Francesco Gola Interview

We chat to Italian photographer Francesco Gola about his stunning seascape photography.

| Photographer
Francesco Gola Interview: Francesco Gola
Image © Francesco Gola 
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Francesco, I'm 32 years old and I come from Italy. In 'real life' I'm an engineer, but when I have some time off I love to spend it travelling and taking pictures. My dream is to visit the whole world before I die.

How did you get into photography?
Unfortunately my work took me away from the place I grew up and from my affections, so I started to spend my free time wandering in nature. With my first salary I bought a camera and my inner voice and the desire to roam and capture beautiful landscapes became louder. Now photography is part of my life.

Francesco Gola Interview: Francesco Gola
Image © Francesco Gola 
Why are you drawn to seascape photography?
Since I was young I was really fascinated by the sea, especially by its raw power and the idea that in front of it we are absolutely helpless. Then in 2012 I was moved from my previous working place to the beautiful town of Lerici, in the Gulf of Poets (Italy); love at first sight. Here I had the chance to mix together what I loved most: the nature (especially the sea) and my camera. One day or another I will take only pictures of pets and flowers, but right now I cannot imagine my life and my photography without the presence of the sea.

The slow shutter speed shots you take are really beautiful. Can you tell us a bit about the settings you use and how you go about composing an image?
Long Exposure is a technique that I really love. It allows me to represent what I see in my mind's eye. Everything starts from the composition, that has to be really accurate. I visit a place many times in order to get the perfect composition as it is really hard to achieve it. Sometimes I prefer to use a minimalistic composition, especially when the sea is really flat. When I take pictures of a storm, I prefer to focus on everything that can help me to describe the power of the sea, like a lighthouses or huge cliffs.

Then I focus on the technique; I put my camera on a sturdy tripod, I connect it to a remote shutter and then I set the camera to Bulb mode. Now I'm ready to try to transform my vision into reality. It is not so easy, and for each good picture that I get, I have hundreds of fails (never give up!).

Francesco Gola Interview: Francesco Gola
Image © Francesco Gola 
Where are your shots taken?
As I started taking pictures of the sea in the Gulf of Poets, many of my pictures comes from Italy. The Gulf and the town of Lerici are really awesome places, and I would recommend them to everyone! Anyway, as I told you before I really love to travel, so every time that I have the chance I take a plane to visit new countries and new marvelous cliffs! I had the chance to visit Portugal, France, Scotland, Spain and many other places inside and outside Europe, and I'm in love with all of them!

You also shoot a lot in black and white, why does this appeal to you?
I think that black and white is the silent 'dark side' that lives inside every one of us, and everyone has the ability to listen to it. I was really inspired by some Black and White Masters like Andy Lee, Grant Murray, Vassilis Tangoulis, Athena Carey and many, many others, and I tried to learn from them, but unfortunately I'm not fully in tune with it yet. Right now this 'side' is just a whisper, a secret desire. Let's see what happens in the future.

Francesco Gola Interview: Francesco Gola
Image © Francesco Gola 
Do you have any plans for further photography ventures this year?
I have hundreds of projects, but unfortunately I only have the time for a few of them! Right now I'm planning a trip to Cornwall for March to enjoy its marvelous coast. Then the idea is to come back to the country that changed my vision of the world: Iceland. I don’t know if I’ll be ready this year or the next one, but I need to go back. Between those two trips I will attend some workshops here in Italy about landscape photography.

What equipment do you use?
I’m a Canon guy, but I don’t think that one brand it is better than another one. My first camera was a Canon 400D simply because there was a nice deal in the store! Now I own a marvelous Canon 5D MkIII, that is simply perfect for my photography. I don’t like to travel with many lenses, so in my backpack you will find only an EF f/16-35 II and my beloved and incomparable Zeiss Distagon T* 2.8/21. To take serious seascape shots I also need a sturdy tripod, and my choice is a Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 with a 410J geared head. For Long Exposures I make extensive use of filters and my main choice is the Lee Filters system. You cannot face a journey without a good backpack, so I have an F-Stop Guru. Finally, an iPad with offline terrain maps and the Tripadvisor application is absolutely essential to me in the great outdoors!

Check out more of Francesco's work on his website

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