Tallest building in Italy

Thanks to its spire, the UniCredit Tower is the tallest building in Italy (231 metres). It is located in Milan - my hometown - and it was completed in 2011.


Sunset shot of the UniCredit Tower, Milano, Italy
Sony Alpha 77 Mark 2, Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di USD
300mm, 2.5s, f/7.1, ISO 100 (6-stop ND filter)

More than by the building itself, I was impressed by how well I could see the mountains in the background.
I must admit that I impatiently waited for sunset to warm up the scene, keeping my fingers crossed for visibility not to get any worse. Luckily, it did not.

Call me lazy, it is sort of a tradition for me to try to find a composition from whatever apartment, house or hotel I happen to spend at least one night. In this particular case, I took the shot from the balcony of an apartment I rented when visiting Milano last week.
 
As soon as it got dark and the tower was lit up, I took a second, long exposure.
While I am not at all a fan of black skies, I do still like the cold mood of the scene.
 

Night shot of the UniCredit Tower, Milano, Italy
Sony Alpha 77 Mark 2, Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di USD
300mm, 15s, f/10, ISO 100

I am not saying the two photos above are particularly good. What I am saying is that my habit not to snob compositions that can be captured from very accessible places helped me understand how photography is for everybody.
Sometimes we assume no good pictures can be taken without hiking like crazy or going somewhere very remote. Well, it is simply not true.

As a second reason, I find it challenging to try to find some beauty in things or scenes that most people view as dull, or even ugly.
I will give you two examples:

1) Another cityscape I captured in Milan last year (many people find the buildings in there ugly).

2) My most successful picture so far of the Brenta Dolomites (in terms of print sales and editor's picks, which was lazily taken from the balcony of a hotel).

All this being said, I am planning to go to a couple of outstandingly beautiful places in January and February 2018. Let's see what happens! ;-)

Cheers,
Enrico

Taking bad (but fair) shots of critters

I finally managed to get a picture of my friend Spider Pico, the guardian of my garden.
Spider Pico is not an easy subject to photograph. First of all, I am not a macro photographer (although this image was taken with a 1:1 macro lens). Second, he (or she??) is very often on the move and I would never do anything to make animals sluggish, let alone remove them from their habitat just to take a better photograph.  

That's Nature
The Guardian of my Garden - 90mm, 1/30s (handheld), F13, ISO 800
CAMERA: Sony Alpha 77ii - LENS: Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro

The day before yesterday Spider Pico was taking a nap (I think) and I managed to get a few hand-held shots of him, each one with a different focal plane. I then aligned the exposures in Photoshop and combined them using a technique known as focus stacking.

Had Spider Pico slept a little longer, I would have got some more legs in focus.
No big deal for me. That is Nature and I love it as it is!

Cheers,
Enrico

Landscape photographers: Never do what I did

Landscape photographers should always stick to their plan.
In particular, if you have to travel to get the image you want, it will take so much work and resources to get that shot that it would be silly to change plan at the very last second just because you suddenly see something potentially more appealing.
Basically, doing so would be equivalent to trading down days, weeks, sometimes even months of careful planning for an entirely new idea that crosses your mind out of the blue.

I was on Faial Island (Azores) to capture two images of the Bay of Caldeirinhas, the first at sunset (my main goal, click here to see it) and the second with the Milky Way in the background (click here to see it).

Long before I went to Faial, I wrote in a note that I should strictly follow two indications, so important to be considered rules:
1) Set up my tripod exactly as planned and never move it during the shoot (which is essential if I want to be able to blend several exposures to create my final image).
2) Start shooting with my camera in landscape orientation, to only switch to portrait orientation when done with the sunset picture (so that I could capture more of the sky in the Milky Way shot) .

These rules are the take-home lesson from this post, along with an extra one: do not trust photographers, as they often do not practise what they preach.
Especially me. I mean, in particular, you should not trust me. 

I could not take my eyes off an amazing cloud I saw behind me and, after I spent ten minutes staring at it, I took my camera off the tripod and shot it handheld.
It all happened well before I was done shooting my scene at sunset, thus breaking the second rule.

Was it worth it? Considering that I have rarely seen such a cloud in my life, well... it was probably worth it.
But what if I had missed the shot I really wanted? Would it have been worth it?
My answer is no.

I know what you think. The risk was low. That's what I thought too but, still... 

Would YOU have taken your camera off the tripod to shoot the cloud instead of THIS?
I am curious to know. Comments, emails, even smoke signs are welcome.

Cheers,
Enrico