CLAYTON BASTIANI - Photography and Digital Illustration: Blog en-us Clayton Bastiani [email protected] (CLAYTON BASTIANI - Photography and Digital Illustration) Tue, 02 Feb 2021 07:49:00 GMT Tue, 02 Feb 2021 07:49:00 GMT CLAYTON BASTIANI - Photography and Digital Illustration: Blog 120 40 The Wild West After making a set of pictures it usually takes a day or two for me to work out my next direction and then, once I hit upon a theme I see promise in, I'll stick with it for a while and see how many pictures I can come up with during the next week or two before sending them to the picture library for approval and hopefully future book cover usage. 

Once I'd finished with my robot pictures I pottered on a bit of this and that, trying to work out my next series of work. I eventually settled on the theme of cowboys and the Wild West to see if I could push myself further in that area. I quite enjoyed my earlier attempt in this genre and thought there was space to push it further. The first week was spent having fun with 3d assets of people, clothing and scenery. During the second week I tried to vary the results up a bit and made some 2d illustrations based on 3d origins, inspired by pulp fiction covers of western books. 

Growing up in the 70s, I remember running around the school playground a lot, roleplaying the old black and white western films we watched back at home with my friends. As I've gotten older I might have lost touch with the running around bit, but the need to tell stories and express a captured narrative is a strong desire in my approach to my work (quite necessary in fact, for illustrating books and stories) and this genre is a perfect fit for that. 



[email protected] (CLAYTON BASTIANI - Photography and Digital Illustration) 2d 3d America American History Book Cover Clayton Bastiani Cowboy Illustration Illustrator Isle of Wight Narrative Photographer Photography Storytelling Western Wild West Tue, 02 Feb 2021 07:29:16 GMT
The apocalypse and visions of the future With the way 2020 turned out it seemed fitting that the last picture I made that year was a vision of an apocalyptic future. Humanity wandering through the debris of chaos and disorder of broken civilisations...

I've decided to stay a while longer with visions of the future, playing with Artificial Intelligence, robots and alien races, using assets from DAZ3d, (The amazing Aura cyborg by daveyabbo), Kitbash3d and Quixel Megascans to help me explore this theme. Set up, lit and rendered in DAZ3d for some and Blender for others. 

The book cover world allows me the luxury of working in as many genres as takes my fancy. I may stay a while longer in the realm of science fiction as I've quite enjoyed making these and love the results. Working in 3d has dramatically opened up options to me that were more limited with just a camera and real life. 

[email protected] (CLAYTON BASTIANI - Photography and Digital Illustration) 3d ai apocalypse apocalyptic artificial intelligence Blender book cover art clayton bastiani DAZ3d design future illustration isle of wight robot robotics science fiction sci-fi Mon, 11 Jan 2021 09:18:13 GMT
So long and goodbye 2020 So here we are, the first day of 2021 and looking back, what a year we're saying goodbye to. "Good riddance" springs to mind. 

Although 2020 has been phenomenally hard on nearly all of us it has had it's share of good points.

I'm a firm believer in making grateful lists every day, no matter how tough the day has felt. It doesn't have to be a great event that prompts me to be grateful, it's usually the littlest things that stir this feeling: watching the birds feeding in the garden, feeling some sunshine during a grey day, winning £2 on the lottery, eating home made pizzas.

Slowly, but surely, I'm training myself to keep finding those silver linings during the sunny days and stormy days. 


Back to 2020...

Instead of all the negatives, what are some things I can focus on to be grateful for?


  • Concentrating more on 3d work and illustration has meant I can continue to work and produce pictures without relying on close contact with people. Working digitally, from the corner of the dining room (a step up from the cupboard under the stairs) is a pretty Covid-safe environment.  
  • I've realised that my main focus is on making pictures. The methods involved have become secondary. Since I was 16 I've considered myself to be a photographer. In my mid forties I now consider myself an image maker. 
  • Realising I needed to create and be organised to preserve my sanity, this has been one of my most productive years. 
  • I'm seeing regular improvements in my work. 
  • I've managed to exercise fairly consistently.
  • I'm eating better than I was a year ago.
  • I'm growing a winter beard and quite like it. 
  • My loved ones have stayed safe and hopefully that'll continue into 2021. 


There's many more, but you get the idea. 

It's been a while since I updated this blog, but one of my goals for this year is to bring it back to life and write posts more regularly. Hopefully it'll be of interest to you reading.  

That's probably enough to get started.

I wish you all a happy, safe and successful 2021 and hope sincerely that the clouds of doom will pass soon. 





