Photographing The Snow.

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50mm f/1.8 @ 1/4000 ISO 200. Taken on a D3100.

Snow. So beautiful. As the feather-like flakes drift down to form an ice cold blanket of sparkling crystals. Simply put, I adore snow.

I began skiing at around 3 and I haven’t stopped since. I took up snowboarding for the past couple years, but I think I’ll switch back soon. Anyhow let’s talk about this picture. If any of you took a look at the photo specs I put under this post, you might have noticed some extreme numbers (low ISO, and high exposure time). The reason for that is the mountain sun. The sunlight you get in high altitude is miles away from the kind of lighting you get at sea level. The light is much more intense, so you have to take that into account when photographing high up. Another obstacle in mountain photography is snow. It further magnifies the already intense sun rays, and this all creates difficult exposure in your pictures. I’ve been photographing here now for a week and I’ve found that the best formula for a picture that isn’t burned (overexposed), is incorporating more elements into the shot. What I mean by this is that it shouldn’t just be your subject and that bright white snow in the background. Try to get more in the shot (trees, houses, other people, etc.) and this will give your camera a more accurate reading, for a more correct exposure. Another tip is to take your shots early in the morning and at dawn, these are the times when the light isn’t as intense and can create some very nice pictures.

I think that wraps it up for tonight, hope any of this helps. And always thanks for stopping by!

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Getting Back In The Game

I’ve decided to start up my blog again. As you all might have noticed, I haven’t been around for quite a while. I was distracted, I wasted my time pursuing something I could never have, I got side-tracked. Good news though, I’m back now! (Not like that other time in September, I’m back for real now). The bad news is that I haven’t been taking many pictures, so I might have to dig through some old material for a while until I snap some new stuff, hope you guys don’t mind. As of right now I am writing from a small house deep in the French Alps and my 3G hotspot isn’t holding up so well. I’ll try to get one post in tonight, but I can’t make any promises. So here’s to a new beginning (or continuation.. whatever).

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I’m Back!

50mm f/2.5 @ 1/25 ISO 400. Taken on a D3100.

Everyone, I’m back! For the hand full of you that still come by, now and then, you’ll finally have something to read. As far as any new comers… Welcome! So I haven’t been on here for almost a month, so bare with me. I’m back in America now and just started school, so I waited to get settled in with everything before blogging again. OK, I won’t bore you with my life story here, on to today’s post.

This cat is in no way related to the title or the content of this post, I just like the picture. I love it because the cat’s little tongue is sticking out. I think that’s all for today, hope you all enjoy 🙂

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Photographing The Setting Sun.

For the summer our family rented a house in Levanto, Liguria. It’s a nice house but what’s even better is the view! The house is on the top of large hill from which you can see the whole town. The at around 8:30 PM the sun starts setting. The bright white walls of the house take up a warm orange tinge. Very relaxing. Obviously like everything that is great and relaxing, I have to make noise and ruin the moment by taking a bunch of pictures! Maybe that’s a bit exagerated, but you get the point. Anyways we’ve had this house for a month now so I’ve had a lot of practice, and here’s what I’ve learned.

So first of all, like most of you probably know, photographing the sun is not very easy. Mainly because it’s so bright and your camera’s meter will under expose everything that isn’t the sun. Maybe you want that effect, like the first picture above, where the underexposure makes a nice shot. But if you are trying to make a correct exposure over every part of the photo, you have to give it some thought. The easiet way to get a homogenous photo is by using a tripod. Unfortunately a tripod isn’t always available (my case). Fact of the matter is that with all these new DSLRs you can pump up the ISO and only start to get grain around 12800. And even in that case a little post-production magic will do the trick. Finally if a tripod and post-production means aren’t available, you can always set your camera on a flat surface and use the lens cap as cushion to adjust the shot.

Now that we know (sort of) how to photograph the sun, we need to know when to photograph it. Here’s one the thing everyone should keep in mind: usually the photographer always loves the photos he takes of the setting sun, the only problem is the audience usually finds them awfully repetitive. The best way to make a sunset intriguing is if there is something else rather than just the sun. For example, add foreground (rocks, plants, boats etc.). Tip: If around 5 or 6 o’clock in the afternoon the sky is scattered with clouds (not a thick layer), that’s a good indicator there’s going to be a beautiful sunset. Clouds make sunsets amazing (captured below) because the sun splashes them with a wonderful array of color. The final and most important tip is to go out there and try. Yeah maybe keep in mind a couple things here and there, but don’t be afraid to let your creativity run wild!

