Francesco Gola is an Italian engineer who’s fallen in love with photography. Born in Italy in 1981, as soon as he started taking pictures he fell in love with long exposures of seascapes. His passion for the sea and for travels let him to visit some of the most iconic locations on this planet looking at them with different eyes. While continuing to travel in search of new landscapes to be photographed, he now lives and works in Milan where he collaborates with companies, sites and magazines for the diffusion of photographic culture in Italy and in the world
Hello and welcome to snaptured, please introduce yourself, and tell us how did you get into photography?
Hello! My name is Francesco, I’m 36 years old and formally I’m an Engineer. Since I was young I had a great interest in photography, but it’s only from ten years now that I can consider me a really passionate, that is when I bought my first DSLR camera with my first paycheck! It was like if someone gave to me the keys to the whole world.
You have a fantastic and inspiring portfolio Can you tell us how you got started landscape and nature photography?
When you buy your first camera you start taking pictures of everything, because it’s like being a child who sees the world for the first time. The more time passed, however, more I realized to be incredibly fascinated by the wonderful landscapes in which I loved to wander in my leisure time. In the nature I found the peace I was looking for, and photography allowed me to transform my emotions into images.
What genre of photography you like to do?
As I told you before, when I bought my first camera, as probably everyone do, I started to take pictures of everything I was able to see. But as soon as the time passed I realized that there was a particular feeling between me and landscape pictures..I really felt that Nature was able to give me that sense of peace and of detachment from the rest of the world that I was looking for.
So every time I had some spare time to spend, I took up my camera and I sought refuge in the Nature where I found peace for my Soul wandering in the silence. I found that while I was deep in Nature, I was able to think to nothing: job, love, life, troubles, everything disappear.
Among those landscapes, I have special feeling with the sea. I can’t say exactly why, also because I grew up in the dull of plain. Nevertheless every time I watch at the sea I get excited like a child. It is able to fascinate me, with its endless space, with its power during a storm, with its stillness during a summer sunset.
In front of the sea, everything is so tiny..and my fears too. So I try to capture its beauty with my pictures, to have the illusion that a small piece of it can live with me. But it is not only a matter of photography, it is more about feelings. A feeling that nothing else in the world can give to me.
What difficulties you face in the field of your photography?
I believe that the most challenging aspect of landscape photography is that you have to live together the idea that you cannot control everything. You can have the perfect gears, you can plan every detail of your trip, you can find the perfect composition..but you’ll never be able to control weather condition or, in other words, the light. For a great shoot, everything has to be perfect. Unfortunately photo shoots don’t always turn out fine all the time. Indeed, they are definitely more times that it goes wrong..but it’s the nature of the beast, and it’s ok. At the end the most important thing is to enjoy the moment and the Nature that surrounds us.
What motivates you to take pictures and make them great?
I think that the best part of takin pictures is to enjoy the moment you’re spending in the nature more than taking the picture itself. This is the moment when I sit in front of the sea with good music in my earphones, and I start to recall the wonderful day that I had the chance to enjoy thousands miles from my home. I begin to anticipate the upcoming sunset, praying the gods of weather for good light. Sometime when I wake up at 5am I just ask to myself why I’m not a street or portrait photographer..This moment is really the answer to that question of why I do this. I do everything for this moment.
Typical question, which image is your very best till now? We know all of your images are best but we want to know that one best image 🙂
Well, I don’t think I have a real favorited image, but I must confess that often I’m more attracted by what is behind the picture rather than the final result.
This is the case of my image “The Perfect Storm”, taken on the island of Lewis, in Scotland.
It was a real bad period of my life, and I decided to plan a trip alone to reach the wonderful lighthouse of Butt of Lewis.
After many miles driving, two planes and a ferry boat I finally reached this amazing location where Nature was waiting for me to relief my Soul. It was one of the best moment in my photography life, and that’s why this is the only print I have in my bedroom.
What gear and filters you usually use and for your landscape photography?
I’m not a brand-oriented photographer, as technology evolution is constant and I believe that we have to focus more on the offered quality rather than the brand name.
After more than 10 years using Canon as camera and lenses, I moved to Nikon, and actually my camera is a lovely D810. This was my choice as the most important technical specification in a camera for a landscape photographer is the Dynamic Range.
Regarding lens, sharpness and details are everything, so my choice went to Zeiss. I own only a 21mm and 18mm prime lens, as those are the focal length that I mostly use in my works. Why just two lenses? Because I believe that if you can focus your mind just on few focal lengths, you composition skill can improve drastically.
A sturdy tripod is mandatory when you’re on a windy cliff, so my choice was a Rollei Rock Solid Beta tripod with a ball head.
Finally, even if my camera has an incredible Dynamic Range, it’s not enough. For that reason I use Natural Density (ND) and Graduated Natural Density (GND) I order to control the light when on field. My choice went to NiSi Filters as actually they have the best optical glasses available on market, so I can achieve my images without quality compromises.
We see your photos are bit different, we really like the pastel colors in your landscapes, how do u get it? Do u use any specific filters or you use any presets/filters in lightroom?
The colors of my images are due to my personal style in post production. Is not a result neither of a particular filter or a Lightroom preset.
Basically the colors are the result of the long exposure technique: leaving the shutter open form minutes, every pixel acquire information in an additive way, so enhancing the final result directly on camera.
Which programs you use for editing purpose?
The 95% of my post production is made with Adobe Lightroom, because even if the colors of my image are vibrant, I really love the soft touch in post production. Moreover, all my images are the result of a single exposure, so I really don’t need Photoshop for blending purposes.
I use Photopshop for the remaining 5% just to prepare my images for printing, or when I need to recover some distortion due to the wide lenses I use.
What is the best advice you can give for the young upcomingphotographers?
I truly believe that the key for the success in (seascape) photography is to develop your own style. Take inspiration from those you consider Master, but try not just to copy them. Listen to your inner voice instead, he’ll show you the right way. And be prepared to some frustration..Oh yes, photo shoots don’t always turn out fine all the time. Indeed, they are definitely more times that it goes wrong, but remember: you have to work for your Soul, not for the likes..in that way, you’ll never fail. Never.
Finally, what is your goal for life? As a photographer
I’d really love to be invited for a solo exhibit from a important Gallery somewhere in the world.. of course, unfortunaly is just a dream…After all, is photography not made of dreams? 😉