[email protected] (CLAYTON BASTIANI - Photography and Digital Illustration) 2020 2021 3d artist Bastiani Clayton Digital Grateful Gratitude Illustration Isle linings New of Photographer Photography Silver Wight Year Fri, 01 Jan 2021 10:30:30 GMT
A year in *DISCOUNT*

25% DISCOUNT BETWEEN 29th NOVEMBER AND 08th DECEMBER 2019 (excludes shipping)

WITH CODE: CB25Winter2019 



Hello Again :)

If you've been reading this blog, you'll know that my path took a new direction after opening a free 3d software package called Blender. I didn't really expect this to happen, but if I look back at the months leading up to this new adventure there were clear signs pointing me in this direction. For whatever reason, the Universe was sending out signals and, instead of ignoring them indefinitely, I stopped and thought "what the heck, I've nothing to lose".

Admittedly, I expected this to be an explorative dalliance at the beginning, but the more I've travelled along this route, the more I want to stay on this path.  

So here I am, a year into something that I don't want to quit. Something I cannot seem to let go of. A slightly altered version of my previous self. 

I don't know if I'm the greatest at setting goals but I find it's helped me to consider this as a three year imaginary college course. Year one's done and it's been about learning the basics, finding my way. exploring as many possibilities as I can. Looking at various options to see where my interests lie. Seeing all the possibilities and feeling alive each day with sparks of ideas as I sit at my computer taking little steps forward.   

With the beginning of year two in front of me I want to refine some of the things I've learnt and start focussing myself more. I can't wait to see how far I've progressed by the end of next year and year three. There's still so much I cannot do, but there's now a longer list of things I can do. I'm by no means the finished article (a concept I think is impossible in any case) but I'm happy with my progress...


Here's a recap of the past three months...

August to October

I've spent a bit more time playing with characters from Daz3d. My first attempts were a bit plasticky for my liking, so I've been finding ways to improve on this. The Blender addon Diffeomorphic Daz Importer has helped loads, making it a lot easier to import my characters into Blender and saving me a lot of time and effort in general. A few minor tweaks to their node setups and they're starting to look a little more like what I'm after. 

I've also started to explore the architectural kits by Kitbash3d . Kitbash3d make highly detailed buildings and environmental details. I can import these into Blender, add my own skies and lighting and create new worlds from the comfort of my dining room. Keep an eye on their site as they've recently released affordable mini kits and they're often running sales on individual kits. 

As well as the above I've been building elevators, interiors, trees and other things. Using other elements from Daz3d ,elements from the brilliant Quixel resources and elements of my own design as part of my current modelling process. 


The past year has not only been about learning, it's also been about using these new skills to create imagery that might be suitable for the book cover industry and I'm pleased to say that some of my new 3d work has been sold over this time through Arcangel Images


[email protected] (CLAYTON BASTIANI - Photography and Digital Illustration) 3d Arcangel Architecture Art Bastiani Blender Book CGI City Clayton Cover Daz3d Digital Illustration Illustrator Images Isle Of Photographer Photography Portrait Quixel Wight Fri, 29 Nov 2019 11:36:31 GMT
August 2019 Three Month Recap I'm behind on my blog, but a lot's been going on over the last few months. I'll try my best to catch up today and recap the last three months...


I'm self-teaching myself Blender 3d, trawling the internet for hints and tips to help understand and improve. You quickly become aware of several YouTubers offering excellent advice and you find yourself dipping into their videos over and again to learn a technique. I highly recommend Gleb Alexandrov. He's entertaining to listen to and gives out a lot of useful information. 

I knew I needed to invest in some extra learning though and as I've been mentally planning a series of pictures set in space, (but had no idea how to do them) I purchased Gleb and Aidy Burrows' SpaceVFX tutorials on sale through Blender Market. I'm so pleased I did. Hours of useful, easy to follow, tutorials teaching everything you need to get started on some space opera style sci-fi pictures. The results below speak for themselves. I'm hugely indebted to them as I think it would have taken me ages to work this stuff out on my own.



Ah, technical disasters!!!

My computer decided to crash. Big time. :( 

The weird thing is though, I wasn't too upset. I'd been asking The Universe for a better, faster computer, one that was able to cope better with the new 3d work and suddenly I was thrown into a position where I had to consider making the decision to upgrade my system. In it's own way The Universe was saying, "I've listened to ya kid. You're gonna get a new computer". It didn't come with an epic lottery win at the same time. But, hey ho, you can't have it all, all the time. 

A little while later and with a new set up from PCSpecialist I'm back up and running. And boy, what a difference. New graphics card and new computing speeds. What was taking an average of 6 hours to render is now taking about 30 minutes!!! The longest so far has only been an hour and a bit. Suddenly the game has changed. That does, however, mean there's more pressure on me to create, create, create.  



