Stock Photo Gallery

Monday, December 12, 2011

Putting the lights within the frame. Sculpo crankbait by Molix, studio shot

Molix Sculpo lure. Studio shot with three lights by Nicola Zingarelli

One of the simple rules I have understood in this photography business is that eventually there are NO RULES!

I have seen some cool images of guys putting their lights within the frame and for this reason I decided to try the same in one of my studio shots. What I wanted to reply, in a way more reduced scale, were the stadium or stage lights, all pointed to the subject that is the center of attention.

To achieve that I had to work on a table longer than usual and using a wider lens, otherwise I would have either missed the two SB800 that you can see in the frame, or too close to the subject with serious problems, at least for me, to control the light. In my first attempts I only used the two visible light, but even though the lure is translucent I was missing a good deal of light on it. After several try with reflectors I had to pick up a third light, Metz 58, and use it at its lowest power with a tight zoom and a grid to make the Sculpo pop up.

The result is in front of your eyes, I love the lights in the background even though I would have love them showing a "star" instead of the rectangular shape of the SB800, and I would have loved the product to be a bit bigger but I think I can work that out a bit.

If anybody has an idea of how to improve this kind of images please feel free to drop a comment either in the blog or in Flickr, I'd highly apreciate.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Special feature: Deep Trouble, the article that appeared in Sport Fishing December 2011 issue

Doug Olander, chief editor of Sport Fishing Magazine has given me the permission to post in the blog "Deep Trouble", the article that appears in the latest edition of SF in December. Is quite a complete feature with lots of information for the jigging enthusiasts and I'm honoured to have participated in it. To read it just follow the link: ARTICLE

Have a look at the Sport Fishing Magazine web site as well.

Thanks a lot to Doug, Sport Fishing Magazine and Bonnier Corporation

Friday, November 25, 2011

Here's an interesting video about lighting with mirrors

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Main light? A mirror!

Studio shot for a magazine, three walking the dog lures lit with one light reflected against a circular mirrorThat's right, the main light I have used for this shot is a circular mirror where I bounced the light of an SB800. The reason for this is because the snoot that I have doesn't give me a perfect circular rim of light and most of all because not long ago I watched an interesting video about lighting a product with mirrors and it looked pretty interesting to me. Interesting and challenging I add, in fact it is all about studying the angle of the light, a study that I believe most studio photographers had to go through at one point in their career. Since I don't use continuous lights, I had some trouble in finding the right angle to achieve the shot I wanted, it costed me a bit of batteries life through a bunch of test bursts until I figured out where the circle was going to sit for my shot. Hence, contrary to the appearences the speedlight is on camera right gridded it with a Honlphoto grid to control the light spill as much as possible, and it bounces the shaft against a circular mirror that becomes the main light and lit the three lures. Everything has been controlled with the Nikon CLS system. Camera Nikon D7000 with Nikkor 60mm f2.8 micro lens.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Composing a landscape shot

When composing a seascape photo there are some elements that we want to combine in order to achieve a better shot. Having a nice scenary in front of your lens sure helps, but it might not be enough. A dull sky could kill our best intentions or a harsh directional light, can bury the image in a blink of an eye. Those fantastic sunsets don't go any further than the simple snapshot if we don't have a foreground that helps the composition, and this photo here might give an idea of what use can we make of any subject to strengthen the image.

Another important point to stress out is where to place the horizon. When we start moving our first steps in the magic world of photography we take specific care to put subjects and horizon exactly in the middle of the frame, something that could work for a very specific image, one in a hundred maybe... To give more strength to our photo we should try to move that thing to a different level, maybe higher, maybe lower, left or right, away from the dead center anyway. This is called rule of thirds and has been created by painters in the previous centuries, we are only borrowing it from them. The more extreme the latitude of the horizon, the more dramatic is the shot, even without a predominant foreground, like in this case.

We also need lines, straight or curved, that can somehow guide the view through the image, or to a specific point that we consider to be the most important of the image. A pinnacle of rocks that comes from one side of the image and slowly dives into the hot spot of the photo, will help the viewer scanning the frame and hitting the target, the dramatic stormy sky like in this shot for example.

