Thursday, April 30, 2015
On this trip to the Cinque Terre, we structured the visits to three of the five towns so that we would end up at Manarola for the iconic sunset/dusk photo time period. There were perhaps twenty or so other photographers with the same idea. This sequence of images was made over a three-hour period of time. Above image, late afternoon.
Just before sunset.
Lights turned on in town.
My final effort. I stopped after this one as my shutter speed was now at five seconds and it was too difficult to get a sharp image hand-holding my point-and-shoot camera against the fence rail.
Waiting for the train back to La Spezia to begin the hour drive home.
The train arrives. I dressed up this image with some odd coloring, ground level angle, and texture - another effort at "art." We rode on four trains today within the Cinque Terre. Each one was on time, efficient, well-priced, and clean. A great way to travel and visit these jewels of the Italian Riviera.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Traveling via train north from La Spezia, the fourth of the Cinque Terre towns is Vernazza. It has a protected harbor and a pleasant promenade along the waterfront. Lower left you may note a train just arriving at the station.
Fishing boats at anchor after their day's work.
Along the harbor front.
An outdoor cafe - location, location, location.
Laundry hanging outside to dry is common everywhere in this part of Italy - partly because of very expensive electricity costs, partly because fresh-air dried clothing smells and feels wonderful, and partly because that's the way it's been done for centuries.
It is possible to visit the Cinque Terre towns by boat as the arrival of this passenger ferry demonstrates.
A common activity is just sitting and watching the world go by..........
......or lying down on the quay wall........
....or, for the young and beautiful, lying on a warm sunny rock beside the harbor. Ah, youth.........
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Riomaggiore is the southernmost of the Cinque Terre towns. It is wedged into a narrow cleft in the mountains and its buildings climb the steep slopes in a jumble of color and angles. (Note: I made the above image last year). The entire Cinque Terre is part of a national park that ensures sound management and preservation for the future.
It is only mid-April but, the warm sun on the dark rocks makes for a nice place to hang out for a while.
This sidewalk artist creates beautiful renderings of the five towns.
Imagine growing up here with this as your childhood playground. (By the way, the ripple on the horizon is not a tsunami, it is my jerky motion when moving the camera for this panorama).
It is not unusual to see folks using ski poles/walking sticks on these steep streets and paths.
But sitting on the waterfront for a long lunch is still one of the most preferred activities.
Monday, April 27, 2015
I was walking the narrow streets of Lucca and heard the pounding beat of drums. Being a sucker for a parade, I followed the sounds and came upon this compelling event. I'm not sure what it all meant. There were trumpets, drums, flags, medieval dress, swords, longbows, and crossbows. It was quite wonderful in any case - whatever it was celebrating.
My understanding of the Italian language is weak but, it seems to be a company of crossbow archers which commemorates an ancient conflict with the city of Pisa. I would welcome any reader who has a more accurate and a clearer understanding of the group to send in a comment so I can improve the accuracy of this post.
A pair of trumpeters heralded the beginning of the parade as it snaked through the narrow streets of Lucca.
The sound of these drums reverberating in the narrow streets was so loud and strong I could feel the pounding in my chest wall.
A special sword/dagger/scepter gets the pillow treatment.
Noble men and women in period dress.
One of the longbow archers.
And of course, the crossbow archers.
Sunday, April 26, 2015
Amy arranged for her photo tour group to attend and photograph a traditional Italian dinner but, it was also non-traditional in that it was an all-vegan dinner.
The menu board.
Great tasting and healthful food in a country that loves good food is a great combination.
The vegan chef preparing one of the courses.
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Today was market day in Lucca but, it got off to a wet start with an intense albeit brief spring rain shower.
Of course, rain almost always means great reflective puddles for photos.........
.......and many brightly colored umbrellas for sale at the market.
There are always one or two musicians at the market playing for the crowd. This busker stayed out of the rain in the nearby tunnel through the wall and serenades the passing crowds.
Later that day, I saw this scene heading home. I did all kinds of things to the image in post processing to try to create an old-timey sort of feeling. I adjusted the shadows, highlights, mid-tones, colors, tint, contrast, brightness, texture. But frankly........
......... I think I like how it looked right out of the camera just as much.
Friday, April 24, 2015
Standing watch over the nearby Serchio River, the Nozzano Castle has stood for a thousand years on a rocky hill a few miles west of the walled city of Lucca. It dates back to the period of strife between Lucca and neighboring Pisa which also had a similar castle on their side of the river adjacent to this one.
The castle itself is not open to the general public but wandering outside was still pleasant enough.
Here's the view from the other side of town as we departed.
A nearby villa, now a bed and breakfast. Beautiful visuals even on a cloudy day.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Near the village of Borgo a Mozzano stands the 1000-year old Ponte della Maddalena, or, in English, the Bridge of Mary Magdalene. It is also known as "the Devil's Bridge." The story being that the builders made a pact with the devil to help build the bridge. In return, the devil would receive the soul of the first to cross the bridge. The locals outwitted the devil by luring a pig across first. I am standing at the peak of the high arch span. The distant mountains beyond the Serchio River are still snow-capped even with the warm weather this week.
Here's the bridge at dusk on a different day.
These bright yellow crops of canola/rapeseed adorn many fields in northern Tuscany right now and these were on the trip from Lucca north through the Serchio River valley to the bridge.
Look ma, no hands! But you'd better pay no attention to the red 18-wheeler bearing down at high speed from behind. Bicyclists sharing these narrow roads with fast Italian automobile drivers appear to be both brave and fearless - and it is a rare road, rural or otherwise, where I have not encountered a bicyclist.