Last week I was in London for a pleasure trip with my sister and my nephew who had never been in the city before. Of course, it’s been a touristic stay, visiting the classic sightseeing, including the famous Madame Tussauds, where the waxworks of famous and historic people and also popular film character are exposed.
I was not planning to do serious photography there, I mean, with my Leica Q, but only souvenirs snaps with the iphone. But, wait a moment…
Once in, I realized that this place could be a good gym where to train a kind of street photography, where the subjects, does’nt move at all!!
And having my nephew and my sister role playing with the statues, well, I realised I could make some nice photos.
How is photographing at Madame Tussaud
The main challenge there is, for sure, the light as it is everywhere almost dark and with different sources in different colors and temperatures. A real mess…
Beside that, it is also very difficult to exclude other tourists from the shots as the venue is crowded.
In these kind of difficult situations, the Leica Q is a real Queen, discreet, elegant and effective! .
I shot most of the time using a wide aperture, f2 or even f1.7 in order to get more light without using any flash ( i hate flashes)
At the end, a very touristic place, turned into a great set where to have fun and I think I stepped out with a bunch of very nice pictures.
Have a look:
One more thing…
A rare picture of a very famous person. At his side, Johnny Deep. :-p
and me, with my buddy, Johnny…
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment or share.
Finally, It is time to be on the road again, or, in this case, on the rails… Yes, indeed, this time I’ve decided to start my journey at a much slower pace. because I want to enjoy and feel it.
When and how the idea was born
Before getting on board for my next long distance trip (I’ll tell you where soon…), I have few days free and I need to reach my hometown, Mola di Bari, in the south of Italy. Of course, by instinct, the first thing I would do is to go to Ryanair website and book a direct flight that in only 2 hours will bring me home.
But… why? Do I really need to be that fast?
Wasn’t someone saying that the beauty of the journey is not the destination but the journey itself? So why I should enjoy only 2 hours, even under stress, while I can stretch it up to 48 hours?
Of course, the base requirement is to have time, so rare today, but I think we are wrongly getting used to travelling from A to B as fast as possible and only by plane.
To do not make it to long, a few days ago, with this concept in mind, I started to think how I could reach Mola di Bari in a safe and relaxing way and not too expensive.
By car? mmh no, even though it would be nice to cross all the landscapes and being able to stop at any place anytime. it could be too tiring and much expensive.
By boat? Well no, of course… :-p
By train? Yes, there it is! I love travelling by train, is a kind of open book on two rails, it contains so many life stories that I can even take great pictures along the way?
Wait…what? Can I also make a documentary reportage all along the way? Wooah, than, what I’m still waiting for? let’s go, let’s wear the backpack hang my brand new Leica Q and start.
Contrary to what I expected, the cost of the whole trip is not that expensive, we are talking about 200€ just the train tickets. But, as I want to travel in the daytime, I have to mention that I will have a stop ever in Bologna, gently hosted by my wonderful niece who lives there.
This means that I will even spend a great night with good food and wine before getting on the rails again the following morning… Isn’t way better than a fast 2 hours flight from A to B?
Here is the itinerary in detail, using Rome2Rio, a great free online travel planner.
Luxembourg Train Station to Zurich Central Station
Zurich Central Station to Milano Centrale
Milano Centrale to Bologna Centrale
Bologna Centrale to Bari Centrale
Bari Centrale to Mola di Bari, my home town (love love love)
What will I do all these hours on the train?
Well, there can be lots of things to do and this is the beauty of travelling on the train.
For sure, I will try to document the whole trip by taking pictures with my brand new Leica Q camera, the perfect tool for street photography and documentary pictures.
Then, of course, I will have time to read a book
write the next articles for my blog
maybe video editing on the iphone
to observe and listen to other people’s stories
maybe visit Zurich for a just short hour
and maybe sleep a little bit.
You see hoe many thing you can do on a slow travel?
Of course, you can argue, that I could have reached my hometown almost 2 days earlier, yes, but… I will most probably live these two days, these hours more intensively and arrive with much more new stories to tell…
I’m so thrilled to experience this “very normal” trip because, as I said before, I feel the need to slow my pace and enjoy the time with no stress and rush.
We continuously look for the extraordinary while we have so much of beauty also in the ordinary.
So my fellow friends, keep following me because there will be many new stories coming in the next three weeks that will see myself travelling to many different places, like the ones below…(spoiler):
Today I want to share with you a new book I just received, a true inspirational body of work considered the “bible” of street photography.
The book, quite heavy and big, is produced by my favourite photographer Joel Meyerowitz together with Colin Westerbeck, and explores the development and history of the genre through the medium’s masters–Strand, Atget, Stieglitz, Cartier-Bresson, Lartigue, Kertész, Walker Evans, Brassaï, Diane Arbus, Robert Frank, Helen Levitt, Garry Winogrand, Lee Friedlander, and many others.
You can buy it from AmazonHEREor from Lensculture website HERE
Definitely, a must-have book if you are a passionate photographer!
how much do you like walking on a cold, wet, soft snow?
