Dusk falls upon Piazza del Campo, Siena, Italy

Piazza del campo at dusk
Piazza del campo at dusk

“Piazza del Campo” is the hub of Siena, most streets lead there, pinpointed by it’s very own marker, “Torre del Mangia” which can be seen from various corners of the city. The Piazza offers an infinite range of possibilities as a photographic subject and from the start of my stay in the area, I felt that it would be worth capturing a twilight scene. So one night we had dinner early at the apartment and set off armed with a full kit bag and my sturdy Manfrotto.

I thought it quite fitting carrying my Italian made tripod around with me, although my back wasn’t happy about it. We arrived with bags of time spare, so I did take a number of shots prior to this one which are also worthy of showing at some point.

One thing was bugging me about the scene was that there was crane right next to the Torre. “What crane?”, I hear you ask, well thank heavens for Photoshop, I cloned it out, was a bit fiddly mind you. It didn’t fill up much the scene thanks to the wide-angle lens

This shot was taken at around 9pm but I had taken up my position about half an hour beforehand. Tina wasn’t too pleased about this, as it was a chilly evening compared to how hot it had been earlier in the day. If you look at the ghost-like figures in this shot (due to the long exposure), she is one of them, she had to keep walking around to stay warm.

I find it helps to set these sort of shots up carefully before actually taking them and with lots of time to spare. It is harder to focus on subjects when the light drops to lower levels than it is when you still have plenty of it. Once you have focused and composed that’s pretty much it with the exception of tweaking the exposure for the period of time that follows. It does mean waiting around for awhile but it is interesting watching the scene change. Check your histogram on the camera,  you see it levelling out over the course of time.

I was worried that the floodlights wouldn’t come on. In fact I wasn’t sure there were any! Luckily they did come on shortly before 9pm.

In total there are some twenty frames for this shoot, that sort of make up a time-lapse which I could create as a video if you are interested.

Technical details – Nikon D7000, Sigma 10-20 lens, ISO 100, f22 at 25 seconds – No filters, just a tripod and a shutter release – patient wife.

2 thoughts on “Dusk falls upon Piazza del Campo, Siena, Italy

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    1. Very much so, most of them are very friendly but we did find that it helps if you speak a little Italian, as not everyone spoke English. Tina and I are still learning the language but found that it definitely helped us to befriend people.

      I will write more about “La Prodaia” in a future post, the place where we stayed. Giancarlo and Elena were great hosts, they weren’t intrusive, they let us get on with what we wanted to do but loved to have a chat and to share some ideas with us for places to visit and so on. I felt very sad to leave them but we left with a promise that we’d return someday.

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