The Bog Road

The Bog Road - Connemara
The Bog Road – Connemara

Wandering through the region of Connemara will bring you to some of the most magnificient and desolated scenery of Ireland. You will be probably impressed by its tranquil yet powerful landscape, something that will easily take you back a few decades.

Location: The Bog Road, Connemara, Galway County, West Ireland.

What to shoot: Capture the unique atmosphere of a surreal scenery, made of blanket bogs and tiny lakes, where purple heather and golden moor grass bloom. Probably you will not be the only human being there.. goats love this place even more than photographers.

Ideal time to shoot: All day long but you’ll get the best colours during a dawn or a sunset in autumn.

Gear: Wide angle lenses to standard zooms. Don’t forget your rain footwear, you will be impressed by how much water this land can hold, even in a sunny day.

How to get there: By car. Drive North from Roundstone on the R341 for 4 km, then turn left on the Bog Road towards Clifden.

Coordinates: 53°27′00″N 9°56′28″W

WPC: Grid.

A taste of Ireland

Derrylea Lough, Galway County - West Ireland
Derrylea Lough, Galway County – West Ireland

It has been quite a while since last post, but after moving to a new country and now settling with a new job, it’s time to start wandering length and breadth through the beautiful Ireland, looking for the best photographic spots and collecting as many tips and suggestions as possible to share with you, along with the usual pictures of course!

Let’s start with an image that summarize some of the most distinguishing features of Ireland’s nature: its emerald green land, deep blue sky and wild scenarios.

Location: Derrylea Lough in the Galway County, West Ireland.

What to shoot: The magic of Irish landscapes, changing continuously along with the light, the fast moving clouds, sending fleeting shadows and reflexes on the grass fields and lakes below.

Ideal time to shoot: All day long. The constantly changing sky will provide countless different conditions of light.

Gear: Wide angle lenses to standard zooms.

How to get there: By car. Take the N59 from Galway to Clifden and Connemara National Park. A parking area is easily accessible next to the lake.

Coordinates: 53°28′59″N 9°57′05″W

WPC: Connected.

Monticello – Jefferson’s house

Jefferson's Monticello
Jefferson’s Monticello

One last postcard from the United States from my last trip before starting again with some new views of Venice.

Location: This time we are in the beautiful state of Virginia, the “Mother of Presidents”, and our subject is the gorgeous Monticello plantation and house. Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, started building Monticello as his home. The plantation was originally used for extensive cultivation of tobacco, then shifted to a wheat plantation to respond to changing markets. The building and gardens reflect the polyhedric character of his owner, including his love for neoclassical architecture and experimentation in many scientific fields, starting from the ground, with plants and wine cultivation.

What to shoot: The building, with its Neoclassical style inspired by the architect Andrea Palladio, is a wonderful subject itself. Furthermore, you will find fabulous panoramas on the many vegetable gardens and smooth slopes around the house.

Ideal time to shoot: All day long, but consider that you can take advantage of the “Monticello Sunset Pass” and capture the scene right at the golden hour.

Gear: Wide angle lenses to standard zooms.

How to get there: Monticello is located just outside Charlottesville, Virginia, in the Piedmont region. You can reach it by car or taxi. Consider parking at the beginning of Thomas Jefferson Parkway, and enjoy a nice and smooth 2 miles stroll to the Monticello along the Saunders-Monticello Trail. You can find all the informations on the Monticello web site.

Coordinates: 38°00′29″N 78°27′16″W

WPC: Muse.

Sunset over The Seven Mile Bridge

Sunset over the Seven Mile Bridge
Sunset over the Seven Mile Bridge

The Old Seven Mile Bridge offers one of the most memorable walk or short bike ride ever. If you are visiting Florida, you probably wouldn’t miss the famous Overseas Highway, a 127.5 mile (205.2 km) highway carrying U.S. Route 1 (US 1) through the Florida Keys. I took this picture at sunset from the northern end of the old bridge.

