Awesome Sydney Landscape Photographer & Camera Trade
0:27 Who is Giuseppe Basile?
1:40 Giuseppe’s Favorite Images
13:03 Camera Trade
17:37 Tools of Trade – Camera Equipment
23:20 Process of Creating
Hi guys, for this interview we have Giuseppe Basile. He is a photographer from Sydney and I have been following him for a while on Google Plus and he creates some amazing images. He has also established a cool website, which might interest you guys, where you can buy and sell second hand photography equipment.
Who is Giuseppe?
Brent: Giuseppe, can you tell us a little of a background on who you are and the kind of photography that you create?
Giuseppe: Firstly, thanks for having me as your guest Brent. I am a semi-professional photographer based in Sydney. I have been shooting since 2008 and I concentrate mainly on seascape and landscape photography. Living in Sydney I have plenty of access to some stunning beaches. From day one I just loved shooting seascapes. I sell most of my prints through a local cafe, that ’s where my main income from photography comes from. I also have a new website that I have just launched: http://www.cameratrade.com/ which is a Buy, Sell Trade website to buy and sell photography gear.
Giuseppe’s Favorite Images
Brent: We will get to camera trade.com after we have a look at your amazing images. The first one here, it looks like an evening shot of the Sydney Opera House, downtown Sydney. It looks like a long exposure. It looks like the ship or the boats are causing blurring in the image. Tell us a little bit about this image. Your thought process when you’re photographing it. What it makes you feel like and how you did it?
Guiseppe: Yes Brent, I took this photo from the Sydney Harbour Bridge when i met up with one of my favourite photographers Elia Locardi. I am about half-way down the bridge here. A couple of things about the photograph: I found that there was a bit of negative space on the left hand side, so I wanted to introduce the blurred boat in there just to pull the viewer into the shot. The rest of the scene then speaks for itself. A full view of the magic Sydney Cityscape, with the Opera House on the left and the city on the right. It ’s a multiple blend image, so I have taken probably 4 or 5 photos in different exposures. It ’s not HDR. All I ’ve done is blended them digitally back together with the correct exposure using photoshop. That’s how I created this image.
Brent: When you’re shooting that, did you shoot with a fixed aperture and just changed the shutter speed then?
Giuseppe: Yes, that ’s right. I always shoot on aperture priority mode for this type of scene. I don’t shoot manual. You know, people say you got to shoot in manual. Why? The camera knows what it ’s doing? So, I’m always on aperture priority or shutter priority mode. I probably shot this around f11 – f16 just to give me the sharpest image I can get. That last frame was probably about 20 sec or 30 sec to get that boat streak I was after. The Opera House might be only 1/5 sec because it was so dark; I didn’t want the light blowing out there. So I captured different parts of the image with different shutter speeds, same aperture and then put them all back together.
Brent: Is that quite difficult to put together in Photoshop? Do you use masks in that type of thing? Or do you just use different layers and delete the parts that you don’t want from each layer?
Giuseppe: Originally, when I first started processing images and I probably would recommend everyone to do if they are just starting out is to just brush out areas with layer mask applied. Now, I am experimenting more on luminosity masking which is a more refined selection technique. You don’t get much haloing and better feathering. The luminosity masking is definitely something I recommend people read up on. Sean Bagshaw is one guy that has a good series of videos; you might want to check it out if you’re looking into that. I actually purchased the video series a few years back and it helped me out immensely. Once you get your head around it, it ’s a powerful tool to have.
Brent: When you look at this image, what feeling do you get? What story does it tell you?
Giuseppe: To me, it just shows a beautiful city that I live in. You have the city lights, the movement in the harbour. The sky wasn’t doing much that night so I decided to push it more into the blue hour. More into the night setting. So again, when I am at a shoot, I sort of play it by ear; if the sky is looking magical, I would probably have taken this shot 30mins earlier, you know with that nice golden light and with the sun below the horizon. But for this one, I stuck around for a bit more and waited for it to get fully dark and let the Sydney lights be the main presence of the photo.
Brent: Beautiful image there, Giuseppe. So, we will run to the next one, the shot looks like a beach scene with a rock and it looks like a long exposure image. Tell us a little bit about that one.
