My Favorite Mountain 

There are so many things to write about living in Italy; the people and their way of life, the history that surrounds you every day, and the incredible food (my favorite). ¬†When people ask me if I miss Italy my reply is, “every day at dinner time.” ¬†When I first arrived in Naples in January of 1982, I remember seeing this huge volcano called Vesuvio and was amazed by how close it sat next to the city of Naples when we landed. ¬†Even back people said¬†things like, “it’s overdue” and “it’s going to blow soon.” ¬†Over the next thirty plus years I would live there numerous times and visit Mount Vesuvius often, so many times that I should have become bored with it – not so. ¬†The numerous times friends came to visit, I would take them to the crater of Vesuvio and it was as amazing for me as it was for them seeing¬†it for the first time. The¬†above photo was taken when I was getting back in to photography in January 2007 with a¬†Sony DSC-W7 pocket camera on a little mini tripod that costs me 10 Euro. ¬†I would take many more photos of Vesuvius and honestly, it was as exciting for me the final time as it was the first.

Vesuvio

This photo on the left, Vesuvius, was taken on December 21, 2011 at sunset with the sun behind me as I shot. ¬†I knew I’d be taking plenty of sunrise photos so I wanted to try something different. ¬†In order to hopefully give the photo a little pop, I really wanted to shoot¬†Vesuvio¬†with snow on its peak. ¬†You can see the traffic moving on the Tangenziale in the lower left corner as well.¬†Vesuvius was shot with a Canon Rebel XSi, EF-S 18-55mm USM kit lens at f/4, 1/12 sec, focal length 27mm, and ISO 100. It was good thing I shot this when I did because it was one of the last times there was snow on the mountain before I left.

October Sunrise

There is a section of Naples called Vomero, on its hillside runs a little curvy road called Via Orazio that continues down to the water in Mergellina. ¬†It’s the perfect place for panoramic and sunrise photos of Napoli because of the view of the Bay of Naples and the numerous¬†places you can set up a tripod. If you don’t believe me, check out these photos taken from Via Orazio at Google! ¬†¬†October Sunrise (right) was shot on October 13, 2013 with a Canon Rebel T3i, EF-S 18-55mm USM kit lens at f/8,1/8 sec, focal length 23mm, and ISO 100.

Sunrise at Naples Harbor

The photo to the left, Sunrise at Naples Harbor, was taken in Mergellina next to the Castel dell’ovo¬†on April 7, 2013. These days, I rarely go out shooting if there are no clouds. Shooting on a blue sky day makes for boring photos, give me clouds any day! ¬†This photo would have a completely different look with a blue sky, I believe the¬†clouds add an element of drama the way the sun pokes through. The sailboat is an added feature too. This was shot with a Canon Rebel T3i, EF-S 10-22mm 3.5-4.5 USM¬†lens at f/9, 1/80 sec, focal length 22mm, and ISO 100.

Shortly after the below photo was shot, I purchased the Canon EOS 7D and stopped using the Canon Rebel series. ¬†The Rebel XSi and T3i allowed me to learn photography at my own pace by shooting in auto mode at first and later progressing to¬†aperture priority and manual modes. ¬†Had I tried using the Canon 7D at first, I would have likely been overwhelmed and miss much in the learning process, or given up altogether. ¬†The Canon Rebel T3i will always be the camera that really gave me the “photo bug” and confidence. ¬†I still believe the Canon Rebel line of cameras is great bang for the buck!¬†Below is a panoramic photo, a sequence of five separate photos combined to form one long panoramic photo called Stormy Napoli. This was one of the last photos I took of Naples and “my favorite mountain” in September 2013. Each photo was shot on a Canon Rebel T3i,¬†EF 50mm f/1.4 lens at f/7, 1/200 sec, focal length 50mm, and ISO 200. Needless to say I miss the people, traditions, and cuisine of Naples…

Every day at dinner time. ūüėé

 

 

Stormy Napoli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Defunct

Cars are one¬†of my favorite photography subjects, the lines and angles, colors, shapes, all present challenges. ¬†Lens choice completely changes the look of a car too, one reason I love the¬†16-35mm wide angle is that I can get right up on a hood ornament. ¬†Old cars represent a piece of Americana, a time when products were built to last a lifetime. ¬†Just take a look at any hood ornament and grill from the 1960’s or earlier, that one part of the car¬†represented what the auto maker wanted you to think about the entire car and the company itself! ¬†These car photos have something in common, their manufacturers all went out of business – defunct. ¬†I find most of these at car shows but have also found them¬†sitting on the streets, sometimes unrestored.