Location: The Seven Mile Bridge is probably one of the most spectacular part of U.S. Route 1, but the old Seven Mile Bridge, constructed from 1909 to 1912 and repeatedly damaged by hurricanes, enshrines even more pathos than its younger brother. Being closed to traffic, it is an ideal destination for a relaxed bike ride or a walk, nonetheless for a spectacular photo session.

What to shoot: The new and old Seven Mile bridges run along connecting Knight’s Key, in the Middle Keys, to Little Duck Key, in the Lower Keys. The two bridges, suspended over the water where the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico meet, are a gorgeous subject for natural seascape and majestic architecture photography.

Ideal time to shoot: Florida Keys’ sunsets are well renowned for their beauty, and the old Seven Mile Bridge is one of the most gorgeous spot to spectate at this daily ritual taking place.

Gear: Wide angle lenses to capture the whole scene and emphasize the vastness of such a scenario; teles to focus on the little islands on the nearby and their wild life, enriched by thousands of birds.

How to get there: By car. Parking lots are easily accessible at both extremities of the bridge. From there it will be just a short walk to reach the old Seven Mile Bridge. Consider that the old bridge is interrupted in many sections; I suggest to try both ends and choose your favourite one.

Coordinates: 24°42′19″N 81°08′20″W

WPC: Off season.

Postcard from Venice: Traffic over the Grand Canal

Grand Canal - Morning Traffic
Grand Canal – Morning Traffic

I still have a couple of gorgeous photographic spots to share with you from my recent trip to the United States, but now is the time for a postcard from Venice: one of the most classic view of “Canal Grande”.

Location: Accademia Bridge (Ponte dell’Accademia). Together with the Rialto Bridge, the Ponte degli Scalzi, and the new Ponte della Costituzione, by Santiago Calatrava, it is one of the four bridges that cross the Grand Canal, is the major water-traffic corridor of Venice.

What to shoot: From Ponte dell’Accademia you’ll have a vantage point toward part of the Grand Canal with its pompous buildings, the church of Santa Maria della Salute, and Punta della Dogana, where the water of the Canal Grande meets Saint Mark Basin’s ones.

Ideal time to shoot: Sunrise of course, but don’t think to be there alone. This site has become one of the favorite spots by many local and foreigner photographers, and it get quite crowded on the weekends.

Gear: Wide angle lenses are ideal for creating very wide panoramas, while standard zooms (24-105mm) give you the widest range of possibilities, from panoramas to isolating the buildings or capturing the action on board of the gondolas.

How to get there: By foot is just a short walk (10 to 15 minutes) both from St. Mark Square and from the railway station. Public transport water bus station Accademia (line 1, 2).

Coordinates: 45°25′54″N 12°19′44″E

Night in Chinatown – New York

Chinatown
Chinatown

Chinatown has been our “nest” during the days we spent in New York last month. How not to pay homage to this colorful and lively niche in Manhattan? Here I share a picture I took during one of my early morning strolls, when I was heading towards the Brooklyn Bridge, but couldn’t resist to the magic atmosphere radiating from this spot.

Location: Chinatown, Manhattan, New York.

What to shot: The lively and colorful atmosphere of Chinatown’s streets.

Ideal time to shot: All day long.

Gear: Standard zooms.

How to get there: Subway N, Q, J, Z or 6 to Canal Street.

Coordinates: 40° 43′ 01″ N 74° 00′ 01″ W

Manhattan Skyline

Manhattan Skyline
Manhattan Skyline

Vacations are over, time to get back to everyday life and start again with our routine. Time to recollect memories and pictures too, of course! But also time to say a special “thanks” to all the persons who contributed making this journey through the United States something special: to Jean and Alex who greeted us in New York and spread their love for kayaking all over the world (check their website 2geeks3knots, and you’ll look forward for paddling too!), to my brother Guido and his friends, Thomas and Atsushi, who introduced us to Virginia from their campus in Charlottesville (good luck with your exams guys!), to Leigh of Shurr Adventures who drove us in an amazing kayak excursion through the flat water rivers and mangrove tunnels of the Everglades National Park, sharing her love and knowledge of the outdoors.

