Visual Storytelling with Leonardo Carrizo

Leonardo Carrizo is a multimedia photojournalist who specializes in visual storytelling for a wide range of publications, individuals and organizations including non-profits and NGOs.

He also teaches multimedia journalism, photojournalism, user experience design and visual communication design at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. During the summers, he is a National Geographic Student Expeditions photography trip leader.

Leonardo is friend of the store and has presented Biodiversity, Conservation, Culture, and Documentary Photography at the Midwest Photo Learning Studio during our grand opening!

Leonardo provided us with a quick check-in from the road during his current trip in Ecuador:

Here are a few images I captured during this trip so far. I’ll be showing more photographs from this adventure and other trips at my upcoming workshop at Midwest Photo. I hope you can join me!

Happy New Year from Ecuador! This one of the most beautiful countries in the world. I keep coming back to this country because it is one of the most bio-diverse places in the world (don’t just take my word for it, UNESCO called it so as well!) In addition, it has unbelievable landscapes including the Galapagos Islands, some of the friendliest people you’ll ever find traveling and rich cultures that vary from the Andes Mountains to the Pacific coast to the Ecuadorian Amazon.

I’m staying in the historical center of Quito and the light is great in the morning as it filters between the old Spanish colonial buildings of the city. On this particular morning I was looking for “pockets of lights” where the contrast between shadows and light is strongest as the sun rises and lights sneaks between the buildings. That quality of morning light is typically good enough to make an interesting image but if you find such a place you can make a better image if you wait for a person to “walk into the light” as in this case.

Technical details:

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Lens: Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Exposure: 1/800 sec;   f/11;   ISO 400

New Year’s Eve is celebrated very differently here in Ecuador. They have a tradition of “burning the old year” which is represented by a dummy filled with paper and a mask (something like a scarecrow). If that is not interesting enough, people have fun by buying paper masks that represent politicians, celebrities or any other real or fake person that has an impact that year. For the end of 2016, one of the most popular masks was of a judge who abused her power and threatened people by pretty much saying that she can make them disappear with just one phone call! In the photo you can see a person with a mask behind her head looking for a mask for sale on the street. I wanted to show a foreground and background relationship between the figures. Since I wanted the foreground mask to be the main focus I blurred the background by choosing to have a shallow depth of field.

Here's a quick tip for depth of field from the MPEX Learning Studio!
Here’s a quick tip for depth of field from the MPEX Learning Studio!

Technical details:

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Lens: Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

Exposure: 1/200 sec;   f/6.3;   ISO 320

This is a Polylepis tree forest and there are not many of them in the world. In Ecuador, there are a few pockets of Polylepis forests and they are typically found in small areas between the mountains at an altitude of over 3000 meters or almost 10,000 feet.  These types of trees are also known as “paper trees” because of their thin bark that peels off like sheets of paper. For this image, I knew I wanted to show the water flowing down the creek so I needed to use long exposure but not too long to make it the more interesting aspect of the image. In situations like this, you also need to use a tripod to stop camera movement. I got as near the edge of the creek as I could without falling in and framed my shot. The small wooden bridge at the top of the frame is a nice place to start or stop depending if you begin to look at the image from the top or bottom.

Technical details:

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Lens: EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

Exposure: 2.0 sec;   f/22;   ISO 100

Tripod: Manfrotto 190 go!

“This image took a lot of patience and endurance to capture but I love that it was totally unexpected.”

This is an Ecuadorian sparkling violet-eared hummingbird – I love hummingbirds! Ecuador has over 100 different species of this tiny birds. Yet, this image came about because I was trying to capture a completely different image at the time. My companion and I were driving back to Quito when we saw some incredible clouds in the sky above the small town we were leaving behind as we were driving. Therefore, we stopped off the road to photograph the landscape. We were making some interesting frames yet I wanted to change my point of view and I started to walk down a dirt road with fences, trees and adobe walks on each side. I continued walking down the small road I noticed a hummingbird fly away from me. When I looked around the area on one of the adobe walls covered with branches from a tall bush, there was the tiny nest with two eggs. I wanted to photograph the eggs but the nest was very fragile and I didn’t want it to break so I stayed back and waited for the hummingbird to return. I set up my camera with my 70-200mm lens on a tripod on the other side of the road and then hid behind bushes and waited hoping for the hummingbird to return to its nest. I remained silent and motionless for a few minutes before I noticed mama hummingbird flying several times by the nest checking me out. Once it felt I wasn’t a threat, she laid on the nest again and I started shooting. Very slowly, I kept moving forward towards the nest to the point that my focal length of 200mm wouldn’t allow me to get any closer. The bird left the nest several times and I just kept waiting for it to come back making as little movement as possible. This image took a lot of patience and endurance to capture but I love that it was totally unexpected.

Technical details:

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Lens: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Exposure: 1/60 sec;   f/4.0;   ISO 400

Tripod: Manfrotto 190 go!

Aside from my travels and teaching at OSU, I’m also very excited about this New Year because I will be teaching a Visual Storytelling Workshop Series at the Midwest Photo Learning Studio starting February 18th.  I’ll cover Storytelling, travel and culture photography in addition to composition and editing during the three class series. Hope to see you there!


Leonardo Carrizo

Midwest Photo will be presenting his 3 class series, Visual Storytelling Workshop,  beginning Saturday February 18th at our learning studio. We’ll have a 3 class pass (recommended) or you can purchase the classes a la cart. This workshop will be an interactive immersion series that focuses on visual storytelling. Learn how to build a visual narrative with your photographs as well as engage your audience and go beyond a single photograph.

Midwest Photo

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