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Sailing Through The Mediterranean Sea.

For my second trip this summer I spent a week with my uncle on his sailboat. The picture above was taken at the Island of Giannutri. What some of you (actually all of you) don’t know is that, among Aviation and Photography, Sailing is another one of my passions. For three years now, I spent a week each summer with my uncle sailing. During this trip we visited the islands of Giannutri and Giglio, as well as Mount Argerntario. We manily sailed around Northern Tyrrenian Sea. The trip started with a 5 hour train ride from Milan to Talamone. The actually city of Talamone (if you can call it a city) is actually a 50 minute walk from the train station. Although the path to town was scenecly amazing with tons of interesting things to photograph, walking for almost an hour with a 25lbs backpack on your shoulders isn’t the best experience. Nonetheless we all did it (me, my uncle, and two of his friends) as you can see in the picture below.

On this brown dirt path (yellow brick road?) to the Harbour of Talamone I had lots of time to stop and photograph the amazing scenery. One thing that I really enjoyed about this trip was the exposure to a whole new array of subjects (boats, seashells, fish, birds etc.), most of which I’ve never had the chance to capture. Anyways the picture below is of three of the hundreds of boats on the way to town. I don’t know if you can notice from the picture, but water stays shallow for 300 feet or so. Very fascinating.

Once we finally made it to the boat, we settled down and went to eat. Now Talamone doesn’t really offer much choice for restaurants, only four to be exact. During the one week span in which we were in and out of Talamone we treid all four. So if anyone is planning to take a trip there, you’ve come to the right place! We spent the night at the dock and left early in the morning. Before I continue you all should know that our boat, like many others, has a fishing rod on which you can change the friction, so that you can just leave it there and hope something cathes on while you sail around. This obviously isn’t the most productive way to fish, but definitely the most rewarding. After about 10 minutes of our departure from Talamone, a suicidal fish (captured below) caught on to our bait. That was the only fish we caught during the entire week…

After my uncle made a delicious tartare with our freshly caught fish, we headed to our first destination: the Island of Giannutri. We were all very excited to see what this island, that we had all heard much about, would look like. We were shocked to say the least. It was like a ghost town, no one was there. Every shop, bar, and hotel in town was closed down. The silence was freighting. On the island, near the town, there was an old run-way that was used during WWII. It was closed down and abandoned after a plane fell off one of the edges on a bad landing. Anyways I was very eager to visit this abandoned run-way, so we headed over there as soon as we could. It was a cemetery. The whole run-way was scattered with dead seaguls and rabbits. After further inspection of the island, it was all scattered with dead seaguls and rabbits! If anyone knows anything about it, I’d love to hear about it. The photo below is of my uncle coming to “rescue” us after we visited the run-way. I like this picture because diagonals formed in the water by the little boat.

Our next destination was the Island of Giglio. Contrary to Giannutri, Il Giglio had a lot of comotion. As you can see in the picture below, they have their hands full. Passing 50ft from a ship-wrecked cruise liner was by far the weirdest experience I’ve ever had. This picture wasn’t really thought for as far as composition or other technical aspects. Just content, powerful content.

That night we slept on the coast of the Island of Giglio, protected from the wind. We the sun went down the sky colored itself with a rainbow a beauty. Unfortunately I’m still trying to master colorful sunset photos, so this doesn’t really render what I saw and felt, but it’s as close as I could get. Nonetheless it has a very serene feeling to it, which I really love!

Finally we went back to Talamone, and so it was, my trip was over. Fortunately those last few hours in Talamone ended up being full photographic oppurtunities. Shortly after we came back, all the fishermen and their boats came home after a long day’s work. The nets, the fish, the rope, the sweat, the activity! So much happening. I chose this shot because it’s a simple concept, transformed into an intriguing result.

Once again thanks for stopping by, wether it be to read the things I have to say or see the photos I take. Thank you to everyone and anyone. I hope you enjoy this post as well! 🙂

Sunshine Award.

You can probably deduct from the title what the following post will be about. I’ll try to keep it short. So first I want to thank Glenn Weissel (@ http://blog.glennweissel.com/) for nominating me for this award. I also want to thank him for the very nice things he had to say about me. Thanks again!