Remember that we are on the coast; there are rocks, sand, stones, old logs, rippling water, many different elements with something in common: texture. This is an element that could create a shot on its own, it really depends how we are able to grab the light hitting the texture and what kind of editing we apply in post production. Even a gloomy sky has its own texture, and again it will help creating a dramatic atmosphere that looks so good on seascape shots. Black & white edit sometimes helps.

Last but not least, in fact is probably the most important thing of the whole creative process, the light. I'm not going to be the first one to tell you that a sidelight or backlight (when the sun is facing you)  is the ideal one for your best image, but I'll be the millionth and one to repeate it because it really is the heart of the matter here. For several different reasons backlight is my favourite, but is also the more complicated to handle, in fact you will need grad filters (I used a tobacco grad here) to control it and even so, nailing the exposure and keeping the highlights under control will not be very easy. Pick up the sun when is low on the horizon, either at sunrise or sunset and your photo will gain some amazing long shadows and if you are lucky to have a cloudy sky with the red ball filtering through it, you're in photographer's heaven.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Molix Vario crank. Fake HDR studio shot

There are millions of things you can do in a studio and another million you can do when you finally open your image in Lightroom, or any editing software for that matter. One day, bored to death, I decided to try a fake HDR of one of my lures shots: this is how I worked it out.
First I made two copies of the shot (virtual copies in Lightroom) at + 1 1/2 EV and - 1 1/2 EV, then I opened them together with the original shot in Photomatix. Here I edited the blended image with a bit of a not too realistic processing and the result is in front of your nose. Brighter colors, and more details, something that pops out of the screen, almost 3D, but probably too unrealistic to be taken into consideration. Good fun though!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Studio shot of white and pink flowers with a two light set by Nicola Zingarelli
Flowers make for beautiful and very patient subject for your studio photo sessions. They don't move and have that inner (and outer) beauty that just need a bit of sensibility to come out and fill the frame. Thing is that I’m not a flower photographer, at least not one of those that ravenously search fields and botanical gardens, I’m rather one of those that when there’s a flower at home grabs it and put it in front of the camera. I’m also the one who usually brings the floral gifts so at least I can pick those I think can make a nice subject too. 
Photographing flowers for me means soft light, soft images, and mostly a low key shot, well at least now, maybe tomorrow I’ll go hard and high key, truly don’t know… My set for this session was based in two lights, one for the flower and the other for the background. I didn’t use any reflector pursuing my quest of a light gradually fading and leaving an area into a certain degree of darkness. The light for the background carried a blue gel, in order to create a color contrast with the subject and also because I love blue background, they’re way classy!

The main light for all shots was one of my SB800 through a Lastolite EzyBox on camera left, while the other SB800 was gridded with a Honlphoto grid pointing at the black background. For each one of these three shots I was looking for something different and I hope it shows. Details, lighting, point of view and depth of field and of course, there has been a bit of work in Lightroom to come up with the final image. Water spray was used to enhance reflections and textures in a couple of flowers, and I think it is a good plus. Hope you like them, if you need any further information please drop a comment

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lures diving in the water, studio shot with two lights on a blackbackground