Quantity wise, this has been the best month so far. I tried some tricky architectural modelling and built a version of The Golden Gate Bridge. Built a simple swimming pool, terrarium and iceberg. Rigged some hands to create shadow puppets and re-visited Daz3d, playing with some of their characters to see if they could be useful in my new work. It's been a busy month.... 







[email protected] (CLAYTON BASTIANI - Photography and Digital Illustration) 3d Bastiani Blender Bridge Clayton Computer Daz3d Design Digital Fiction Illustration Isle Photo Photographer Photography Planet Pool Quixel Science Scifi Space Swimming Wight Thu, 01 Aug 2019 09:43:13 GMT
April 2019 mountains stairways and a little whimsy So the adventure continues...

April has been a busy month and I've been focusing on upping my productivity in Blender.

When I started working in 3d at the end of last year I had no idea how long each picture might take. You need to be patient: with the software; the modelling and the rendering. At the beginning, I was shocked by a four hour render time and now I consider that a bit of a luxury as a few have run into 18 to 20 hours. It all depends on what I'm asking the render to do and it isn't always helped by my ageing computer. Several times I've had to redo a render as it wasn't quite how I would have liked it. It pays to do a quick render first to check these things, but sometimes my desire to get work finished quickly gets in the way.  It does mean my computer's switched on a lot more than it used to be and, where possible, I'm running renders throughout the night so as not to interfere too much with the daytime hours.  

April began with stairs. Keeping it simple and improving the work through interesting lighting and textures. These two elements (combined with composition) can really transform a simple idea into something greater. I'm using the Quixel Megascans database of textures and materials more and more. There's so many to choose from. I'm paying closer attention to the UV maps I make to apply the textures to. This isn't my strong point and it's the bit that usually puts my mind into meltdown - trying to picture an object as if it were a flat piece of paper that can be folded into shape. Working out where to place the seams so that it all joins together in an almost imperceptible manner. This is where tutorials and online help is invaluable. The UV tutorial by Blender Guru is an incredibly helpful starting point... Blender Intermediate UV Unwrapping Tutorial 

The second half of April turned to landscape generation and snow capped mountains. I've been experimenting with both Blender's built in landscape generator and the Mirage landscape addon. Both do an excellent job of creating landscapes from canyons to mountains and all sorts of terrain in between, through tweaking the settings to determine size, height and so on... I've mainly been mixing the mountains with photographs of skies from my collections, but I've also attempted a few of my own 3d sky creations with the help of BlendMaster's Realistic Cloud tutorial. The mountain shots gave me an excuse to mix up some textures in Quixel's Mixer . Combining different snows and rocks to make new materials. I've only played with Mixer a few times, but I think it's something I'll be spending more time on in future. (I've already started creating textures for a space / planet set of pictures I want to work on in May). 

Finally, April included a lovely shoot with local model Ettienne. It gave me a good opportunity to experiment a bit more, mixing traditional photography with 3d skills.  There's potential in this technique so I'll push it some more when I can. I've noticed that my mind is working a little differently when I take pictures. I'm not just thinking about traditional photo editing software anymore. 

And so that's April's adventures finished... 

And onto May...





[email protected] (CLAYTON BASTIANI - Photography and Digital Illustration) 3d Architecture Archviz Art Bastiani Blender Brutalist Clayton Cold Composite Design Digital Fantasy Illustration Industrial Isle Landscape Megascans Mirage Mixer Mountains Of Photo Photographer Photography Quixel Snow Snowy Stairs Stairwell Steps Wight Wed, 01 May 2019 11:28:18 GMT
Updated adventures into 2019 And here we are, April the first. A happy second quarter to you all :)

It's been a good start to the year and I'm still totally lost and consumed by the world that is Blender and 3d. Through constant practise, I'm slowly learning the ropes. I reckon I've gone up at least one rung on the ladder over the past months, but so many more ahead of me. The great thing is, although I'm spending the majority of every day at this it doesn't feel like work. I keep making mistakes, but that's part of the journey. I'm really excited to check on my progress at the end of the year.

I'm still exploring the use of textures and trying to get to grips with UV unwrapping so those textures work on the objects I've made. I'm setting myself little modelling goals and then building pictures around the objects once they've been designed. 

I've also just found out about a photographic technique called photogrammetry (I'd never heard of it before this year). It's a way to create a 3D object from many photographs, taking pictures from all angles and feeding them into photogrammetry software. My computer and memory card are getting a bit long in the tooth, but Agisoft's Metashape (formerly PhotoScan) work on my PC so I've been making 3d objects at every opportunity and already experimenting to see how they might be useful for my book cover work. (See video below). 

