Tuesday, November 30, 2010

ABC Wednesday: T is for Tuscania

It was the third day of our tour at Tuscany.  We went straight to the town of Tuscania.  It is a very old town with history going back to the Etruscan period.  We went straight to the city square and was instructed to photograph the fountain.

It was really hard, the surrounding was very crowded with buildings, restaurants, small shops, people and cars.  We got a really good lesson on how to do composition and how to eliminate the unnecessary.

We then went up to the rampart, which has a very good view to the surrounding countryside.  Can you see the wire at the left hand side of the picture?  It is actually strings of an experimental musical instrument.

Here is a beautiful medieval building across the town that we can see from the rampart.

Here is a beautiful archway in the old town.  It is a very beautiful city to walk around.

We have shown this picture not too long ago in one of the ABC Wednesday posting.

The day was very beautiful.  We only stay at Tuscania till noon before heading out to Marta on the shore of Largo di Bolsena for more photography, but that is for another blog.

For more entries of ABC Wednesday click here.

Monday, November 22, 2010

ABC Wednesday: S is for Sorano

We visited Sorano the first day of our photographic tour at Southern Tuscany.  The first town after Proceno, where we stationed.  You can see our amazement when we first laid our eyes on this picture perfect medieval castle/fortification.

The houses almost look like LEGO and they are so well preserved.

We spent half an hour photograph this walkway, practicing using the fill-in flash for the foreground.  This one was by Grace.

This one was by Bradley.  Do not vote on which one of us took the better picture, of course Grace!!!

We got the chance to go into the old church that is semi-restored and use as exhibition space for the artists living in the region.  This is the entrance doorway.  I think Grace got this one perfectly

Grace took this one again and I did some clever exposure blending to get the scenery outside the window.

This is one of the artist's exhibition.

Outside the church, we were high above the village and had a good view over the rooftops.

Soon in the afternoon, it started raining.  We were stuck under an archway.  The wet stone walk added more interest to the photograph.  Then the street light was turned on, perfect!  Can you see the reflection of the light on the stone pavement?

To see more entries of ABC Wednesday click here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

ABC Wednesday: R is for Round

Round as upper half-Round of an arch,  the systemic use of the arch started from ancient Rome, no wonder we saw them almost everywhere during our trip to southern Tuscany last month.  Here, I am taking you for a Return trip to the town of Pitigliano, which we have shown its Roman aqueduct from a distance a few weeks ago.  Pitigliano is a very old town started from Etruscan era (before Rome).  Here is the Roman aqueduct up-close, see also the shadow of the arch on the ground.

It is at the entrance of the town, and has quite a lot of traffic.  We have to wait for our chance to have the road cleared of cars and people.  However, a couple of local people in the picture also definitely add interest to the image.

I also love this almost abstract presentation of the aqueduct taken by Grace.  Sorry, no Round arch shown here.

Here is from the opposite side of the road, the weather was amazingly nice that day.

Grace took this one and I love the composition and the reflection of the light on the wall.

There are many more archways inside the Town.  They were particularly challenging to photograph.  This one was a blending of two photographs taken at completely different exposure, one for the stairs and the other for the scene inside the distant arch.  The foreground of the stairway was further lighted by the camera flash.

This picture was taken similarly, the two persons in the arch certainly add interest to the picture.  Pitigliano is at the border of Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the Papal States in the middle-age.  Therefore the town has a flourishing and long-lived Jewish community.  Although no real Jewish community existed now, the old Jewish quarter has been restored.  The couple was admiring a Jewish bread shop.

Finally the sun has moved and it is time to head back.

A final look of the town and the Round arch of the Roman aqueduct.

To see more entries of ABC Wednesday click here.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

ABC Wednesday: Q is for a Quick Tour to Lake Como

It was the last day of our trip in Italy.  We had stayed in Milan for three days already.  Grace's conference also almost came to the end.  One of her important meetings was cancelled due to the air strike in France.  She asked me whether there is somewhere nearby Milan that we could make a Quick day trip.  I opened the map, and why not Lake Como.

When we were young and lived in Nice, France, we often talked about that we would drive to visit Lake Como.  But we never made the trip.  Now it is the opportunity!  We took an early train from Milan to Como.  The train ride took just over an hour.  These two pictures are Chiesa accanto al Duomo di Como.

Here is Torre e cupola del Como.  By this time, it was approaching noon and we started to look for something to eat.  I was really scared by the microwave pasta and risotto of tourist restaurants in Milan.  

Grace saw people walked into this Charcuterie and she followed them.  To our surprise, there is a small restaurant in the courtyard behind the store.  We can pick the food in the store and they can serve us in the courtyard. We had one of the most marvelous and inexpensive lunch in Italy!

After the meal, it was time for us to take the ferry for a Quick tour of the lake.  Here is a photo taken at Piazza Grimoldi on the way to the lake front.

While we were waiting for the ferry, we saw this old lady feeding pigeons by the lake.  The way she dressed made us feel going way back into the 1800s.

There were many sea gulls by the lake.  Click on the photo to see how clear the bird in the center is.  I have my new Nikon 28-300 lens.  I often think the sharpness of the lens at 300 mm may not be at optimum.  This image of the bird proved me wrong.

We did not have time to go too far into the lake.  This is our ferry destination Torno and we did not even came down the boat and took the same boat back.

There are many beautiful villas and palaces along the lake.

This one is at the town of Cernobbio.

This one is also at Cernobbio, can you see the castle ruin in the background half way up the mountain.

Finally we came back to where we started.  We can see the Duomo di Como in the background.

It was a fantastic day trip, but too Quick.  We hope one day we will visit Lake Como again and spend a few more days to visit the palaces and villages along the lake.

Too see more entries of ABC Wednesday click here.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

ABC Wednesday: P is for Proceno

Proceno is our home base during our Photographic excursion of Southern Tuscany.  This is the view of part of the village photographed from our window the afternoon that we arrived at the Castle by car from Rome.

The hill top village/castle has several thousand years of history and is one of the rare example of medieval fortification surviving in its original state.  You can see the tower of the castle in the early morning mist of this Photograph.

The Castello di Proceno, where we stayed, has belonged to the Cecchini Bisoni family for over 300 years.

Every morning, we walked down this street from the castle to a local bar in the village square to have breakfast, and met with our teacher and a fellow photographer to start the daily tour to the surrounding countryside.

The Bisoni family was kind enough to allow us into their private quarter.  Here is the view of their lovely living room in the castle.  We spent many hours practicing still life Photography in this room.

We were also allowed to venture into the castle tower.  Here is a view of the tower from the garden.  We even went back after dinner to Photograph the stars!

We also did a lot of still Photography in the Tower under the available dim light.  It was very challenging but also very rewarding.  Here is a view taken from inside the tower.

At the top of the tower we have a fantastic view of the Proceno village below.

The weather was a bit cloudy when we reached the top of the tower, then the sun came out.  We can see the light moving across the valley below.  What a beautiful scenery!

To see more entries of ABC Wednesday click here.


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