Lure diving in the water, studio shot with two lights on a black background by Nicola Zingarelli
Yesterday a friend showed me an image of a lure swimming in the water on a black background. This was some sort of relief because when I did my first test, I had to quit the idea of using a black background because reflections flare and light spills were everywhere. So yesterday, with renewed energies I set up my studio and the first thing I did, in addiction of putting my black vinyl background, was to cover 2 sides of the tank with black cardboard.
I also got rid of the large lights, any umbrella or softbox would send too much light out of control so I decided to go hard and small. One SB800 was set with its dome and the other with a Honlphoto Grid one of each of the narrow side of the tank, power settings changed a lot during the session so is hard to tell which has been the most commonly used. I also switched the main light from one speedlight to the other, again hard to tell some sort of rules.
Once everything was set the first test shots were suggesting a decently dark background that could be easily manipulated in Lightroom, giving me the proper black I needed. Now I needed to find a way to focus on the lures, so I put one in the middle of the tank, same distance from the two longest walls, and hoped for the best. I obviously took the focus with the lure under the water, I have read somewhere that the liquid element not only increase the magnification of the objects but also swift the focus point.
Since I was on my own I needed something that could help me moving the lures, for this reason I tied them to a thin fishing line of the length of the longest side, with a weight on the other end. I could pull the lure to one end of the tank, the weight would lift up to the opposite edge and once I released the lure the weight would pull it to the other side … gravity!
I shot with the camera parallel to the wall of the tank, with a bit of angle from above, a pretty high angle, and a very low one and achieved different results. Parallel or with a small angle worked fine, the images are sharp when the focus is on the money, but from a very high or very low angle, like in this image, sharpness and focus became an issue and I believe that is because of the thickness of the glass, that would create refraction and a bit of distortion. I’m not an expert on this matter but I believe I’m not far from the scientific explanation.
I made so many shots that my D7000 was smoking, well at least it was very hot and sometimes needed a break to process the files. The SB800 showed how good they are for the hard work, not a single complain, never stopped, always recycling fast and with just one set of batteries. Some intensive processing in Lightroom followed, I needed the blacks to be black, and the lures to be sharp and well exposed. It has sure been a challenging experience, I have made an unlimited number of mistakes and probably none of the images is really good, but it has been my first step, hopefully I’ll do it better next time.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fishermen ... and friends! Small group portrait shot in Green Harbour, Massachussets

This is one of those shots you keep in your library for a while, until you realize that is something you really like. I do love it, as simple as that, I think is really good, and even if is not humble or politically correct to say that you like something you have done, I don't care, I honestly believe is a good shot. It's got the colors, orange is a great to have in a photo, it's got the sunstar sneaking between two of the guys, which is, let me say it, way cool, and it's got a decent light on the subjectsagainst the backlit sunset. It took me a century to be able to focus on these guys because of the sun sneaking in, but I think it was 100% worth it. Figure this out, even my buddies were having fun !

Monday, October 10, 2011

Molix Vario lure shot in a tank with splashing water and two lights

Yesterday, strongly pushed by my 7 years old daughter I finally filled up the fish tank and set my home studio. I really wanted to try to make the photos that I have seen done by other guys in Flickr, so I did. First mistake was to try using a black background, is my favorite but I soon discovered that with the set up I was using wouldn't work. The tank was reflecting everything like a mirror and couldn't get a decent transparent view of the glass. Off the black goes, in the white comes: problem solved.

Once I had everything settled I soon found myself looking around for something that would keep the front glass of the fish tank clean from the water drops. It is ridiculous because every time you drop the lure it would splash it again, but it felt more professional doing so.

I had two lights, both SB800 triggered with Nikon CLS; one on the left side through a transparent umbrella at the same height of the water surface, the other on camera right through another umbrella, facing down to the tank slightly angled to the background. The left speedlights was in charge of the main light and the right one would also take care of the background, trying to keep it as white as possible. Thinking it back, I believe that next time I will change this light setting, more in another post.

I tied a thin fluorocarbon trace to the upper section of a fishing rod and the lure on the other end, handed to my daughter and with the lure sitting in the middle of the tank I manually focused at that distance with a Nikkor 60mm f2.8 Micro and the D7000 on a tripod.

Then we started shooting, first with my daughter working the lure, until I decided to make a change, and put her at the shutter button, and me at the rod. This worked way better because I could tell her when to press the button and I could play the lure the way I knew it would have worked better.

We worked with 4 different lures, for at least a couple of hours, deleted at least 70% of the takes and saved the decent ones. Another good hour was needed in Lightroom to clean up things.
The result is in front of you, far from being perfect yet is a start, I have learn few important things and most of all, I have found another way to enjoy my studio work, which I love.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Orbis Ring Flash for macro shots

The guys at Orbis Ring Flash have been so kind to post an article about my product photos using the Orbis Ring Flash, you can find it by clicking here


Friday, September 23, 2011

Costa Rica, Fisherman with a Broomtail Grouper (Mycteroperca xenarcha)lit with an SB800 off camera flash and edited in black and white

I was in Costa Rica in March and apparently it wasn't the right moment, in fact it was a very wrong one. Thus, even though the fishing was as slow as a dead snail, we enjoyed our stay in that wonderful country, together with our hosts: a french gentleman and a Tica guapa y simpática, who took care of us as they would have done with their own family. Eventually, during the last day we also made contact with a lot of fish, once a part of our group decided to use bait instead of lures.... This Broomtail Grouper was caught on a bucktail jig though, I lit it with an SB800 through a Lumiquest Softbox III