[email protected] (CLAYTON BASTIANI - Photography and Digital Illustration) 3d Bastiani Blender Book Clayton Cover Design Digital Illustration Isle Megascans Of Photogrammetry Photographer Photography Quixel Wight Mon, 01 Apr 2019 17:45:29 GMT
New Year New Path Well, here we are, another year. I hope 2019's proving to be a good one for you all. :)

So what have I been up to recently...?

The last few months I've been lost in the 3D world that is Blender. Learning and learning and learning and learning... (Trust me, there's a lot to learn with this software). There's so much potential in it that I'm finding it hard not to continue down this path for a while longer. I'm still a total noob, but not as much as I was three months ago and I'm excited to see where I've gotten in another three months. 

So what have I learnt during the last weeks...?

I've learnt a few tricks to incorporate my own photography into my designs and I've learnt more about textures and materials. Textures make a design 'pop'. Suddenly a flat surface can be transformed into something with depth and quality and help bring the image to life. There's some great texture sites out there and software to help make your own. These are a selection of those I'm currently exploring.


Make your own:

Photoshop (subscription)

Materialize (free)


Free (CCO Licence) (donations welcome):

CCO Textures 

CG Bookcase


Paid (annual and monthly subscriptions):

Quixel Megascans



Of the two subscription sites, I decided to start my first subscription with Quixel Megascans, simply due to the nature assets as that's where my mind often wanders when thinking up pictures. They've included Bridge and Mixer into the package. Bridge makes it easier to locate the textures I have and Mixer provides the means to play with these assets to create new variations and this is promising for my future work as I improve some more.

I've also been playing with Graswald for Blender. A rather neat little grass making addon. 

Anyways, enough of the writing. Here's a selection of my January creations...





[email protected] (CLAYTON BASTIANI - Photography and Digital Illustration) 3d bastiani beam blender book cco cgi chains chair clayton countryside cover design graswald illustration isle jacket landscape light materials megascans milky night of photographer photography quixel rock rocks skies sky stairs subway textures tiled tiles toadstool torch underground way wight Fri, 08 Feb 2019 10:18:00 GMT
Adventures in the third dimension Always striving to push myself forward, out of my artistic comfort zones and into uncharted territory I thought I'd re-open my copy of Blender, a free 3d design software. It's an amazing piece of software that can do all sorts of stuff from 3d design to animation. (As far as I can tell, the list may be endless). 

I had toyed with Blender earlier this year, but it comes with a steep learning curve and due to time constraints I left it alone to sit untouched on my desktop. Until recently, when I decided I wanted to learn more and put aside some time to do so as the year comes to an end. 

The great thing about Blender, for a noob like myself, is the buzz of excitement you get every time you make something or learn something new and each little step leads to the next so that now I'm constantly thinking what can I make next and how can I make it?

Although it's a slight deviation from my usual photography I'm finding ways to introduce my photo work into the Blender process, either as textures, planes, environment lighting, etc.. and the software lets you adjust pixel dimensions, focal lengths, depth of field, grain and so on so I feel like I'm still taking pictures but with a virtual camera instead of my regular kit. 

With only weeks to go before 2019 I'm hoping to commit most of my remaining time this year to progressing with Blender to the point that it becomes an invaluable tool within my photography and illustration work. 


PS. I will be running a promotional code across my site tomorrow, 23rd November 2018. Keep an eye out for it if you are interested in buying any prints of my work :)



For those of you looking to get into Blender you can find the software by using the following link.

There's some great experts giving tutorials over on YouTube. I'd suggest starting with Andrew Price's Blender Guru course and then adding in the following tutors to your education experience. They give easy to follow instructions and make it all much more accessible. 

Blender Guru

Gleb Alexandrov

Mandala Motion

Derek Elliott

Grant Abbitt
















[email protected] (CLAYTON BASTIANI - Photography and Digital Illustration) 3d bastiani blender clayton design illustration isle of photographer photography wight Thu, 22 Nov 2018 12:56:48 GMT
Remember to listen to yourself as well as others In this modern age of chasing likes, comments and followers it's easy to get caught up in the game of trying to please everyone all of the time. I'll admit to getting a little flutter when a picture is liked and, likewise, feeling a little downhearted at seeing other photographers getting much more attention.

And then I remind myself of the fact that in many instances I made the picture to please myself first and others second. (Even on commercial work I aim to do it my way if possible, or say yes to the project as it holds an interest for me. Otherwise I'm probably the wrong guy for the job). Photography was once a hobby that I enjoyed so much I wanted to do it full time. Keeping that feeling alive is important.

Over the years I've had my work described as brilliant and inventive by some and boring and unoriginal by others. Everyone's opinion seems to differ and I think I'd go nuts if I tried to please them all. About 20 years ago I was told by an editor of a well known magazine that I probably wouldn't make it as a photographer as my personality was too quiet. Hey ho. I took on board his reasons but knew, deep down, I couldn't stop trying. (He did offer me some sound advice though that has helped loads on this journey). 

