Model: Michaela Bartolini
Camera: Fujifilm GFX50s with GF 32-64mm and GF 110mm lenses
Location: Siena, Tuscany
Shoot: A 1:1 training session and creative shoot with a top client from the UK.
Info: 2019 5 day tour of Tuscany details here.
Michaela and I first shot together in Rimini back in 2013. We had so many laughs with our mutual friend Maria Teresa Romolo. What a wonderful name that is. My name in Italian is Damiano. I love it. We were not taking life too seriously, instead we were driving our energy into making beautiful photographs. Our next adventure took us to Craco near Matera. Wow, what a place. Watch this short film I made using a Phantom 2 drone.
I first shot in Siena back in 2009 when I did a series of workshops called “Passion on the streets” of Siena. I’ve loved the dark gritty, ochre pigmented walls and vibrant buzz ever since my visit in 1996. Not a lot has changed. It’s just as wonderful a place to sip a Moretti while watching the play of light on the cobbles in Piazza Del Campo as it was back then. The textures are wonderful and brought to relief in the crisp hard sunlight that bathes this Italian town.
Shooting in the Siena sun requires guts and discipline. It’s a brutally contrasty, crisp, light that takes no prisoners. The rewards are spectacular portraits with drama and lots of oomph. The dark walls reflect virtually nothing. The walls in Santorini are a pure white and fill the shadows nicely. Shooting there is a easy by comparison.
I walk the streets always heading towards the sun. The layout of this hilltop masterpiece makes it easy to set out a circular route. One minute the sun is on the wall, the next its on the pavement. The light is ever changing in Siena.
The dynamic range of the Fujifilm GFX50s files is so great it’s almost cheating using this camera. Instead of struggling to control the contrast I can relax in the knowledge the shadows are rich with information. I set my shadow tone in camera to -2 to show me the amount of data lurking in the shadows.
I love the simplicity of monochrome however I get that same simplicity in the colour palette of Siena. No blues, greens, reds. Just gorgeous yellows and ochres. I remember a paint colour in my painting days called burnt Siena. I loved it then and I love it now.
It’s always a pleasure to shoot with friends. Thank you Michaela. Until the next time.
Join me in Siena in 2019 where I’ll unlock the secrets to seeing the light and creating magic pictures in the most challenging of lighting conditions. We will enjoy the delights of fine cuisine, wine and forge new lifelong friendships with fellow photographers. These trips are inspiration overload driven by passion for photography. Unlock your potential on my 2019 Tuscany adventure featuring Michaela in Siena and many other shoots.