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dubai, large yacht moored at the dock with the city behind it. Fake HDR, 3 exposures +2 and - 2ev

This image has been sitting there for a couple of years now and when I saw it yesterday I thought it was sure worth a try. I edited in Lightroom and couldn't get where I wanted so I made a couple of virtual copies, at +2 and - 2ev and tone mapped them in Photomatix. I wanted details and contrast, and eventually I managed to get both of them. In my humble opinion is quite a well balanced image, with a lot of interesting elements to keep your eyes scanning it for a while.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sunset on the spanish fields.

I didn't have much time on a late Saturday afternoon, we were playing cards until 6:00pm and with the summer days getting short couldn't scout too many places. I wanted to go back to a lake I have photographed a couple of years ago but eventually I got lost and couldn't find it. So I took an anonymus dirt road and looked around for a nice place to photograph. To be very honest with you, I didn't find anything interesting so I took some average photos waiting for a better light to come. When the sun disappeared behind the horizon, the sky started to turn into a deeper blue and the puffs of clouds picking up the colors of sunset. Here's what I got for you today, nothing to rave about, yet a serene sunset on the spanish fields. Life's good!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Spanish meseta. Dark sky, bright field

Sometimes thinks cannot go any better than this. The sky is dark, gloomy and menacing and the sun sneaking from under the clouds, around sunset time. The light is almost perfect, and the whole atmosphere is pretty dramatic. The converging lines bring the attention of the viewer to the dark sky that for me is the most important subject of the image, together with the color contrast. I worked hard on Lightroom to enhance the colors, clarity and contrast of the image and make it look the way I saw it. Sometimes, things don't get any better that this...

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Bijagos islands, Guinea Bissau. The boats ready to leave for the day's fishing

Nice memories of a fishing trip not so successfull in terms of fishing, yet beautiful as far as scenery, wildlife and photography is concerned.

For this shot I had to be in the water with the camera, something I'm more and more afraid to do nowdays... Anyway, the sun was coming up fast, as it happens in the tropics, and the fishermen all excited and getting ready to leave. For someone who love the sport is one of the best moments of the day.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Iguela, Gabon. Surf fishing at sunset

If you notice, this image has been cropped on the horizontal side. The reason is that I didn't have a tripod with me on that trip, and had to put the camera on top of the cooler, and a corner of it was visible in the shot. The sunset on the western coast of Africa is pretty dramatic, and even though the colors have been saturated they're not far from what we could see every evening.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Andaman Islands, India. Red Snapper (Lutjanus bohar) caught with a stickbait. SB800 through Orbis Ring Flash

The Orbis Ring Flash sure is a great light modifier for my fishing portraits, is just a tad bulky to carry on a suitcase full of lures, reels and all kind of tackle. Fort this reason I not always bring it with me, but when I do I never regret. She is pretty, has a gorgeous smile and can perfectly hold a fish, a great plus for a fishing photo. I love the specular ring on her sunglasses, is a kind of brand signature of the Orbis.

SB800 through Orbis Ring Flash triggered with Nikon CLS

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dead turtle edited in HDR with high contrast

My vision of this image wasn't clear to me until the other night, when I thought that a 3 exposures HDR could give me an edge on the editing. Said that I created two virtual copies in Lightroom one at +2 and the other at -2 EV and put them together in Photomatix with the original one. I pushed the cursor to create the creepiest look I could and then returned to Lightroom for the final touch, with more contrast and clarity. The doubt is if I should have had more vignetting or not...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Back to the Andamans

That is guys, when this post will pop up I'll be in Port Blair, with my friends at Gamefishing India, chasing GTs, Snappers, Groupers and hopefully a big and ugly Doggie
I travel with few spaniards and I will finally meet a group of crazy Italians I have always been in contact with and never met, I believe it is going to be great fun
I hope I will be able to post some sort of live report, it all depends on the Internet and my will to edit the images fast and do some work after a long fishing day.... We'll see. A full report will be available as soon as I come back

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Unknown Soldier

The Unknown Soldier Non-HDR version

The power of HDR images is sure known by many of you, but I still wonder if this has really much in common with photography, as we know it. Yes, you still have to find a nice composition and framing, the subject must be interesting and you got to know the technique to take so many different exposures, but after that, the software's algorythmics do the rest for you. All right, you have to know how to move the slides, but this is the same in Lightroom or Photoshop so its just part of the game.

