FAQ

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Below Pietro briefly answers some of the more frequently asked questions.

The Travel School courses are generally photography trips to different cities or countries.

 

We usually set off together after breakfast, with the photographer supervising the participants, explaining techniques and making sure everyone understands them. After sunset, the group returns to the hotel and the group members are asked to select a shortlist of shots. Then, after dinner, we start analyzing the compositions, obviously also discussing the defects and the merits of each shot.

Like this, each participant receives the most appropriate advice for their own approach to photography and to improve their results.

During the following days each participant focuses on their preferred subject (portraits, colours, architecture, etc.) and each will be required to perform specific tasks, such as finding prevalent characteristics, creating balanced compositions, understanding use of the vanishing point and so on.

 

Obviously sometimes participants can be assigned solo tasks if they wish, and then the results are viewed collectively and analysed at the end of the evenings.

During the Travel School trips, Pietro takes few if any photographs. Much depends on the atmosphere of the moment, but in general Travel School tours are designed around the PARTICIPANTS, not the photographer. When the purpose of a trip is Pietro’s portfolio, his work, or his passions, he travels alone.

 

Master Classes are mainly daily classroom meetings.

 

Sometimes they last two days, typically, though not necessarily, these are held in Moscow; Day 1 is focused on the shoot, while Day 2 is devoted to studying the results.

In essence, a Master Class is a short course that, after concise explanation and considerations on the nature of photography, explains the language and techniques of photography, with particular emphasis on travel photography in its broadest sense.

 

The cost would typically include the following:

– Hotel accommodation in a double room for the nights of the trip;

 

– Breakfast;

– Transfer from and to the airport of the city or the country where the Travel School is held.

– At least a couple of local public transport tickets each day.

– Daily tuition and supervision by the photographer, use of photographic equipment.

 
 

The following is NOT included:

 

– Food and drink (with the exception of breakfast in the hotel);

– The extra cost for single rooms or suites at the hotel;

– Public transport tickets other than those listed in the journey details;

– The cost of visas and/or inbound or outbound government taxes in the countries of destination;

– Any item that is not included in the detailed list of what the fee comprises.
 
In any case, a detailed breakdown of included costs is clearly specified in every Travel School brochure, which will be provided when you contact us.

 

For any query, please ask for clarifications well before departure.
 
For information and bookings PLEASE CONTACT US.

 

The absolute, bare minimum is simply a camera.

A Tripd, however small, is strongly recommended too. If you don’t have one, it is not a major drawback.

 

Pietro always carries a tripod, but obviously only one tripod for a group of five or more people is inadequate.You will soon realize that a tripod is crucial for improving your photography. Depending on the type of photo y u intend shooting, a tripod can be essential even in daytime light.

 

What is indispensable is to understand at least the basics of your camera. If you’re not sure where the white balance gauge is located, please bring the CAMERA MANUAL. Pietro has only photographed with NIKONs. He can explain the function of white balance, or the lens aperture priority mode, but not how to use all settings in the menus of cameras other than Nikons (and in all their different models).

 So, to sum-up: what to bring?

 

1 – A CAMERA (with fixed or, preferably, variable) lens.

 
2 – A TRIPOD if possible.

 

3 – If you bring your LAPTOP, so much the better. It is important to look at and study the photos that you shoot every day. One does not take only 5-6 shots during the day, so when you get back to the hotel you will need to download the camera’s memory card, select the shots you like, and start thinking about how you want to work on the digital files.

 

And last but not least… a good pair of LEGS!
The course involves a lot of walking around every day. Don’t forget that during every photography journey one walks for many hours a day. You certainly won’t return home rested. But for sure (hopefully) you will return home happy and (also, hopefully) you will have learned a lot, not so much from the photographer who accompanies you, but from the type of journey in itself. Even more so if you are a beginner in the art of photography.

Travel Schools are designed to approach the world in the “best possible way”, and with thorough awareness.

To this regard, here is an example of what makes a photographer, according to Ferdinando Scianna (for those not familiar with the name, Scianna is currently one of the greatest living photographers) … 

The photographer looks, trying to see. Every now and then, he does “see something”!Ferdinando Scianna

 

All possible topics!

A photograph, like most things, is a complex and comprehensive expression.

We cannot expect to know all about it. In fact, aware of our limited knowledge, we’ll attempt to discuss all possible angles: from “the definition of beauty” to the “golden ratio”, from “Bresson’s Ten Precepts” to the basics of colour theory.

As with everything else in life, no one can know everything about every facet of photography. If you are an expert in physics, you will understand the physical laws behind optics better than a photographer, yet this knowledge will not make you a better photographer. And Pietro will certainly not be able to explain laws of physics such as Black Body theory or Planck’s hypothesis, in order to explain white balance.

As Pietro, quoting Plato, likes to remind us: knowing and not knowing – just like good and bad or true and false – are often “as inseparable as the concave and the convex”.

 

As for the previous question: a smattering of everything and … nothing!