Like every award there are some rules. They are as follows:

  1. Accept the award.
  2. Post the award on your blog together with the name / link to blog of the person who granted the award.
  3. Answer the questions below.
  4. Pass the award to 10 other blogs providing links to their blogs.
  5. Contact your 10 bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Obviously I accept the award with open arms, and once again I have to thank Glenn Weissel (@ www.blog.glennweissel.com) for it. Theres steps 1 and 2, on to the questions.

  1. Favorite color? – Deep Blue!
  2. Favorite animal? – I’m going to have go with man’s best friend: Dogs.
  3. Favorite number? – 4.
  4. Favorite food? – Gnocchi with my Mom’s homemade pesto. Gotta love mom’s kitchen!
  5. Favorite drink? – Milk! (Love building my bones strong)
  6. Facebook or Twitter? – WordPress.
  7. What is your passion? – Aviation.
  8. Giving or getting presents? – Getting a present is always nice, but giving is a gift warms me inside.
  9. Favorite day of the week? – Saturday: I love waking up and knowing the weekend isn’t over yet!
  10. Favorite flower? – Daisys. In their simplicity they are very beautiful.

Now the hardest part: nominating 10 blogs. Here are my nominations in no particular order.

  1. http://johnmillerphoto.wordpress.com/
  2. http://themagictheatre.wordpress.com/
  3. http://ianspagnolo.com/
  4. http://pohutukawaphotographic.co.nz/
  5. http://thesemomentschallenge.wordpress.com/
  6. http://robertmortonphotographs.wordpress.com/
  7. http://visionsofthevortex.wordpress.com/
  8. http://littlebluestemphotography.wordpress.com/
  9. http://viewinphotos.wordpress.com/
  10. http://christopherribeiro.wordpress.com/

I recommend anyone who passes by this post to check out all of these blogs, they are all unique and a joy to scroll through. With that, I’m gonna start writing my next post. See you soon!

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Pattern and Repetition.

Pattern and repetition. In this post we’re going to talk mechanics. I can safely say I have composition down: rule of thirds, minimilism etc. Now let’s expand. Obviously patterns and repetitions aren’t completely in the hands of the photographer. What I mean is that you can move and compose your shot how ever you want, but you can’t just make a pattern or a repetition (not always that is). Anyways, if composed correctly, patterns and repetitons can truly make a shot great. One thing to keep in mind is that a pattern is not necessarily a repetiton and vice versa. Although together, like the shot above, they can make a nice effect, alone they can be even more powerful. Now like everything in photography, it’s not just point and click, you have to sit and think to produce quality work (life lesson right there!). Now some info on the photo in todays post. This shot goes back to my trip to Barçelona; It’s of a building in the finacial district. I chose it for this post because it includes both pattern and repetition, and I thought it was a nice photo as well. Hope it will all come to use one day!

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Cats.

50mm f/2.8 @ 1/10 (SUPER STEADY HANDS!) ISO 400. Taken on a Nikon D3100.

This is our cat; we don’t get along very well. I was home alone today for some hours, and the house felt pretty empty. I was there reading my Manga when I hear a faint “Meow”. So I lowered my book to find Armida, the cat, purring at me. I began to pet her and, contrary to my beliefs, found that this cat does actually have affectionate emotions. I’m being harsh; she’s actually quite cuddly, you just have to get used to her (or the other way around). But what mattered the most was that now she was fine with me taking tons pictures of her. As I am always looking for new things to interpret via photography, the addition of this beautiful animal is just perfect. You’ll be seeing a lot more of her from now on (hopefully not too much). Hope you like it!

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Barcelona, Spain.

If you are one of my frequent viewers (I hope there are tons of you out there!) you might have noticed I haven’t made a post in almost 10 days. In blog time that’s like 4 or 5 years, it’s the best way to lose readers. Anyways the reason I hadn’t made a post in 10 days is because of my hurdle training with this ex-olympian. It’s been taking up a lot of my time. I actually ran in the Italian Junior Nationals and placed 6th overall! I was pretty happy so I rewarded myself, and thought it would be nice to take a trip to Barçelona. My father is an airline pilot so we pay a lot less for a standard economy ticket. So here is the photo journal (with some comments) of my trip to Barçelona. Enjoy!

