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.

Portsmouth: Exhibition and more time to enjoy the D300

[image title=”Waiting for a ferry” size=”medium” id=”1991″ align=”center” ]
We have just returned from spending a fantastic few hours in Portsmouth. We attended an exhibition, I took some shots with the D300 (see above click on thumbnails to view slide show), we did a little shopping and even looked for somewhere to eat. Our attempts to find somewhere to eat were a distinct failure as everyone else had the same idea and were all taking a mid afternoon lunch.

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I love cities and especially London and all offer the photographer a myriad of photo opportunities that are truly mind boggling, you could spend an entire life time discovering new material. I do have a penchant for walls of various kinds, be they the moss covered dry-stone walls of the North that have been beaten by the winds for centuries or the red brick walls of London that have no doubt withstood the blitz of the last World War. Walls are almost like faces, they have survived the long story of our human history, the very hand of mans’ influence on our land and how they blend with the natural fabric of the surrounding world. It’s a shame they are after all inanimate, if only they could tell the stories of time that has passed them by. Nature gradually wins back the land we claim from it much like our own bodies. Now I am getting extremely philosophical but my point is, photography can be used to translate this into some kind of context that us mere mortals can decipher.

This is one of the shots I have recently selected for my portfolio, please see the Buy Prints page for the current collection which I am going to be extending over the coming weeks. I am stunned to say that my image library now exceeds 10,000 possibly more than that images in total offline

Brussels – Take a different view!

The Grand Place, Brussels

The Grand Place, Brussels

Most die-hard travel photographers make a beeline for far-flung, exotic and cuturally diverse locations where nobody else would dare venture. So do I head for Burma? No, not a good idea, a little bit unstable. Kabul? Hmmm, perhaps not. No lets head for Brussels and as it so happened I did bump into a Burmese political prisoner whilst there, well kind of….

Brussels has a number of famous features such as the Atonium, Grand Place, Manneken Pis, Chocolate, Waffles, ok the last two aren’t places as such but they do count! I certainly photographed many of these but it is also worth your while taking a look at the not so obvious things too… Read more

London – The sights, the smells and lights, lots of lights

[image title=”A random building, sorry no idea where or what it is. I loved the combination of colours.” size=”medium” id=”1501″ align=”center” linkto=”viewer” ]

Heading for London yesterday on the train, a very murky world whizzed past me as I was on my way to visit my Brother Tim. We were planning to do some photography and I had my doubts we would get anything  decent but I kept thinking to myself, that so long as we avoided shooting the sky we would bag some good shots – I just wasn’t too sure what we would get and decided to wait till we started to explore (often the best option!)… Read more

Brussels montage

When I told a good friend of mine that my wife and I were going for a long weekend in Brussels, he told me how much he disliked the place and that it was “horrid”. I was a little bit taken aback by this and spent a week or so worrying about it after I booked the trip!

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