Ian Spagnolo is a photographer that I have been following for quite some time, and one that I aspire to, especially when I want to do seascape images. He is so good at getting sunrises along the coast and his work has stuck out to me for nearly as long as I’ve been on WordPress. He isn’t blogging as much these days, but that doesn’t mean I can’t show his wonderful work.
Most of you know how getting a good sunrise is something that always seems to allude me. It is nice to see that it does happen for other people. I know that Ian lives in Coffs Harbour, a town on the NSW coast about halfway between Sydney and Brisbane. “It really is a gorgeous part of the world with so many relitively untouched beaches and world class rainforests within an hours drive of here.” It is nice to get to show what the coast of Australia can look like.
I did ask Ian why he took photos.
For the love being able to freeze a moment in time exactly how I visualise it. When I was just taking the odd image or two, I was looking at a lot of work from both local and international photographers and was in awe of some of the images they share, but could never get why my ‘snaps’ never looked that good. Thinking back to when I was starting out and also now when I try something a little out there, I really enjoy the learning experience too. I was mostly visiting landscape photographers sites to start off with, and of course most of these images were taken in the early morning… hours before I usually woke to start my day! Knowing I had to change my ways to see the light I wanted, I did exactly that and spent every moning I could (rain, hail or shine) on a headland or beach somewhere along the coast. Now it just feels strange if I am not up and on a beach somewhere before the days first light, and of course I always have my kit close by.
Ian has recently had a trip away and there are some really amazing photos there on his site. I tried not to get them all for this post, but there are also posts about camera gear and other things, well worth the read. I love winter shots like this. They are so unique because they are something that you just can’t get here. There is no where in Australia where you would get a scene like this in winter.
The second question was about inspiration.
My inspiration comes from mostly two things I would say… of course other photographers, and the might of mother nature.
With social media it is incredibly easy to interact with photographers around the world and see what they are shooting, and learning new techniques in either capturing an image or post production. Everyone does things a little differently, and you can learn a lot from the way others work. As for mother nature, what you can witness if you just take the time to stop and look around is simply breathtaking. The interesting things and magical locations I find so close to home still surprise me.
I also have been travelling whenever I can and capturing locations around the globe. The number of beautiful worldly sights I have seen in the last few years is amazing, and looking though my images takes me back to that exact moment every single time.
I would love to spend a morning with Ian one day as he shoots these wonderful scenes. The biggest hurdle for me is the 2 to 2 1/2 hour drive I have to do first, which I have been know to do, then to discover that the sunrise is a bust.
I added a new question and asked Ian how long he had been taking photos for.
I have liked photography for a long time but would only say I have been seriously shooting since late 2010, so lets say 4 years now. I still think I am pretty inexperienced, and there is always a new genre in photography to explore – what can I say… I like a challenge.
I also asked if there was anything special about the way he worked.
It’s the familiar case of get there early and stay until late which makes the best landscape images. Technically the majority of stuff I like to do these days is either high resolution multi-row panoramas for picking out mind boggling detail and printing as large as you like, or long exposure photography with anywhere from 1 second to 15 minute exposures at a time. You can get some very dramatic effects from the movement within a scene like from water and clouds – a tripod and neutral density filters are the most important tools I use apart from my camera and lens choice.
Ian has given us all some great advice there. I think part of my problem sometimes is that I don’t stick around long enough and maybe that is something I need to concentrate on more.
My final question to Ian was about gear.
I shoot with mostly Canon gear inluding 7D & 5D Mk III bodies, am ever growing list of lenses with focal ranges from 8mm to 400mm, Manfrotto tripods, Lee, Heliopan & Singh-Ray filters, and various remote triggers. If I had to pick one lens for landscapes it would be my 16-35mm f2.8L II, and for portraits I am enjoying my latest aquisition, a Canon 35mm f1.4L. I also use a Nodal Ninja panoramic head for my panoramas.
I am going to put the above images and some others into a gallery for you now. I hope you have enjoyed Ian’s work and would ask they you all go and take a look at his blog, Ian Spagnolo Photography. I would also like to thank Ian for giving me permission to show his work to you.