Giuseppe: This is shot in Bungan Beach in Sydney’s northern beaches. This image here, it was one of my first images that really made me stand out from the crowd. I think that ’s important. With so many people doing photography, you need to stand out. Otherwise, your just going to be like everyone else. This photo here, I have used different techniques. I used a slow shutter speed, not too slow, you are probably looking at half a second to a second here, i wanted to retain the motion of the water. As you can tell, the water looks like it ’s moving in the background, with more of a focus on the rocks in the foreground. The light was magic that night, it was like a giant soft box just lighting up the beach.
Brent: That ’s great. It ’s a slow enough shutter speed to show movement, but it ’s fast enough that you can still actually see the two waves; the one that ’s closest to the shore and then the one at the back line where it ’s probably breaking in some of the rocks.
Giuseppe: For most of my seascapes I find around that 0.5 sec to 1 sec gives you a really good sense of motion without blurring out the water too much, but not too sharp as well if that makes sense. For this photo i set my camera to shutter priority, I set that to 0.05 sec or 1 sec and then I choose the right filters to get me the right exposure and aperture i am after. That ’s the trick.
Brent: When it comes to your filters, what filters did you use for this image?
Giuseppe: For this image, I used the Lee Filter System. I probably used a 2 or 3 Grad Neutral Density filter for the sky.
Brent: To darken the sky, because the sky is a lot lighter than the foreground.
Giuseppe: That ’s right. So, usually expose for the foreground, And then, when I am exposing for that, the sky is too bright so I w’ll then try and bring that back with the 2 or 3 stop grad. If am still overexposed in the sky, I w’ll throw in a 2-stop hard grad for the whole entire frame. It just depends on what time of the day it is and how much i need to bring it back. I don’t use a lot of filters; i find the 2-stops soft and the 3-stop soft GND is enough for what I want to do. I always shoot in the golden hours too. So, if you are shooting in the middle of the day, at 12 o’clock in the bright sun, obviously you’re going to need at least a 10-stop filter or maybe even more to get the same effects. But again, you’re losing that colour. You’re losing that bright, golden colour. There ’s something about that golden hour light and shooting at that time, that gives you the best results.
Brent: Definitely. If you can get out to the beach in the golden hour, the hour around sunrise or sunset, that is the perfect time for these images. Now, let’s jump to the last image, it looks like a crack in the rock where the water is flowing in and out. It looks like a sunset or sunrise in the background with the storm or something like it. Tell me about this image.
Giuseppe: That was a sunrise at Turimetta Beach in Sydney, one of my favourite beaches to shoot. Basically it ’s just a gorge, that ran into the main ocean and there ’s a lot of water movement. The composition, I really wanted to start from the bottom, look straight to that rock and just looking up into the sky. The two side rocks holding in to the image, Again 0.8 to 1 sec shutter speed, 2 or 3 stop grad for the sky. I processed this one in Photoshop bit, generally I try to use one exposure to process my images. I always shoot with my camera and my filters come back with one RAW image and maybe double or triple process that one RAW image, I use one image to achieve my final shot.
Brent: So, you obviously shoot this in raw. In Photoshop, how much work do you actually do to them when it comes to the saturation and that type of stuff? Or do you use Lightroom at all?
Giuseppe: Yes, I shoot everything in RAW; I get home and use Adobe Bridge as my cataloging and having all my files in order. From there, I jump in Adobe Camera RAW, to do my RAW processing. So, I bring a single shot into the Adobe Camera RAW, where i do some global adjustments, I don’t get too fancy. I just make sure that my exposure is right, white balance. I always shoot white balance on auto, so I always make that adjustment here, do i want a cooler or warmer image? Do a tiny bit of sharpening, make sure that the histogram has no clipping with a little bit of room on either end so that I can finish off in Adobe Photoshop with some techniques that I picked up to get a bit more clarity and saturation and just get the image looking nice and neat.
Camera Trade – Sell Your 2nd Hand Camera Gear
Brent: Tell us about your new venture, – Camera Trade.
Giuseppe: Yeah, six months ago Ashlan Nathens and I started cameratrade.com, it is a website where you can buy and sell you’re used or unwanted photography gear. There weren’t many sites out there apart from the big ones like eBay or Gumtree where photographers could go and sell their gear. So I decided to start this up and it has taken off really well. I also have a blog there as well. We interview photographers, about how they approach their photography. I write a few articles on my techniques as well. So, it ’s 100% to join and post.
Brent: How does it work? Because I’ve got a lot of old equipment that I never use anymore, like I’ve got a couple of the Canon extenders and those types of things. What ’s the process if I want to sell these? What do I need to do to get it on there? And how does this all work?
