 😉

The sculpted details geometry is complex and beautiful, I maniipulated the image a lot because I wanted to bring in some colors and give everything a painted and surreal look.

The light, coming from the top, is like a colored fluid, pouring in, bringing a vibrant life to the structure below. This is an aspect I wanted to highlight. So I worked on making the shadows more uniform and on giving the corners a “liquid” look. I kept the top area overexposed and saturated, but I gave it a watercolor and stained look. Also some of the lower decorations now look like drops by themselves!


As all my works, this is available as a limited print on canvas or cotton paper, if interested you can contact me.

Here are some free works for download as wallpapers and some animations to watch.

If you like this or other of my works, please consider supporting me on Patreon with 1$/month, you will receive exclusive works and you will be able to participate to the creative process!

Thank you!


Digital Art, Photography

Armenia Photography – PouringLights_00


MatericLook: Noravank Cupola 0 Wallpaper by Francesco Perratone, Armenia Photography Urbex and art

From Noravank Monastery in Armenia. This, unwatermarked and in high resolution, will be available to my $3 patrons as August wallpaper.

Resolutions available are the same listed for free wallpapers (4:3, 16:9, 3:2).

More images to come, showing the monastery surroundings!

Photography, wallpaper

Armenia Photography – Noravank Monastery


MatericLook: Watched 0 by Francesco Perratone, Armenia Photography Urbex and art

Hello everyone, back from my trip to Armenia, here’s a first related work.

A large abandoned soviet-era building in Jermuk, with a nice sculpture on the facade. It caught my attention, so I took a few steps inside.

At first it didn’t seem particularly interesting. Almost empty, with a relatively modern structure… but after reaching the middle of the ground floor the view is just great!

On both sides there are these very interesting statues, with series of 6 very large heads. A few of them have some lipstick or mustaches added by some “joking thug”.

The impression is definitely surreal. The grandeur of the building and the imposing visages offer a stark contrast from the crumbling stairs and flaking paint. The temperature adds to the feeling: it dropped at least 10 degrees upon entering the building. The cold suggests being inside a giant refrigerator fighting to freeze time, surrounded by a very warm  sun, overheating everything else.


From the few information I was able to gather, it seems the building was indeed built during the soviet era by USSR government. The faces inside represent Armenian heroes and fighters for freedom.

If anyone can provide more info regarding the building and/or the faces, I’ll be happy to include them. The construction is currently undergoing some kind of renovation, as there are some construciotn materials outside, so it will probably not last long in the current state.


Also here I want to stay on the edge between a picture and a drawing/painting. I made the flaking paint very visible, but the colors brilliant and saturated, to remind the life that was once here.

I focused on the faces and the geometric structure behind, making them stand out a bit. Also wanted to keep the darkest areas not completely black, but suggesting that something’s there.

I then experimented something: In these dark areas I created a look somewhat similar to stains and saturated watercolors, to further the distance from a photographic look. I also used some black fading strokes to highlight details, on both the faces and the structure. You can better appreciate those touches in the details shown below (half of the final work resolution):

MatericLook: Watched 0 -detail0 by Francesco Perratone, Armenia Photography Urbex and art

MatericLook: Watched 0 -detail1 by Francesco Perratone, Armenia Photography Urbex and art


If you like this or other of my works, please consider supporting me on Patreon with 1$/month. By doing so you’ll be able to participate to the creative process and suggest the kind of works you like the most! Thank you

Digital Art, Photography, urbex

Armenia Photography & Urbex – Watched 0


Uplistikhe 00 Georgia Art by Francesco Perratone - MatericLook

Images from Georgia: photography & art from Uplistikhe – a pre-Christian Georgian city.

Uplistikhe is a stone-carved cave city in central Georgia. It was an important political, religious and commercial center, especially in pre-Christian times and, later, during the occupation of Tbilisi by the Arabs (around 650 AD).

