Photo Portfolio: Idyllic imagery by Michael Petrizzo
After a successful career as a remodeling contractor in Connecticut, Petrizzo retired early to the Cape. Today, at 63, he works out five days a week. “I have to hike up and down steep hills and climb big rocks,” he says, “so staying in shape is an important part of being a successful landscape photographer.”
Although he tends not to take himself too seriously, Petrizzo’s pursuit of beautiful images is no laughing matter, especially to customers like Julie Fougere, a Falmouth resident and amateur photographer who understands the difficulty of capturing what the human eye sees in nature.
“I’ve seen some of the photos Mike has taken of Nobska Light and Bourne Farm (both in Falmouth) and certain rocks on coastlines of beaches that I recognized,” says Fougere. “I’ve tried to take pictures of these locations so many times over the years but could never capture what I saw. So when I saw how beautiful his landscape photography was, I literally started crying.”
Petrizzo understands Fougere’s photo frustration. When he first began to dabble in photography as a young man, he didn’t have a dark room and relied on photo labs to process his film. “I was so frustrated because the photos I got back from the labs weren’t depicting what I saw in the field,” he says. “Then I discovered [Adobe] Photoshop, and I learned that you could control the image’s appearance, from A to Z. It opened up an entirely new world for me. It’s the greatest time in history to be a photographer because your computer is your darkroom.”
Now armed with a suite of photo-editing software tools, Petrizzo is better able to re-create what he sees in nature. When shooting a sunrise or a sunset, his camera automatically compensates for the brightness of the sun by underexposing everything else in the scene, which leads to a dark, murky reproduction. One of the ways Petrizzo more accurately captures the glory of such scenes is by shooting multiple images and then engaging in post-production work.
“I always shoot on a tripod,” Petrizzo says, “so I shoot three images of every scene. I shoot the correct exposure, two stops darker and two stops lighter. I then import the images in different layers in Photoshop, combine them and then keep the best of the lights, darks and mid-tones. . . . For me, it’s about doing my best to capture the glory of God’s creation.”
Often, Petrizzo will utilize Photoshop and other image-editing tools to add painterly effects to his imagery, and when printed on certain types of high-quality canvas, the images look more like paintings than photos.
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