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Archive for March, 2010

The other day I was feeling like a bit “homesick” of the USA. I am far from being american, and we never lived there, but it is true that as I suppose happens to everyone hooked with the outdoors, a visit to that region of the planet tends to leave scars in your mind…

I was taking a look at some “old” shots we took there some three years ago and I found this one. It is amazing how many souvenirs an image can draw to our minds. This is sometimes a big foe for the photographer, as any attempt of being objective fails when selecting and displaying images.

That day, we were arriving for the first time in our life to Zion NP when we saw this tiny tree from the road. At that time, the sun was setting and i was really struck by the beauty of the environment and its graphical qualities. We stopped dead the car, and run. The sun was literally sinking below the surrounding hills, and I guesses we had less than one minute of light. Normally I like previsualizing images, going to the place again and again, waiting and then pressing the shutter. This image however falls into the totally opposite category: the image finds you instead of the other way around. We saw this, we run, we had a minute to make the image, the light was gone before I could take a second shot, and after that i never visited the place again.

In terms of composition, the image is build on three strong elements: The texture and graphical character of the foreground gives interest and tons of depth, the lonely tree in the distance gives a striking focal point, and the cloud formations add drama in the sky and outline the silhouette of the little tree to make it stand out. A number of diagonals criss-cross the image adding dynamism, movement and depth: the layers of the foreground, the left side peak in the background and the mid-distance slope which points to the little tree.

I decided for a black and white conversion to eliminate the layer of information given by colour. Even if this was taken at the very end of the day and the light was glorious in colour, i thought the message was most of all about textures, lines and drama. This is an image about dynamism, energy, barren place and bare elements in a naked environment. Black and white went well with that in my opinion. It also adds a timeless feeling to the image…

I think it is about time we pay another visit to that incredible part of the US…
Thanks for reading, and great light to you all,

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A slideshow from my work has been showcased on the cover of the Online Magazine “Photo Travel Review”. Therefore, one of my images have been selected as image of the month of April in the annual photographic contest  and I have also been showcased as “featured photographer” in the same mag, which is a big honour, as my name is rubbing shoulders there with some of the biggest names of photography that I most respect…Marc Adamus, Darwin Wigget, Mike Anderson…

Photo Travel Review Magazine is the baby of Bill Lockhart, Claire Carter and Melani M, three avid photographers who had the great idea of creating an online magazine focused on travel photography. The popularity of this website has really been skyrocketing in the last years, and its content is updated and widened day by day. Pay them a visit, as they showcase lots of different photographic destinations, with information, suggestions for the photographer, images, slideshows, tips, etc… A great mine of information for those who dream of travelling, and travel to dream. You can also collaborate with your images and writings, so do not think twice if you have a great experience to share with the rest of the audience!

You will find here the links to the Slideshow at the PhotoTravelReview Home page, the Travel Photo of the Year Contest and the Featured Photographers page…Do not forget to turn on the sound for the slideshow, as the music really makes a difference (a man’s dream – Yanni)!

Thanks for reading and great light to you all,

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Hello all. All my apologies for being away so long. Hectic times keep me doing things I would prefer not to do! Anyway, i am back with the image for this week…

This vertical shot was taken in Glencoe, Scotland. One of the good things of staying for a long time in a relatively small area is that you can more or less get to know the place quite well. We scouted this place a few days before. Even if the light was quite dull at that time, I realized the nice vertical perspective given by the elevated position offered by a bridge, the nice rock patterns almost buried under the snow, the geometric convergence created by the river margins and the nice diagonals created by the distant valley. A strong focal point given by the distant peak became the dominant center of interest, and the little cottage by the river added a pinch of scale, to show the huge proportions of the landscape feature. A perfect subject indeed. The only thing missing was the light. Which light? Well, for this specific image I needed some soft light to keep the colour and detail of the foreground rock patterns and do not burn out the highlights in the snow. Also, if possible, I would be happy having a contrast of cold and warm colours-feelings. For that, the use of the reflections in the water would play a major role. Indeed, as this valley in winter almost looks into the sunset, some nice clouds at the west which might get lit by the setting sun would cast nice reflections on the water. These reflections would superimpose warm tones on the surrounding cold bluish hues of the ambient light falling on the snow, creating a striking effect of contrasting hues and feelings.

Some days passed by, and a certain afternoon we saw some nice high clouds gathering at the West, but leaving some big clearings in the sky. That might be a good excuse to try our chances at this location. We came back and waited. Some 20 minutes after sunset, the high clouds started getting some really nice colours, and that previsualized image became reality. The bonus: the streaked clouds radiating diagonally from the peak.

I used a polarizer slightly to make visible the foreground rock formations, taking care not to kill all the reflections of the golden clouds. I also used a graduated filter to keep the luminosity of the sky within the sensor latitude, but just a couple of stops was enough, as the land was covered by a quite reflective snow. A slow shutter speed gave the water a creamy aspect, rendering the water as pure molten gold.

Thanks for reading, and great light to you all!

Nikon D3x, Nikon 24-70 2.8, tripod, semi-polarized, GND 2 stop filter, tripod and cable release

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