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Free digital photography microcourse

On February the 12th 2011, the Photoexperience team will host a free informal digital photography course for beginners in Pistoia. The course will be in italian only.

A limited number of participants is allowed.

Contact us at


Shooting in RAW

Often people say that is not necessary to save pictures in RAW and that is ok to shoot in JPG. In this way you can save space in your memory card and in your hard disk.
Today we want to delve into this subject and to underline the advantages in using the RAW format.
The RAW is the very image captured by your camera’s sensor without any change. It not “the digital equivalent of a negative” as some say, it’s definitely something more: it’s the digital equivalent of a film before devoloping.
As for the JPG format, every digital camera, immediately after shooting, “processes” the data from the sensor and it creates a JPG file, adding a bit of contrast, saturating colors and applying a series of algorythms that make the final image file on the memory card.
These steps and processes are the same as the old developing of the negative. Since it is a process, it causes noise together with other imperfection factors. Furthermore we also have a “no return” element of the data originally present on the sensor.

Processing the RAW image directly on the camera is more or less bringing the film to develop in a fast developing lab…. Maybe it’s ok… but it’s not the best.
If you want to keep under control the process of “developing” and get the best quality as well, it’s better to do it in a “professional lab”… that is on your PC with a good photo processing software, making specific choices for each image.
Using RAW format is then fundamental for everyone who wants to work seriously with his photos, keeping the original one grabbed by the sensor, managing at best the contrast and the color processing. And also making things you can only do with RAW: changing the exposure and the white balancing in postproduction.
No doubts… RAW rules!


Cold weather photography

The 4th and 5th December weekend, when the workshop, dedicated to Galgano, takes place, is drawing closer.

We will be in midwinter, in places full of magic and history, in search of that charming light that you can find only at dawn… and of course we can’t help but taking into consideration that the weather can be very cold.

Taking shots when it’s cold requires some precautions, both for the care of you photographic tools and cameras and also for your personal comfort, which has to be considered if you want to enjoy the experience and go back home with great shots.

Let’s start with this second aspect. To wrap yourself up is fundamental and your attention has to be focused on your head: don’t forget a good cap, better a woolen one.

A cap helps you to retain the warmth, that your body naturally gives away through your head. Even if you are not accustomed to wear a cap you had better to take one for a photographic trip starting at dawn. Consider that your most striking shots will be probably taken in the open air.

The rest of your clothing has to be suitable for the weather. Try to choose layered clothings instead of a single one, in this way, if during the rest of the day the weather is good enough and the sun shines, you can easily be comfortable. A good waterproof jacket or a down jacket are surely the right choice for staying in the open air, particularly in humid days.

A pair of gloves can be useful as well, especially for those people using a tripod. You can hardly imagine how cold the tripod legs can be.

As far as clothing is concerned I had rather pay attention to the shoes. They have be warm and comfortable, capable of protecting you from humidity. We’ll surely find humidity in some of the places we are going to.

Make a good choice, because taking shots with humid feet can be really terrible.

As for the tools we have to take with us, we have already said about the tripod. It’s not something connected to the cold weather of course, but since we start shooting at dawning, a tripod will be much appreciated.

It’s fundamental to get the quality and the kind of pictures we are looking for.

If you don’t have one, please tell us and we’ll bring one for you. It can be the occasion to consider to buy one in the future.

Other points about our tools and devices we have to care for are the batteries and condensation.

Fully charge the batteries of your camera, the day before the workshop, and keep them warm.

The best is to put them in a pocket being in contact with your body. Batteries, indipendently from their technology, have always had problems with cold weather. You have to avoid to try to use a technically charged battery, which is of no use, because you have left it at cold in the bag.

In the end we would like to talk about condensation.

Actually it’s not a big problem when the weather is not to harsh, but it can be a real threat when the temperature goes below the 0°C.

The phenomenon is the condensation of humidity on the glass surfaces of our tools, in particular our precious lenses, which can be fogged up from the inside, even permanently in some particualr situations.

This happens when we have rapid changing in temperature, from a warm to a cold environment but mainly when are in a cold place and you enter a warm one.

A good strategy to avoid condensation, is to try to let your lenses gradually adapt to the changing temperature, by putting it in a container. In most cases the bag or the racksack you use for your photo tools can be ok.

It will depends on the weather we are going to have on the 4th-5th December “Photoexperience” but in any case, our “photographic guides” are at your disposal to delve into this and other subjects.



Along the paths in Val d’Orcia

Val d’Orcia is one of a few places in the world that can describe the beauty of nature, inspire feelings of peace and harmony and rouse the search of pleasant glimpses. This is the reason why our workshop took place there.

The smooth downhill roads, you walk through ancient villages, become part of the landscape. The places slowly trasform themselves in a painting which we belong to.

The photographic experience in Val d’Orcia is first of all a soul’s experience, in a search of a contact with nature, with the absolute beauty.

When we move along a trail or an unknown dirt road, we always end up with discovering extraordinary places, perfect in their design.

The journey towards our destination begins at sun setting; we drive on the roads between Pienza and San Quirico, in search of a first contact with the landscape and its amenities. We realize that finding a green stretch, a field of corn, a line through a meadow, the weave of the straws, reminds us of a sort of ‘mathematical’ experience like exploring a fractal. We are excited for what awaits us.

While talking of photography in front of delicious local food and wine, we mentally check the things to do the next day.

The day after, before dawn, we leave our strategic basis deep inside the country, to be ready on the right place at the right moment.

We start with an icon of the Val d’Orcia, the Vitaleta’s chapel. The suggestions also increase, as we come to see places immortalized in movies like ‘The Gladiator’: his elysium is here, and we walk with him, side by side, while listening to the evocative movie’s soundtrack.

We are also lucky enough to meet some of the inhabitants of this nature like deers and pheasants.

And then it’s only fields, magnificent trees, rows and rows of cypresses, corn fields, ancient walls and crumbling farmhouses.

After a hearty breakfast, we go inside the wonderful villages like Pienza and San Quirico dominating the valley; also these places enclose ancient stories, evocative and peculiar glimpses.

At the end of the day we say goodbye to each other. We are aware we have enjoyed a wonderful weekend, with terrific images captured by our hearts and minds long before than by our beloved sensors.


Tracking Galgano

The car silently moves on the deserted road; the hypnotic background medieval music leads us to our destination, still hidden in the darkness of the night. It’s very early in the morning but we are excited and happy to be part of something that seemed to be just nice idea.

When we arrive, the huge walls of the abbey of San Galgano are hardly visible in the darkness.At dawning we are already inside the abbey, ready to welcome the new borning day in this mystic and ancient place.

The emotion almost overwhelms us and we spend several minutes in taking shots, silently in this charming place, that little by little as the sun rises appears in front of us.

We are alone, there are only the birds dwelling here ever since, the arches and the vaults of the abbey and the ghosts of all those who lived here centuries and millennia ago.

This involving photographic experience begins this way, tracking Galgano, a mystic character of our Middle Ages. A man who inspired and encouraged the lives of many people who lived here many years in the past.

The abbey of San Galgano was the central point of our day; we took pictures at night till dawn, exploring it inside and its surroundings.

The traces of the saint knight lead us to the nearby chapel of Montesiepi, where we can find the testimony of his legend: the famous sword in the stone, transfigured in a cross, sign of redemption.

After a short rest for breakfast at Monticiano, our last stage ending our journey is Chiusdino, Galgano’s home town.

By walking through the ancient streets we come to visit the house were he was born and the church where his head is still displayed as a relic.

In the end, we come to say goodbye in front of a good dish of local food while commenting the experience we have been through and looking forward for the next ones!