The above photo, titled Transtar, is the grill of a 1956 Studebaker Transtar¬†pickup. ¬†If I could make a living shooting car grills and hood ornaments, I’d do it in a minute because all have their own identity. ¬†The¬†Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company was based in Southbend, Indiana and while it¬†survived the Great Depression, it couldn’t survive the sixties; Studebaker went under in¬†March 1966.(1) ¬†The Studebaker Transtar was produced¬†from 1956-1958 and 1960-1963 in 1/2-ton, 3/4-ton, 1-ton, 2-ton, and even 2-ton heavy duty models. The Transtar name was eventually dropped and replaced with the Champ. Studebaker closed its US truck factories in December of 1963.(2) ¬†¬†One interesting side note,¬†the¬†wagons pulled by the¬†Budweiser Clydesdales¬†are “Studebaker wagons (circa 1900) that were converted to deliver beer.”(3)¬†Transtar was shot with a Canon 6D, EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM lens at¬†f/8, 1/100 sec, focal length 60mm, and ISO 100.

 

Sportsman

This photo, called Sportsman, is the¬†reflection of a 1959 Cadillac on the side of a 1959 DeSoto Sportsman that I found sitting in downtown San Diego. I wanted to capture these two classic cars at one time but keep the focus on the DeSoto Sportsman.¬†The DeSoto make was introduced in 1929 by Chrysler to compete with the competitor’s mid-priced line¬†of cars. The DeSoto brand was the lower priced version of Chrysler cars.(4) ¬†By 1960, Chrysler had “plans to modern DeSoto‚Äôs styling and image” but this¬†was negated when “production came to a halt November 30, 1960. Dealers were notified by telegram.”(5) ¬†Sportsman was shot with a Canon 6D, EF 16-35mm f/4 L IS USM¬†lens at¬†f/5, 1/80 sec, focal length of 31mm, and ISO 100.

 

Hudson Hornet Dash

On the right is the the dash and interior of an unrestored 1953 Hudson Hornet with the twin-H engine. ¬†In my opinion, this is one of the coolest cars to come out of Detroit, period. ¬†The Hudson Motor Car Co. was in business from 1909 to 1954. Hudson merged with the¬†Nash-Kelvinator Corp. to become American Motors (AMC) and the last Hudson rolled off the line in 1957. ¬†The¬†Hudson Hornet was produced by Hudson from 1951-54 and by AMC from 1955-57.(6) ¬†The Hornet featured a¬†“step-down” design with a dropped floorpan, chassis, and lowered center of gravity making it ideal for racing.(7) ¬†Hudson Motors was the very first automobile manufacturer that got¬†involved with stock car racing.(8) ¬†They “dominated stock car racing in the early-1950s, when stock car racers actually raced stock cars.”(9) ¬†This photo, Hudson Hornet Dash, was shot with a Canon 6D, EF 16-35mm f/4 L IS USM lens at¬†f/8.0, 1/15 sec, focal length of 18mm, and ISO 100. Sometimes these cars are even cooler when unrestored.

 

Boat Tail Speedster

This is a 1935 Auburn Boat Tail Speedster, the¬†Auburn Automobile Company of¬†Auburn, Indiana began in 1874 and was “modestly successful until material shortages during¬†World War I¬†forced the plant to close.” In 1919, the company was sold and was only barely¬†successful until it was forced to close its doors during the Great Depression in 1937.(10) ¬†These 2930’s cars are incredibly impressive and beautiful in every way, not to mention they could hold 100mph! ¬†This photo,¬†Boat Tail Speedster was shot with a Canon 6D, EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM lens at¬†f/4.0, 1/400 sec, focal length of 24mm, and ISO 100.

