Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Guest Photographer - Manuel Votta

Manuel Votta is an italian photographer that enjoys architecture, landscape, HDR and long exposure photography.
Manuel is a constant presence in the Google+ community. His talent is recognized among the community, his B&W photography are definitely a must see.
You can follow Manuel's fantastic portfolio at Facebook.

PA: What drew you to photography?
MV: I cannot give a precise answer to this question because since I was young and can remember, taking photos has always fascinated me.
But it was only around 2009, when I gave my girlfriend a DSLR camera as gift and started to use it, that I discovered a real passion in photography.
Guess what? I couldn't stop shooting since then!

PA: What is your favorite type of photography?
MV: I like to experiment with many different genres, but my favorites are Landscape, Architectural and Panoramic photography (often in B&W). Lately I'm getting interested in Long Exposures as well, that's why I'm planning to seriously try that type of photography as soon as possible.

PA: Do you have an artist that inspires you?
MV: In my opinion every photographer is an artist. That said, I got to know hundreds great photographers thanks to social networks like Google Plus, where there is a big and active photography community. Many of them constantly inspire me, but it would require too much time to list everyone!
Just to name some special ones: Julia Anna Gospodarou and Joel Tjintjelaar with their amazing B&W long exposures applied to architectural photography, Elia Locardi with his colorful and super-detailed HDR landscapes/cityscapes, Johan Peijnenburg with his breathtaking mountain views, Jay and Varina Patel with their dreamy nature photos, and last (but not least) my friend Charles Lupica with his wonderful B&W shots.
But I could really go on for several hours!

PA: Tell us a secret: what makes you mad when you are photographing?
MV: I usually don't get mad when I take photos, because I always try to choose/guess the best settings and gear even in harsh conditions, plus I'm a very patient person!
But if I had to choose a situation (or two), I would say that I totally hate myself when I figure out I left home some important piece of my equipment! Or when you think you have just captured the EPIC shot and then, when you are processing it on a proper monitor, you find it's nothing special :-)

PA: What is your dream location or subject to shoot?
MV: There are so many places in the world I would like to visit and photograph at least once in my life, starting from here in Italy!
I love modern big cities and eye-catching landscapes, but I also like ancient history (I live in Rome after all, the eternal city!)

PA: Make a wish (photography related)
MV: I would like to... have the chance to take photographs for as long as I will find pleasure into it (most likely my entire life), and keep improving my technique.. It would really be enough for me!

Talking photography specific

PA: Select one photo from your gallery and let's talk about that.

PA: What inspired you to select this location?
MV: That is Positano (Italy), I think this explains it all! :-)
Jokes apart, I went to Positano during my short trip to the Amalfi Coast in 2012. Obviously I took hundreds of photos there (that place is so magical!), but once on the little pier I immediately knew I HAD to take a panorama of the whole sight (beach and town).

PA: What gear did you use?
MV: I used my old Nikon D60 camera with the 18-55mm kit lens, a humble T'n'B tripod and a Circular Polarizer. It makes me smile if I think that recently I've replaced ALL my equipment! (new camera, new tripod, new filters, new everything.)

PA: Care to share some EXIF details & setup environment?
MV: First of all I had to wait for a group of Chinese tourists to leave the spot, then I placed my tripod almost on the edge of the pier to capture as many things as I could. I set the lens/circular polarizer and framed the scene to take a sequence of photos, since I had in mind to create a stitched panorama. I adjusted some settings on the camera and finally began to shoot.

The final panorama is the result of a series of 7 shots taken at f/5.6, ISO 100 and 1/125th of a second. I adjusted and balanced the RAW files in Adobe Lightroom, then I created a panorama by stitching them together with a dedicated software and finally I converted the resulting image to B&W using Nik's Silver Efex Pro 2. That's it! :-)

PA: Describe this photo. You can use only one word.
MV: Poetry at its utmost level.
(Referring to the wonderful place. And yes, it's more than one word!)

PA: Any tips for photographers that are trying to shoot the same genre?
MV: Since I'm not a Pro photographer and I'm relatively new at shooting panoramic photos, unfortunately I don't have any Pro tip to share.
I can suggest to use a tripod whenever it's possible (best if combined with a panoramic head to avoid parallax issues), in order to keep all the sequential shots level and aligned. You can also shoot panorama's handheld (I've done it quite some times), but using a tripod will produce more precise images and it will speed up the stitching and aligning process.
Other than that... The higher the place, the better! Just go around and shoot, quality will improve with experience!

PA: Is there anything you would like to add to this interview?
MV: I truly want to thank you for the honor and opportunity of this interview, it came totally unexpected to me. You made my day! :-)

More works from Manuel

Basel Architecture 



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