When I look through my work I ask... Did I enjoy taking it, editing it and get satisfaction from the final image? Yes. Brilliant! That's really all that matters. If people want to come along for the ride and show support I am eternally grateful. It all helps to keep me at this and put food on the table. And if my small amounts of likes and comments grow that's also good news, but hopefully it's because you like the end results as much as I do, rather than me seeking out your approval and needing validation. 


So, anyhoo, this week I've been lost in more landscapes. I don't know why, but it feels right at the moment. I'm enjoying taking them, working on them and seeing the end results. I've also been playing with the HDR features built into the Affinity Photo editing software

I hope you enjoy them. (Though if you don't, obviously I'm cool with that too). 



A little bit of fun with the liquify tools... 



[email protected] (CLAYTON BASTIANI - Photography and Digital Illustration) advice affinity bastiani clayton enjoyment island isle landscape manfrotto media nikon of opinions others photo photographer photography self social wight Mon, 03 Sep 2018 10:48:24 GMT
Storm clouds, car lights and the Milky Way The theme of the last month has definitely been the outdoors and since my last post I've managed to get outside a few more times, increasing my collection of landscapes, car lights and night shoot pictures.

I don't think I'm quite where I want to be with my Milky Way attempts yet, but I've had a chance to try out some of the things I've learnt and they're starting to show promise so I'll head out again in September and start refining what I've learnt so far.  I was pleasantly surprised to find I wasn't the only madman out at 2 in the morning as I passed a couple of photographers shooting in the vicinity! 

Always on the look out for new ways to work I purchased a copy of Skylum's Luminar editing software this week. First impressions are that it is quite powerful and could prove to be a worthy tool to add into my workflow. Of the pictures below I used Luminar to edit the blue dramatic sky and water shot.

I hope you enjoy the pictures. Now all I've got to do is invent a device that would allow more hours in the day as I seem to be struggling to keep up with all the things I want to do!





[email protected] (CLAYTON BASTIANI - Photography and Digital Illustration) bastiani clayton colour island isle landscape light milky night of photographer photography sandown streaks ventnor way wight Wed, 22 Aug 2018 10:21:32 GMT
Slowing down time with long exposures This Island is very seasonal and over the summer months I usually adapt myself in order to keep taking pictures. I've done plenty of sunrise shoots and wandered the quiet beaches with a model, camera gear and a thermos of coffee. (Having said that it's quiet at that time of day, you wouldn't believe how many times I've seen another photographer in the distance taking shots of the rising Sun)! Working at sunrise is good for many reasons including my outdoor nude photography work as it is rather opportunistic and the chances of getting any shots during the peak hours are few and far between when the 'grockles' are here. 

This year's sunrise shoots have slowed down a bit as I've switched my body clock slightly in favour of the later hours and gotten caught up in the whole evening / night time photography thing. I've been seeking out more noise and bustle to go into my shots, moving temporarily away from photographing people to explore landscapes and other avenues. 

This week has been an adventure in slowing down time through long exposures and looking for areas of traffic to create interesting light streaks taking me for walks in the countryside, along the beach and in more urban areas of The Island. 


[email protected] (CLAYTON BASTIANI - Photography and Digital Illustration) bastiani car clayton colour d750 dark dusk evening exposure glow island isle lights long manfrotto night nikon of photo photographer photography pier ryde shutter slow speed time wight Fri, 10 Aug 2018 09:21:53 GMT
Chasing Night Skies and Milky Ways Blimey, where's this year going? Has it really been that long since I last wrote something on here?

I have a constant list of photographs I'd like to get one day and getting some shots of The Milky Way has been hovering around the top of that list for some time now, but I'd be the first to admit to being an early bird rather than a night owl and I don't cope brilliantly on less sleep. That may be all about to change though...

The Isle of Wight is a good spot for catching The Milky Way, especially from the southern side. So last month me and me mate Christian headed out to see if we could find and photograph it.  For a first successful attempt I'm pleased with the results, though night photography comes with it's own set of problems to overcome and I've been overdosing on tutorials and information on how to improve.

With a head full of new information I can't wait to get out again, to try out some of the stuff I've learnt and improve. 







[email protected] (CLAYTON BASTIANI - Photography and Digital Illustration) Astrophotography Bastiani Clayton D750 Exposure Galaxy Island Isle Landscape Long Milky Night Nikon of Photographer Photography Slow Space Stars Way Wight Tue, 31 Jul 2018 11:10:19 GMT
Fascination with nature The world is a fascinating place. From the largest creation to the smallest and beyond. Every little thing has been considered (by nature or divine intervention - feel free to decide for yourself). 