Giuseppe: You can jump into the site, from there, you can log-in with any of your favourite social networks. Once you’re logged in and registered, you have your own dashboard where you can post an Ad, ads lasts 90 days. It ’s very user-friendly. We are getting a lot of traffic at the moment, which is good. If someone is interested in your Ad, they will contact you directly. Your email is not visible to the public but the buyer has the option to email you about extra details or if they want to see additional photos or meet-up in person and have a look at the item being sold.
Brent: It ’s free to post an Ad for your gear and then you just put a price on what you think is reasonable and someone will obviously contact you, make you an offer, and then from there, how does it go with the person paying and shipping them the gear? How does that all work?
Giuseppe: When you fill out the Ad, there are options there on how you want to sell your gear. So you might want to go with just local pick up only, or you may be happy to post within Australia. Basically, we are the link between buyers and sellers. That ’s what we do. We don’t get involved in the transaction between the buyer and the seller. We are just photography specific, so photographers buying from other photographers and selling to other photographers.
Brent: Okay, so someone just pays via PayPal or they can pay cash or however they want and then that ’s dealt off the website. So, this website is mainly to get the gear out there, in front of photographers, of people who actually want to buy photography equipment. And it ’s a great place for you to sell your secondhand, old equipment that your not using.
Giuseppe: That ’s right Brent. A lot of people upgrade and want to sell their old gear. I started with a Canon 1000D and I am now using a Canon 5D Mark II. I don’t need that 1000D sitting at home collecting dust, so I put it up on the site and sell it there so i have few extra dollars to put towards a new Lee Filter or whatever else your interested in buying. Put it towards a new camera. That ’s what the site is all about.
Brent: That ’s great because I’ve been looking for something like this for years because I’ve got about three bodies sitting in my cupboard that I don’t use anymore.
Giuseppe: Hopefully it ’s a good resource and people can get some good use out of it.
Brent: I’ve got the original Canon 1D that I spent lot money on about 10 years ago and I still got it there. I just use it as a plate holder now, it ’s quite heavy. It holds up in the door.
Tools of Trade – Camera Equipment
Brent: Tell us a little bit about the tools of your trade. Like what do you actually use? I know you mention that you’re using the Canon 5D Mark II, but what kind of lenses and what other things when it comes to photography that you love?
Giuseppe: As i mentioned before, my genre is the landscape and seascape photography, so I use a Canon 5D Mark II as my body. I use the Canon 17-40mm f4/L lens for my wide-angle shots. I also have the Canon 24-70mm f2.8/L for a bit more reach, that ’s my max focal lens, 70mm. So, the two lenses plus the body, that ’s my major gear. I also have the Lee Filter Kit where I use soft 3-stop GND, soft 2-stop grad and a 2-stop ND filter. I also run a 10-stop B+W ND filter as well for my super long exposures where I like to get a lot of cloud movements in my shots. I have wireless triggers and other little bits and pieces in the bag. I always go to a shoot with a microfiber cloth, especially to my seascape shots with a lot of sea spray. I highly recommend a microfiber cloth in your bag. Always bring a plastic bag as well just in case you get rained on, you can cover the camera quickly. Tripod, you need something strong and sturdy, especially for the long exposures so that your camera is not going to have too much movement. That ’s basically it. I have never really been a guy has been focused on gear. I have never really been that sort of a person. The less you have, the more you can concentrate on your photography rather than you put yourself into situations where you need to ask yourself a lot of questions about what gear will i need when shooting. Let the photography do the talking.
Brent: I will second the little cheat things, the essential things like a plastic bag. You know what’s really good is a shower cap that you get at a hotel or something. A little shower cap, because it actually fits over your lens and camera and it’s got that little elastic band at the bottom that holds it on, especially if the wind is blowing and the storm is coming or something like that.
Giuseppe: Especially on the water, you can really get caught out easily. One minute it looks fine, and then five minutes later, it ’s bucketing down. So, that ’s something that you should be aware of when shooting seascapes.
Brent: I’ve almost got the same exact equipment as you for my landscape, long exposure photography; the Canon 17-40mm f/4, my Canon 5D Mark II and the Lee Foundation Kit. It ’s great, I love it. That changed it all for me. I believe you are instrumental and someone else I recently interviewed, Mykall Hall, you showed him what the ND filter can do for your landscape photography. Tell me a little more about that.
