Ponte Vecchio, Florence Italy

Ponte Vecchio; Florence Italy copyright jmeyersforeman

Ponte Vecchio; Florence Italy copyright jmeyersforeman 

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?

 

the Duomo at night

The Duomo; Florence Italy by night; coypright jmeyersforeman

The Duomo; Florence Italy by night; copyright jmeyersforeman 

Enjoying Florence at night

 

Bologna Italy; abstract lines in the Piazza

Abstract lines Architecture and Public Spaces in Bologna Italy; copyrigh jmeyersforeman

Abstract lines Architecture and Public Spaces in Bologna Italy; copyrigh jmeyersforeman

IMG_7886

Abstract lines Architecture and Public Spaces in Bologna Italy; copyright jmeyersforeman 

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.

Cycling on the streets of Bologna Italy; After-Before

cycling on the streets of Bologna; final image; copyright jmeyersforeman

cycling on the streets of Bologna; final image; copyright jmeyersforeman

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.

after-before_concept, step one; copyright jmeyersforeman

after-before_concept, step one; copyright jmeyersforeman

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.

after-before_2nd step, concept; copyright jmeyersforeman

after-before_2nd step, concept; copyright jmeyersforeman

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.

Ravenna Italy; Art and Architecture

Basilica Di S. Vitale; copyright jmeyersforeman

Basilica Di S. Vitale; copyright jmeyersforeman

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.

Basilica Di S. Vitale; copyright jmeyersforem

Basilica Di S. Vitale; copyright jmeyersforem

Basilica Di S. Vitale; copyright jmeyersforem

Basilica Di S. Vitale; copyright jmeyersforem

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.

In the cupola of the Neonian Bapistery, the Mosaic "Crhistening of Jesus

In the cupola of the Neonian Bapistery, the Mosaic “Christening of Jesus

A closer view of the centre art piece

In the cupola of the Neonian Bapistery, the Mosaic "Crhistening of Jesus

In the cupola of the Neonian Bapistery, the Mosaic “Christening of Jesus 

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.

Basilica Saint Apollinare Nuovo

Basilica Saint Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna Italy; copyright jmeyersforeman 

some of the detailed mosaic work of the Basilica Saint Apollinaire Nuovo.

 

The Magi_Basilica of S. Apollinairs Nuovo

The Magi_Basilica of S. Apollinairs 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!

 

Steel, Architectural Lines, and Bridges; Monochrome Madness Week 33

Steel, Architectural Lines and Bridges, copyright jmeyersforeman

Steel, Architectural Lines and Bridges, copyright jmeyersforeman

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 seen from the Piazza Maggiore

San Petronio, Bologna Italy, copyright jmeyersforeman

San Petronio, Bologna Italy, copyright jmeyersforeman

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

Mortadella Festival in Bologna Italy

Along the Via Zamboni; copyright jmeyersforeman

 The Church of Saint Giacomo Maggiore, along the Via Zamboni; copyright jmeyersforeman 

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…..

Bands play for the crowds, Bologna Italy; copyright jmeyersforeman

Bands play for the crowds, Bologna Italy; copyright jmeyersforeman  

Bubbles for the kids to chase, Bologna Italy; copyright jmeyersforeman

Bubbles for the kids to chase, Bologna Italy; copyright jmeyersforeman 

Dinner in the sidewalk cafe; copyright jmeyersforeman

Dinner in the sidewalk cafe; copyright jmeyersforeman 

 

 

Bologna Italy;

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San Petronio and the two towers of Bologna; copyright jmeyersforeman 

Our first day in Bologna Italy, and we find the streets busy, many of the streets closed for a festival, bands and buskers performing everywhere and tents up in Piazza Maggore giving away and selling samples of their Mortadella.

San Petronio is the patron saint of the city and the two towers are one of the Bologna’s most famous landmarks. The skyline of  Bologna is distinctive with about 20 of the medieval towers remaining, power symbols belonging to the richest families. It must have been like the Manhattan of the middle ages! The twin towers here have become the symbol of the city.

Ms. Martodella, Bologna Italy, copyright jmeyersforeman

Ms. Martodella, Bologna Italy, copyright jmeyersforeman 

Ms Martodella, one of the many wandering the Piazza Maggore and enjoying the festival.

I did participate in the Scott Kelby World Wide Photo Walk, one of two or three here in the city of Bologna, and these are just two of the many images taken during the day.

Last day in Verona; foggy, rainy, but warm and worth the visit!

Ponte Scaligero, Verona Italy; copyright jmeyersforeman

Ponte Scaligero, Verona Italy; copyright jmeyersforeman

One of the many bridges of Verona, and just one of the many places we visited during our three days in the city!

Despite the weather we enjoyed our visit, and we are now off the Bologna, a short 1 hour train ride south of Verona, and with one more good night sleep I will, hopefully, be over the jet-lag, and have something interesting to tell you about our visit!