AF Prime Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF

Landscape from the Golden Horn (Haliç) Metro Station in Istanbul

Istanbul (Turkey). Although its position – which is not very efficient, being in the middle of the bridge crossing the Golden Horn – the Haliç Metro Station is an amazing observatory for capturing great photos of the Sultanahmet skyline.

The bridge crosses the Haliç fiord between the Galata Bridge and the Ataturk Bridge, just in correspondence of the Suleymaniye Mosque (here in the background). The metro line is the one going between Yenikapi and Taksim (proceeding to Levent and Haciosman).

My favorite moment of course is at sunset, when the sun goes down toward Eyup and the beginning of the Golden Horn: the water surface looks like covered with a layer of gold, and the Sulymaniye Mosque gets colored first with orange tones, and then becomes pinkish.

When the Haliç Bridge was built, there was a tough debate among politics, experts and citizens, mainly because its shape (it is a cable-stayed bridge) and its dimensions were compromising the landscape of Sultanahmet historical area, which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The risk was in fact the possible consequent cancellation from the UNESCO list, a big shame for such an important place. It was the typical and tough trade off for cities – like Istanbul – between the preservation of the cultural imprinting and the efficiency required by the urban development. As far as I know, the situation is now stable and – according to UNESCO website – Sultanahmet is not at risk of cancellation.

However, it must be said that in the last years, Istanbul improved significantly its public transportation networks. The city is huge, and it is not easy to move from a point to another given the traffic at every time of the day and the night. The metro is expanding its lines and stations, is clean and efficient. And most important, is safe.

So, for those who are going to visit Istanbul, I recommend to include a walk on this bridge in the “to-do” list, bringing a sturdy tripod to mount the camera after the sunset.

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Turkish Coffee

Istanbul (Turkey). Turkish Coffee (Turk Kahvesi) is not simply “a coffee”… it’s a tradition, it’s a religion, it’s a ritual made of moments and that go well beyond simply the gesture of “drinking a coffee”. You have to wait, because when it comes served on your table it’s too hot. You have to drink it carefully, otherwise your mouth will be filled by the sandy coffee powder. You have to read its ground, so that you can learn more about your future and take the right decisions. For me – Italian – coffee is no more only “espresso”. A good Turk Kahvesi is a perfect boost to start the day!

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Carrot Cake

Food photography is not an easy assignment. From one side, you must show that the product is “teasing”; from the other one, it must be as much real as possible. Furthermore, there’s the general composition… For this shooting, I agreed with the owner to choose a total white background and a minimal scene, in order to highlight the brown color of this carrot cake together with its ingredients (cinnamon, died fruit and walnuts). I think it is nice!

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Efes and Tofas (Hidirellez at Ahirkapi)

Istanbul (Turkey). A black and white photo taken some years ago (it was 2013) during a Hidirellez nigh photo-walk around Ahırkapı, a district of Istanbul near Sultanahmet (in the Fatih municipality). Hidirellez commemorates the arrival of spring and is a religious holiday for the Alevi community. It is celebrated every year the night between the 5th and the 6th of May, and it is a very special moment because the arrival of spring is seen as a time of new life.

Although today the ceremonial activities for Hıdırellez are prepared especially in villages or towns rather than large cities and metropolises, there’s a “serious” party in Istanbul, around Ahırkapı district as mentioned above. The area becomes the dance floor of thousands and thousands of people, with small bands walking and playing Anatolian instruments (mostly guitars, clarinets and drums).

Of course, when the party gets hotter and hotter, people are thirsty and there’s nothing better than refreshing with a good beer. So, around the narrow streets of Ahırkapı, young entrepreneurs sell bottles of Efes beer using the top of a Turkish Tofas car as a counter.

Istanbul (Turchia). Una foto in bianco e nero scattata alcuni anni fa (era il 2013) nella notte di Hidirellez durante una passeggiata per Ahırkapı, un quartiere di Istanbul vicino a Sultanahmet (nella municipalità di Fatih). La festa di Hidirellez commemora l’arrivo della primavera e per la comunità degli Aleviti è una festa religiosa. E’ celebrata ogni anno la notte tra il 5 e il 6 maggio, e rappresenta un momento molto speciale poichè l’arrivo della primavera è visto come il momento per una nuova vita.

Sebbene oggigiorno le attività del cerimoniale per l’Hidirellez sono preparate prevalentemente nei villaggi o nelle piccole città più che nelle grandi metropoli, a Istanbul c’è una grande festa nel quartiere di Ahırkapı come precedentemente detto. La zona diventa l’arena di ballo di migliaia e migliaia di persone, con piccoli gruppi che camminano e suonano strumenti tipici turchi (prevalentemente chitarre, clarinetti e percussioni).

Ovviamente, quando la festa si infiamma, le persone sono assetate e non c’è niente di meglio che rinfrescarsi con una buona birra. Così, in giro per le strette strade di Ahırkapı, giovani intraprendenti vendono bottiglie di birra Efes usando il tettuccio di una macchina Tofas come bancone del bar.

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