The below photo, Woody, is a 1949 Oldsmobile Woody Wagon, a very cool car. I can’t help but think of Jan and Dean or Beachboy tunes just looking at this ride! ¬†Oldsmobiles were¬†produced for most of their¬†existence by¬†General Motors and it’s hard to believe they were around from 1897-2004. In those 107 years, Oldsmobile “produced 35.2 million cars” and when phased out in 2004 “was the oldest surviving American automobile” brand.(11) ¬†Oldsmobile was not the only company to make the “Woody” body style, they were also produced by Ford, Chrysler, Nash, and Pontiac to name a few. ¬†I wanted to shoot this car capturing wood sides that made it famous plus the owner’s preseutation from the back was really cool at this car show in Pacific Beach, CA. Woody was shot with a Canon 6D, EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM lens at¬†f/8.0, 1/80 sec, focal length of 24mm, and ISO 100.

 

 

Woody

 

1. Johnson, Dale (March 4, 2006).¬†“(Copy of)The last days of Studebaker. The Toronto Star. Archived from¬†the original.
2. Wikipedia, Studebaker Transtar, 2016, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studebaker_Transtar  (accessed February 23, 2016).
3.¬†“Clydesdales”. Archived from¬†the original¬†on 2009-05-09. Retrieved¬†February 2,¬†2013.
4. Kimes, Beverly (1996). standard catalog of American Cars 1805-1942. Krause publications. ISBN 0-87341-428-4.
5. AllPar, A Full History of Desoto, 2016, http://www.allpar.com/history/desoto.html  (accessed February 23, 2016).
6. Wikipedia, Hudson Motor Car Company, 2016, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hudson_Motor_Car_Company (accessed February 23, 2016).
7. “1954 Hudson Hornet Club Coupe”. Popular Mechanics. April 1999. Archived from the original on 22 April 2009. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
8.¬†Cheptea, Constantin (24 June 2006). “1952 Hudson Hornet”. TopSpeed. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
9.¬†Nerad, Jack. “Hudson Hornet (and racing) ‚ÄĒ as seen in Pixar‚Äôs movie Cars”. Driving Today. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
10. Wikipedia, Auburn Automobile, 2016, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auburn_Automobile  (accessed February 23, 2016).
11. Wikipedia, Oldsmobile, 2016, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldsmobile (accessed February 23, 2016).

Missions: 3 in 1 morning

Anytime I can mix my two loves of history and photography, I’m a happy camper. ¬†El Paso, Texas has three Spanish missions that are literally hundreds of years old. ¬†It seems the historically “old” buildings that are east of the Mississippi get all the press but these old missions¬†seem almost forgotten. “During the 16th century, El Paso became an important stop for Spanish explorers on their way to New Mexico to find riches and convert the native population to Christianity.” ¬†After 1609, “El Paso became a critical point” for “communication and trade between the Mexican interior and the missions and Spanish settlements of New Mexico.(1) ¬†These Spanish Missions were the¬†hubs of their communities more than 160+ years before there was a United States. Today all three of these missions, which replaced their predecessors, are on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places for what is now called the El Paso Mission Trail. ¬†Each mission has very cool architecture yet each are a very different in their own way. I thought it would be fun to shoot all three missions together and post them as a collection with each titled simply with the time they were photographed. ¬†Black & White photography is something I’ve been working on and this seemed to lend itself well to these missions. ¬†I headed out on the morning of December 26, 2015 for my little project.

1007 AM

This photo was the first mission I shot that morning, it is the Ysleta Mission and the photo is called 10:07 AM. I really tried to emphasize the old bell in front without blurring out the church itself. ¬†I love this 16-35mm lens because you can get right up on your subject yet still have room in the photo for other interesting items. ¬†The Ysleta Mission “is considered the first and oldest mission established in the State of Texas and the second oldest continually active parish in the United States.” ¬†The first and second structures were washed away from floods, this building was built in 1851. (2) 10:07AM¬†was shot with a Canon EOS 6d,¬†EF 16-35mm f/4 L IS USM¬†at f/13, 1/25¬†sec, focal length of 16mm, and ISO 100.

