Italy August 2019 - Ten days three Cities
Rome, Florence and Pisa, three cities with a lot to offer a photographer.
My journey started in Rome where I stayed for five nights, followed by Florence for three night and Pisa for two night.
My daily routine started with a hearty breakfast at my hotel. Usually I was on the road by 8.30-9am, so I could visit the attractions before the mid-day sun. While I was there the hottest temperature got up to 38, so it was essential to get out early to avoid the extreme midday sun. In the afternoon I would return to the hotel, have some lunch and take a rest. By 5-6pm, I would be raring to go again.
All three cities are beautiful with their own character and energy. Rome is vast with such attractions as the Colesseum, the Forum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps to name but a few attractions. Florence is a lot smaller, but very beautiful with so much to offer in terms of Renaissance art and architecture. Pisa, the smallest city of the three has its obvious attraction, the Leaning Tower, a really attractive building with the added attraction of its 40º + lean.
All three cities are great for photographers, and offer so much in terms of the built environment and street life.
On this trip I took my 5DIII, a Tampon 24-70 f/2.8 lens, a Canon 17-40 f/4 lens, a Canon 70-200 f/4 lens, a Loewpro sling bag, a Benro travel tripod, a 7-Stopper ND circular filter, a remote shutter release, and that it!
Street Photography: Armed with my 5DIII and my Tamron 24-70mm lens, I start by setting my exposure mode to Aperture Priority. I set my aperture to f/8, ISO to 400 and keep an eye on the shutter speed depending on the lighting conditions. This is just a starting point for me, and I constantly adjust the aperture and ISO depending on the look I want and the brightness of where I am photographing. If I am photographing in bright light, I will reduce the ISO to 100, and if photographing in darker areas, I will increase the ISO to whatever value gives me the desired shutter speed to freeze the action. Outdoors, I went up to 800 ISO on occasions, especially in dark alleyways. With the aperture setting, I usually try to get sharp detail throughout the image, so I would shoot at f/8 to f/11. These apertures record light using the best part of the lens glass, and offer the sharpest results.
Night Photography/Long Exposures: All the long exposures were taken in the blue hour, that period of twilight before it get dark. I would have a set location where I wanted to photograph, and know the best time to hit that location to get the best results. Equipment wise I only used my Benro tripod, my Canon 5DIII, a remote shutter release and my Tamron 24-70 F/2.8, or Canon 17-40 f/4 lens. My camera exposure mode was set to manual, aperture was usually set to between f/8 and f/11, ISO to 50-100, and the shutter speed varied depending on the light.
Street Photography: With my street photos I am looking for things that interest me visually and intellectually. Humour is a big part of my photography, so I am constantly on the lookout for quirky humorous happenings around me. I have no real plan when taking street photos apart for the route I'm taking. Things just happen around you, and you have to be quick off the mark to capture them. Sometimes, I may approach a person of interest to photography them, but this is rare. For me, the great thing about street photography is the randomness of it. You just have to get out and walk around and open your eyes to the possibilities. That said, it always takes me a few hours to get back in the groove. Photographing complete strangers in public, often up close, takes a bit of nerve and savvy, and if you are not doing it everyday it take a while to get back into it.
Night Photography/Long Exposures: Every city I go to, I usually have a few locations lined-up for special attention. I will have done my homework long before I arrive on location. This usually comprises of notes on possible viewpoints, equipment required, time to be there and how to get there. I usually aim for only of one or two an evening, because of the fleeting light restrictions.
If you haven't been to any of these three magnificent cities you are missing out. All three offer so much for a photographer and are easy to get around. When you do decide to go, just remember to bring good walking shoes. Rome in particular is rough underfoot with cobbled streets in places. In the time I was there, I covered 110km on foot, so I was glad I had comfortable shoes on. Overall, I am happy with the work I did there and the experiences I had. Until next time, arrivederci amici miei!