I never meant to have a thing for bugs and insects, but these things happen.

I recently wrote a piece including a section on how to be inspired and how to find your path in photography. The biggest part is to look for patterns in your work. There's always patterns.

What are you into?

What do you want to photograph?

What do you enjoy photographing?

(Please remember there's no point to any of this if you're simply photographing things you don't enjoy).

Give it a while and those patterns emerge and show the paths you like to travel. 


And so here I am. Lots of pictures of bugs and insects.


What's it all about? Who Knows? I absolutely love their details. Incredible details. 

And on the bugs there are bugs....

And on those bugs there are bugs...

And on those bugs there are bugs...


You get the picture. 

Seriously, the world is a fascinating place.

Get fascinated. 


Ps. Maybe avoid an early drink for my next blog. But boy am I writing quickly. 


Clayton Bastiani Bug 009Clayton Bastiani Bug 009 Clayton Bastiani Bug 004Clayton Bastiani Bug 004 Clayton Bastiani Bug 014Clayton Bastiani Bug 014 Clayton Bastiani Bug 016Clayton Bastiani Bug 016 Clayton Bastiani Bug 010Clayton Bastiani Bug 010 Clayton Bastiani Bug 012Clayton Bastiani Bug 012 Clayton Bastiani Bug 017Clayton Bastiani Bug 017 Clayton Bastiani Bug 002Clayton Bastiani Bug 002 Clayton Bastiani Bug 003Clayton Bastiani Bug 003 Clayton Bastiani Bug 005Clayton Bastiani Bug 005 Clayton Bastiani Bug 006Clayton Bastiani Bug 006 Clayton Bastiani Bug 019Clayton Bastiani Bug 019 Clayton Bastiani Bug 001Clayton Bastiani Bug 001 Clayton Bastiani Bug 007Clayton Bastiani Bug 007 Clayton Bastiani Bug 008Clayton Bastiani Bug 008 Clayton Bastiani Bug 011Clayton Bastiani Bug 011 Clayton Bastiani Bug 020Clayton Bastiani Bug 020 Clayton Bastiani Bug 018Clayton Bastiani Bug 018 Clayton Bastiani Bug 013Clayton Bastiani Bug 013 Clayton Bastiani Bug 015Clayton Bastiani Bug 015 Clayton Bastiani Bug 028Clayton Bastiani Bug 028 Clayton Bastiani Bug 030Clayton Bastiani Bug 030 Clayton Bastiani Bug 029Clayton Bastiani Bug 029 Clayton Bastiani Bug 027Clayton Bastiani Bug 027 Clayton Bastiani Bug 023Clayton Bastiani Bug 023 Clayton Bastiani Bug 022Clayton Bastiani Bug 022 Clayton Bastiani Bug 024Clayton Bastiani Bug 024 Clayton Bastiani Bug 021Clayton Bastiani Bug 021 Clayton Bastiani Bug 025Clayton Bastiani Bug 025 Clayton Bastiani Bug 026Clayton Bastiani Bug 026



[email protected] (CLAYTON BASTIANI - Photography and Digital Illustration) bastiani bug clayton close colour insect macro nature organic photo photographer photography up Tue, 03 Oct 2017 18:02:31 GMT
A week with my new strobes I only went and bought some bloomin' strobe lights....


I'd made a list of all the bits and pieces I'd need if I wanted to set up a basic home studio and then thought right, over the next few months I'll put a bit aside and save up. 

And then I heard about a complete starter kit on ebay and that plan quickly went out the window. At around £140 this kit wasn't going to break the bank too much. It includes tripods, brollies, 3 flash heads, softboxes, triggers, bag... plenty to get me started.  

As far as I can tell the lights are re-badged versions of the Godox Mini Master 180w. For a room about 13 foot square they're plenty bright enough. I can replace the modelling lamp (although I'm barely leaving it on as they get rather hot and there's no cooling fan) but I can't replace the flash bulb. (No need as the whole unit is cheap enough to replace instead).

Nothing fancy. On off buttons for flash and modelling light. A tester button and a turn dial to adjust the flash brightness. I've got a light meter so it's easy enough to test the strength as I turn the dial. They don't have a regular modifier fitting, but I've tested them with a snoot and a bowens/universal adaptor and they work a treat. The tripods are rather light weight for my tastes, but work fine with due care.  All in all I'm rather pleased. 

I bought them as a starter kit and hope to learn loads over the coming months. Will they last a lifetime? Who knows? Maybe with care and attention.

Are they fun and easy to use? Hell yeah!

