Pentaxian Profile - Giovanni Corona
By jphotography in Pentaxian Profiles on Sep 17, 2017
My name is Giovanni Corona. I was born in Carbonia, Sardinia (Italy) in the last days of 1982 and my passion for photography was born in 2009 with a series of basic old compact digital cameras (Nikon, Olympus, then Panasonic). In the middle of 2013 I switched to a bridge format camera, a Fujifilm Finepix HS30 EXR. This was a camera that introduced me to the more serious side of photography.
In the middle of 2014 I finally defined the kind of photography that I want to focus on: Landscape, in particular low light and macro photography. For this kind of photography I've made my choice of camera brand, namely Pentax. The choice had many reasons, but especially the build quality and the right feature set for this kind of photography stand out.
My first goal is to show and represent my fascinating land, Sardinia, seen from various aspects. Sardenia is full of urban subjects to be explored, ancient abandoned and forgotten structures (most of all nuraghes or structures from many wars and conflicts). Add to this a very low level of light pollution so Sardenia is a really good place for night photography with these old subjects!
Since my initial and most known photos, I have interpreted these subjects with light-painting with steel wool used in a pattern, so that subjects become silhouettes.
Two examples follow here (click any image to enlarge and browse):
"Sparks in Old Beacon" was my first multiple lights experiment: I strived to enhance the ruin silhouette by the steel wool light painting supplemented with a little torch inside the structure. Location: Mangiabarche (Calsetta).
For the "Lines and Sparks" image I used the ruins of an abandoned industrial building to enhance the explosive effect.
I also like the classic way of shooting steel wool:
Combining steel wool photography with a star trails also works well:
As mentioned earlier I have dedicated my photography to portray urbex situations in the darkness of the night. Initially I limited the amount of post processing, but later I added panoramas and also stacking of images which of course requires spending time on dedicated post processing. I shoot a mixture of single shots, in-camera multi-exposures, multiple shots to be stitched to panorama images, and composite astrophotography combined with separate shots of the foreground. Regardless I always intend for the final images to match reality as I saw it in the field.
Over time I have come to appreciate pure night shots (sans steel wool) and it's impressive how well my K-3 works in low light conditions set to high-ISO values. I can shoot at ISO 8000 or ISO 10000 and details as well as colour rendition are always good! Many users of other brands don't really know how good Pentax is at this and it's a shame! Many photographers think that it is all about post processing or in-camera noise reduction but the fact is that I don't even use noise reduction and I always get good and detailed files!
When shooting the night sky I always use my K-3 with a Samyang 10mm F2.8 lens, some examples are presented below. The first image, "Capo Sandalo panoarch", was selected picture of the week in one of Ricoh Imaging's publications.
"Volcano of Stars" was shot at 1/30s by pressing the ISO to 8000 on my K-3.
Since about a year ago I'm also the owner of an old Queen, the Pentax K20D: I simply love the way it renders the colors for landscapes. The resolution is fine and it's amazing how this camera is capable of suppressing noise! I've chosen to downgrade and buy an old Pentax camera because of the good experience with the K-3, but also in order to improve my ability to create photographs without the benefit of the wide dynamic range of the modern cameras.
My choice of Pentax bodies was first and foremost due to the weather sealing and solid magnesium bodies. I really love how the camera feels in my hands. The camera bodies of several other brands feel way too light and fragile. As a landscaper, WR bodies and lenses are a MUST HAVE, so I started with the Pentax-DA 18-55mm WR, then came the Pentax-DA* 16-50mm, which produces an astonishing 3D rendering of the scene.
In addition to the above lenses I also have the tiny DA 40XS that I simply love for its sharpness at fully open aperture. I use it at ceremonies like weddings or baptisms on my 2nd body: the K20D. I use the 2nd body for candid shots, also in low light where the performance at F2.8 and the fast AF shine.
I also use original battery grips for both cameras. These grips are obviously WR so I don't fear shooting in the middle of the lagoon or taking pictures at the sea: just this January (2017) I got surprised by one big wave (4 meters tall) that hit me, my tripod and the camera with lens, battery grip and filters, and well, everything is fine, all the equipment works well as if nothing happened!
Since September 2016 I collaborate with "KASE". I'm to test their new professional filters so the use of an old camera was (and is) helpful also with regards to working with these filters, which produce beautiful images without compromising image quality! Thanks to these images, I today work for this brand as an ambassador (which you can read about here) and I find it impressive how well my K20D works for landscape photography as these examples show:
My nightscape and my steel wool photography opened the door for me at JCC, a manufacturer of 3rd party equipment and they have signed me on as a collaborator/tester for their range of products. I hope that this will be helpful also for Pentax and pentaxians who want access to a wider range of 3rd party accessories compatible with our cameras and lenses (we all know that we have only a small choice of 3rd party accessories compared to Canon, Nikon or Sony users).
Back to talking about lenses: I also own a few vintage lenses like the 135mm Takumar Bayonet, the Ricoh Rikenon 200mm F4, the Pentax-A 70-210mm F4 tele zoom and the Pentax-M 50mm F1.7 which I'm using for specific tasks (especially for astrotracing images, a project that I am just getting started with), but I also use this lens with the Pentax-F 1.7x teleconverter, which allows me to use the AF of the camera (it is very fast!). I also use the teleconverter in combination with the Tamron SP 90mm F2.8 Macro for high-magnification macro photography of really small subjects. This combo provides an incredible bokeh.
Do I have any projects for the future? Oh yes. I want to continue with nightscapes and panoscapes with my Pentax bodies trying out some "different" interpretations without straying from reality, but I'm also fanatic about particular super-macro situations like this one, for example, shot with the K-3 and a Tamron 90mm Macro and Pentax 1.7x teleconverter:
So I will push forward with this apparently easy project: super macro photography of creatures that hunt or which I can capture in strange/interesting situations, not just documenting, but also interpreting the subjects, trying to capture "expressions" and actions and, obviously, expand my knowledge of photography!
Just three days before I wrote this article I received an honorable mention in "Monovisions Photography awards" of London. It's a B&W contest with various sections, including landscapes. There was about 4000 participants which means about 4000 photos. This new contest has really good sponsors and partnerships as you can see by following this link.
The image above is the one which received the award. It was taken with the Pentax K20D in south west Sardinia, San Pietro peninsulae with an unbelievable sunset and the characteristic rocks with "Carolin" (the boat) near the horizon. It's my first back and white image to receive an award.