 

1034 AM

Next up was the Socorro Mission a few miles down the road, this is called 10:34 AM. ¬†The prior two structures, like the Ysleta Mission, were wiped out from floods and this mission was built in 1843. ¬†The Socorro Mission began the Socorro community, “which is considered the 2ndoldest community in the State of Texas.” (3) ¬†This is a very rural area and I hoped¬†to show the empty space surrounding this mission through distance.¬†10:34 AM¬†was shot with a Canon EOS 6D, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM¬†at f/9, 1/320¬†sec, a focal length of 102mm, and ISO 100

1050 AM

My final stop that day was at the San Elizario Mission for this photo called 10:50 AM. ¬†Like the others, a “flood destroyed the chapel and a new building was erected in the 1840‚Äôs.” (4) ¬†Of the three mission, I like to photograph this mission¬†the best because of its architecture and the way it catches light and projects shadows. ¬†This mission sits in the heart of a historic district as well as an art district making it an interesting visit.¬†10:34 AM was shot with a Canon EOS 6D, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM¬†at f/13, 1/125¬†sec, a focal length of 50mm, and ISO 100.

When in El Paso, be sure to visit the Mission Trail as the buildings are truly worth seeing. ¬†Without hustling too much, I was able to shoot these three photos within one hour but I’d allow a good 2-3 hours if you wanted to view the interiors and the surrounding area of the San Elizario Mission which is part of the San Elizario Historic District. ¬†Every time I return to El Paso I make time to head out to the missions, there is always something new to photograph.

Spanish Ceiling
The interior ceiling of the Socorro Mission on El Paso’s Mission Trail.
1. Texas Beyond History, El Paso Missions, 2016, http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/paso/  (accessed February 21, 2016).
2. El Paso Mission Trail, Ysleta Mission, 2016, http://www.visitelpasomissiontrail.com/history/ysleta-mission-1.html  (accessed February 20, 2016).
3. El Paso Mission Trail, Socorro Mission, 2016, http://www.visitelpasomissiontrail.com/history/socorro-mission-1.html  (accessed February 20, 2016).
4. 2. El Paso Mission Trail, San Elizario Mission and Presidio, 2016, http://www.visitelpasomissiontrail.com/history/socorro-mission-1.html  (accessed February 20, 2016).

Back at it, round two

BCPhotography¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† About two¬†years ago I began¬†blogging at WordPress¬†(see below). ¬†After several Canon camera upgrades (Rebel T3i, EOS 7D, and now EOS 6D), I’m back at it. ¬†The¬†main lesson I learned from that experience is¬†that I should have kept¬†at it. ¬†In 2013, I began writing knowing I’d immediately get feedback, and it would be awesome – not so. ¬†However, a few people started following me and one website in Italy even linked to my blog – all after I’d given up and moved on. ¬†I really did miss it and¬†now is the right time to get back to¬†it.

Beginning on February 22, 2016, I’m planning to write about specific photos, groups of photos, and¬†my little day trips when I shoot. ¬†I’d also like to write about some of the gear I use but not write actual reviews as there’s plenty of that online. ¬†Finally, my photography website, BillChizekPhotography.com, is now doing¬†well and I’m hoping this blog, ¬†BillChizekPhotography.net,¬†makes photography even more fun. ¬†As always, thanks for the support and for viewing my photos!

Black and White with Color Accents

 

Black and white photos with color accents, or B&W-Color Hybrid as I’ve called to them, can make a photo stand out a bit. ¬†I am sometimes asked, “how did you do that?” ¬†It’s really not difficult in Photoshop and in a nutshell, here’s how I do it. ¬†With the photo open, create a duplicate of the original. ¬†Next, select the parts you want in color (i.e.; the red car above) and copy the red car to a new layer. ¬†Next, change the duplicate layer of the original to black and white. ¬†Lastly, merge the black and white layer with the red car layer, that’s it (delete the original color photo and “save as”). ¬†While I like B&W-Color Hybrid photos, not everyone does. ¬†I’ve noticed that a general audience likes these but photographers seem to frown on them, more on that in a minute…czech car