Well, I have to admit, I’not a fan of it, I’d rather prefer the deep blue colour of a wavy sea, but it’s winter time, and I live in Luxembourg. Nothing more to add… :-p
Ok, said that, a city covered by snow it surely offers great photo opportunities, and my challenge was to capture the mood of Luxembourg trying to add the human being element as much as possible and to avoid postcard shots we’ve already seen thousand times here around.
Mmh, doesn’t mean that I did not take any landscapes pictures, but just a few… c’mon, a beauty landscape always deserves to be framed.
For this assignment, I had the opportunity to fully try my brand new Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90/f2.8-4 ASPH , a beast of a lens that performs very well an I may say it is not that heavy as I was expecting.
I bought this lens (always from Newoldcamera in Milano) just to add an automatic and versatile zoom lens to my equipment, even though I always prefer prime lenses and manual focus.
But, for special assignments or when travelling, there may be cases when I don’t want to change lenses and I need a fast focus. So now I’ve covered also this need.
Besides that, of course, I have used my great Leica SL and in some cases, the Summicron M 50mm f2. I’m incredibly happy with this camera, totally satisfied with the quality and usability.
That’s all, I hope you enjoy this series, but keep following me and feel free to share or drop a comment down here.
Hello folks, have you ever wondered how a little tiny fruit can produce one of the tastiest and used ingredients ever? I’m talking about the extra virgin olive oil and how it is actually extracted from olives.
I may admit that even though I’ve always and only used olive oil produced locally, from my family’s farm, so far I’ve never had the chance to see how is actually produced. And I guess that most of you, have only bought it from the supermarket, packed in a fancy bottle.
Well, there is a world behind that bottle, a long history and an incredible process that deserves to be told and photograph!
Frantoio Griseta, where all begins, since 1930.
The production of olive oil is a seasonal process that usually goes on from November until January, starting from harvesting the beautiful olive trees down the spilling into the metal cans.
Luckily, I was in my homeland, Puglia, at the right time, for Christmas time, and together with my dad, I went to visit a family driven factory, the “Frantoio Oleario Griseta”.
The owner did kindly open me the door of the factory line production and for me was like jumping into another world, perfectly organized and full of history.
The cold pressed olive oil
The process of making organic cold pressed olive oil is made of five important stages:
In more details, here is the traditional procedure.
First, the harvesting, done manually from the secular trees in the iconic Apulian countryside. Then, the olives are separated roughly from the leaves and then ground into an olive paste using large millstones at an oil mill. The olive paste generally stays under the stones for 30‑40 minutes.
After grinding, the olive paste is spread on fiber disks, which are stacked on top of each other, then placed into the press. Traditionally the disks were made of hemp or coconut fibre, but in modern times they are made of synthetic fibres which are easier to clean and maintain.
These disks are then put on a hydraulic piston, forming a pile. Pressure is applied on the disks, thus compacting the solid phase of the olive paste and percolating the liquid phases (oil and vegetation water).
At the last stage, a filtering system separates pure extra virgin olive oil from the water and is poured into the tanks, ready to be sold or shipped.
My reportage with a Leica SL
And here comes my part of the job, the photo and video reportage.
To make this reportage happen, I’ve used my great Leica SL and alternate the two lenses i have, Summicron M 28mm f2 ASPH for most of the shots and the Summicron M 50mm f2, for few shots when I wanted a more close up view.
For the footage, I was using the iPhone 8Plus, handheld, just to try to document the whole process. For the future, I want to equip it with a gimbal in order to have smoother movements. Anyway, I’m quite happy with the final result.
The video reportage
Edited completely on the iPhone using iMovie.
The gold of Puglia: inside the extra virgin olive oil factory - Reportage with my Leica SL - YouTube
Few weeks ago, I’ve received a new set of cookies from my talented friend Ana (SweetInc.Lux). This time, it was about Christmas and she prepared many different shapes, like the gingerbread man, the woman, the elk, the deer, the heart and, of course the Christmas tree.
I was so happy, but at the same time, I knew it could have been challenging to photograph all of them.
Food photography seems so easy when you look at the final pictures, but there are so many efforts to conceive and create the right stage in a way that the main subject is in harmony with the surrounding and well valorized.
As I said before, it is not easy to prepare the stage, even more, when you have so many different subjects at the same time.
I’ve tried to create different sets, starting from a simple one, just focused on the cookies. Later on, I’ve recreated a whole situation with a cup of tea and other props, in order to have a more Christmas related atmosphere.
Camera: Leica SL
Lens: Nikon PC-E 85mm f/2.8 D Micro
Flash: 1 Flash lamp on the back
Reflector: Aluminium sheet on the front to open the shadows
Various props and decorations
This was the first time I was using my new lens, the Nikon PC-E 85mm, and, seeing the results, I may say that I’m fully satisfied with it. Somehow is like taking the best from different brands and creating the perfect combo, Leica+Nikon.
The final pictures
The shooting session was quite long as I had many different shapes and I tried various settings. A challenging subject but I’m happy with the results.
The Christmas cookies – Series of 20
– 1 –
– 2 –
– 3 –
– 4 –
– 5 –
– 6 –
– 7 –
– 8 –
– 9 –
– 10 –
– 11 –
– 12 –
– 13 –
– 14 –
– 15 –
– 16 –
– 18 –
– 19 –
– 20 –
Another wonderful homemade cookie set from Sweet Inc Luxembourg