Giuseppe: I met Mykall online through Google Plus, after interacting a while online we decided to have a shoot together. He was just starting to get into photography. I think back then, he had only been in it for I think, about a year. He knew what he was doing back then but I think he just needed that little bit of a nudge to see how to get his photos to stand out from the crowd, which he does now. He posts some amazing images. So yeah, I lent him my 10-stop filter for about half an hour, then next day he rang me up and said he bought one. And I think for him, the rest is history. Glad to be a part of it. He ’s really pulling off some amazing images at the moment and he has just started a website of his own as well. He ’s really moving on, which is good. His goal is to photograph all 37 Sydney beaches. I am not sure where he is at the moment but from memory he is about half-way there.
Brent: He’s a great guy. I met him down the Sydney when I went down to that Photowalk. Where you at the photowalk?
Giuseppe: Yeah, I was. I bump into you actually. There where so many people there.
Brent: I know. I don’t know who’s who. You get to know people online by their avatar, but you don’t actually look like in real life.
Process of Creating
Brent: Okay, so we’ve run through the tools of the trade. So, maybe we will run through the process of creating. When you get on the beach and you want to create these amazing seascape images, these long exposures, what gets to your head and what actually gives you the inspiration to get down there and shoot? Do you listen to music? Or do you surf websites before you go down. Tell me a little bit about your process of creating these amazing images.
Giuseppe: Basically, I do a little bit of research before I head to the location. I will always research tides and what time the sun ’s setting or rising. I also do Google Image search to see what other people had done from the same spot, just so you can try and improve on what they have done and get that initial idea in your head of what the location is all about. I get to a location at least an hour and a half before I want to start shooting. Check out a few different compositions before I even pull the camera out of the bag. I use my Nexus phone with grid view to test how the composition will work. Once i have sorted the scene i want to capture I probably pick two or three in any one given shoot and wait for that perfect light. Basically from a shoot, I might come home with maximum of five scenes that I am going to think about processing, and I well probably end up with 1 or 2 final images from the each shoot. You know the ones where the light was just right, the right composition, right timing. I think that ’s important. A lot of people get out there and take a hundred photos and they get home and they don’t know where to start. If you only take a few in the field it really narrows your choices down when you’re ready to start processing your images.
Brent: Yeah, I totally agree with you. I’ve done quite a few workshops where I’ve taken my students down and photographed some landscapes and I notice some people set-up and they start shooting, like as we get down on the beach. I walk around for the first 10 minutes on the rocks and it looks like I’m looking for a loose change somewhere in between the rocks and bending my knees. I’m using my head like this to look through and see what it would look like on a wide angle shot and spend some time before I run back and get my tripod and camera and set it up. That ’s a great tip; pre-visualize the images that you possibly can produce before you start shooting and then go and just shoot a couple and then you’ll know if you got it or not when you get home. You don’t spend 20 hours editing a hundred shots and then only one of them is actually good.
Giuseppe: That ’s how I first started. I think we all did the same thing. We go out there, we get like a hundred shots and it makes the though process very difficult. If you can just concentrate on just 2 or 3 different compositions that you’re happy with, and then getting home and editing those. Some of my images, It might take me three or four days, backwards and forwards, I will leave it. Forget it, come back maybe the next day, and I will say, what was I thinking? And then I will start again. So, I think that ’s important too. Don’t just get home and start throwing your images through a processing program, boost up the saturation, boost up the vibrance, sharpen them and throw it on the web. You really want to spend time. You went out in the field, did all the hard work, did the research, you’ve got all your good camera gear, and then the last thing to ruin it is the post-processing part, it ’s a bit of a shame really.
Brent: That ’s a very good tip. Not to rush the processing or the finishing of your art that you’ve spend so much energy creating. Just to finish off, thank you so much for talking with me. We’ve run through quite a few things. You’ve told us who you are; you’re a great landscape photographer from Sydney. You’ve shown us three of your amazing, long exposure shots; one of them that I really like is the Sydney Opera House night shot, where you’ve blended quite a few exposures. You’ve told us a little bit about your new venture, the cameratrade.com, which is an amazing place to get rid of pre-loved equipment and buy someone else’s pre-loved equipment. You told us a little bit about the tools you use, the process of creating images and how you edit things and pre-visualize your landscape photography. If people want to get hold of you and follow what your doing and maybe just chat with you, what’s the best way to do that?
Giuseppe: I am pretty active on most social networks, probably on Google Plus is the best place to catch me these days. cameraTrade on Google Plus and you can follow my facebook page: Glow Photography and also on cameratrade.com
Brent: Anyway, thanks again Giuseppe.
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