Pantheon Blue

Even with a fairly featureless sky, blue hour is the best time of day to shoot for the clear, balanced light, and for the lack of crowds.

To get this image in frame required setting my tripod up on the fountain in the piazza in front of the Pantheon, using a wide angle lens. I accepted the bit of lens distortion, but found that I framed it too tightly to straighten the image up ‘in post’, but I am very happy with the image nonetheless.

21071130 Pantheon ScaleI love the cool light of the sky and the warm light of the illumination of this 2 thousand year old religious structure. Ironically, the lights were turned off moments after this image, changing the look altogether.

The second image, without illumination has my wife standing at the base of the columns. This gives some perspective on the engineering awesomeness of this structure.

20171125 Pantheon PiazzaIn the daytime there are many crowds around the Pantheon, with horse buggies and other street vendors. Daylight and crowds lead to very different shooting.

Visit my Italy 2017 photo gallery.

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Bridge of Angels

Bridge of Angels by Des Paroz on 500px.com

One of the amazing things, at least to me about Rome is that so many centuries old buildings and structures remain in use today.

A great example of this is Ponte Sant’Angelo — a bridge built in 134CE, and still used today as a main pedestrian thoroughfare. Distinguished by its 10 angels, the CBD of Rome lies on one side and the Castel Sant’Angelo lies on the other.

I created images of Ponte Sant’Angelo on two separate nights, and preferred this angle with the bridge on the left, drawing the eye left-to-right into the castle. Beautiful reflections and the star burst patters made for an image that I really like.

I’d love to have had more drama in the sky, but happy with the overall result as it stands.

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Atrani by Night

Atrani by Night by Des Paroz on 500px.com

One of the many gorgeous townships on Italy’s Amalfi Coast is Atrani, a village literally 10 minutes by foot from Amalfi.

Atrani is a pretty town cutting into another gap in the coastal mountain range, quickly rising up from sea level to the heights above.

Our day trip to Amalfi and Atrani (from our base at Positano) was literally from morning until about 6:30pm. With the early sunset in our low season visit this was actually plenty of time.

After arriving in Amalfi we walked straight to Atrani to find a shooting spot1. We found this spot, and then walked back to Amalfi for a visit to the Basilica, some lunch2 and a visit to the paper mill. We then walked back to Atrani to shoot sunset and blue hour, before walking back once more to Amalfi to catch the bus.

So we had a pleasant day of exploration, and getting the scouting out of the way early, using tools like The Photographer’s Ephemeris to plan sun angles, meant we could relax and take our time.

Travel photography is about exploring, but it is also about relaxing. Good planning and preparation allows you to do both!

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  1. Part of the inspiration to shoot Atrani came from Elia Locardi’s Photographing the World Part 3. We could not shoot from the same spot he did, as it was from his accommodation. I was pretty happy with what we found. 
  2. Had lunch at a great Japanese fusion restaurant called Shabu. Recommend it highly! 

Positano Sunrise

Positano Sunrise by Des Paroz on 500px.com

Apart from the lack of crowds, one of the distinctive things about low season in Positano is that the days are quite short.

As the late, great photographer, Galen Rowell, once said:

“You only get one sunrise and one sunset a day, and you only get so many days on the planet. A good photographer does the math and doesn’t waste either.”

But it does make it easier when the sunrises and sunsets are at pleasant hours of the day. There are no excuses!

Standing on the western end of the main Positano beach, you look eastward down the Amalfi Coast to catch the sunrise. The clouds only accentuate the beautiful colours of the sky in the sunrise.

A 3 stop GND and a relatively slow shutter speed meant that a tripod was an important part of ensuring a sharp image.

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East from Positano

East from Positano by Des Paroz on 500px.com

The classic view of Positano is from the outlook at the eastern end of the township, near the Sponda bus-stop. This view is very oft the first stop for photographers visiting Positano1.

This is exactly why its a good idea to sometimes shoot the opposite view, so after watching Elia Locardi‘s Photographing the World part 3 I decided to set out to find the overlook Elia used for an alternative blue hour location.

This location looks eastward, so I shot it at both sunrise and sunset. Interestingly I really found the location to be better suited to sunset, perhaps a bit surprising, but the blue hour from this location was quite spectacular.

For me, the clear blue sky in this image works beautifully with the lights of the town. Visiting Positano in the low season had many advantages, but there were far fewer lights coming on. Its possible that in high season there might actually be too much ambient light, so it would be interesting to see a comparison.

This location was perfect for framing the dome of the church in such a way that it has clear sea behind.

Tracking this location down was a good opportunity to get an insight into the thinking of a photographer like Elia. It was simultaneously a chance to learn scouting techniques, while exploring and being rewarded with a good photo location.

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Positano Blue

Positano Blue by Des Paroz on 500px.com

Positano on Italy’s Amalfi Coast is a spectacularly stunning township, rising up from the sea into the heights of the surrounding mountains.

We visited in late Autumn, the low season for tourism, and we loved the fact that we could truly explore the coast, and the whole township without having to battle any crowds whatsoever.

This image was made during the blue hour, shortly after sunset. Being winter sunset was quite early (4:39pm), and the blue ‘hour’ quite short – about half an hour.

This short window meant that we had to scout1 early, then come back and setup early. Even though it was off season, there were some other photographers around and there are limited vantage points due to the cliff edges and narrow footpaths.

Positano is a wonderful place for photographers and non-photographers who want to explore a stunning coastline.

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Photo Posting

I’ve been a bit slack (not the first time) in regularly posting photos. Our recent Italy trip produced a lot of images, and I still have a few more I want to share from our Singapore trip earlier this year. So with some luck there should be some more regular posting of photos.


  1. I intend to do a post on scouting locations while having limited time on a vacation. Without giving too much away I highly recommend Elia Locardi’s Photographing the World Vol 3 for some tips on location scouting. 

Downtown Core by Night

Downtown Core by Night

Downtown Core by Night by Des Paroz on 500px.com

 

 

Singapore’s Downtown Core is the CBD of the city, built around the visually spectacular Marine Bay.

The Bay is a freshwater reservoir, ensuring generally smooth surfaces for reflections from the picturesque city at night.

As usual, blue hour is very much my favourite time to shoot, and this image was created from a single RAW file, and processed using a couple of quick steps in Luminar.

Singapore is certainly one of the most spectacular destinations for cityscape photography.