Luca Bracali

Animal & Wildlife | Last Updated: February 17, 2021

Photography has always been part of my life. When I was six and intrigued by my uncle’s three cameras, I asked if I could take a picture of him. That was my first photo, a black and white print that I keep carefully guarded in the drawer of my bedside table.

At the age of 15 I met an incredible professor – one of those excellent minds born maybe once every hundred years. It was he who taught me the techniques of the darkroom, portraits and landscape photography. He also gave me a Canon F1. Then, he unfortunately passed away much too soon when I was just 18 years old.

I graduated a couple of years later as an Electronic Technician but, moved by an irrepressible passion for motorcycles, began to collaborate with a provincial magazine as a Photographer and Journalist, thus taking my first steps. I spent several years dedicated to photographing motocross, then speed, and finally MotoGP and Formula 1 auto racing.

I also did product photography, worked with models, interior design shoots and even still life.

But it was in 1991 that I made my first real trip around Europe and it was that experience that would indelibly mark my professional life. I visited fifteen countries, traveled thousands of kilometers and went through a least thirty rolls of slide film. From there I immediately understood what my photographic passion was.

In 2004 I arrived in Antarctica at the Vernasdky Research Base, where scientists first discovered the hole in the ozone layer in 1985. From that moment on, I began to take an interest in documenting environmental problems related to global-warming and the melting of ice.

My photography was not born from following in the footsteps of or being inspired by other photographers. Rather, I learned by studying the masters of painting and how they understood light – first Van Eyck and later Caravaggio, with whose work I fell deeply in love with.

The subjects I mainly portray are what I call the “molecules” or main components of travel reportage photography: landscapes, people and animals – all made while maintaining the same level of quality and consistency of style.

For some years now I have realised as great photographers Ferdinando Scianna and Sebastiano Salgado have said, that photography is perhaps dead, in the sense that it is unlikely that it will have a professional future, especially for young people who have yet to start. Yet, perhaps the answer is constant reinvention and evolution.

I used only Canon cameras and optics for 27 years. In 2013, anticipating fashions and trends, and realising that reflexes would soon be passed on as museum objects, I switched to mirrorless, becoming an ambassador for Fujifilm.

With all the enthusiasm of a child upon his first discovery, despite having visited 143 countries around the world, I recently took on video and began working with action cams for dynamic, high-speed shooting.

The real revolution for me that I took up the world by flying over it with every possible means was the drone. Thanks to this “flying eye” I can conceive images without limits never seen before. Photography is again reinvented, new perspectives are discovered, and a new and different world is opened up.

With video footage the photographic challenge increases even more and at the same time, add four movements on the axis of the drone and camera, and you have the ability to make images with a dynamic quality never seen before.

I have flown everywhere, even places no one has ever gone, not even National Geographic’s crew with whom I worked alongside.

I have flown over coral reefs and deserts, glaciers, waterfalls and mountains. I’ve followed the path of polar bears, filmed the jet of a geyser as it exploded from the earth, launched the drone over 4 kilometers away from the middle of the Arctic sea to capture unreachable peaks, and dove my craft into active volcanoes to capture live footage magma erupting from the crater.

Today, I collaborate with National Geographic and with Italy’s three main Rai television networks as a Director and Documentary Filmmaker.

I’m the author of 13 books (15 by the end of 2019) and have shown my work in 50 exhibitions in Italy and abroad. But my main goal as a documentary photographer is to share the fragile beauty of the world, especially the snow-covered Arctic that I love so much and that soon, due to man’s mania for omnipotence, will slowly disappear.

Inside my camera bag:

Fujifilm X-H1

My favorite camera above all! In-body 5 axis image stabilization with ultra-wide-angle lenses available and excellent quality with the use of a gimbal in video mode.

Fujifilm X-T3

Second body, but sometimes first. The back-illuminated sensor is useful in night photography and especially when chasing Northern lights in all its splendor.

DJI Osmo Pocket

The biggest invention of the last two years in the action camera world. It has a 3 Axis gimbal stabilizer with an integrated camera and is attachable to Smartphones. Extremely fast, always ready to use. A perfect travel companion for pros.

DJI Osmo Plus

Slower than anything else. But the 4K resolution and zoom effect are highly appreciated in many conditions.

GoPro Black 7 (x2)

Incomparable with previous models, this is absolutely more stable and its range of use is unimaginable.

Fujinon 16mm f/1.4

Wide and so bright. Perfect for blurred background with close-up subjects and ideal for astro and night photography.

Fujinon 56mm f/1.2

Extremely bright. Perfect for its bokeh effect, as well as portrait and skin texture.

Fujinon 8-16mm f/2.8

Big and heavy, but with a quality and a definition that speaks for itself.

Fujinon 16-55mm f/2.8

Impossible to leave it back home! It’s a must in a photo bag.

Fujinon 50-140mm f/2.8

Bright and quite light. Along with a 1.4 teleconverter, it’s my best combination.

Fujinon 1.4X

Always kept mounted on a 50-140 lens.

Fujinon 100-400‬mm f/4.5-5.6

In conditions that aren’t too bright, its quality is quite impressive. From Bengali tigers to polar bears it’s always my first choice for wildlife photography.‬‬‬

DJI Mavic Pro

It’s my third drone choice, used as backup in case the other two fail.

DJI Mavic Pro 2

Absolutely fantastic. This collaboratively developed Hasselblad L1D-20c drone has outstanding quality and excellent portability. Also, in low light conditions the images are excellent, and it is amazingly stable in extreme wind conditions.

DJI Mavic 2 Zoom

Poor quality in photo mode due to the 12 megapixel sensor. But in video mode, using the optical zoom makes it possible to get as close as possible to animals without disturbing them. (Related: See DJI Mavic Mini review here) | @lucabracaliphotographer

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1 Comment

  1. Ketty Compagnone on August 27, 2019 at 10:04 pm

    GRANDE Luca Bracali

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