Sunday, 21 March 2010


Today, March 21st, is the beginning of the Spring.
I admit that, looking out of the window, dark clouds and fog inspires all but nature's rebirth after the winter. This day, however, marks the rebirth of this blog, left to itself for some time, for problems related to lack of spare time. During the next month I hope having enough free time to add some article on this blog, and some photos I shot during the last months.

I'll start now with a bunch of freezing photos, shot during a Sunday morning in the just finished winter. It has been a quite cold winter, it snowed many times and the temperatures dropped for some days under -10°C. Not bad.

Let's return to the photos. I shot them in Sunday morning, to be precise on January 23rd. I decided to go out to take some photos in the area near my house, where the cold and humid air create a phenomenon that in Italian is called "galaverna". During this phenomenon small drops of mist, with temperatures below 0°C and no or light wind, solidify when they are in contact with something solid, such as the ground or vegetation. This creates small ice structures with the shape of a needle, oriented in the direction of the wind.

Now the photos!

All the pictures are taken with Nikon D40 and Nikkor 18-55, without tripod. In the third image the flash helped lighten the leafs and improve its texture, making the background bright but not completely white.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Step by step photo: iPod Mini

iPodSome months ago I shot this photo of my iPod Mini.
I wanted an advertising-style image, one you could find in an Apple brochure. I am quite satisfied with the result, considering that the tools I used weren’t professional ones.
This is a short explanation of how I arrived at the final result.
Although it’s a good image (at least for me it is) I used a very poor setup.
For this image we need:
  • An iPod Mini (or whatever you like to photograph)
  • A table :)
  • Camera with telephoto lens (I used my Sigma 70-200, at 160mm) for squeezing the perspective and have a more blurred background
  • Tripod
  • Sheet of white and smooth cardboard, about 50x70 cm (about 20x28 in). This will be our background and cover the table.
  • Some sheets of printer paper
  • A light source (I used a table lamp, with a 40W light bulb)
We start positioning the white cardboard on the table and bending it gently to create the background. It doesn’t need to make a sharp bend, otherwise the border will appear in the final image, and will be very difficult to remove.

Turn on the table light (allo ther lights must be turned off,or some blue reflecions could appear on the image) and measure the White Balance. This will help us in the editing of the image.
Position the object in a pleasant way and chose the best composition. The long focal lenght permits using a little background and changing composition without moving the background.

The light scheme of this image is made of only one light, that lights the background. Infact the light hits the background, diffuses and bounce back creating the shadow towards the observer. This provides a better sense of depth. In the case of my iPod it lights also the upper face that, being very smooth, will be very bright. In the front of the object I put two folded pieces of printer paper (one for any side, two in total…). This provides the vertical reflections on the sides, emphasizing the round borders, and illuminates the front wheel of the iPod.

The screenlight is a problem. If you have a lamp bright enough to contrast the nuclear power of the screen backlight (in the iPod Mini it’s really strong, and it’s not adjustable) you are ok, but if you lamp is a bit too dark you’ll have to make a shoot only for the screen, underexposed by one or two stops, and mounting it in Photoshop.

Focus on the front face of the object, close the aperture (f8 or more) and find the right exposure making test shots.

With a photo editing software open the base image, make normal adjustments for the contrast and colour, clone any sensor dust spot (and the inevitable scatches on an ipod used for 4 years). Now mount the screen using layer mask. A little of unsharp mask and the photo is finished!!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Presenting myself

My name is Mattia, I'm 23 years old and I'm attending the First Level Degree in Automotive Engineering, at the Politecnico di Torino.

Among my interests there are cars and photography.
My photographic passion begins in 2006, with a digital Point and Shoot, at the Sardinia Rally (World Rally Championship): a unique chance, to remember forever. Then I begun to informing about photography and its technique. I experimented a little, and decided to update to a Digital Reflex (a Nikon D40), that is still with me and give me fantastic shots.

The chanches to use it however are few: when I'm not studying it's raining, in my area there aren't great landscapes to photograph, then I dedicated to sports photography, in particular rally photography.

To be honest, I don't exclude any kind of photography, now and then I do still life photography, portraits to my family members, and to my cat... :)

Here are some of my best images, you find others in my Flickr Portfolio:

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

My Gear

Professional photographers say, and they are right, that photos are made by photographers, and not by cameras.

I agree with them, but in the other hand it’s difficult, without the right tools, to shoot the photos we have in our mind.

For that reason i’m trying to have the most complete and versatile photo gear that my budget permits, to be able to face successfully almost every situation.

My current gear, built in two years, consists of:


  • Cameras:
    • Nikon D40
    • Nikon FM
    • Apple iPhone 3Gs 32GB (supposing it can be considered a camera…)
  • Lenses:
    • Nikkor 18-55 f3.5-5.6
    • VR Nikkor 55-200 f4-5.6
    • AF Nikkor 50 f1.8
    • Nikkor AI 135 f3.5
    • Sigma EX 70-200 f2.8 HSM II
  • Flash:
    • Nikon Speedlight SB-600
    • Completely manual flash, of almost unknown brand
  • Tripods:
    • Hama tripod, very light but also unstabile
    • Manfrotto 190XPROB
    • Manfrotto 484 RC2 ballhead
    • Chinese three-way head (it’s made of steel, so it’s very sturdy, but also very heavy)
  • Camera Bag:
    • Kata DR465
  • Filters:
    • 52mm Hoya Wide Angle circular polarizer (fits on all my lenses but the Sigma)
    • 52mm UV filter (on the 50 f1.8, I need three more…)
    • 77mm UV filter
  • Accessories:
    • Nikon ML-L3 IR remote shutter release
    • Nikon SC-28 flash cord


In the future I would like (if my finances will allow it) to upgrade to faster lenses (like the 17-55 2.8), and a better body (maybe a D300 or D300s)

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Why this blog?

I start this blog because I would like to share with the more possibile peoples my little photographic knowledge, experience and life.

Also I hope this will improve my english (yes, I’m Italian…)

This blog is connected with my other blog, that is the same thing but in italian.

The italian blog has alredy more than 20 posts, but little by little this blog will reach the other one.

I’ve noticed visits by foreign countries, and decided to translate some parts of the italian blog.

I will omit posts on old uploads on flickr or post about News (that now aren’t news any more…), I prefer translating tutorial or reviews post.


Soon I will update this pages with some little informations about me.