Martina in Lazio

Mar 21, 2021 | Flash, GFX, Location | 3 comments

A Road Trip To Remember

I took these photographs on a personal road trip to Italy. I was supposed to be running a workshop in Tuscany but Covid had different plans. We were between lockdowns in the UK at the time and my flights had been canceled. Rather than just mope around in Somerset, I loaded up my Alfa Romeo and drove it home to Italy.

Having stopped off at the Alfa Romeo museum near Milan I headed south to Rome to meet up with Martina Belacima for a couple of shoots. We have shot many times before and although Martina doesnt speak English we get on just fine especially with her friend Francesco translating for us.

01. We started our shoot in a woodland with big boulders and it gave us an opportunity to reconnect and put some shots on the SD card. I used a Godox AD200 flash and a Scatterflash attachment for the top and right hand shots.

Martina Belacima at the waterfall

02. I used my favourite shutter speed for moving water of 1/15th second and I added a spash of flash from a Godox AD200 pro fitted with a Scatterflash attachment. The flash was rigged in the water in order to get the direction of light far enough away from my camera angle.

I’m so glad this shot made the front cover of the 20th March 2021 edition of Amateur Photographer Magazine in the UK. They used a vertical crop from a horizontal image and flipped the shot for the best fit with the text. I like to ensure that I have space to breathe in my pictures. It is far too easy to crop in on shots at the taking stage but by using the wider field of view I can leave the crop until the page layout or printing stage.

An Amateur Photographer magazine cover featuring a photograph of Martina Bellacima by Damien Lovegrove

This behind the scenes video shows my flash rig and Francesco wafting the smoke using my Scotty 11 smoke machine that I bought from ‘The Smoke Factory’ in Germany.

Click on the magazine picture to read what I had to say in the feature article. It was a small part of a larger item on the camera settings used by professional photographers. In the piece, I describe my setup to ‘get it right in camera’ and the strategy behind those settings.

It’s always a pleasure to get my work published in magazines and especially so when the editors are super experienced, talented, and have been in the industry nearly as long as me.

03. Downstream from the waterfall, through the tunnel of love, are the ruins of an old mill. I popped a bit of smoke in and used the same AD200 rig to light Martina. Now, you might be wondering “Why does Damien shoot the gold dress a lot?” Well, it’s because I’m working on a book and a boxed set of photographic prints called Gold Dress. More details will follow shortly.

Martina Belacima at the waterfall

04. This abandoned convent was a spectacular location to shoot in. I popped the AD200 behind the pillar and rigged it with Scatterflash in my usual way. I set the exposure for the deep blue daylight in the forground shadows.

Martina Belacima at the waterfall

05. I decided to include a couple more behind the scenes shots in responce to requests for more of this kind of thing. I always use a tripod so taking a frame with the flash in shot and then taking another identical shot but without the flash is an easy process. It takes seconds to remove the flash from the hero image in Photoshop later.

While I was in the Rome area, I met up with a friend Dave who flew in from Munich to join me for a couple of days of shooting and a few nights of drinking the fine wines of the region. I find it’s good to share experiences in life.

Martina Belacima at the waterfall

06. I was intreagued by the hole cut in the limestone pavement and then it dawned on me. This is where they cut the mill stone out of the bed rock and then they had to break away the side piece on the right to free the stone. I asked Martina to relax there for a while so that I could get this shot. The dappled light here was created by sunlight coming through the trees beyond.

Gear list

  • Fujifilm GFX50s camera
  • Fujifilm GF32-64mm and GF110mm lenses
  • Nova T20 tripod, Benro ball head, RRS quick release plate
  • Godox AD200 Pro flash head on a Lowel Grand Stand
  • Scatterflash attachment for the Godox AD200 fresnel head

Come and Join us! Martina and I, along with a bunch of other passionate photographers will be attending my workshop in Tuscany this September. At the time of writing, there is just one place left. Failing that, there is always next year, so please do check out Lovegrove Adventures from time to time or join my mailing list to be kept up to date when something new gets announced. I don’t spam, I just message out one or twice a month.

Please leave any comments or questions in the section below.

Thank you for getting this far, Damien.


  1. Paul Harrison

    Excellent work as always Damien, these locations are stunning, I am looking at doing a lot more location work now so these are a great inspiration

  2. Petre Miuta

    Perfect lighting. Interesting story in a captivating photo!

    • Damien

      Thank you Petre :)


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