PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP COMACCHIO & THE PO’S DELTA 2016 REPORT

DECEMBER 2016’S LEICA AKADEMIE ITALY WORKSHOP IN COMACCHIO: WHAT A GREAT EXPERIENCE!

In December 2016, almost a year ago, I did my first Leica Akademie Italy photography Workshop in Comacchio and the Po’s Delta, dedicated to exploring the wetlands around the Valli di Comacchio. Contrarily to my WORKSHOPS FOR THREE and my WORKSHOPS ONE-ON-ONE, these LEICA AKADEMIE WORKSHOPS are shorter in duration (they are more like minibreaks, or long weekends, than regular Workshops) and feature a larger group of participants. The organisation is left in the capable hands of Leica Akademie Italy, and participants have the unique opportunity to use Leica equipment for the whole duration of the Workshop. In particular, in Comacchio all participants had the amazing Leica SL equipped with the 24-90mm Vario-Elmarit-SL available to them for three days!

Master Series Workshop in Comacchio and Venice
THE WORKSHOP
Workshop Leica Akademie Comacchio & Po's Delta 2016

Workshop Leica Akademie Comacchio & Po’s Delta 2016

On December 2, 2016 we met in Comacchio with the 9 participants who made the application before the Workshop was Sold Out, and the Workshop went underway. As it always happens with groups, the 9 participants’ level was very diverse, as was their mind-set towards landscape photography, their equipment and so on. Happily, the group’s attitude was extremely positive, and I have been very pleased to work with them all for these three days in Comacchio. More important, I noticed that all participants ended up with some very good photographs after the class and that the approach of many of them towards landscape photography changed, as did their awareness of the problems it presents and what the solutions to these problems can be.

As a general rule, designing my Workshops I try to choose locations that not only are beautiful and photogenic, but that present different photographic challenges. This way, during the course of a Workshop I can help people not only to create beautiful images but also to face and solve a wide variety of photographic problems. As I always do, in Comacchio the Workshop started with a short presentation of the landscapes we were going to photograph, and short briefings were held every day before starting to work on a specific location.

Workshop Leica Akademie Comacchio & Po's Delta 2016

Workshop Leica Akademie Comacchio & Po’s Delta 2016

As usual, I brought along a full set of Formatt-Hitech Firecrest filters (Grad NDs, solid NDs and polariser), making them available to participants to experiment with. While some participants were already used to take advantage of the power of filters, others either had just got their own set before the Workshop, or didn’t have any; for them using filters was a completely new experience, and once again I was happy to see how using filters radically changed for the best their photographing experience. For landscape photography, filters rule.

During our work in Comacchio and the Po’s Delta, we explored the Valli di Comacchio (man-made lagoons dedicated mainly to fishing) where we photographed fishermen’s huts and the so-called “Casoni di Valle”, houses built in the middle of the Valli themselves; we also went to the Sacca di Scardovari, to photograph more seascapes and more man-made houses and fishermen’s dwelings. The landscape in the area is the result of the long, constant struggle of man against nature, for ages battling to get control of ground and water, and this is what I found interesting when choosing Comacchio as a location for this Workshop.

CONCLUSIONS

I was very happy to see that all participants loved these amazing landscapes and were as inspired by them as I am, and to see them enjoying working with the Leica SL, a camera that I love and a great tool for landscape photographers. I really enjoyed seeing the group working enthusiastically and producing beautiful images of these scenes while retaining their individual look and approach to photography. This is my goal as a tutor, and to see it happen made me once more extremely happy. Last, but certainly not least, is the personal aspect of the Workshop. I have been teaching for decades now, and I always enjoy meeting new enthusiast photographers, the exchange of ideas and experiences in the field and out of the field, and seeing them going home full of energy and motivation. Not to mention the great fun we had during these three days together, the food and the laughter!

See you in December 2017 in Comacchio, for the second edition of this COMACCHIO AND THE PO’S DELTA Leica Akademie Workshop!

THE PARTICIPANTS’ COMMENTS

Some participants to my Comacchio and the Po’s Delta Workshop graciously sent me a few words of comment about the Workshop:

GUIDO BASEVI

The Valli di Comacchio, the Po’s Delta, always fascinated me, I love the plains and the big spaces, and if there is a marriage of sea and skies such as in this case the photographic attraction becomes irresistible.

Three days of intense work from sunrise to sunset, three days shared with a group made of nine apprentices, one great master photographer, a representative of Leica Italy also a photographer and a loving and caring assistant who provided us with hot beverages in the cold and windy mornings of a dark and rainy December.

Vieri Bottazzini, whom I admired as a photographer for his wonderful landscape work, turned out to be a great person as well, kind, friendly, always smiling and, as only a wise man can be, never arrogant, on the contrary! His suggestions, always offered with tact, never made me feel like a student, but like a colleague. What could sound like just an exchange of observation at first, in retrospect revealed itself to be priceless teachings.

Vieri’s previously chosen locations were landscape wonders, in all cases representing the interaction between man and nature, giving us the possibility of expressing our visions either keeping this element in mind or not. Let’s not forget our base camp, Comacchio, also a wonderful little city with beautiful canals and bridges, a “small medieval Venice”.

Leica Akademie’s Workshop’s organization was perfect, we have been cuddled with comfortable transfers in a bus rented just for us and every participant has been given a wonderful Leica SL with the 24-90mm zoom to try for the three days of Workshop. The hotel was comfortable, and the adjacent bar where we had our discussions and meetings warmed us with their delicious cocktails.

I have been very happy to have met in person Vieri, his wonderful and very kind wife Zeynep and our Leica representative Maurizio Beucci who didn’t tell anyone to be a (great) photographer as well until we found him out on the Internet and admired his work.

I hope to be lucky and privileged to participate in more wonderful Workshops with you guys, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Guido Basevi

UBALDO BARICORDI

I participated with curiosity and high expectations in the Workshop that just ended in Comacchio. Organisation was precise, accurate and overall perfect.

Our tutor Vieri Bottazzini’s teaching is technically perfect, clear in his explanations and always available to answer questions and clarification requests coming from a harmonious group of people with different expectations and levels. Personally, I am very satisfied by this experience, certainly something I’d love to do again; I am particularly satisfied with the suggestions and especially by the “photographic” inspiration that all the Leica Akademie team transmitted me. My expectations have been fully met!

Ubaldo Baricordi

CAMILLA BIELLA

I went to a Leica Akademie Workshop with Vieri Bottazzini full of my own insecurities, but I have been given invaluable incentives to take more risks. Thank you!

Camilla Biella

MATTIA ZALDINI

I took part in many Workshops. Some were dedicated to post-production, some to street photography and others to landscape photography. Leica Akademie Workshops are different. At the organisation level, I can certify the great professionality and work behind the preparation of a Workshop such as this. Whether we are in Comacchio, in a hot Milanese square or between Venice’s canals, Leica Akademie is always guarantee of professionality, harmony and a lot, a lot of patience. On the other side, I can say that I knew this Workshop’s tutor, Vieri Bottazzini, only from what my dear friend Ryuichi told me. Even without having ever met, I could see we had many characteristics in common with Vieri when it comes to approaching landscape photography. An approach made of many small steps, tiptoeing to find that necessary connection that a photograph needs to share with the surrounding environment. A connection made of respect, admiration and sensations.

Arriving to Comacchio, my impression has been fully confirmed. Vieri is a really wonderful person, a true professional but with a humility that is rare to find nowadays. During the Workshop, I learned a lot simply by watching Vieri moving around, by looking where he looked, and from the way he interacted with us and with the environment. I particularly appreciated how he was always present, but also how he understood when and how to intervene. Something definitely fundamental in the Workshop’s success has been the presence of Zeynep Paftali Bottazzini, Vieri’s wife, that constantly lavished us with care, both providing us with hot beverages and helping with the group’s management. Overall, a Workshop with a capital W, great organization and a fantastic tutor. We’ll meet again… without a doubt!

Mattia Zaldini

ANTONINO ESPOSITO

Vieri’s great helpfulness and professionalism in supporting us with the use of filters and of the amazing Leica SL, together with the beauty of the locations, made the days in Comacchio intense and extremely beneficial.

An experience that gave me new motivation and the will to keep going.

Antonino Esposito

MARIEKE FEENSTRA

After seeing Vieri’s images I wanted to learn from the master himself. The workshop in Comacchio was an amazing experience, waking up the landscape photographer in me. I had never used filters and Vieri took away the fear. I came back knowing so much more about landscape photography and the use of my gear. Vieri is very responsive and helpful before, during and even now after the workshop. Back home the learning resonated and I am able to apply what I have learned. Vieri and Zeynep are a great team always attentive to your experience, I highly recommend you take one of his workshops, it will improve your work with big leaps!

Marieke Feenstra

FOLLOW-UP: THE FACEBOOK GROUP

Once the Workshop ended, I added all participants to the private Facebook group dedicated to my Workshops, to share images and keep working both with me and between themselves on developing and post-processing their photographs.

Thanks for reading this post, I hope you enjoyed this recap of my Photography Workshop in Comacchio and the Po’s Delta! Why don’t you share it with your friends, or drop me a comment to let me know how you feel about this?

Have a great day, and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWSLETTER!

Photographs kindly offered by Zeynep Paftali have been shot with FujiFilm XS-1 and iPhone 6 SE.

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