Stock Photo Gallery

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Magic Strait

Truly magic, and I really mean it. How many times in your life the stars are aligned to the point that everything, and I really mean EVERYTHING goes well ? Such it was for us last week and if you care to listen, here's the real story.

Two entire days of fishing in the Strait of Gibraltar, a bit of jigging (almost nothing) and a lot of popping, so the Master Paquito decided for us. he knows his home turf (and surf). Two smal boats left the harbour Monday morning, 12 meters the pair, you don't need a yacht for this kind of fishing. 4 fishermen, Paquito and Nelson (well his name is Félix but we have re-baptized him Nelson, the Cuban skipper, but this is too hard to explain) at the helm and Vincenzo and myself, pretty much looking forward to see what the Strait of Gibraltar was going to deliver. Dani and Fran, the cameramen, with as much expectation as the rest of us.

The one who's writing this report has been the first to cast. the first to have a strike, right on cast one. And it never stopped! Two days in a row of non-stop fishing, cast after cast until the sun, too high in the sky called for the quits. Lunch break, a little siesta and back to the battlefield for more hours of amazing action. I have fished few and far remote seas all over this darn planet and believe me, very few times I have seen anything like that!

We landed four different kind of fish, Barracuda, Bonito, Amberjack and Sea Bass. Most of them on top water and few with swimming plugs and minnows. We used the magic Habano for the top water action and it killed the Sea Bass, the Brugas again for the Bass in the foam from as well as the T-jerk and Finder Jerk this time for Barracuda and Bonitos, Surface Cruiser and Roosta Poppers completed the arsenal and as wild card the Trairao, Imakatzu top water star, that landed the big Amberjack.

I used my Lamiglas travel rods, the 7025 up to 1 1/2oz, both for casting and spinning. They worked wonder, casted flawlessly, fought like Spartans and handled the roughest situation at the best. Three pieces, lightweight and just perfect, a lot of fun to fish with them. Two daiwa reels completed the tackle department, both rigged with 30lb Tuf Line, always MY line of choice. We rigged a good deal of lures with single hooks, and they worked wonder. In fact, Vincenzo landed the Amberjack only because he had a Decoy Sergean' in the rear, the belly treble just opened up like a banana skin...

Paquito told us it was probably going to be good but he didn't say it was going to be THAT GOOD1 Awesome. Amazing! Just one (or two) of those days. I will never forget it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Gregory Heisler whiteboards his Rudy Giuliani Time Magazine cover

Now, if you think that shooting Bruce Sprinsteen sitting on a stool was an easy task, check this one. Rudolph Giuliani 65 stories up, with Heisner making it look as if he is lit by the New York lights instead of a complicated Prophoto set of artificial lights.

I'm amazed looking at the image and thinking of what has been put in the making of it. Incredibly smart and somehow logical. These videos are of much help for someone who is trying to learn how to deal with lights, thus the creativity must be there, for any different situation that might arise. That one, either you have it or not.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Gregory Heisler whiteboards his Bruce Springsteen Time Magazine cover

Gregory Heisler is one of those photographers that can make look simple the most difficult shootings. He's a regular on the Time Magazine cover, and in this short video he explains his set up for the session with Bruce Springsteen. You listen, you follow his sketch and you think is easy, then you try do do the same and it sucks...

Have a look at the video and take notes :-)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Palio di Siena

One of my highest wishes, since I started spending more and more time behind the camera, has always been to be a photographer at the Palio, Siena’s and one of Italy’s most beautiful tradition. For those who don’t know what it is shame on you, Google it a bit and you will find tons of valuable information. For those who haven’t been there, I strongly recommend you to go. If you manage to understand what’s behind it and how deeply is in the heart of the “Sienesi” (the citizens of Siena), you will just love it to death. If you have been there already, you know what I’m talking about, and if you didn’t like it, too bad, I’m sure you missed the plot.
Anyway, thanks to my collaboration with the Spanish monthly magazine SuperFoto, this year I managed to get my photo pass and what a day I experienced! From my humble point of view, getting the job done at the Palio requires a lot of experience, and I mean experience of the Palio itself. Having been there as a visitor helps, but is not enough, really not. Having a couple of days to dedicate to the before-during-after event helps a lot, and I didn’t have those at all. Having a guy from Siena guiding you, and he must be one who is truly from there and belongs to a “Contrada”, is a sure bet, and I have friends there but there was no time for me to get them involved finding one fit enough and willing to spend the whole day with a crazy photographer. Anyway, you always pay a price for being a rookie, and I’m no exception.
Before the start of the parade I met with an old friend from Florence who now lives in Siena for a quick lunch and then it was all running. Run to get your photo pass done, to go to the press office, to shoot the atmosphere of the city, and get a grasp of what the heck is going on that crazy day. Is a flood of people roaming from one place to another, following the parade that swarms up in the streets, slowly filling the Piazza del Campo, the square where everything takes place. Locals and a lot of tourists; not so hard to distinguish ones from the others. The poor, the mid class and the rich; the latter easy to spot at the most exclusive balconies of the ancient buildings facing the square.
At 16:00 is time to get into your assigned area, and mine was both a very good and bad one, as I will soon learn. Few meters from “La Mossa”, the starting point, I had the parade slowly moving in front of me at close distance, with the sun sneaking between two buildings and few chances for some backlit images when the clouds would allow me to. This was the good part; not many odds to shot images with a long depth, as you can see from these photos, but close enough to allow me to work with the longest lens I had, the 24-70 f2.8. So far so good, I even grabbed some decent details and boy, that lens rocks! 
Thus, once the Carabinieri started galloping for their opening charge, I realized that I was in trouble for the race. On my left hand, about 10/12 meters I had a blind turn hence I could only see the horses when they were already on my face, and on top of that, they would run SO CLOSE to the fence that it was EXTREMELY dangerous to lean, as it proved later. No mean to complain, it was my first time at the Palio with a photo pass and I got that spot, again great for 3 hours and quite odd for 5 minutes, respectively the duration of the parade and the race.

