Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: [1] 2 »   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: My Christmas Vacation in Tuscany  (Read 8667 times)
Lisa Nikodym
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1702



WWW
« on: February 06, 2006, 09:47:39 PM »
ReplyReply

A couple of months ago, before my trip to Tuscany, I asked for suggestions here (and received some fine ones; thank you!).  Someone here who was going to Tuscany this spring wanted to see my photos, so, for him and anyone else who's interested, I've posted my best photos from the trip (with commentary for travellers) here:

Tuscany Photos

Unfortunately, I didn't get any of the classic "Tuscan landscape with cypress trees" photos (or perhaps fortunately  ; they do tend to be a bit overdone) because the weather was slightly foggy whenever we were in those sorts of landscapes, but I did get plenty of chances to photograph the cathedrals, quaint lanes, and things like that.

If you enjoy history, art, and places with an archaic atmosphere, Tuscany is fantastic for it.

Enjoy!

Lisa
« Last Edit: February 06, 2006, 09:48:16 PM by nniko » Logged

Eric Myrvaagnes
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 7970



WWW
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2006, 11:22:27 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
A couple of months ago, before my trip to Tuscany, I asked for suggestions here (and received some fine ones; thank you!).  Someone here who was going to Tuscany this spring wanted to see my photos, so, for him and anyone else who's interested, I've posted my best photos from the trip (with commentary for travellers) here:

Tuscany Photos

Unfortunately, I didn't get any of the classic "Tuscan landscape with cypress trees" photos (or perhaps fortunately  ; they do tend to be a bit overdone) because the weather was slightly foggy whenever we were in those sorts of landscapes, but I did get plenty of chances to photograph the cathedrals, quaint lanes, and things like that.

If you enjoy history, art, and places with an archaic atmosphere, Tuscany is fantastic for it.

Enjoy!

Lisa
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=57593\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks for posting them, Lisa. You've got my mouth watering. My "beloved spouse" and I will be leaving for Tuscany for six weeks at the end of March. I'm hoping that the tourists will still be in hibernation, but that the weather will be pleasant.

For my taste, your commentaries on the pictures are just right, even comments like ". . . Dante's Inferno (in which he compared the towered, encircling walls to something or other)."

Most of the towns you mention are on our itinerary, but I want to add the Monster Garden at Bomarzo. Again: thanks! They are a real treat. I'll put some of mine up on a webpage when I get back (mid-May).

Eric
Logged

-Eric Myrvaagnes

http://myrvaagnes.com  Visit my website. New images each season.
BlasR
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 760



WWW
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2006, 06:10:55 AM »
ReplyReply

Eric,
Enjoy your trip, when you come back will be exacly the time you will be getting your DVD #14
so, you are no going to miss it.


BlasR
Logged

Ray
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8884


« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2006, 08:23:03 AM »
ReplyReply

You've got some excellent shots there, Lisa. I particularly like the shadows of the torre on the Piazza Del Campo, Sienna. I would have loved to have got that shot but wasn't there at the right time of day. But I did manage to struggle up and down those 400 steps to get some panoramic shots of the city.

I still haven't sorted all the shots I took on that trip almost a year ago. In the mean time I've got my self another 4,000 or so images to sort through. I guess I just enjoy taking photos more than processing them   .
Logged
Eric Myrvaagnes
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 7970



WWW
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2006, 08:55:35 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote
Eric,
Enjoy your trip, when you come back will be exacly the time you will be getting your DVD #14
so, you are no going to miss it.
BlasR
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=57608\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
BlasR,

And your DVD #14 will surely arrive in Massachusetts a few weeks before mine gets to Massachusetts.    

But I'll use the extra time to try to process some of my trip photos.

Eric
Logged

-Eric Myrvaagnes

http://myrvaagnes.com  Visit my website. New images each season.
Ray
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8884


« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2006, 04:28:57 AM »
ReplyReply

Well, Lisa, this must be a disapointment to you as it would be to me if I'd gone to the trouble of presenting a distillation of my trip to Italy, only to get such a paltry response on the premier photosite on the web.

I really don't understand it. All your images look carefully crafted to me and well above the average snapshot. I think you've got that balance between highlights and shadows just right.

You've inspired me to revisit some shots I took of Sienna almost a year ago. I'll focus on the Piazzo Del Campo with the shadow of the Torre Del Mangla as in your shot below.