During its maximum expansion the city was inhabited by 20000 people, its importance declined until 1240 AD, when it was destroyed by Mongols.

During the pre-Christian era the Sun Goddess was worshipped in the temples of the city and the holes in the floors were probably used to store food and/or for the sacrifices to deities.

This city (and other similar cave cities in Georgia or other countries) are spectacular, with rooms, halls, even thrones carved in the stone…. the final example of subtractive manufacturing 😉

The artwork creation itself was interesting, the contrast in the image was extreme, the clear sunlight from the ceiling hole and the windows cast a molten-lava shape on the floor. The warm/cold color contrast is exaggerated, (less than expected) and it was present in the original image.

I’ve made the details from the light shapes and the patterns on the blue floor in the foreground the main “attractions”. The lines, shapes from the sculpted details in the darkness on the back are very interesting too. After some adjustments I brought them back from the shadows… they give a sense of depth and perspective.

The hint of a wide angle, combined with the colors and strong patterns gives, in my opinion, a dream-like aspect to the whole image, suggesting the solemnity of an ancient temple to forgotten gods.


Let me know your impression in the comments! 😉



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Digital Art, Photography

Georgia Photography & Art – Uplistikhe 00

MatericLook Exposure #INaGIF cropped
Photography, tutorial

Tutorial – Photography Basics, Every technical thing you need to know: EXPOSURE


Second Photography Basics tutorial from the series! (intro and index here).

Exposure time, or shutter speed, is the amount of time the shutter remains open, to let light into the film or sensor of your camera. If you already know exposure you might want to skip to the animation showing everything #INaGIF, if you want to know what we’re talking about, go on reading :-)

That’s easy! This of course will determine the global brightness of the picture, but it will also define more or less the captured moving objects. If you want a very defined and sharp moving object, it’s better to have a fast shutter (short exposure), while if you’re only portraying still objects, or if you’re aiming for a creative effect, you can use a slower shutter.

Here you can see a fan series with different values (the right part of the images is corrected as always, to make things more visible).


MatericLook Photography Basics 2 Exposure 0,5



MatericLook Photography Basics 2 Exposure 1/60



MatericLook Photography Basics 2 Exposure 1/400



MatericLook Photography Basics 2 Exposure 1/1600



MatericLook Photography Basics 2 Exposure 1/4000


The unit of measure is seconds, so the above examples range from 0.5 seconds to 1/4000th of a second.

Also in this series I changed a single setting ONLY (exposure),  you can see things getting very dark or very bright pretty fast. In a future series I will use all settings to give a comprehensive example.

To have good result with a handheld camera and slow moving or still objects a good common setting is around 1/60 or 1/80. A general rule is to have the speed corresponding to your lens’ focal length reciprocal, so 1/50 for a 50mm, 1/300 for a 300mm and so on. This can vary depending on how steady you hand is, how you handle your camera, your position, camera and lens weight, your heart rate, etc. For example, snipers breathing techniques can help a lot with relatively long exposures or “long” lenses.

A short or fast exposure corresponds to a fast shutter, that’s less time it stays open, to summarize this part,  here’s an animated recap*:

Exposure #INaGIF

Exposure #INaGIF

Fast Exposure Time<-> Less Light Captured <-> “Freezed” movements


Long Exposure Time <-> More Light Captured <-> Objects Trails


Taking pictures with a slower shutter requires usually a tripod or some sort of decent camera support. Of course, that’s if you want your subjects focused and defined, experimenting with long exposures while moving the camera around could be pretty interesting….

It’s possible to reach extreme results with specific accessories, to capture, for example, the movement of the stars as a trail, or a bullet in mid-air, as if freezed.

More info on Exposure Time on Wikipedia.


If you’ve find those info useful, please consider supporting my Patreon campaign for more tutorials and custom art!


*As always, #INaGIF animations are conceptual and serve the purpose of explaing a behavior, some aspects are exaggerated or reduced to clearly show the fundamental notions.