Archive for the ‘Giacomo’s Favorites’ Category

Fire on Mount Stewart

Although I was mostly unsatisfied with many of the HDRs I tried to take in Australia, there is one glaring exception. First, I should explain. Part of the reason I was unhappy with many of my pictures from Australia was the fire control practices there. The Australians prevent massive, out-of-control wildfires by continually doing small controlled burns that partition the unburned land into small harmless fuel deposits. This results in a constant haze and smoke in the air, which made me dislike all the pictures I took (kind of like in another city I know). On to the exception: the very last night I stayed in James Cook University, where I was studying, my friends and I decided to stay up all night and go for a hike. That very night, the controlled burns were raging in our very back door, on the slopes of Mount Stewart which overlooks the university campus. When I realized this, I knew this was a rare opportunity so naturally I busted out my tripod and camera. Here’s what I saw.

The red lights on the left side of the picture are the lights of the radio towers on the top of Mount Stewart shining throughout the blazing inferno that raged below. Alright, the fires were not as out of control as I make them sound. But spectacular nonetheless, especially when the long exposure makes them look like such towering walls of flame.

Kaikoura Panorama


The day after arriving in New Zealand (it feels like just a few days ago-it’s been over a month!) Andrew and I got up early to go on a boat ride, but first we went out to the beach in front of our hotel and I shot a panorama with his camera. The view from the east coast of the south island, from the Kaikoura peninsula where we were, was pretty much amazing, and I tried to capture it with this picture. I lack Andrew’s finesse in processing these HDR panoramas, so it took me a while to get it into good shape. Now that I know how, I want to do more!!! Argh. Unfortunately I’m on my way back to Atlanta now, so I may not have a huge amount of picture opportunities in the near future. Fortunately, Andrew, Tucker, and I just got done with a trip to Yosemite, and I have some pictures from my trip to Australia, and Andrew also has been around to several other national parks, so we should have some serious HDRs in the pipe.


The beach wasn't actually so curvy, the panorama just distorts perspective some.


Back to the Park

It’s been a while since any of us has posted content from Atlanta…maybe we’ve just gotten tired of the place.

Ha, as if. I love Atlanta, but it’s not always the best place to take pictures. However, the other day Tucker and I were driving around and commenting on how spectacular the clouds were, and within 5 minutes Andrew (who’s back in the ATL) texted us about the same ridiculous meteorology that was occurring. We decided it was time…to take some pictures. So we went back to Piedmont Park, which we somehow have not been to for shooting in literally a year. Last time we were there we had no idea how to take HDRs and looking back on our attempts I am glad how much we have learned since then. Anyways, here’s one of my favorites from the shoot there. Tucker and Andrew have other content to post but this is what I want to show off right now…

The Downtown skyline seen from one of its best angles, in my opinion

Water Life

I’ve had a few pictures floating around that I’ve been working on the flow of, and I think I’ve gotten all the ripples out. Whew, ok, d’you think I killed the water metaphor enough yet? 😉 I took the water lily picture at the Botanical Gardens, always a good source of flower photography, which although not the most original, is not overdone without cause (flowers are pretty!!! yay). The mallard came upon me as I wandered around Lullwater Park at Emory University, probably expecting bread crumbs or something. I had no such gifts to offer, which probably explains the indignant look he is giving me. Oh, and, both are single-shot HDRs. Admittedly, I exaggerate the HDR processing on single-shot HDRs, or else I don’t feel like I’m getting enough out of the picture. Too much? Either way, thanks Photomatix 4!

A water lily blooms in on of the ponds in the Atlanta Botanical Gardens

A Mallard glares at me after I don't give it anything to eat. He left shortly after.

Campo from the West

Although I took all kinds of pictures of and around the Piazza del Campo, the one I always wanted to take would have been impossible to get to: a shot down on the nightlife of the city from on top of the building directly across from the tower, and with a wide enough lens to capture the people and the tower in the shot. Oh I know, I should have just brought Tucker along and had him shoot it with his camera and lens–now I have an excuse to go back and bring him along. While I was there, I couldn’t resist taking the picture that 100s of other tourists did. The large west entrance  has a great view of the whole piazza and the Torre del Mangia, and as you walk down, you can’t help but stop and stare, as I did, even the 100th time I walked through. To take this picture I had to wait a while for exactly that reason; to try to minimize the number of people in the foreground taking pictures and staring at the impressive view of the tower looming over the piazza. Turns out I got pretty lucky.

The iconic view from the west of the Torre del Mangia on the Piazza del Campo in Siena, Italy

Good Old Days

Although I may still not have a completely functional computer again, that won’t stop me from posting HDRs. I was looking back through my photos and I realized I had posted far too few from the day Tucker and I shot at Krog street. One of my favorite things about that area was the many unique objects decorating the alcoves and openings around the long, open hallways that spanned the complex. Most of them had me wondering what their original purpose could have ever been, but I suppose I’ll never know. However, I didn’t complain, since they were fun subjects. That day produced many awesome pictures, and so while I wait to be able to process more from my time with Andrew and any left over from Italy, here’s a one that I’m glad I didn’t forget about.