For beginners, the meetings with Pietro can be a nudge towards a new way of seeing the world, not just through the lens. And you will learn what makes a beautiful photo or an unattractive photo. How to tell if a photo is good or bad, whether well or poorly executed. And at the same time you will learn that there is no great photograph without editing.

 

A great picture never comes straight out of even the most expensive camera. A photograph is simply a word. It is up to you put it into your own speech and give it the emphasis you want. A camera alone cannot give voice to photography. The device is just like your vocal cords. They can utter a word, but it is your mind and your heart that create the story around that word! Consequently, as well as photographic technique in itself, the course will also explain why a second tool is so essential to the photographer: we are referring to editing software such as Adobe Lightroom or Nikon Capture (or similar).

 

For participants who are already at a semi-professional level, the meetings will simply be the opportunity for valuable relevant and enriching dialogue.

Remember that taking photographs is like writing poetry. It is not easy.

 

A great photographer, Gianni Berengo Gardin, liked to recall his friend and teacher:

Cartier-Bresson always said that if you give it your all, you should manage one great shot a year.

 

ONE good photo per year!!! And we are talking of masters like Berengo Gardin and Cartier-Bresson.

Happy shooting!

 

Without discussing what Henri Cartier-Bresson represents, nor why he is so important in the history of photography (but, nonetheless advising you to read up on him before picking up your camera), we remind you what for many photographers are “the basic rules of photography”. And so here are the main points of what you can consider the legacy of Henri Cartier-Bresson for photographers of all time, a kind of “Ten Commandments“:

 

1. The photographer is unobtrusive. The photographer does not exist;

2. Focus on the location’s geometry;

3. Wait for the decisive moment, be patient;

4. Travel: it broadens the mind;

5. Stick to one lens it helps the camera become an extension of your eye;

6. Photograph children, all children;

7. See the world like a painter, have the image you want well defined in your mind;

8. Don’t crop;

9. Don’t falsify your images;

10. Never be content – always strive to do better.

 

Then one should consequently:

 

1. Simplify the scene;

2. Fill the frame;

3. Vary internal geometries;

4. Keep the centre in mind;

5. Locate perspectives;

6. Use the diagonals;

7. Show natural movements in the scene;

8. Never neglect the backgrounds;

9. Enhance the colors;

10. If you have good reason: go ahead and break the rules.

 

We start from a fundamentally IMPORTANT premise.

I am convinced that the CHOICE to submit a job in Black and White or Colour is a real and substantial test of character for the photographer.

That said, I concurrently consider it a test of character to present the photos in both Black and White and in Colour, in a place like this website, for example, for the simple fact that I do not fear the judgment of those who shoot only in one way or the other.

 

On the contrary, without presuming, I generally prefer to show people both versions so they can choose.

For different jobs, such as an exhibition or a magazine article, the decision is instead generally far more stringent.

And the choice must be made simply on the basis of the target audience and the content of the ‘message’.

Is the aim to remove the colour information from a story, and focus solely on the expressive power typical of black and white, such as shape and chiaroscuro? In that case I would shoot directly in B/W and I’d work only in B/W.

For lighter subjects, colours are there and that’s that. And they are beautiful. And the emotions they evoke are shallower but (because of this) more immediate.

In other words: have you ever seen a travel article with photos in black and white?

Rarely or never.

 

Is Your aim a social reportage? Then you can concentrate the expressive power in light and shadow without distracting the senses with the world’s multitude of colors. Choice of language.Experiment with it, and use the most appropriate language for each specific situation!

 

And in any case let us remember the words of Saint-Exupery, One sees clearly only with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eye. Unbelievable but true: it is the same in photography!

If your photos are not good enough, it’s because you’re not close enough.Robert Capa

And it will still be the immense life, which cannot see, does not speak, does not think.Nazim Hikmet

 

And I would also like to acquaint you with a few sentences of a great master of (minimalist and artistic) colour photography: Franco Fontana.

 

Delete to Elect. Represent the less, not the more: for in the less lies the more.
 
Take pictures of what you DO NOT see… Search for your roots. Without roots, there are no fruits. Take pictures of what you DO NOT see to give meaning to what you will see, to what you will signify.
 
Photography is all about change, as in life. I look at that tree outside: it changes every day. The day that it no longer changes is the day that it dries up and dies.
 
Always change to remain what you are.
 
Picasso used to say: “I’m not going to seek, I’m going to find.”
 
One must understand chance: chance becomes a fact. Otherwise, it remains chance.
 
Don’t be tourists. Be Pilgrims. A pilgrim is he who understands by travelling on foot. The pilgrim is he who experiences situations, absorbing and conveying them.
 
Creativity means getting rid of what is seen, to signify what is not seen.
 
Colour is the fusion, the synthesis and the identity; it is the understanding – through your heart and your mind – that brings you to what your universe really is, enabling you to experience it entirely, to signify it and convey it.Franco Fontana


 

And all of this, I would modestly add, is undeniably true, both in colour and B/W photography.
Because THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE between one and the other. Nor between digital and analogue photography.
There is only “Photography “.
 
As always: one is none; and two is one!
 
As inseparable as the concave and the convexPlaton