These photos were taken with the Canon EOS Rebel T3i. ¬†The photo at right,¬†Czech out that car!, was taken in Prague, Czech Republic in January of 2013 with¬†the¬†Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3¬†lens, my ‘go-to’ lens for quite a while. ¬†Walking with my family in downtown Prague, we spotted this car. ¬†However, there were people looking at it so I waited until they were in a position where they could be cropped or edited out. ¬†In my mind, this car seemed to naturally stick out against the stone building and the street. ¬†Editing the photo as a¬†B&W-Color Hybrid¬†seemed a natural fit.

 

green dressNortheast of Naples, Italy is a little medieval city called Sant’Agata de’ Goti. ¬†While there isn’t much in the way of actual attractions in Sant’Agata, the town is worth the trip. ¬†Of the three main churches here, the newest is from the 13th century! ¬†This photo, Green Dress, was taken with the T3i and Tamron 28-300mm lens. ¬†While I liked the photo, it just didn’t work in color or black and white. ¬†I played around with different parts and eventually came up with this, which made the green dress the focal point. ¬†This worked better than the previous options, including filing in to oblivion on my hard drive! ¬†ūüėé

vespa¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† One day, on a ‘mom and pop day out,’ my wife and I came across this bright red Vespa sticking out in a herd of nondescript mopeds. ¬†Yes, a herd, since Vespa means wasp in Italian, this could be a hive, but I like herd. ¬†When I saw this Vespa I actually envisioned it like this, the red Vespa in the herd as a B&W-Color Hybrid. ¬†This was one of the first times I used the Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens, also called the ‘nifty fifty.’ ¬†At first, I used this lens sparingly but was always amazed at its clarity. ¬†When I head out to shoot I usually take 2-3 lenses with me, now the ‘nifty fifty’ 50mm is almost always the first lens I pack. ¬†This lens is my first choice for low light situations and I’ve really come to love it! ¬†Check out Matt Taylor’s¬†Nifty Fifty: The Benefits of a Fixed 50mm Lens¬†to learn more about fixed lenses vs. zoom lenses.

While I like the black and white color hybrid shots, it seems they may have been overused as other photographers seem to frown on them or are just tired of them. ¬†Someone told me that you shouldn’t use this technique to “save” a photo that isn’t working. ¬†I learned this after the¬†Green Dress photo above. ¬†I’ll continue to shoot these sparingly and only when I visualize this when taking the photo, as I did with the¬†Little Red Vespa. ¬†Like I said, general audiences like B&W-Color Hybrids¬†but photographers, not so much. ¬†The general audience also seems to purchase my photos; photographers, not so much…

Manitowoc, Wisconsin

The North Pier

About 80 minutes north of Milwaukee, Wisconsin sits Manitowoc, a city¬†known for a¬†Maritime Museum, a car ferry, and where a piece of the Soviet Sputnik 4 fell out of the sky in 1962. ¬†It is also where I grew up until I joined the Navy in 1981. ¬†These photos¬†were taken in July of 2011 with a Canon EOS Rebel XSi¬†and the stock¬†18-55 kit lens¬†that came with the camera (it was all I owned). ¬†I still use a kit lens and found they do a decent job as an all-purpose lens. ¬†Recently, after making the decision to not sell mine, I read Andrew S. Gibson’s article entitled¬†Why your Kit Lens is Better than You Think,¬†it made me feel good about the decision. ¬†The above photo,¬†The North Pier, was taken¬†during the photographer’s “golden hour” as was the photo at the bottom of the page.

 

Wet Sub

A major tourist destination in Manitowoc is the Wisconsin Maritime Museum. ¬†The centerpiece of the museum is a World War Two submarine, the USS Cobia (SS-245). ¬†The Cobia came to Manitowoc in the early 1970’s and has been restored to an incredible condition. ¬†I’ve seen other WWII subs on display and don’t know of any in as good of condition. ¬†In fact, Cobia’s engines still run and are started on occasion, click here for a video. ¬†When I go home, I usually squeeze in a trip to the museum and the Cobia. ¬†At right is a photo I took of Cobia one morning on a walk.

 

Badger Departing

Many tourists arrive and depart Manitowoc on the SS Badger¬†car ferry. ¬†The Badger travels about sixty miles to Ludington, Michican; by car this trip is over 400 miles! ¬†Manitowoc has a rich maritime history and car ferries once played a key role connecting this Lake Michigan town to major cities such as Milwaukee and Chicago. ¬†Both of these photos (left & above) are¬†black and white photos with color accents. ¬†Next week’s blog is devoted to these types of photos.

 

homeThis photo, called¬†Home… ¬†was also taken in July of 2011 ¬† This is the old mill at Manitowoc Rapids¬†located¬†northwest of Manitowoc. ¬†Also here is an¬†old truss bridge from 1887 when this road was the major highway connecting Milwaukee and Green Bay. ¬†Nearby is the grave of a prominent Native American named Chief Mexico. ¬†Mexico¬†was Chief of the Chippewa, Ottawa, and Menominee tribes of Manitowoc County; he died and was buried here in 1844. ¬†The old mill, truss bridge, and Chief Mexico’s grave are about a five minute walk from each other.

I’m already planning my future trip home and may take the Badger to Ludington, film a sunset along with Ludington’s lighthouse, and come home the next day. ¬†Also on the agenda is to film the lighthouses of Manitowoc County. ¬†If I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll go in winter.

The Amalfi Coast (Costiera Amalfitana)

pos

South of Naples, Italy is a stretch of winding road, with cliffs and incredible beauty, called the¬†Amalfi Coast. ¬†Spend a day on this road witnessing seemingly endless vistas, corkscrew turns, and masterful Italian bus driving; you will also wonder how you returned with mirrors still attached to your car! ¬†Some towns of the Amalfi Coast, like Vietri sul Mare, are typical of Italian towns with great food, shopping, and are definitely worth your time to visit. ¬†However, others like¬†Positano¬†(pictured above),¬†Ravello, and¬†Amalfi¬†have been the favored vacation destinations of the rich for years. ¬†The entire Amalfi Coast has been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site for its “great physical beauty and natural diversity” specifically citing the towns of Amalfi and Ravello for their “architectural and artistic works of great significance.” (1)

ruffJust because these little towns don’t appear ancient doesn’t mean they aren’t. ¬†Ravello actually dates back to the 5th century and the centerpiece of the town, Villa Rufolo, was¬†built in 1270 and has an amazing view of the coast. ¬†This photo, called simply¬†Ravello, was taken with a¬†Canon T3i¬†and an¬†18-55 Kit Lens in Ravello from Villa Rufolo. ¬†This was taken in October of 2011 when the skies are typically like this in fall and winter making it great for taking photos.

The Amali

Vietri sul Mare is a fun stop along the Amalfi as well. ¬†It differs in many of the other Amalfi towns in that it is just a few minutes from the main autostrada. ¬†Vietri sul Mare is known for its pottery and ceramics, deals can be had in the off season. ¬†This photo, called The Amalf, was taken with on a Canon EOS 7D with an inexpensive 40mm f/2.8 “pancake lens.” ¬†The ¬†“pancake lens” is just¬†2.7 x 0.9 inches and weighs in at a whopping 4.6 oz! ¬†This lens is a great option if you want a small lens for walking around without drawing attention.

The Ristorante

The town of Amalfi is the perfect destination for an overnighter if you’re in the area. ¬†A big part of Amalfi Coast towns is the food, and great restaurants are everywhere. ¬†In¬†The Ristorante¬†at left,¬†I wanted to capture the spirit of an evening out in Amalfi. ¬†I hoped to catch people in motion at their tables. ¬†However, this was more difficult than expected with tourists ¬†and waiters passing by. ¬†This 15 second exposure was taken on a tripod with a Canon T3i¬†and a Tamron 28-300mm¬†lens.

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Whether you’re traveling to Italy or already live here, the Amalfi Coast is an amazing adventure. ¬†Finally, if you think you need great camera gear to take a decent photo while on the Amalfi, guess again. ¬†The first photo at the top was taken in 2006 with a Sony pocket camera, the Cybershot DSC T-100¬†(below).

pre-1245831580

1. UNESCO World Heritage Center, Italy, 2014, http://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/IT/  (accessed February 18, 2014).

The Temples of Paestum

Paestum¬†is one of those unique places in Italy that really isn’t Italian, it’s Greek. ¬†When you enter the gates of the ruins you almost leave Italy behind for a few hours. ¬†The remains of an ancient wall surround Paestum, inside are an amphitheater and thee large temples, similar to the Parthenon in Athens. ¬†These date back to 6 B.C.

 

Temple of NeptuneThis¬†HDR shot taken in September 2011. ¬†I stopped shooting HDR because it took too much time and I didn’t like my results. ¬†Until a few months ago, everything I took was with zoom lenses. ¬†This shot, like most of my earlier photos, was taken with the¬†18-55mm kit lens¬†on a¬†Canon Rebel XSi. ¬†In addition to the kit lens, I’ve used a¬†28-300mm Tamron¬†and¬†10-22mm Canon¬†for most shots. ¬†While I still use them, these days I make an effort to use more¬†prime lenses¬†(28mm, 50mm, and 85mm). ¬†This forces me to think and frame more when shooting and it’s actually been more fun.

Shady Tourists

This photo called, Shady Tourists, was taken on a hot summer day in June 2013 with a¬†28-300mm Tamron.¬† There are very few places in Paestum that are shaded so tourists frequently gather under the few trees to hydrate or get a break from the sun. ¬†Because I’ve taken plenty of photos of the temples here, this time I was trying to focus on the tourists.

Trips to places like Paestum can seem routine as ancient ruins are so commonplace in Italy. ¬†The Greek ruins at Paestum are also one of 981 Unesco World Heritage sites deemed as having “outstanding universal value” in need of preservation. ¬†There are almost fifty UNESCO sites in Italy alone! ¬†Put Paestum on your travel list along with the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, and Capri¬†when planning a trip to Naples!

Italian Abbey

 

Abbazia di Montecassino
The courtyard of the Abbey of Montecassino near Cassino, Italy. Shot in April 2013. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monte_Cassino

          Living in Italy meant many times the coolest places were only minutes away.  This is the Abbey of Montecassino located on a mountain top high above Cassino, Italy.  Seventy years ago, this was the site of the Battle of Montecassino during the Second World War. The abbey, centuries old, was destroyed by allied forces on February 15, 1944.  While German soldiers were fighting to hold the mountain, none were killed inside the abbey itself as a result of the bombing.  The bombing of the abbey is still a controversial subject and source of hard feelings in Italy.  Click HERE for photos of the bombing of the abbey.  The above photo, Abbazia di Montecassino, was shot with a Canon Rebel T3i, EF-S10-22mm lens at f/10, 1/100 sec, focal length 12mm, and ISO 100.

Italian Sunset

This photo, Italian Sunset, was taken on a family day out with my first Canon Rebel (XSi) and stock 18-55mm lens.  While I like this photo, I should have used a filter to keep the sun from whiting out.  This sunset looks just as tranquil as the Abbey of Montecassino is in real life, especially during winter when only small numbers of tourists venture there.

greg

Today the Abbey looks as if nothing happened and is absolutely worth the trip.¬† The Abbey’s museum¬†contains many artifacts, such as these Gregorian Chants (L), and takes about an hour to view.¬† You can also visit the store that sells great vino as well as jams, flavored honey, grappa, and many other items that are made by the monks. ¬†We have purchased many cases of wine there. ¬†If it’s good enough for the monks it’s good enough for our table…

Located nearby is the Polish Cemetery, over a thousand Poles died here in World War Two.¬† Polish General WŇāadysŇāaw Anders who, because the Soviets occupied his country following the war, could not return home.¬† Anders died in England in 1970 and was buried with his troops at the Montecassino Polish Cemetery. ¬†As a history buff, I never tire of visiting these sites and am lucky my wife hasn’t either!