Monday, February 11, 2008

Gone in the rain with the wind

By Danilo Piccioni
The Italian Eye

September 2006, I was assisting Bryan Peterson in one of his INCREDIBLE workshops. This one was in Venice and under constant rain, definitely not a September Italian kind of weather if you ask me!
Despite the weather, we tried to be inventive, we tried to be creative and make the best of the time we had together.
Sheltered from the rain standing under the colonnades in Piazza San Marco, I spotted an abandoned broken red umbrella inside a trash can, partially sticking out, looking as if it was screaming : Pick me! Pick me! Make me famous!
So I went and grabbed it and I said: let's do something with this.
In addition to the rain, there was a constant breeze that day and all the nearby cafes in the square were closed because of the unpleasant weather.What better chance for me to borrow one of the cafĂ©’s chairs and place it in the middle of the piazza and ask one of the students to pose for the shoot?

Doug was either a very good sport or he wanted to show off his new expensive rain proof clothing gear, but either way he sat with his boots in the water and held the umbrella against the wind and waited patiently for us to set up our tripods.
The first shot here shows how the image would look from a normal point of view: Standing up at eye level it’s not very flattering; everything is squashed down because of the deformation due to the wide angle lens; these incredibly beautiful buildings look short and fat and Doug sitting in the rain is just one of many things happening in my photo, not the subject.

I immediately changed lens from wide angle to medium tele, a 70 mm did the job quite nicely.
I also shortened the tripod down a lot and noticed that people passing by where causing the photograph to be overcrowded and distracting. I needed to isolate Doug from everything else.
That's when I decided to use a long exposure to create a sense of movement among the crowd and use them only as a colorful brush stroke effect in the background.

Using a long exposure allowed me to keep Doug and the Doge’s palace pin point sharp and blur everything else.
In order to achieve this and not over-expose the frame I had to add a Neutral Density filter in front of my lens. My frame was still over-exposed, so I decided to add my polarizer filter on top of it and increase the time to an even longer exposure.
I couldn't believe my eyes when suddenly a group of colorfully dressed Japanese tourists came along and I triggered away.

The result image?
Breath taking! And it was chosen as the front cover for SouraMagazine’s Nov-Dec issue, an internationally well known Fine Art photography Magazine in the UAE and in the industry.
Thank you, Doug, for being such a sport and a great looking model!

Click HERE to read the article and watch my images.
The Italian Eye © 2008