The Unknown Soldier HDR version
Five exposures can turn a so and so image into something quite dramatic and eye catching. This is a night shot of the Unknown Soldier in Piazza Venezia in Rome. The Romans call it the Typewriter, because of its shape. I put it together in Photomatix using a quite conservative editing, like many of my HDR, but still the result is quite impressive, un realistic I would say. Here you can compare it with the result I got from just one of the shots, the one that offered the best exposure and that I had to work in Lightroom with some dodging and burning and selective retouching. You can judge yourself and pick the one you like the best.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The silver plated fish

Is not silvery and you know it. The Cubera is red or copper colour but not silver. Thus, with a bit of work in Lightroom you can edit it in black & white and get the shinest result of them all. I think that this is a good looking fish in any colour, from any point of view and with most of the lights available, natural or artificials. I bet I had a spray of flash here as well but I cannot remember now. I like the edit of this image, it makes me love Lightroom more and more.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Check this video guys, looks like these people need our help

Oceana Video 2009 from Oceana on Vimeo.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Speedlighting to the extremes

There are things you can do with a bunch of speedlights you would have never imagined... I love what Dave Black does with light&lights

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Painting with the flash

Every time I open in Lightroom the Bermuda library I discover some nice shot that I haven't edited yet. I took this image at night and painted the sunbeds with my speedlights. To achieve a nice color contrast I turned the WB to tungsten and put a CTO gel on the speedlights. By doing so the sky turns intense blue and the foreground achieves a warm tone

During the post processing work I had to bring up a bit the sky becaus eit was too dark, and get a dimmer light on the foregrond, too bright and too hot. Some local adjustments have been also done to the land in the horizon, in order not to have a black spot.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Siguenza, Spain. Extreme wide angle view at night of the Santa Maria Cathedral

Wide angles makes things look different, there's no doubt about it and most of all there's no much you can do to avoid it. When shooting architecture, monuments, historical building, being from a lower position the walls will converge, the base will look way bigger and the precise plans of a master builder go to hell. So what ca we do, drop the wide angles at home and shoot only with a 50mm or a tilt&shift lens? No way.
make the flaw bigger, exaggerate the bug and create some super dramatic shots.

For this image I put the camera n the tripod and almost had to sit on the sidewalk to compose through the viewfinder. The 10-20 was with its nose up and everything seem to tumble on top of the viewer. I edited it in Lightorrm and converted in duotone because the full color image was kind of weird, I mean there was a strange mix of colors

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Ezybox Speedlight

You have seen how much I use the Lastolite Ezybox. Here's a smaller and even more versatile version of it, ready for your flash even when is attached to the hot shoe.

The new Ezybox Speed-Lite is a 22cm x 22cm mini softbox which attaches directly onto a flashgun whether it's on or off the camera. The softbox folds in the same way as our other highly successful Ezybox softboxes making it an ultra portable solution for busy photographers. The Ezybox Speed-Lite also features an inner and outer diffusion layer (both removable) which delivers an unrivalled softness of light from such a small softbox. 

Check it out

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Lights and metal

The general opinion is that is very difficult to light metal properly. The light bounces all over the place and highlights can become a nightmare. Anyway, here's the result of my latest studio work with the new Accurate reels that i just received. Many shots of details and some full reel body.
This is the technical list
2 X SB800 speedlights triggered with CLS
One speedlight through Lastolite EzyBox
One Speedlight through Orbis Ring Flash
One white reflector

Nikon D90 with Tokina 100mm f2.8 Macro
Black Vinyl background
Water spray
Detail of the spool and the body of the reel

Detail of the drag lever and drag preset

Side plate with accucast knob
Side plate with strike limit
Side plate with "lefty" sing for reels with left handle
Knob handle
The whole reel
Whole reel sprayed with water and with a Theos jig on one side