[attachment=222:attachment]

The square is usually packed with people, but the shadow of the tower intimates there something else. I'd like to build upon this shadow, with your permission.

I climbed it, leaving my partner down below tp wander around. Here are a few images of the shadow.
 
(1) The never ending stair well. I really can't remember whether it was 400 steps to the top or 400 up and down. It was a lot.

[attachment=223:attachment]

(2) A view of the square from halfway up, with grills to stop suiciders and
incompetents falling off.

[attachment=224:attachment]

And lastly, a view of the bells near the top. What! No view from the top? Yes. No view from the top. Do you really want to see snap shots of roof tops at mid-day?

[attachment=227:attachment]

Well, not quite lastly. There's an issue of graffiti. It's everywhere. Even on historic artifacts. In Singapore, such people would be flogged in public.

[attachment=226:attachment]
« Last Edit: February 09, 2006, 04:47:33 AM by Ray » Logged
Ray
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8884


« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2006, 05:20:21 AM »
ReplyReply

Now there's an interesting problem that one of the administrators might want to address. There are two thumbnails for the last image, but I can't remove one of them in edit mode.
Logged
Eric Myrvaagnes
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 7970



WWW
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2006, 08:18:46 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote
You've inspired me to revisit some shots I took of Sienna almost a year ago. I'll focus on the Piazzo Del Campo with the shadow of the Torre Del Mangla as in your shot below.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=57765\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Ray,

Thanks for sharing yours, too. I had noticed that Lisa had climbed a lot of towers to get some of her shots, and you did too. I've been wondering whether my ancient limbs will let me climb towers like the two of you, but seeing your shots, I'm certainly going to try some of them.

I agree that Lisa's are excellent, well-composed and well-exposed. Having spent most of my photographic career with film and light meters, I was especially impressed at how perfectly Lisa caught the exposure, with both highlight and shadow detail, in the interior shots. Then I had to keep reminding myself: "Histogram, histogram!"

You have both inspired me. I currently have about 43 GB of storage coming with me for my six weeks in Tuscany in April and May. I think I'll either have to get more, or plan to weed out the losers ruthlessly on a daily basis (something I generally tend to avoid).

Eric
Logged

-Eric Myrvaagnes

http://myrvaagnes.com  Visit my website. New images each season.
Lisa Nikodym
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1702



WWW
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2006, 08:13:33 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
(1) The never ending stair well. I really can't remember whether it was 400 steps to the top or 400 up and down. It was a lot.

Hi Ray -
My guidebook says it's about 500 (not 400) steps *each* way.  I somehow neglected to include my photo of the *outside* of the tower on the web page (not one of the better ones, but it's there now), showing that it's a looooong way up:
Torre del Mangia, Siena

And thanks for the kind words.  

Eric -
The Monster Park is actually not quite in Tuscany, but in northern Lazio; however, it was a relatively short drive down the autostrada (read: freeway) from Orvieto, if you're going to be in that area.
Hmmm.  We *did* climb a lot of towers (Siena, San Gimignano, Florence...).  That's what one does when both one and one's spouse have acrophilia (the opposite of acrophobia  ).  It's the best place for a good view of towns that have medieval-era twisting narrow streets.  Try to get in shape before your trip!

Ciao -
Lisa
Logged

Eric Myrvaagnes
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 7970



WWW
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2006, 11:23:27 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
Hi Ray -
My guidebook says it's about 500 (not 400) steps *each* way.  I somehow neglected to include my photo of the *outside* of the tower on the web page (not one of the better ones, but it's there now), showing that it's a looooong way up:
Torre del Mangia, Siena

And thanks for the kind words.  

Eric -
The Monster Park is actually not quite in Tuscany, but in northern Lazio; however, it was a relatively short drive down the autostrada (read: freeway) from Orvieto, if you're going to be in that area.
Hmmm.  We *did* climb a lot of towers (Siena, San Gimignano, Florence...).  That's what one does when both one and one's spouse have acrophilia (the opposite of acrophobia  ).  It's the best place for a good view of towns that have medieval-era twisting narrow streets.  Try to get in shape before your trip!

Ciao -
Lisa
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=57857\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Oooh! I get dizzy just looking at the photo of the tower!

Yes, I've started trying to get in shape. We'll be doing a lot of walking and eating (our favorite guidebook is the one called "Walking and Eating in Tuscany and Umbria"), so I've got to lose some weight before we go, to make room for that good Italian cooking.