Anyway, at 7 pm the horses showed up from “Il Comune”, the building of the county and started the alignment for the start. This is one of the most exciting moments of the day because there are many things going on between those two ropes. There’s always somebody among the jockeys creating trouble, moving from one place to another, bugging his most direct enemies, trying to mess everything up. This is part of the game, is allowed, and the director of the race only has the chance to try to calm the spirits down or finally send everybody out to start the alignment from scratch. Finally the ropes go down, the horses stretch into a wild gallop on the compact dirt and everything goes ballistic! Now, your photog is well behind the fence, trying to guess when the horses show up behind the blind turn and shooting in continuous like a mad man. Three turns and is done, there’s a winner (Tartuca, on the Palio dell’Assunta August 16th 2010) and no seconds or thirds, everybody else looses.

The crowd swarm into the track when the horses are still running and from now on is hell on earth. On my side one of the crew is on the floor trembling in convulsions. She leaned too much off the fence and a horse (or a jockey’s knee) hit her in the face. Doctors everywhere, is quite a dramatic moment, the girl looks like is in real pain. I become a reporter, grab few images and finally, knocked down I leave my position and head top some friend’s house to pick up my family.
The Palio is now over, at least the one going on in the square, people slowly leave, happy, sad, sweating, crying, yelling and mostly tired. There’s a big party at the Contrada of la Tartuca, the winner. It will go on all night long, a major celebration. People said it was easy to predict, they had the best horse and the best rider, but they had to run  the race, and in the track of “La Piazza del Campo” everything can happen, is a very hard game. Looking at my LCD I can see no decent images of the race, just the start, then for me it was all chaos. Again, you need a lot of experience to do a good job at the Palio, I have jumped the rookie step, now I’m only thinking of the next one, either July or August 2011.
Special thanks to Isabella Neri of the Press Office of Il Comune di Siena

Monday, September 13, 2010

Lari, small town in Tuscany

A scooter parked in front of the door, a beautiful house, three men talking outside the homemade pasta local shop and the street paved with carved stones. A typical image of Italy, of those you can especially find in a small and charming town in Tuscany, as there are many. In this case we are in Lari, not far from Pisa, up on the hills. We were visiting the castle, which may not entirely deserves it, but the town was very neat indeed

I realize that when I'm wondering somewhere in the world with camera in hand, I almost instinctively attempt to freeze situations that represent the lifestyle of the place I'm visiting, rather than the monuments and historical pieces. I get more and more attracted into the details, and a detail for me is a window, a door or a lamp that stick out form a corner.
Tuscany for this kind of photography is full of high quality opportunity. A true paradise for those who love this art

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Aranjuez, Royal Palace, a lucky moment

In this photographic business the lucky factor is quite important, and being in the right place at the right time with the camera in the hand can make the difference. So I learned once again few days ago.

On a short tourist trip to Aranjuez with some relatives, I took my Nikon with me. I had few things in the vest like a replacement lens, a flash, gels and optical cleaning paper, in order to travel as light as I could, no heavy bag this time. The tripod stayed at home too, it was just a tourist trip and there was no time to use it.

After walking around town and enjoying its monuments and gardens we went back to the Royal Palace. The sun, at about 7PM was low on the horizon and together with strong winds, a storm threatened from the sky. I stood in front of the entrance with the sun almost on my back (unfortunately) and in front of me one of the most amazing shows a photographer could aim for, unveiled. The Palace was shining and perfectly lit against the gloomiest and darkest sky. There’s enough light so I expose for the palace and let the cloud get darker. I’m also looking for the best composition I can get out of the lens I’m using, the modest yet decent 18-70 f3.5-4.5. At f13 I can still get 1/320s.

During this moment of ecstasy, a couple of strong gusts of wind offered me a new opportunity. A cloud of dust appeared and pushed by the breeze dimmed the left hand side of the building. Even though the current of air shoved me quite hard such that I could barely keep my balance, I still managed a couple of shots of that moment as well. Right after, I picked up my things and headed back to the car, as happy as a kid.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Italian lure company Molix debuts in Japan

The Italian lure company Molix is proud to announce a new partner for the distribution of his products in Japan. Since August 20th Paolo Cartocci Uchida
(cannot hide the Italian origins) has decided to share the journey of Molix,
taking on distribution and promotion of Molix products in the country of the
Rising Sun.

Molix staff, who have always been paying special attention to the Japanese quality and creativity in lures design, has finally reached its goal which is part of a process that includes a broader proposal of Molix products and business alliances, in order to make these items available to a large audience of enthusiasts.

The cooperation Molix-Uchida will also be an incentive towards continued innovation and development of products for the Japanese market.
Paolo Cartocci Uchida - Molix is based in Hiroshima, a place of spirituality and memory. A city evoking dramatic events, but at the same time representing a
symbol of rebirth.
The percentage of Italian blood that flows in Uchida’s veins will help him convey to the Japanese Molix’ values and style, for sure not too far away from Japanese’s’ own.

We will keep you updated on the news. In the meantime we suggest you often visit the Website:

Molix Japan