Let’s start off with the cover photo of this post. As you can see it is of a spanish (I think) homeless man. Critics would say this picture is beyond clichĂ©, but that is not why I love it. I love this picture so much because I’ve been wanting to take this shot since I got my camera. I first tried taking this sort of photo, with negative results. I saw a homeless man outside the metro and thought “Perfect!”. So I took the courteous route and asked if I could take a picture. The man probably felt like an object, and rudely rejected. I was let down. The thing is that when you get into photography, sometimes there will be shots you think about in your mind that might take months or even years to capture! For me this was one of those shots. Moving on now. Like every major city in the world, Barcelona had a huge main street, travelled upon each day by thousands of tourists.  You might not be able to tell from the photo, but the street was packed! I was shown around the city by a friend who had been living there for 13 years. If you do plan to go to this beautiful city, I definitely suggest you find a local to show you around because guide books can only write about so much.Like every major road, there will always be the ol’ immigrant trying to sell you cheap sunglasses or lighters, but La Rambla is full of other surprises. One thing I found interesting was the Game of the Three Boxes (directly translated from Italian, not sure what it’s called in English). Basically there are three boxes and a little ball under one of them. A man shuffles these trying to trick viewers. Then a man from the crowd (who is part of the act) pretends to bet, guesses where the ball is. The whole point is to try and get stupid tourists to think it’s an easy win. It’s basically stealing but it’s fun to watch and try to guess who the actors are.

Next fun little thing on La Rambla was statue lane. Let me expand on that. Have you ever walked around heavily populated centers, and seen a person all dressed up, just standing there, being a statue? Well imagine that, but a whole bunch of them all next to each other with different colors and themes. There were all kinds of statues; including characters from Salvador Dalì’s famous paintings and Christopher Columbus posing with a map. What makes it even better is how realistic they all seemed! Some costumes looked rigid or maybe with plaster but also the large amount a face paint made the “statues” look real.

At the end of La Rambla a huge statue (a real one) stands in honor of Christopher Colombus. Something I found hilarious was the fact that the Spaniards had a very strong belief that Colombus was born in Spain (obviously not true as he was born and raised in Genova). What was even funnier was when you asked a local where he was born; no one could give an answer! This is that statue from a less touristy point of view.

From then on we kept walking through the cute calm little side streets, running into a variety of subjects. Barcelona is just a great city to shoot; it’s so big and there are so many places and people to photograph. After walking and sweating around the streets of Barça, we finally made it to the beach. I’ll start off by saying that a lot of the beach’s populous (both male and female) was very free. It was a european beach after all. Nonetheless I wasn’t thrown off too much by the overwhelming amount of naked breasts, and I had a good time in the water. I actually forgot my towel, but the hot Spanish sun did it’s job. I slept on the beach for a bit then began to make my journey home. As expected, the photographic opportunities were plentiful.

On our way back we ran into a small plaza. It looked rather ordinary. The church facing the center had some holes in it, just wear and tear I thought. But that was far from the truth. After further inspection we found out that that small plaza was an execution ground during the Spanish Civil War under the terrible reign of Franco. Those holes in the church were made by the bullets that killed hundreds of people right there where I was standing. It was traumatizing to think about. I took a shot, reflected and moved on.

Finally we got home. The house I was staying at was at the 9th floor of an old office building that was refurbished into apartments. The house had an amazing view of the Barcelona skyline. I had my tripod, and tons of time, so I took some long exposures. I really experimented with small apertures to get diaphragm stars. I was very impressed with my results.

50mm f/16 @ 30″ ISO 100. Taken on a D3100 w/ Tripod.

Like I said before the skyline was also notable.

The next morning we woke up early to catch a flight back to Milan, and my little adventure was over. If you made it this far, congratulations! I’m glad I could keep your attention for so long and most of all I hope you liked it!

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Seasons.

50mm f/1.8 @ 1/320 ISO 200. Taken on a Nikon D3100.

It’s mid-June. Here in Milan it was pouring three days ago. Rain!, in JUNE?!?! It was weird. I wanted to show how peculiar the season change (or not change) was. So I went out, camera in hand, and I found thankfully one of the last leaves back from Fall. I chose this picture because of it’s minimalist composition. These kinds of photos can be so powerful because you leave things out, and let the audience unpack the story. Hope you all like it!

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