We will be getting down near Lazio, so I'm sure we can fit in a trip to the Monsters.

Acrophilia, indeed! I don't mind heights much myself, and my wife and I do enjoy hiking in the mountains, but she doesn't like towers, so I may have to do one or two of them by myself, while she sits at the bottom with a good (and long) book.

Eric
Logged

-Eric Myrvaagnes

http://myrvaagnes.com  Visit my website. New images each season.
benInMA
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 186


« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2006, 08:31:08 AM »
ReplyReply

Nice shots - I went 11 years ago as a high school student.   Brings back some memories.

The technical details all look very nicely handled in your shots but I am wondering did you take any more of people you met, people on the street, etc.. ?

The pictures as arranged have a somewhat cold feeling and make the cities looks deserted.

My memory is of a very vibrant place with many people, there were lots of places where I interacted with people that I would have wanted to capture if I went back.  At the time I didn't really know anything about photography and even though I did shoot away with a film P&S camera I could certainly do better if I went back.

The scary thing is I don't know where the negatives went.
Logged
Lisa Nikodym
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1702



WWW
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2006, 10:19:02 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote
The technical details all look very nicely handled in your shots but I am wondering did you take any more of people you met, people on the street, etc.. ?

The pictures as arranged have a somewhat cold feeling and make the cities looks deserted.

My memory is of a very vibrant place with many people, there were lots of places where I interacted with people that I would have wanted to capture if I went back. At the time I didn't really know anything about photography and even though I did shoot away with a film P&S camera I could certainly do better if I went back.

I was there in an icy cold December, and it *was* as deserted as the pictures appear.  (The only exception was Florence, where, while deserted in the morning, had large crowds of people walking the streets Christmas shopping in the late afternoon and evening.)  There were so few people on the street in most places we were that it wasn't easy to take "people pictures" unobserved.  I don't tend to take pictures of specific people - I know many photographers enjoy it, but I feel uncomfortable about bothering people in order to get their picture, so I don't.  (Any suggestions from experienced street photographers on how they become comfortable photographing people on the street would be welcome...)

On the other hand, while there weren't many good opportunities to photograph people, there was *no* line at the Uffizi.  

Lisa
Logged

benInMA
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 186


« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2006, 11:55:53 AM »
ReplyReply

It's probably almost impossible to get the right vantage point but one thing that struck me when I went that would be absolutely amazing is if you could somehow get to a high point and get a nice wide angle shot of the crowd in front of St. Peter's Basilica waiting for an audience with the pope.

I'm not a great street photographer either.  I'll occasionally get some where I get some eye contact but I'm not at the point where I can talk to random people and get them to pose for me.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2006, 11:56:32 AM by benInMA » Logged
Ray
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8884


« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2006, 07:50:44 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote
...would be absolutely amazing is if you could somehow get to a high point and get a nice wide angle shot of the crowd in front of St. Peter's Basilica waiting for an audience with the pope.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=57903\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Unfortunately, the Pope died when I was in Rome, but the shot below of people spilling out of St peter's Square, the day after he died (if he died early in the morning, then it was the same day, can't remember), gives you an idea of the sorts of crowds you can expect in Italy (except in mid-winter, perhaps).

[attachment=233:attachment]

For some strange reason my partner decided to move against that tide of humanity and tried to actually get into the square ( I think she's really a bit religious). Being as gallant as ever, I told her I'd meet her in a restaurant (located just to the left of the scene above). When she returned half an hour later, having failed to get into the square as I had predicted, I was well into a juicy steak and bottle of red.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2006, 08:16:47 AM by Ray » Logged
Ray
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8884


« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2006, 09:49:11 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote
... I feel uncomfortable about bothering people in order to get their picture, so I don't.  (Any suggestions from experienced street photographers on how they become comfortable photographing people on the street would be welcome...)

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=57895\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Lisa,
I certainly don't claim to be an experienced street photographer, but the trick is to photograph peaople without them being aware that you are pointing a camera at them.

Here's an example of a shot I quite like, partly because I happened to have the right lens attached to my 20D, although initially I thought I had the wrong lens. I'd just been photographing the replica of David in the Piazza della Signoria with my 100-400 IS zoom, to get some close-ups without perspective distortion. Walking back to the hotel along a street, the name of which I've forgotten, but it doesn't matter, I noticed 7 young ladies sitting in a row eating what they'd (presumably)bought from the take-away behind them.