Here's a sample of the results from my first week with them, creating dark thriller style imagery for my book cover work:


If you're interested, the lights can be purchased here





[email protected] (CLAYTON BASTIANI - Photography and Digital Illustration) 180w bastiani black clayton colour ebay flash godox isle life mono monochrome of photo photographer photography purchase still strobe studio white wight Thu, 17 Aug 2017 09:12:48 GMT
Grey and Cloudy Starts on Dinosaur Isle I live on an island and I guess for some people just saying that can bring up visions of sandy beaches, palm trees, clear blue waters, high temperatures... et cetera, et cetera...

Only this island is at the south of the UK and since the schools have broken up we've had a lot of rain. And our seas are kinda murky, not clear. 

Don't get me wrong, on certain days the skies are beautiful, the days are warm and you can be the only person on a beach several miles long, imagining a time when dinosaurs roamed these parts and pretending to be a character from a Jules Verne novel who has stranded their U-Boat off the coast and discovered a long lost world.


A wonderful model, Joey21, made contact as she was down here on holiday and I suggested an early start so we could catch the sun rising and have the beach to ourselves. We started at 4am and drove to the beach. As expected, the beach was quiet, but it wasn't exactly golden, warm and didn't have the Sun saying "hello" to us both with it's warm rays of light. It was cold, grey and very cloudy. But nevermind, such are the joys of working on location.  The universe wanted us to have grey and cloudy, so you work with it as long as you can without feeling too cold (safety tip: it's important to keep your models alive and happy to work with you). Although the weather wasn't playing ball I think we did alright. 

A massive thank you to Joey21 for being an absolute trooper. 




[email protected] (CLAYTON BASTIANI - Photography and Digital Illustration) acrobatics bastiani beach cartwheel clayton colour dawn fashion isle joey21 joeymarie21 model of photo photographer photography portraiture sunrise wight Thu, 10 Aug 2017 11:02:28 GMT
Back to the studio and back to textures and overlays So I'm getting quite a bug for flash photography. Like using the pen tool or luminosity masks, I managed to avoid it for quite some time. Now I've started I'm not sure why I left it so long.

After working with the brilliant Nikita Caslida at Gavin Taylor's recent lighting workshop I got in contact and asked if we could do a shoot at our local studio, Studio2

I can't pretend to be an expert at flash yet. There was a lot of faffing and cursing as I tried to set things up, but there was a greater confidence behind all my mistakes. Even if I wasn't getting it right I was less scared to man handle the lights and try things out.

I am eternally grateful to Nikita for her patience. 

I assumed the finished pieces would be close to 'straight out of camera', only I started digging around my old folders of textures (papers, rusty tins, baking trays, etc...) and things just kind of took off from there and I'm loving the results. Although there's similarities between the set I challenged myself to make every picture different. I haven't spent time with textures for a while and it was good to go back to old working methods, applying new learnt techniques. 

There's more to come, but here's the results so far...

In the meantime, it's back to practising frequency separation techniques. There's always something to learn :)









[email protected] (CLAYTON BASTIANI - Photography and Digital Illustration) bastiani book caslida clayton colour cover creative illustration isle jacket model nikita of overlay photo photographer photography portrait portraiture ryde studio studio2 texture wight Thu, 27 Jul 2017 09:33:56 GMT
Mental blocks and the wonder of Laurel and Hardy Sometimes, when I show people my work, they will ask how I manage to keep coming up with ideas for what to photograph. I usually laugh it off and take it as a complement, but inside I think off all the times I've hit a brick wall, mental blocks where nothing goes right for a while and the journey forward can be a struggle. I can see how looking back through almost a decade's worth of work can make it appear to be a stroll in the park, but I assure you (at least in my case) that isn't always so. 

So what do I do when this happens?

By far the best thing I've found for myself is to put aside whatever it is I'm stuck on. Mojo gone? Ideas lacking? Struggling with the commercial demands? General apathy towards my work? Let it burn in the back of the mind for a bit, rather than at the front. If I want to take a break from photography I go for a walk or start building something out of wood. If I want to stick with photography I start looking for new things to learn and whenever possible I try to make the experience enjoyable as it helps remind me why I got into taking pictures in the first place. A rekindling of a romance that began many years ago.

Projects develop in the process of all this. My 'Collections' Series, landscapes, nudes... These have all begun thanks to these moments. Each represents a a re-connection with photography and remind me of how much I love and enjoy this medium. It doesn't take too long before I'm firing on all cylinders and the world or photography seems ok again. 



Another project that has come out of these moments is my Animation work. At the moment it is simply for fun, but it is developing nicely and I can't wait to see where I am with it all in a few year's time.  There's strong links to the surreal sequential work of Duane Michals and the brilliant special effects of early cinema, especially Laurel and Hardy films. My current aim with them is to storyboard and produce a 30 second film, then a 3 minute film and then... Well, we'll see. 

The animations can be viewed here

I've created a separate folder for a couple containing nudity. These can be viewed here.


