(non-)Holiday Pictures / by Giacomo Cattaneo

Dear everybody,

Recently I enjoyed a week in the south of France, and brought my camera with me. Besides the many usual holiday pictures of me and my brother making funny faces and the usual sunsets, I sometimes took the opportunity to shoot some less-holiday-ish pictures given the great locations we visited. 

Boats: a red flag and the chase.

 A red flag.

A red flag.

 The chase

The chase

I've never tried sport photography. Still, we found ourselves in the middle of a regata, with some amazing boats passing by enjoying some perfect conditions - a sunny day, and a breeze to fill their sails. You got to take pictures. And I did, I've shot way too much given the general excitement. It became clear that to have a different picture, it needed to capture a "moment". The two above are probably my favourites in that sense: the first, a boat that raised a great red flag as the foreground, with the rest of the pursuer in the back (i.e. giving the idea that the regata was happening, and I did not shot a lonely boat). The contrast between the colours and the subject so present in the foreground are the things I like. Would have been nice to be closer though. The second is something I needed to prepare myself for: I noticed the three boats pursuing each other, and knew that the right "moment" would come - but you either get it or miss it.  I consider myself pretty luck for the final composition that resulted: no overlaps, all three inclined by a similar angle, three different boat colours, a perspective that leads you from the first to the third boat, and an dynamic action happening. 

Clouded days: a broken tree and a floating boat.

 A broken tree

A broken tree

 A floating boat.

A floating boat.

What do you do when clouds obscure the sky and you have water around? Well, you play with long exposure of course. Lucky me I was in the lovely little bay of Port-Cros. A tripod is strictly necessary, and a ND filter as well. Neutral Density (ND) filters simply decrease the amount of light being captured by the camera. There are the classic "pieces of glass" to be mounted in front of the lens, often of the graduated sort, and those called "variable ND filters": two polarisers mounted onto each other that by changing their relative angle will lead to more or less density, hence the term variable. I have one of the latter sort, more comfortable for travelling. The great thing about them is that they will allow you to keep your shutter open for longer times even if the ambient light is too bright. Hence, even in the middle of the day, by keeping your ISO as low as possible combined with a small aperture (e.g. >f11 --> the smaller the aperture, the less light - careful though that a too small aperture will lead to diffraction, so don't go up to f26), you might be able to shoot for a few seconds, if not more. Why would you want to do it? Because in that time lapse some things are going to move, becoming blurred, while others will not. This is especially true with water (e.g. waterfalls, waves) that gets this effect of becoming all flat and soft, but you can also use it to get e.g. people blurred, or... well, fishes. The important thing is, for me, to have something that will remain still, contrasted by something moving. Or not, I mean, this is all about creativity! The two pictures above are not the greatest examples, because e.g. in the first picture with the branch the water was not moving enough, hence you don't really perceive that any movement was flatten out. In the second I found something moving, the boat, but something in the composition does not convince me 100%. Moreover, the amount of distortion due to the short focal length (18mm) of my kit lens does not go unnoticed in the corners and the straight lines. 

Sun-less sunset.

 Sun-less sunset.

Sun-less sunset.

If the sun had been there, it would have been a great, yet normal, picture of a sunset behind a fort on an island. I personally welcomed the clouds, and with such a straight-line formation. It allowed for something different, a very dark picture with a soft spot of light. Nothing special about technique or composition to talk about, just wanted to share it. I would love to see this picture printed big. Or better yet, huge! 

 

These are a few pictures I wanted to share out of my week of vacation. They are not as special as some of the others on the website, but it's not always that you have the opportunity to shoot street life in coloured and exciting countries. Still, I would like to see your opinion on them, and feedback as always! So don't be afraid of being critique and share your opinion =)

 

Cheers,

Giacomo