Now in Italy, I found, there's a great lack of places to sit; at the train station, at the airport, at the bus station, in fact just about everywhere. It's almost as though there's a national trait that considers sitting down in public shows a lack of respect (to whomever).

As I walked by these seven young ladies, I recognised a photo there, but I was far too close with a 100-400 zoom which, on the 20D, is equivalent to a shortest focal length of 160mm. I considered changing lenses briefly, but decided it was too cumbersome and obvious and ridiculous. So I walked away from them for about 20-30 metres down an opposite street, at the same time guesstimating an approptiate ISO and aperture, which was ISO 400 and F5.6. This resulted in an exposure of 1/125th.

When I saw a break in the almost constant stream of passers-by, I raised my camera and took this one shot as quickly and unobtrusively as possible. Unfortunately, I bungled the shot and had to crop out one of the ladies because I hadn't centred the shot accurately enough.

[attachment=234:attachment]
Logged
Mark Graf
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 73


WWW
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2006, 09:47:15 PM »
ReplyReply

Thanks for giving me a flavor of what's about to come this summer!  My wife and I are still tentatively planning on spending our 10th anniversary in Tuscany.   I liked the details you chose to emphasize in your images.

Did you have any travel problems in getting there, luggage, etc?

Mark
Logged

jani
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1604



WWW
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2006, 09:43:57 AM »
ReplyReply

Lisa, thanks for sharing a bunch of really good photographs, yet again.

I'm not turning green with envy, it's just the light from the monitor ...
Logged

Jan
Ray
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8884


« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2006, 10:25:27 AM »
ReplyReply

Mark,
I've been to Italy on that one occasion last year. I tend to have an aversion towards really crowded (and expensive) situations. It was basically my partner's wish to go there that was the driving force. We tried to get a compromise between excessively cold weather and excessive crowds by travelling in mid March to mid April. There were certainly problems lugging heavy suitcases around because we weren't on an organised tour and we were fairly budget conscious, but certainly some of those problems could have been solved by more expenditure on taxis and/or porters.

From an Australian perspective, I just found Italy ridiculously expensive. The Italians blame this on the switch from lira to euros. But that's just an excuse. Things are expensive because there's too much money chasing too few services; ie. too many tourists with money.

We tried to avoid the crowds but didn't succeed. We found ourselves unwittingly in Florence during Easter (because Easter came early last year). We had to queue for 4 hours to get into the Uffizi and 2 hours for the privilege of climbing the 200 (or was it 300) steps to the top of the Duomo dome.

When we happened to be in Rome, the Pope died, so that place was ... unbelievably crowded. (I almost wrote something else!!)

If I decide to visit Italy again (there's no doubt it's a fascinating country with a great wealth of art) I think I would choose October. There's also something to be said for packaged tours where your baggage is taken care of, from bus to hotel and hotel to bus.
Logged
Lisa Nikodym
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1702



WWW
« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2006, 11:53:55 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote
Did you have any travel problems in getting there, luggage, etc?

Mark

No problems.  I'm not sure whether you're asking about TSA problems, weight-carrying problems, or what.  If TSA problems, no problems (I carried my camera gear in a small camera bag in addition to my regular carry-on).  Regarding weight-carrying issues, we used taxis between Florence and Florence's airport, and had a rental car for everywhere else, so there were no problems.

Our one problem getting there or away involved the Florence airport.  The Pisa airport is much bigger (which I didn't know when I got the tickets).  When it was time to come home, there was heavy fog that day and planes couldn't take off from Florence (apparently their air navigation capabilities are very poor), so they had  to bus us to another airport which better air nav, which caused us to miss our trans-Atlantic flight home.  Fly into Pisa, or Milan, or Rome, or anywhere else other than Florence if you can (besides, they probably have more flights).

It's true that Italy is expensive, but really no more so than most other parts of Western Europe.  There's no way around the expense, so just spend what you can and try to not to worry too much about it.

As for avoiding crowds, there are several travel service web sites at which (for a small service charge) you can reserve tickets ahead of time for a specific time at the more popular museums such as the Uffizi, to avoid the long lines.  As always, if you can get up early in the morning and get to the most crowded places not long after they open, things will be *much* less crowded.