The Magician - Part Two






[email protected] (CLAYTON BASTIANI - Photography and Digital Illustration) Animated Animation Bastiani Black Block Clayton Creativity Film GIF Image Lapse Mental Mono Monochrome Motion Move Movement Movie Moving Photo Photographer Photography Short Stop Stop-Motion Surreal Time Time-lapse Video White Wed, 05 Jul 2017 10:42:51 GMT
Fantasy and make-believe I've always been a fan of fantasy and science fiction illustration. My one request every Christmas is for a copy of the latest edition of the Spectrum book - a fantastic, jaw dropping and inspirational, collection of fantasy and sci-fi illustration in both 2d and 3d. I've yet to get my attempts featured in the Spectrum Annual, but one day I hope to. 


I had the absolute pleasure of working with the model Kes Wild a few weeks back and we spent a couple of days down here on the Isle of Wight taking lots of pictures, covering all sorts of ideas and focusing quite a bit on the fantastical and otherworldly.

These types of pictures give me a chance to stretch my imagination and practise my Photoshop skills. Sometimes I have a definite plan and can bring them all together relatively quickly. At other times it's like doing a jigsaw without a picture guide and I have to wait for the image to tell me where it wants to go. The quickest will take somewhere between 4 and 8 hours. The longer ones might take a few weeks. Do a bit, step back, have a think. Is it working? Start again? What's missing? What needs to change...?

I reckon it might take me a few months to finish those I plan to work on (and to a standard I'm happy with), and I thank Kes for her patience. 

I'm very pleased with those I've managed to complete so far...

Model: Kes Wild.













[email protected] (CLAYTON BASTIANI - Photography and Digital Illustration) Art Bastiani Black Clayton Colour Composite Digital Ethereal Fairy Fairy-tale Fantasy Kes Model Monchrome Mono Otherworldly Photo Photographer Photography Photoshop Pirate Princess Tale Tower Wench White Wild Wed, 31 May 2017 08:46:19 GMT
Workshops and re-visiting flash photography Never be afraid to say you don't know everything. The learning is often the best part of the journey...


I used flash lighting at college many moons ago but then sort of stopped using it and, over time, developed an irrational fear for the subject, preferring sunshine instead. Put me in a studio and I look a bit like a perplexed and frightened rabbit. 

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a lighting workshop hosted by GT Imagery with the wonderful local model Nikita Caslida

Gavin enthusiastically and clearly explained, step by step, how to set up and light various fashion style shots. Answering all our questions along the way and then letting us try out the styles for ourselves. 

The evening was relaxed and fun and by the end of it much of my fear had gone and I can't wait to get back into the studio again to try things out and get better. I don't think I'll ever let go of sunshine, but I might have been converted enough to incorporate more flash photography in my future work. 

Watch this space. 

I strongly suggest anyone looking to get more into strobe photography keeps an eye on Gavin's workshops. Well worth attending. 

Thank you Gavin and Nikita :)


[email protected] (CLAYTON BASTIANI - Photography and Digital Illustration) Bastiani Beauty Black Caslida Clayton Colour Fashion G Gavin Imagery Isle Lighting Model Mono Nikita Of Photographer Photography Portrait Strobe T Taylor White Wight Workshop Wed, 24 May 2017 10:13:11 GMT
Return of the photogram and photographic competitions Welcome to my new site and new blog. 

Ah! New beginnings. 

So, what have I been up to this week..?


The Collection

There seems to be a run of photographic competitions to enter this time of the year. This week, I managed to enter the Lensculture Emerging Talent competition at with just hours to spare. 

I say it a lot, but I love experimenting with my photography. Going right back to my early days in the darkroom I enjoyed making camera-less pictures, following in the footsteps of photographers such as Man Ray / Lazlo Moholy-Nagy's photograms. I've been making my own photograms for some time now, dipping into the theme whenever I can, using digital enlarger technology rather than analogue. 

My first attempts were scientific / clinical studies, but eventually I realised that I could loosen up a bit and employ some of the skills I use in the post production of my other photography. I started combining pictures, playing with scale and creating juxtapositions of objects that would usually not exist together in such a manner.

I'm always collecting 'things' that might be useful in my photography (I'm sure this is heavily influenced by my Dad who had a shed stacked with 'stuff' as it might prove useful one day). It's a good excuse for me to go through my collections and turn them into pictures rather than leave them gathering dust.



[email protected] (CLAYTON BASTIANI - Photography and Digital Illustration) and bastiani black bugs camera-less clayton collection collections competition experimental insects isle leaf leaves mono monochrome museum nature odd of photo photogram photograms photographer photography strange surreal white wight Wed, 19 Oct 2016 16:32:39 GMT