Cellpic Sunday – Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II

Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II.

Rome, Italy.

The Tiber River partially separates the city of Rome from the city-nation, Vatican City. From the wall that rings this edge of Vatican City, you can see one of the bridges that allow travel between the two cities. The three-arch bridge in the photo was opened in 1911. Named after the King of Italy who reigned from 1861 to 1878, the bridge features four towers, each carrying bronze Winged Victory sculptures. The span is 350 feet (108 m) in length.

About the photo: Captured with my Samsung S20U, I was shooting directly into the sun which was just off the image on the top. When I first looked at the photo, I was afraid that the huge solar flair light leak would make the photo unusable. Luminar Neo came to the rescue. I opened the file directly in Neo and immediately went to work on the flare. If I couldn’t get that flare cleaned up, there wasn’t much hope for the image without a major crop.

Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II Flare-1
Section of the original image with solar flare prior to removal.

I wasn’t expecting success with the erase tool and thought I might end up using Neo’s sky replacement feature. I decided to try the Erase tool anyway as it’s pretty efficient. The first couple of tries left duplications of clouds due to the cloning that the tool uses. A couple of undo and retries and some erasure of duplicate cloud effects cleaned up the sky pretty nicely.

I then went to Neo’s Develop module and raised the shadows to bring out more detail in the backlit bridge. I didn’t raise the control very much as it made the bridge “look funny”. Raising the shadows also created another issue. That tower directly under the solar flare didn’t look right as it was a bit hazy and the exposure didn’t match. I used a radial mask to put an oval around that tower and tweaked the exposure and dehaze inside the mask. The goal was to match the look of the tower on the right for exposure. All in all, I think the extra work was worth the processing time. You can view both of these images in 2K HD on my Flickr site. Just click on an image to check it out.

I encourage fellow bloggers to create their own Cellpic Sunday posts. I never have a specific topic for this feature, and the only rules are that the photo must be captured with a cell phone, iPad, or another mobile device… If you have an image from a drone or even a dashcam, that’s acceptable as well. The second rule is to link your challenge response to this post or leave a comment here with a link to your post in the comment. Oh, and, you don’t have to post it on a Sunday.

John Steiner


  1. You’ve done a great job with this edit, I would never have imagined that flare problem had you not also shared the original. I still find Neo a little too clunky for general editing but I do use it from time to time to erase power lines (with mixed levels of success) and am not above using the sky replacement feature although I find most of them too brash for my liking and have to tone them down a lot.

    • I have the same feeling as you about the sky selections they provide. Most are “over the top.”
      I have learned, with a little success, how to capture my own skies to be used. That’s not as easy as pointing the camera up. The angles, especially for landscapes with big skies, have to be a similar perspective.
      I do have the advantage of living in a “flat” state. There are no tall buildings or mountains in my way here in North Dakota. >grin<

      • I can’t speak to what’s available in your part of the world, but the version I own is “lifetime” and has a single price point. At some point, I expect they will “end of life” the product and future updates will require a new lifetime purchase, or they may then go full on subscription mode. I purchased my copy of Neo in February 2022, and I bought a second “seat” or license for my laptop in April, 2022.

      • Thank you John.
        For the perpetual single computer plan, they would like us to buy the extension packs individually which has exorbitant price.
        Did you purchase the extension packs as a bundle or individually?

      • First, sorry for the lengthy response.
        When they first announced the release of the extensions in stages throughout 2022, I bought the entire package. Having done so, in retrospect, I discovered that I have little use for some of the tools. Since I got them in a bundle, I consider the ones I don’t use to have cost me very little anyway.
        From this point going forward, I’ll purchase only the extensions that I think I will use. My favorites are Supersharp and Noiseless. I use Magic Light occasionally, but it’s for night photography so it doesn’t get used much. I use HDR Merge on occasion, but it and Noiseless have equivalent tools in Lightroom. At this point, the Denoise tool in Lightroom is new and only works on RAW files. I’ve used Upscale on older images though I probably will never use Focus Stacking.
        All in all, because of the bundle pricing, I think I got reasonable value for the tools received. I think future extensions will be additional purchases.

      • No need to feel sorry John.
        By your detailed account, I learned so much.
        And by sharing your experience you are helping people like me.
        Yes, most of the time we need just two- 1)super sharp and 2)noiseless. (I Do have Topaz sharp AI and topaz De Noise AI).
        It’s a good thing that you decided to go for bundle when they offer attractive discounts.
        I realised that the latest offers from Luminar for their products are very costly and they are encouraging people to go for subscription plans and as you said soon the may insist only subscription plans, which is sure to be a burden.
        Adobe does not care about its followers.
        ACDSee photo studio seems to be a better option to Lightroom, since the offer perpetual licence and upgrades for the same yearly basis. They too have subscription plans.
        Ultimately whole thing boils down to how much weight our purses do possess.
        Thanks again.

      • It’s always a challenge. Adobe does have market share and don’t care attitude. I avoided Topaz because they aren’t cheap either. I do believe, though, that they are solid products, and from what I’ve seen on YouTube, they are better products than the extensions in Luminar.

      • I agree with your opinion on Luminar vs Topaz.
        I tried Topaz and Luminar on various images and I realised that Topaz sharpen AI and Topa De anise AI is far better than similar Luminar extension pack.
        Thanks again John.

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