Let’s start from the beginning, a cold and cloudy morning in New York City, not depicting the hectic and colorful big apple’s life, still a gorgeous subject for a “minimalist” long exposure.

Location: Brooklyn Bridge Park.

What to shot: Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Skyline.

Ideal time to shot: Sunset.

Gear: Standard zooms.

How to get there: Subway 2 or 3 to Clark Street.

Coordinates: 40° 41′ 51″ N 73° 59′ 57″ W

Postcard from Venice – waiting for the Biennale

The Sky Over Nine Columns
The Sky Over Nine Columns

It has been a pretty busy week for me here in Venice, since I am moving from the neighborhood of Dorsoduro to the one of Castello. Many stuff to do left me with almost no time to take pictures, so I went trough my library to find this one of the amazing Biennale installation by Heinz Mack: the sky over nine columns. I am wondering what will bring us the forthcoming edition of the Biennale, starting next month.
But now it’s time for a holiday.. ready to fly to the United States.

Location: San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice.

What to shot: Venice’s skyline and lagoon, St Mark’s square, Punta della Dogana, and the Grand Canal.

Ideal time to shot: Sunset.

Gear: Wide angles to Standard Zooms.

How to get there: Public transport water bus stations S. Giorgio (line 2).

Coordinates: 45°25′45″N 12°20′35″E

Postcard from Venice

Giudecca's Canal
Giudecca’s Canal

My postcard from Venice of the week is another twilight view from the top of San Giorgio Maggiore’s bell tower. I blended two images to get this final result. I took the first exposure just a few minutes before sunset, to have the best from the sky. Then I waited 20 minutes for the sun to set and the lights of the city to get on and shot the second exposure. In the foreground is the church of San Giorgio Maggiore, while in the background are the island of Giudecca and another of my favorite spots: Punta della Dogana.

Still planning my forthcoming trip to the United States; thank you all for the useful tips I have already received, I will surely try to put them at good use! 😉

Location: The Campanile of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice.

What to shot: Venice’s skyline and lagoon, St Mark’s square, Punta della Dogana, and the Grand Canal.

Ideal time to shot: Sunset. Opening hours and prices here.

Gear: Anything from wide angles to teles, it really depends on what you have in mind for your pictures.

How to get there: Public transport water bus stations S. Giorgio (line 2).

Coordinates: 45°25′45″N 12°20′35″E

WPC: Fresh.

Manhattan Skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge

Manhattan Skyline and Brooklyn Bridge
Manhattan Skyline and Brooklyn Bridge

It’s time to go on a vacation! In April I will be back to the United States, where I will spend three weeks. I’m planning to visit New York, Charlottesville and Florida, so any tips, hints or suggestions on places to visit and when or where to take pictures are welcome!

Location: Brooklyn Bridge Park.

What to shot: Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Skyline.

Ideal time to shot: Sunset.

Gear: Standard zooms.

How to get there: Subway 2 or 3 to Clark Street.

Coordinates: 40° 41′ 51″ N 73° 59′ 57″ W

Calatrava’s Bridge – Ponte della Costituzione

Calatrava's Bridge
Ponte della Costituzione

Picture of a different Venice: Calatrava’s Bridge.

Many controversies has accompanied The “Ponte della Costituzione” (Calatrava’s Bridge) since its planning: the final realization costs have doubled the initial budget of the project, its relatively steep pavement and small steps have caused many falls, and even its usefulness has been argued.

Still, this fourth bridge crossing the Grand Canal has captured my attention more than once, and I think it is well worth a couple of pictures. This bridge connect Piazzale Roma, the entrance to Venice accessible to motor vehicles, to the rest of Venice. Its style itself seems to bridge the gap between the past and the future, or between the decorative medieval architecture of Venice and the pure lines of the modern architecture. Calatrava’s bridge merges in a minimalist style both elements and materials from different period. A modern structure made of steel tubes forms the core of an arched truss bridge while the stairway is paved with the traditional pietra d’Istria, alternated with tempered glass steps. The parapet is also glass, with a bronze handrail on top. A pleasant concealed lighting emphasizes with its fluorescentness the smooth lines of the structure and the quality of its materials, giving a futuristic touch to the ensemble.