I feel like the reflective surface lets me take two pictures at once: one of the ball, and one of the scene (and even me!)

More from Castello Ricasoli

After we toured the vineyard, we rushed through the barrel rooms of the Castello Ricasoli, but even as everyone left, I hung back to get this shot because the room was so epic. I would have posted this earlier, but I had to wait to get back to Atlan

ta to post this one: I needed Tucker’s advice on how to crop… I’ve never been as good as he is at composition, and I think his recommendations push this picture into my favorites list.

Some Classic Chianti ages in the dungeons of Castello Ricasoli

Piazza Giovanni Carli

I’m still in Italy. But now in Asiago, relaxing and doing almost nothing in my last weeks in Italy. I know I shouldn’t complain, but I actually want to get back to Atlanta. While I’m here, though, I figured I may as well take some pictures, so got right on it last night in downtown Asiago (although this town is hardly large enough to even have something that qualifies as a downtown). In the main piazza, there is this wonderful fountain which has several bronze casts of various animals native to the altopiano (plateau) and in the center features a faun riding a deer. I also spotted some spiders making there webs on the bronze animals, which I had to try to capture.

Fountain at the Piazza Giovanni Carli in the centro of Asiago

A spiderweb in the fountain

Castello Ricasoli

While at the Castello Ricasoli, we stopped off on the fields and I had just enough time to snap off some handheld shots of the countryside, which was lovely. It was cloudy and rained later that day, but as we stood looking at the fields I noticed off in the distance islands of moving sunlight, gaps in the clouds on the faraway hills. I took so many pictures hoping to be able to capture these, but try as I might none of the pictures I took could capture what I could see. Next time.

When we toured the castle, we also saw the Baron’s private chapel which had many pretty but poorly lit things in it. Sadly, I couldn’t take many pictures there since we sort of rushed through it, but I did manage to snag one that I really like.

The whole Ricasoli vineyard had a very medieval look with the castle overlooking the grounds

Under the chapel many generations of the Ricasoli Family were buried. If you look carefully you can see their ghosts in the bokeh of this picture...

Gecko Unlimited

STILL have HDRs to post from Rome. I was walking around Rome with my friend Gucci Mane, aka Victor, and I happened to catch sight of this little lizard sunning itself in a random alcove. Anyways, I love the way the 85 makes the out of focus light look at f/2, and also I love lizards.

Lizard sunning in an alcove somewhere in Rome

A Storm Brews in the Heavens

It sometimes seems that despite all the careful planning in the world, bad luck can destroy a good picture. However, in the same way, good luck can unexpectedly give you the opportunity to make some amazing photographs. HDR for me seems to especially highlight this problem, since I personally have even less chance than usual of knowing whether one of my HDR brackets will make a good picture. Sometimes, though, I just get really lucky. I was attempting a 5-stop bracket with -2, -1, 0, 1, and 2 EV (manually-Canon cameras have a lot of good features but in the bracketing realm Nikon has them beat) on the sky with the sun in frame, and during processing found that there was too much movement between setting up each set of brackets. Exasperated after an hour of work, I just decided to reprocess just the 3 stops in the middle and immediately saw how spectacular this scene had come out. This HDR is definitely one of the less subtly processed; the sky looked nothing like this when I was looking out over Rome.

A mass of clouds gather in the Roman twilight

When In Rome

Shoot HDRs!!! After spending most of the day wandering around the old city and doing interesting (but admittedly touristy) stuff, I found my way up the Palatine Hill and into the wonderful Farnese Gardens. It had been cloudy all day, and rained intermittently (the worst of it was while I was eating lunch inside – I didn’t even realize how lucky I got). The rain was annoying but provided phenomenally excellent lighting conditions for some on-the-go portraits of my friends here (I had only brought my 85mm lens with me so I was pretty limited in what I could shoot). Anyways, at the gardens I found some lovely flowers after the rain, pulled out my handy T-pod, and shot some brackets. Here’s my favorite.

Red flowers after the rain in the Farnese Gardens in Rome

Upwardly Mobile in Inman Park

The area around the Inman Park neighborhood used to be a lot of abandoned factories, but recently much of it has been demolished or renovated. One such factory on Krog Street has been transformed into a little mall type thing, but the old walls and sliding doors remain right next to the modern compact fluorescent light fixtures and clothing stores. Tucker and I spent a long time there since there were so many awesome details to shoot.

Indoor HDR of a Light Fixture in the renovated factory on Krog St. in Atlanta

The Jewel In The Lotus

This beautiful lily bloomed in the pond in my parent’s backyard. I was eating lunch at home the other day and my mother told me she thought I might want some pictures of it. They had planted this lily only a few days beforehand, and I think this flo

wer makes the whole pond worth it.