Well we completed our first Portfolio Workshop / Photographic holiday in May. My wife and I were joined by the wonderful Zara Watson and Amber Tutton for this event. We had wonderful Italian sunshine through the whole week. This is day 1 of the first session. 

We started early to get to Sirmione del Garda before to many tourist and when we could still get good early morning light. Amber and Zara were dressed in White and complimented each other. 

The first image we got was near the Castle moat with the girls on the wall in ABBA style back to back. This was completely natural light and the castle wall provided a wonderful backdrop. I did most of my shots this Day on my Nikon D610 and my Nikon DC 105mm prime lens. To be honest this is my lens for most of the week love the bokeh it gives and the de focus effects. But also it is so sharpe. Love this lens and used my legs as the zoom. This first image was at F2.2 1/640 sec and iso 100. 

Also captured this image below ,near the water with the early morning sun and incredible bokeh of the water here. We did use a reflector to bounce the light. F3.5 1/2500 sec. Iso 100 . In both of these images the girls look great together and they really were a great team.

We then had a little luck which is always needed. While doing a catwalk type shot with Amber Walking one of the Milli Miglia cars ( More of that later in the Week) came round the corner and a candid type image appeared in the viewfinder. As first thought the Driver was being cheeky and going to pretend to slap Ambers bottom but this was not his intention lucky for us he was only making a sign with his fingers. 

The one below was taken just afterwards with Zara alone. Converted to mono using Silver Efex pro. F3.2 1/500 sec Iso 100 all natural light. Love the textures of the Italian buildings .  Both the above and below images I switched to my 50mm Prime. 


Below this image was captured by the Castle wall with the lake in the background. Even at this time 8:45 the sun was a huge challenge. Here we used the black side of the reflector as a sun block which worked well and gave a very balanced image great modelling from Zara here love this shot. F3.2 1/2000 sec Iso 100

We mover to another location in the town itself a church yard which I had scouted and loved the light there and the colour of the walls worked well with the dresses. I have processed both of these to enhance in one case the blue stone covering and Ambers stunning blue eyes. Then the tones which were naturally produced by the wall colour in the more lighter area of the wall. This really complimented Ambers skin colour. 


Here Amber is more in the walk way to the Church and produced all her fabulous poses. All three images in natural light no reflectors or flash. 

Below : Just near the church I scouted earlier a great wall to shoot against very Italian I think. Where the girls are standing to the left of the picture is the house door. The owner had place a brush right were the girls are that we moved. As soon as we finished the old lady came out and moved it back must be its space. Here we again used a reflector to bounce in the sun to the are to balance the light. I really loved the triangle of light on the right really pleased with these to images. F3.5 1/500 sec ISO 100. 


Below a couple of more images using the shade as the sun got higher in the sky . These are converted to mono in Silver Efex pro.  The one of Amber was a challenge due to the contrast and was not happy at the time but love the final image. So worth keeping. 




After a coffee break at the Lido area of Sirmione we took a couple of images of Zara by the waters edge. But even at 11am the sun was becoming a issue. On these two images we used flash to help balance the sun. This was my first shoot using the Godex AD200. Wow impressed with the power output and refresh time.  Amber was relieved of her modelling duties to become the Flash stand and a great job she did. F2.8 at 1/4000 so maxed out on the speed. But i love to keep the depth of field to a minimum. Love the backdrops or would not have travelled to Italy but the focus of the image has to be the model. So the low depth of field isolates the subject but a little compromise is need in May in the Italian sun. But the GODEX really worked well so that i could get the image at F2.8. We also used a reflector to fill in the shadows. 


The Evening Shoot of Day 1. 


We took a few images at arrival at Descenzano del Garda by the lake. Evening light and a bit of cloud cover helped here. I used the Godex AD200 again this time with the Bulb head and defuser. Important for me that walking around the streets in a tourist place to keep the equipment and footprint as small as possible so was again impressed with the GODEX. These were taken in TTL mode and adjusted used the Exposure compensation on the flash. F4.5  at 1/640 sec. Again my Nikon 105mm DC which was apparently stuck to my camera.

We moved into the town to an area that Amber and I worked in last October. But got some very different images. Again this is converted to Mono in Silver Efex Pro. 

Zara and I worked together at the Church doors this was with my 50mm Prime.  F3.2 at 1/600 sec.  Just one of many images.

Walking back through town to the Harbour I spotted this image and got Zara to stand there. I have had a lot of indecion  about the sides but this is what attracted me to the image at first so i have resisted the urge to remove them. I think it gives it a more Italian street feel. F3.2 at 1/125 sec Iso 100

We arrived at the harbour pier but still a little early for sunset. But working on my ABBA idea from earlier in the day I did this image that i am very pleased with. We did attract a number of young men who were very interest in the girls not the photographers of course. Taken at 105mm F2.0 at 1/2000sec. 


We walked back the Town Harbour which Amber and I did some images at in October as the evening light was now stunning here are a couple of Amber love again the bokeh from the 105 DC.

We went for dinner to allow the sun to set and Kevin Roche had a red dress he wanted to use, after the sun had gone down at the Pier. Here I used the Godex AD 200 again with the first one on the pier wall shot from the floor level. A big thanks to Kevin as this Dress really worked. 

Also A big thanks to Zara Watson here who was really feeling the cold in that dress after the sun had gone down. But she did not want to stop till we got what we wanted from the shoot. But great work from both Amber and Zara on a great day.