My Lens Abroad » Capturing My Expat Adventures With My Lens

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Shooting Images in Italy


I have not blogged anything in quite some time.  Yep,I have a queue of images and postings waiting to make an appearance.  I do get caught up in the stories I like to tell.  The detail in the things I see is perhaps and why I want to share the image, why it was striking to me,etc.

 Which brings up another topic of HOW I capture the photos.  We can start this simply by what drives my inspiration.


Light, beautiful light and how I love it.  Yes, it seems that is something that Italy does not lack this time of year.  It seems to be much warm and more inviting as the days grow longer before we enter into the inferno of mid summer.  But, as we move into Spring, the colors seem richer, warmer and have the ability to add greater detail to all subjects.  It seems to burst through the trees, warm your face and soul. In this respect, I have to think…do I have enough light or will my lens be fast enough to capture this?  You can play with light, as it changes throughout the day.  The way it curves through a columns and ruins, early in the morning or late day.  Also, don’t think you need flash wherever you go, think of it as an old wives’ tale.  That is why I carry two-three lens with me at all times.  All sorts of differing eyes to see the world and add perspective to my images.  What I have found to be the best for some of my landscape detail and style?  My wonderful Nikkor 14-24mm 2.8, it is just fast enough in low lighting and wide.  I also bring my 85m 1.4 and 24-70mm 2.8, But find that my 14-24 has become my workhorse lens.  When the majority of my work was Weddings, my workhorse lens was my 24-70mm.  I feel bad for her, she may feel neglected now we were tight.  However, the 14-24mm got mediocre play, but now has a starring role.  I laugh now as I was very close to selling it two years ago when I was back in the United States.

Find the Image

While there is no lack of beauty or photographic opportunity in Italy, I do like to capture it from my own perspective.  When I see a setting I like, I ask myself, “how can I take this and make it my own?  How am I seeing it?”  Sure, I can take it straight on, but, that’s boring.  What if I dropped lower?  Stepped a few paces to the left?  Where is the light and how does it change as I move my stance?  As I look I make sure my frame is exactly the way I want it.  What is it I am seeing in the setting, are there wires to the left, someone’s laundry hanging?  I don’t believe in cropping or post process editing.  Sadly, you always see immediately the random stranger that walks into the photo at that last second.  It happens, but that is why patience is truly a virtue.  But after I have done these things, I am not ready to click the shutter.  I do believe in several shots, maybe a pace to the left, right, crouch lower.  You know, like a crazy person.

Pet Peeves

I have quite a list of “pet peeves” in all of this is time, so I probably should just stick to photography.  They are pretty simple, I see something and I know it is not the right time of day to shoot it.  I may look down at my camera body and realize that I am either out of battery power without a backup.  Another, I quickly pass something at  night from a tram window, want to capture it, then finally walk by with my camera–in the middle of the day.  The opposite can also be true.  I can drive my son to school then see warm light of  the morning, warm sun bursting through the trees as a new day begins and I realize how gorgeous everything is.  I may notice bits of glowing mosaics or Italians waiting for trams as the sun is behind them with a rim light so special caressing their angry, smoking faces and I think this is Rome and wonder if they know it or see it from their cloud of smoke.  Lastly is when I find myself shooting too often with my iPhone because I do not have my camera with me.

One Piece of Advice

Taking great images is not really that hard.  It takes time, practice and patience.  You need to know your gear and how it works.  I completely understand the “big heavy book thing” that came with the camera may still be sitting on your desk, but you need to open it.  It is overwhelming, but you need to understand how it can really help you.  One piece of advice is to read a few pages, even one a day.  Maybe experiment with what you learned.  You’ll improve, you’ll feel accomplished and you’ll soon be able to take that camera anywhere and achieve what you want.  And maybe, you’ll experience the victory of capturing the images and the agony of losing your lens caps…




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