We have had a few rainy days, or at least rainy afternoons while visiting Italy, but the rain has not slowed down our sightseeing. The tables and chairs go unused but they are a great inspiration for street photography. The beautiful line of tables and chairs forming a leading line through the photo, to the windows, and the reflections of people and umbrellas. I think the red umbrella is the perfect example of the story coming together in one simple photo. Rain or no rain, it was another great day.
I have been following and contributing to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness on a fairly regular basis; her monochromatic theme post with submissions from other photographers is catching on, and the submission are growing weekly! It has provided incentive to work a little more in black and white, and not every photo looks better when converted to this format. I must say it seems to me that this is often a good options for processing when the image is taken on a rainy day!
This image taken in Ravenna Italy of all the chrome table and chairs lacked luster, and seemed busy and chaotic, converting it to a monochromatic the repetitive circle and curved lines of the tables and chairs lead your eye to the gentleman with the umbrella. That’s Bill walking ahead, I am waiting at this end of the tables waiting for him the get to just the right spot to take the photo! This image would not have been possible without the rain, had the sun been shining the tables and chairs would have been full of people!
We have been walking around Florence for a couple of days checking out all the recommended sights, seeing a few of the “must see” places, it seems there are so many more to see before we leave. On everyone’s list of must see is the Ponte Vecchio, that crosses the Arno River. It is the most ancient bridge of the city, according to the history books, it has been rebuilt several times since Roman times. This current structure was built in 1345, on the parapets many shops. This is one only bridge that the Germans did not blow up in 1944; spared as a work of art. From the centre of the bridge is a beautiful view of the river.
One the streets of Florence there are many artists working and selling their pictures, pen and ink drawings, water colours and even small acrylic canvases, all of them quite beautiful. All of them are quite unique in their own way and they all show different attractions of this famous city. I have been admiring the watercolours, so I decided to try to make an image that looked more like the water colour paintings I was seeing and less like the photos I was taking!
What do you think, do you think I have achieved my goal?
Enjoying Florence at night
We have been walking our feet off in Florence Italy, while I have been taking a lot of photos, I have not really had time to process any of them, so here is one more look at Bologna, and one of the great public spaces we walked through. It is a great use of lines, but I can’t decided if I like the horizontal or the vertical image better. Maybe I don’t need to choose, how about you which one do you like?
I hope you are having a great weekend.
In Bologna, the city centre with its narrow cobblestone street the bicycle seems to be the most popular and efficient form of transportation. The bikes are parked and chained up everywhere. This image started when I snapped the first image of a bike parked by a curb, and the cyclist was riding by. It felt like a Henri Cartier Bresson moment. I liked the first image, but after closer examination I realized I had framed the image wrong, and cut the from tire off, so I decided to start again.
I am in Bologna Italy, and I have plenty of time to sit on the curb and watch the crowd, and it seemed that there had been a bike by every few minutes! It was getting late in the afternoon, and the light was falling quickly, so I decided to set up my tripod, using a slow shutter speed would insure a sharp bicycle by the curb, and a blurred one with a rider over by the building – all I had to do now was wait.
Waited I did, I waited about 20 minutes or so, but no other bike rider came by. While waiting for the a bike rider to pass I did take a couple of frames of the bicycle parked by the curb, but it did lack a something, it seemed to be missing the story, it lacked the balance that the rider and cyclist provided.
It was now close to 7 pm, and the natural light disappeared, and I was done for the night! Time to try a different approach; I had two image, that did not quite work, one with the bike and rider, and one with the parked bike. Time to take the images to Photoshop.
My first step was to tone both images so the white balance, and natural light appeared close to the same. After that, I cut and copied the bike and rider from the first image and pasted it into the 2nd image. I used the transform tool to slightly alter the bike and rider to fit properly. When you cut and paste from one image to another Photoshop puts the addition onto a separate layer, this allowed me to alter the bike and rider without changing the whole image, I then changed the blend mode on the layer to darker. I am not sure why, but this gave the bike rider a slightly transparent look and allowed some of the background show through making a more natural image.
I could have stopped there, but it felt a little warm for an evening photo, so I decided to take the image into Nik Analog Pro 2, testing several different approaches I settled with using the classic camera #6 as a basis with some minor alterations, in tone, vignette, frame etc, I finally had the image I had originally visualized, the one you see at the beginning of the post.
It sounded like a lot of work, but since I knew precisely the image I was working towards it was relatively easy to achieve. My husband says that these posts are like a magician giving away his/her secrets, but I have learned a lot from different photographers, and reading blogs like Stacy Fisher’s Virtual Venturing. She puts together a After-Before Friday Forum; where a number of photographers share their after-before images and explain how it was done. I think of it less like a magician giving away the secrets as a painter teaching a painting class. The techniques can be copied step by step, but each image will be as different an as unique as the photographer who created them. Head on over to After-Before Forum at Virtual Venturing and see the other great work.
We took a short train ride from Bologna to visit Ravenna, during our day we managed to see 4 of the 8 UNESCO designated sites in the city. Pictured above is the Basilica Di S. Vitale, described in our guidebook as “The most glorious example of Byzantine art int he West” Instead of the traditional three naves of Gothic architecture it is octagonal in shape with a central dome supported by eight columns and arches.
Not far from there the Neonian Baptistery, the oldest of Ravenna’s ancient monuments, while it is a simple octagonal building, built with the short flat brick a traditional feature of the architecture in Northern Italy. The mosaic art were made in mid 5th century.
A closer view of the centre art piece
We also went to see the Basilica Saint Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna Italy, first built-in the mid 5th century, the interior has been modified several times. The ceiling was last modified in the 17th century.
some of the detailed mosaic work of the Basilica Saint Apollinaire Nuovo.
The mosaics are frescos are amazing, the photos hardly do them justice! We only had one day in Ravenna, it would be quite easy to spend 3 or 4 days enjoying the art and architecture, as well as the cafes and street life.
Now we are off to Florence for a few days!
It might just be me, but I like the underside of bridges, abstract architectural lines, form great graphic lines. We found this bridge in London England this summer while wandering the streets. Shades of grey to black it is the perfect monochromatic image for Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness, a blog post presented by Leanne Cole featuring submissions from more than 50 photographers. Check it out, there is some great black and white image from all over the world.
San Petronio, Bologna’s most famous and impressive church. It is the sixth largest church in Europe. Its size is impressive: 132 metres long by 66 metres wide by 45 metres tall with the facade reaching a height of 51 metres. Construction of the basilica began in 1390, the basilica should have been the largest in the world, but things didn’t go well: the pope didn’t approve of the idea of a church larger than St. Peters. The construction of the Basilica was put on hold for a long time, partly due to lack of funding and the technical challenges of achieving the very high Gothic vaults
The festival was on again, the streets were filled with people enjoying the music as well as the wonderful food. I have read that Bologna Italy has over 53 kilometers of arcades, arch covered streets, in the historical centre, where people can walk, shop, and enjoy life. Here is just a few images from my Sunday Street Photography practice…..