Location: The “Ponte della Costituzione” (Calatrava’s Bridge), Venice.

What to shot: The bridge itself.

Ideal time to shot: All day long.

Gear: Standard zooms.

How to get there: Public transport water bus station Piazzale Roma (line 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), public transport station terminal Piazzale Roma.

Coordinates: 45° 26′ 16″ N 12° 19′ 07″ E

Enjoying a Break – Venice

Enjoying a break - far from indiscreet looks
Enjoying a break – far from indiscreet looks

Location: The neighborhood west to St. Mark’s square, Venice.

What to shot: The street life in the neighborhood west to St. Mark’s square is quite busy. I love to leave the main street (Calle Larga XXII Marzo) to take the cross streets, a net of small alleys where a different life take place in which cooks, waiters and other attendants are busy with their jobs or just enjoy a quick break, only a few steps away from the touristic façade of Venice.

Ideal time to shot: All day long.

Gear: Standard zooms to teles.

How to get there: Public transport water bus station San Marco Vallaresso (line 1, 2).

Coordinates: 45° 25′ 52″ N 12° 20′ 10″ E

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reward you with a pause!

Carnival of Venice – Punta della Dogana

Carnival of Venice
Punta della Dogana

Back to one of my favorite spots to take pictures in Venice: “Punta della Dogana”. This time I framed it from the shoreline west to St. Mark’s square. This small piece of land really is worth a visit since it is wonderfully located in the middle of the lagoon of Venice, being both a cute subject itself and a fantastic vantage point to photograph St. Mark’s square and San Giorgio Maggiore.

Location: Docks west to St. Mark’s square, Venice.

What to shot: Punta della Dogana is a triangular tiny plot of land jutting into the waters between the Giudecca island and the Grand Canal. It offers a great view towards St. Mark’s Square at North East, and San Giorgio Maggiore Island at South East but it is also a fantastic subject for a picture itself, it is often used to lodge art works and is characterized by its ancient lamp who used to signal the way since the XIX century.

Ideal time to shot: All day long.

Gear: Standard zooms to teles.

How to get there: Public transport water bus station San Marco Vallaresso (line 1, 2).

Coordinates: 45° 25′ 52″ N 12° 20′ 10″ E

WPC

Carnival of Venice

Carnival of Venice
Carnival of Venice

Another picture of Venice. One of my favorite spots to make photographs is now just the blurred background to the event taking place in these days in Venice: the Carnival. Hundreds of masked characters fill the city, but if you want to photograph them you will have to keep yourself in the main streets, from St. Mark’s square to Rialto and Accademia, together with thousands between tourists and photographer. My tip to photograph the masks with more calmness is again to wake up early: at sunrise a lot of masks will be at St. Mark’s square prepared to be photographed in front of the gondolas with the first light of the day.

Location: Accademia Bridge (Ponte dell’Accademia). Together with the Rialto Bridge, the Ponte degli Scalzi, and the new Ponte della Costituzione, by Santiago Calatrava, it is one of the four bridges that cross the Grand Canal, the major water-traffic corridor of Venice.

What to shot: From Ponte dell’Accademia you’ll have a vantage point toward part of the Grand Canal with its pompous buildings, the church of Santa Maria della Salute, and Punta della Dogana, where the water of the Canal Grande meets Saint Mark Basin’s ones.

Ideal time to shot: Sunrise of course, but don’t think to be there alone. This site has become one of the favorite spots by many local and foreigner photographers, and it get quite crowded on the weekends.

Gear: Wide angle lenses are ideal for creating very wide panoramas, while standard zooms (24-105mm) give you the widest range of possibilities, from panoramas to isolating the buildings or capturing the action on board of the gondolas.

How to get there: By foot is just a short walk (10 to 15 minutes) both from St. Mark Square and from the railway station. Public transport water bus station Accademia (line 1, 2).

Coordinates: 45°25′54″N 12°19′44″E

St. Mark’s Square from Above

St Mark's Square - Venice
St Mark’s Square – Venice

Postcards from Venice: St. Mark’s Square from the top of San Giorgio Maggiore’s bell tower.

Location: The Campanile of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice.

What to shot: The view from the top of the building is surely one of the best views over Venice. An amazing advantage point to photograph Venice’s skyline and lagoon, St Mark’s square, Punta della Dogana, and the Grand Canal.

Ideal time to shot: Sunset. Opening hours and prices here.

Gear: Anything from wide angles to teles, it really depends on what you have in mind for your pictures.

How to get there: Public transport water bus stations S. Giorgio (line 2).

Coordinates: 45°25′45″N 12°20′35″E

WPC Scale.

Pictures of Venice – Burano

Sail Away
Chasing the Light – Burano

Sailing away from Venice I have been chasing the light of Burano in a cloudy winter day to take this picture. This small group of 4 islands linked by bridges is well known for its brightly coloured houses, for the traditional lace handcraft, and for its culinary specialties as the “bussolà buranello” cookies, really something you have to try when visiting this place, a lot of calories but it is definitely worth it! Moreover, Burano offers always a lot of great photographic occasions with its peculiar atmosphere and vivid colours. This week I focused on the fisherman’s boats at the docks on the west side of the island, moving away from the busiest alleys of the islands and enjoying a gorgeous sunset over the stillness of the venetian lagoon.

Location: Burano, Venice.

What to shot: Busy alleys sided by rows of coloured houses, their reflections on the canals, and their peculiar details. Landscapes photographer will enjoy a stroll on the outer ways, facing the lagoon with a view over the other islands in the nearby.

Ideal time to shot: All day long.

Gear: Standard zooms in the 24-105 mm range.

How to get there: Public transport water bus station line 12.

Coordinates: 45°29’03” N 12°25’06” E

WPC: Depth

Pictures of Venice: Grand Canal

Grand Canal
Grand Canal

I went to the same place as for the previous post to photograph this picture of Venice but, as promised, I put more colors and movement than I did last week. How to achieve that is quite simple. I went to the Rialto Bridge in the afternoon, half an hour before the sunset, and patiently “fought” to reach the western parapet of the bridge. Yes, you are suppose to struggle a bit at that time, since hundreds of persons long for a selfie with that magnificent view of Venice, but once you get your part of the parapet all for yourself, most of the work will be done. You will have the sinuous curve of the Grand Canal below you, flanked by two row of sumptuous buildings, leading the eyes through the frame. The sun will set right in front of view during the winter and slightly to the right in summertime. The busy street on the right side, with all its restaurants and lamps will be a great foreground. Finally you will enjoy playing with the shutter speed to freeze the gondolas and water buses passing below or to blur them in a longer exposure.

Really a “can’t miss” spot for all the photography lovers coming to Venice in my opinion. Probably next week we will move to Burano island, to fill up with the colors of its quaint houses once again, but it all depends on the weather.. so crossed fingers! 😉

Location: The Rialto Bridge, over the Grand Canal (Canal Grande).

What to shot: The Grand Canal, its buildings, the traffic of the water buses, boats and gondolas.

Ideal time to shot: Sunrise for an almost desert view of Venice. Sunset and the blue hour for a more busy atmosphere, but consider that at this time there will be a lot of people sharing the bridge with you and placing a tripod could be difficult.

Gear: Wide angle to standard zooms.

How to get there: Public water bus station Rialto (line 1, 2).

Coordinates: 45°26′16″N 12°20′09″E

WPC: express yourself

Pictures of Venice: Stillness at Rialto

Stillness on the Grand Canal
Stillness on the Grand Canal

A classic picture of Venice, almost a postcard of the city: the view from the Rialto Bridge. I just took advantage of two simple technical choices to give the picture a different look. Following the motto “less is more”, I went for a simple, minimalist composition, as in my previous post Stillness. To do that I just used a long exposure, that wiped out all the traffic on the Grand Canal and the people on the streets. The second trick is overexposing the scene, so to blank out any color and definition from the sky. At the end only the buildings are left, with their simple, pure profiles.

Next week colors, movements and lights will be back in a big way, with a busy night picture of the same view.

Location: The Rialto Bridge, over the Grand Canal (Canal Grande).

What to shot: The Grand Canal, its buildings, the traffic of the water buses, boats and gondolas.

Ideal time to shot: Sunrise for an almost desert view of Venice. Sunset and the blue hour for a more busy atmosphere, but consider that at this time there will be a lot of people sharing the bridge with you and placing a tripod could be difficult.

Gear: Wide angle to standard zooms.

How to get there: Public water bus station Rialto (line 1, 2).

Coordinates: 45°26′16″N 12°20′09″E

WPC: Serenity

Bird’s eye view of Venice

Grand Canal and Punta della Dogana
Grand Canal and Punta della Dogana

“The best view of Venice!” That’s what a friend of mine said speaking about the photographic spot I am going to share with you this week.

It is difficult to take pictures of the most famous places in the world and to be original while doing it, but looking for different points of view may really help. The Campanile of San Giorgio Maggiore has been recently opened to the public. It is less crowded and cheaper than the more known Campanile of St Mark and offers some of the best aerial views of Venice.

Location: The Campanile of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice.

What to shot: From the top of the building you will enjoy a breathtaking 360 degree panorama of Venice’s skyline and lagoon, with a gorgeous view of St Mark’s square, Punta della Dogana, and the Grand Canal.

Ideal time to shot: Check the opening hours and prices here and try to be there at sunset but anytime during the day will be worthy.

Gear: Anything from wide angles to teles, it really depends on what you have in mind for your pictures.

How to get there: Public transport water bus stations S. Giorgio (line 2).

Coordinates: 45°25′45″N 12°20′35″E

With this entry I also partecipate to the WPC “shadowed“.

Stillness

Santa Maria della Salute - Venice
Santa Maria della Salute – Venice

Let’s start this new year of blogging with one of the most iconic views of Venice. The picture of Santa Maria della Salute church, from the Accademia bridge, is one of those that everyone who is visiting Venice doesn’t want to miss, from the pro photographer to the most absent-minded point and shoot owner. But from just clicking the shutter in front of a cityscape that inspired thousands of painters and photographers, to taking home a picture that will fill your eyes with joy, a lot of water passes under the bridge! 😉 And many things need to be considered. As usual, some tips can be very useful, and I am going to share some of them every week. Let’s start with the basics: wake up early. Timing is essential in photography. Being there early will put you in the favorite condition to be on the site almost alone, that’s a pretty good advantage considering that during the day you could have to fight with a crowd to take your pictures; moreover the sun will rise right behind the church cupolas, giving often gorgeous colors to the sky over the church. Another tip for you is be aware of the small movement of the bridge itself: being built with wood boards it is quite susceptible to the people walking, that can cause a micro blur on your longest exposures.

That’s all folks. See you next week with another picture of one of the most iconic view in Venice.

Location: Accademia bridge, over the Grand Canal (Canal Grande), the major water-traffic corridor of Venice.

What to shot: The Grand Canal with its pompous buildings and the church of Santa Maria della Salute.

Ideal time to shot: At sunrise you can frame with the sun just behind the church of Santa Maria della Salute. Also for this reason this site has become one of the favorite spots by many local and foreigner photographers. At night the church’s cupolas are amazingly illuminated.

Gear: Wide angle to standard zooms.

How to get there: By foot is just a short walk (10 to 15 minutes) both from St. Mark Square and from the railway station. Public transport water bus station Accademia (line 1, 2).

Coordinates: 45°25′54″N 12°19′44″E

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