A fantasic travel resource on the web is the "Slow Travel" web site.  Its page on Italy is at:
http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/
The articles on driving & parking in Italy were particularly informative (and entertaining).  It has a wealth of information on various aspects of traveling (and living) in Italy.  I think it was somewhere there where I found a recommendation for a site to reserve museum tickets.

Ray:
Hey, you did more steps than you think!  The number of steps up the dome of the Duomo is something more like 450.

Ciao -
Lisa
Logged

Ray
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8884


« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2006, 10:00:59 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote
Ray:
Hey, you did more steps than you think!  The number of steps up the dome of the Duomo is something more like 450.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=58142\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Lisa,
That's probably because my partner has an aversion to climbing lots of steps so I would always try to downplay the actual number and have apparently ended up believing my own lies   .

You don't seem to have had much trouble with baggage on your Tuscany trip. That was perhaps the major negative experience for me. There were many times I wished I was travelling light with everything in a rucksack that was not too heavy to carry all day long, as I used to do in my youth. 20Kg suitcases which gradually increase to 30Kg as the holiday progresses, in addition to camera gear, tends to make one feel like a beast of burden.

Probably the second day in Italy was the worst, baggage-wise. (Or more appropriately, baggage-stupid.) We'd booked an apartment in Capri for a week. We made our way, from arrival at Rome airport, to Capri via Sorrento where we spent our first night. The next morning, we get a taxi to the pier for ferries to Capri. No problem so far. We buy our tickets. Not too expensive. We're early. We look for a place to sit, but no such place. There is a waiting room, but it's under renovation. So we trundle our suitcases for several hundred metres along uneven flagstones, both of us trying to think of procedures we might adopt if the little plastic wheels on the suitcases were to disintegrate, and eventually arrive at the place where the ferry will moor, when it arrives. There are a few other people already waiting. But no seats. It's quite cold and very windy, so we stand against a wall to shield ourselves from the cold wind. (This is the coldest March in 50 years, according to the locals - just our luck!)

The ferry arrives, reasonably on time. We heave and drag our heavy cases up the gangway, park them in the appropriate luggage area and then repeat the whole process on arrival at Capri, by which time we are getting tremendous respect for the toughness of those plastic wheels and their axles. Maybe they are indestructible.

We arrive at the taxi stand thinking our troubles are over. Show the driver the address of our apartment, but there appears to be some problem. The driver speaks a little English. I speak almost no Italian (After all, I'm of  English descent. Can't expect me to speak a foreign language.) I gather he can take us part of the way to the apartment, but from there on we must hire a porter because the road is too narrow. I'm trying to imagine an Italian porter carrying baqggage along a road or path too narrow for a taxi. I'm very confused at this stage. The taxi stand is right next to the bus terminus. A bit of quick thinking determines the bus is going to the same place the taxi will take us, at 1/10th the price. I don't need to persuade my partner to save the money and take the bus, but it's me who has to lug the suitcases up the steps into the bus. Okay! No problem. I can make sacrifices in order to save some money.

We arrive at the bus terminus the other end, but no porters. I refer to my phrase book and start asking, "Where are the porters?" Okay! That's the easy part. The porters are a hundred metres further up the road. I tell my partner to guard the baggage, by which I mean my camera and accessories, because by this time I don't really care much for the suitcases.

I walk up the road to check out what sort of porters these are and discover they are little battery operated trollies with a driver included. I'm grateful that the driver actually offers to drive down the road to where my partner is guarding the baggage. (I'm already thinking I might be required to drag the baggage to the porter.)

There's room on the the trolley for both the baggage and us. Not allowed, apparently. Insurance reasons no doubt. So we have to follow the trolley on foot. Do you think he will wait? No chance at all. He races off to a destination he's familiar with. We tag along far behind, asking everyone we meet for directions.

Eventually we arrive. We know we've arrived because we see our suitcases on the roadside at the foot of a series of 50 steps up to our apartment. (Or was that 70 steps?) Whatever, it was a very arduous lift. I remember being a bit embarrassed because about half way up, struggling across the front of another apartment lower down than ours, an octoganarian rose from his chair on his verandah and offered to help. Okay! maybe he was only in his seventies).

Anyway, the trouble was probably worth it. Early next morning, I threw open the doors to the balcony and was confronted with the following scene.

[attachment=241:attachment]
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 »   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad