We decided to spend our weekend in Nashville. It is my first time in home of country music. I know nothing about country music but having enough whiskey how bad can it be? After bar crawl we end up two evenings (going to the nights) in Robert’s Western World. They have really the best music and crowd for me. Had several photo and bourbon (Wild Turkey) shots. By some reason I’ve got some rather intense portraits. This is kind of strange because we all had great fun.
This guy is, probably, very famous. Almost all knew him. We, obviously, had no idea. If you know him, please, reply in this blog. I am just very curious.
This is part of Nashville bar strip. Robert’s is the middle.
My wife, Natalie, wanted to see small Italian region, Cinque Terre. We love to travel and I believe that it is always pleasure being in Italy. Other places we chose to fill the rest of our vacation are Pavia, Cremona and Genoa.
The first stop we made in Pegli. Just to rest after our flight. Pegli is “former” great resort that had seen better days. We had surprisingly great dinner in small restaurant Il Porticciuolo. I am sucker for good fish soup and I had it. The dinner was so good that we were afraid that raising our expectations so high on the first evening we could spoil dinners for the rest of our trip. This concern had merit.
Certosa di Pavia
Our next stop was in Pavia. Pavia is very nice town. Unfortunately, I had not made many pictures. Probably, you need to have time to get in the mood to see something interesting. Great lunch (even romantic) at Certosa di Pavia (Locanda Vecchia Pavia “Al Mulino”) and nice dinner at Locanda del Carmine are my highlights.
In Cremona hiking to the top of tower gave some opportunity for shooting but not much more.
Monterosso Al Mare
The next day we gave up our car in Genoa and by train moved to our main attraction – Cinque Terre. Our first two nights are in Monterosso Al Mare. Don’t try to escape crowd or avoid touristy restaurant. You are already in the tourist trap. I have discovered tourist trap rule. To find restaurant in the tourist trap you should search for the touristiest place. You can be pleasantly surprised. If food is bad then “what did you expect”. I actually had, probably, the best fish soup of all time (I had many of them) in very touristy Trattoria Ciak La Lampara. The next day we found smaller restaurant and had the worst dinner of our trip.
We hiked to Cinque Terre showgirl – Vernazza. For our next 2 nights we stayed in Manarola.
Visit to Corniglia and Riomaggiore did not help much to relieve us from boredom being inside of the crowd and rely on the train to move from one town to another.
Well … We had unexpectedly magic drink in Cantina dello Zio Bramante. They had absolutely great live music. We were back next evening but they had different musicians and magic was gone.
Our next two nights are in Portofino. On our arrival day we decided to walk to the less hush-push town – Santa Margherita Ligure. Drink and nice dinner was good start for the next vacation chapter.
Santa Margherita Ligure
Before heading to our hotel we had after-dinner drink in Portofino. You don’t need to have a lot of Campari to think that Portofino is not real place but just movie setting. It is easy to understand why rich and famous are attracted to this place. Portofino is where your dreams became reality (or reality became your dreams).
Are restaurants overpriced there? NO!! You have to pay premium for your dreams. Do you really need great food when you sit near sea bay full of boats? You leisurely look at beautiful small buildings and castle on the high hill. Add to this church clock tower. Waiter is very personal. It costs a lot of money. For our dinner we ended up in, strangely named for Italian restaurant, Strainer. We did not have the best food but, probably, the best dinner.
Out last stop is Genoa. After Portofino going to Genoa is to get back to reality. And reality is surprisingly very good and interesting. We discovered Genoa for ourselves and I hope to be back there.
For many more photos go to Italy, 2013
I’ve spent weekend with my family in Boston. Boston is nice city with very good food. I made only few meaningful shots but I’ve got three very different portraits.
Shallow depth of field with foreground “framing” makes this composition.
I like dramatic movement with the blur that is, probably, from slight out of focus. Actually, I have another one that is very sharp but it looks static for me.
Absolutely calm portrait in the darkish restaurant setting. It is sharp across the frame.
Fez tannery is the only place in Morocco where I chose telephoto 70mm instead of the wide angle 21mm. We were escorted to the elevated balcony. Taking pictures from the top is not ideal for candids but using camera’s viewfinder and having freedom to wait for interesting moment was very refreshing after close range of the Fez alleys.
Candid street photography in Morocco with Pentax K-5 and 21mm f/3.2
Pentax 70 mm f/2.4 DA Limited for Candid Street Photography
Candid street photography in Morocco is exciting and challenging. In preparation for this trip, I decided to take my new Pentax K-5 with my favorite street photography lens – Pentax 21 mm f/3.2. I picked up a Pentax 70mm f/2.4 in the unlikely case I needed extra reach along with a Pentax K20D for backup. In fact, for most of my pictures I used a K-5 with 21mm, except for the few shots in a Fez tannery with a 70mm.
Morocco is a wonderful country. Unfortunately for photographers, the general attitude towards being photographed is very negative.Street performers and water sellers (nobody buys anything from them any more) are very happy to pose…for a fee. Since I’m only interested in candid photography, I used extreme discretion.
On narrow streets you are almost always close to your subject. Wide angle lenses are probably the only right tools for this situation. All pictures that involve people are taken without using the viewfinder by shooting from the hip. I kept the camera in my hand with a wrist strap for assurance.
Portrait oriented pictures are taken with my hand straight down at my right side.
To make the landscape oriented shots I had to raise my hand just below my chest.
Framing is not the only challenge. Bright sun, narrow streets, and covered souks make very high contrast scenes.
In retrospect, I think that my choice of a 21mm lens was ideal for my shooting style, even though I regretted not having a 14mm lens with me. The relatively quiet operation of a Pentax K-5 definitely helps, at least psychologically, for taking candid pictures in close range.
I will be back in Morocco, “Insha’Allah” (God willing).
For more pictures go to Morocco 2010
What is “the candid photography of strangers”?
Why is the candid photography unique?
Pentax 14mm f/2.8 for Candid Street Photography
Rules and myths of candid photography: To ask permission or to invade privacy
Before my trip to Peru I read a lot about how dangerous it was. Many people had opted out of having DSLR and decided to only take a Point-and-Shoot. Actually, we ended up having a wonderful trip and no problems with the camera, but back then I was genuinely concerned. I only took my Pentax D20K with my cheapest lens – 18-55mm zoom. Any other lens would’ve cost at least twice as much.
Zoom is all about compromise. Image quality is not great. Nor is it fast. Still, I was not going to walk a lot at night.
For candid photography a small sized lens is always important.
It is easy to appreciate its flexibility on top of a cliff.
For more pictures go to Peru 2010