Photographer Alessia Piscopo gives us some insight into 'Enjoying Summertime' and how they captured that winning image

We're absolutely thrilled to announce the winner of our Focus Travel Photography Competition - 'Enjoying Summertime' by Alessia Piscopo. Here, Focus Editor Philip discusses with Alessia the story behind the winning shot.

Can you tell us a little bit more about the background and story behind this image?


I took the photo some years ago during a trip in Sorrento in southern Italy ( it is located in the Gulf of Naples and it is considered a balcony over the sea).

To be honest, it was the first time I saw a thing like that and so those people in those floating cute candies immediately caught my attention because it was so original! As they were so relaxed, I had the time to take some photos! I think my photo spreads summer vibes... I had the feeling that those people were enjoying their time so much there with the sea which pampered them! As you said in the previous mail, it is very unique: as a matter of fact, I saw these candies only in Sorrento! The empty candy made me think: that' s the place for me...so next time, I will definitely try this funny experience without the camera, of course! I took the photo from the local park in Sorrento...when you are over there, there is an amazing panorama over the sea, with the many beaches so crowded.

I used my Nikon D3200 with my 18-105 Nikon lens and then I edited in Camera raw to enhance my image as I always do with my pictures.

"...it was the first time I saw a thing like that and so those people in those floating cute candies immediately caught my attention because it was so original!"

Can you tell us a little bit more about your photography and what inspires you?

I'm 38 years old, photography and travels are my big passions. I'm not a professional photographer. Everything around me which catches my eye and attention is the object of my photographs: so it can be everything!

My favourite subjects are definitely landscapes, seascapes and nature; in particular, I love macro photos of flowers and animals are another great subject for me to photograph (I now have a giant rabbit which is my favourite model). I' m also a bokeh lover: the blurry, soft and colourful backgrounds are a real delight for my eyes!

I also have a real love for abandoned old villages so another favourite genre is urban photography: I always visit old villages or abandoned ghost towns when I travel because I' m fascinated by their history and by the people who lived there...it' s like you are witnessing a very intimate piece of someone else's  life. They give me so many emotions like some thrills, mystery, loneliness and melancholy at the same time...so this genre inspires me a lot.

"...Everything around me which catches my eye and attention is the object of my photographs: so it can be everything!"

I always take photos with my Nikon and different lens depending on what I have to photograph and once done, I spend my free time editing my photos with Camera Raw; now I' m learning how to use Photoshop too...my post processing is never too excessive...I only try to enhance my image with different tools such as exposure, shadows, clarity and sharpness.


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For other photographers out there what are your top tips and advice?

In my opinion, the body camera you have is not so important: I think lenses can make a great difference and you should choose them in the right way: for example, if you like many different genres like me you can use the 18-55 or 18-105 lenses as they are so versatile, ideal for a broad range of shooting situations or, for example, a macro lens ( I have the Nikon 40mm)  if you love details and bokeh. I have many lenses ( even the Tokina wide angle 11-16) but 18-105 is the most used! So, first of all, do some useful observations about the genre you want to specialise so that you can buy the right lens for you!

I would like to share with all of you a quote by Don McCullin I love a lot because it totally expresses my thought about photography:

"Photography for me it' s not looking, it' s feeling. If you can' t feel what you are looking at, then you are never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures". - Don McCullin

So my two advices, as an amateur photographer, could be: choose the right lens for your needs but most of all, love what you photograph.

The shortlist:

See more stunning images from the competition in our travel photography runner-up gallery