Matera Italy and environs ~ Recce and shoot ~ part 2

Apr 20, 2014 | Flash, Location | 4 comments


Allesandra and LaMichi ‘on the rocks’. Between Matera and Craco is the most amazing landscape of towering earth piles all cracked and begging to be shot. Take a look here at 70 more shots from my recent holiday recce in Matera Italy

These continue from my set taken the day before in Craco Italy. You can see those here.



Sundown in the olive grove was the plan and wow what a moment we had. The light turned magical then the sun went in a matter of moments disappearing behind the hill of Craco.


We headed off to a nearby town with a taverna in a cave. Our aim was to have dinner and to check it out as a suitable location for a pre dinner wine tasting for our future workshop delegates.


Matera, The beating heart of the ‘instep’ in the boot of Italy. An ancient town built on rock and into rock. A significant amount of homes and buildings are literally carved out of the rock above a deep gorge.


For a technical practice I set up a Speedlight on full power and attached a Hoya Pro x64 filter to my 56mm f/1.2 lens. I used 1/180th second at ISO 200 and f/2 for the shot on the left. The x64 filter is a 6 stop ND taking the lens from f/16 to f/2. The viewfinder image was perfectly bright and exactly the image you see here. Don’t try this with a DSLR ;)


Natural light, into the light with the 56mm lens. I’m really getting to grips with this lens now. I find it takes me a few thousand frames in different conditions to really get to know a lens characteristics.


The local camera club meets in a bar and has the remains of a barrel for a sign. How cool.


I love finding locations with stunning natural light like this tunnel under a church. Every 50m in Matera is a location begging to be used for a portrait. Being able to ‘see’ the opportunity is the skill I will be sharing with delegates.



There are always distractions to enjoy in Italy. The trick is to go with the flow and feel the love, warmth and spirit of the locals.


Shooting into the light in full midday sun is fine if you know how to control contrast without blinding your model. What I’m after are bright eyes and a hot dusty feel to the shots.


White was the next styling cue.  The off the shoulder skater dress is Top Shop via Ebay and the Marilyn halter neck dress is by Jane Norman.


Aneil, my adventure companion is lending the girls a hand to negotiate the cobbled steps in heels.


Every alleyway leads to a place to shoot. The hole in the door on the right is for the cats to come and go. There were many, not all of them as friendly as the one at Michaela’s feet.


Wonderful light.


There are a few steps in the town. It’s such a rambling place. It is quite posable to spend the day navigating around the town always walking towards the sun. That’s the trick for seeing the light.


It was hot and magical with the smell of Italian cooking with herbs and garlic in the air. I could hear the sound of a clarinetist having a music lesson from behind the shutters, the spirit of Matera is wonderful. No scooters buzzing around.


These were taken with a Scattergel on a Speedlight using prototype Scattergel arms that have been 3D printed. It’s a product currently in development.





More Scattergel on Speedlight shots.


After a long lunch (2pm – 4pm) with several local rosé wines assessed I decided to shoot with the sun rather than my usual contre-jour method. I love the leg pose on the right shot. It contrasts with the asymmetric neck line.


If you ever need a pose idea turn your model upside down :)


Aneil trying to shoot a selfie with the Canon 5D mk3. We had a great time. Why don’t you join us on our workshop. We will be staying at a great hotel, shooting at Craco, in the local landscapes and at Matera. It’s a trip you’ll never forget. If you are interested email Blaise to be kept in the loop. Please feel free to comment on these pictures.

The first set of pictures from this trip were shot in Craco and are here.



  1. david blanchard

    Fantastic photos! I would love to have seen a behind the scene video of the photo shoot. Great inspiration Damien!

    • Damien

      Thanks David. Better than a behind the scenes will be the chance to shoot it for real later this year when I return to give workshops. This was just the recce in what is a fabulous place. I hope to see you there :)

      Kindest regards,


  2. Darren Miles

    Loving these images Damien – Vibrant colours, nice use of textures and environment and gorgeous models too!

    • Damien

      Thanks Darren :)


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