Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4.0 R OIS

San Gimignano

San Gimignano (Italy). When I take photos of very popular destinations it’s always a big challenge. It’s easy to capture the same image like many others did before, and it’s difficult not to be conditioned by a sort of “already seen syndrome” related to magazines of websites showing something about that specific place.

Travelling around Tuscany, this situation can be very frequent; and it is frustrating – believe me! However, what can make the originality of some photo is strictly related to the curiosity of their author. I travel because I want to see the world, including that world with which I think I’m familiar (Tuscany is part of this world). So when I travel, I like to explore and – possibly – to leave the conventional paths. The photo is the final step of a process, which starts with watching around me and continues with applying my curiosity to what I have been seeing till that moment.

Here, I was in San Gimignano: a place that has been photographed by millions of people I suppose (and there are great shots on the web, really!). However, I was very attracted by one of the many towers – the so called Torre Grossa – which is open to visitors and offers an extraordinary observatory point. I did not hesitate to climb it as soon as I understood that it was open: once on the top, I was completely alone and I captured this photo from there. It’s not my best shot – I know but it’s a bit different from what you can see googling “San Gimignano” on internet.

So, my personal tip for photographers is therefore the following: sometimes, try to click less, and possibly to be more curious!

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Landing at Venice Airport (Landscape of the Lagoon)

Venice (Italy). I have been landing at Venice International Airport (VCE) for several years, and every time it is a very exciting experience! It’s unmissable: just before touching the ground, the plane approaches the landing strip flying very close to the city, offering to its passengers an unique opportunity for a bird’s-eye view of the downtown, the lagoon and the canals. Amazing!

During all these years, I have been collecting several photographs taken from the plane. Some of them – unfortunately – are unusable or look all the same. But with the remaining ones, I have created a small gallery, and I’m posting them here on my photoblog with the tag “Venice Airport (VCE)“.

Here’s my personal advice for all airplane travellers coming to Venice: reserve a window seat along the right side of the plane (far from the wing, obviously). And when the plane starts approaching the landing strip: not only you must put your seat backs in their most upright (and uncomfortable) position, close your tray table, and open the window shades; in this case, passengers are recommended to take their camera, switch it on, check its settings, compose the scene and – click! – capture the most exclusive landscape of Venice!

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Paris Gare du Nord Train Station

Paris (France). I have always had a special feeling for train stations. It’s a feeling coming from a mix of interests: I like trains, I like watching people, and I like observing the architectures. For this reason there are some places that I consider “magic”. One of them is the train station “Gare du Nord” in Paris. Although its architecture comes from mid of the 19th century, this place is still one of the most crowded station of Paris (well, to be honest with its 190 millions of passengers, it’s the most crowded station in the whole Europe and the second one in the world after Japan!). High speed trains (the international Thalis and the national TGV) depart from here to many destinations, including the north of France but also London, Amsterdam and Cologne.

When I took this photo it was Friday afternoon: I guess that the majority of people going to jump on the train were commuters going back home for the weekend. I liked to stay for quite a long time with my back leaning against the lamppost, trying to be invisible and – most important – sturdy in the middle of this people’s “flow”. I used a wide angle lens (at that time I was travelling with a Fuji X-T1 camera coupled with a 10-24 mm lens) to emphasize the beauty of the large truss sustaining the ceiling.

Now, every time I go to Paris (especially if I catch the RER B going from CDG Airport to Chatelet) I consider to stop at Gare du Nord. Beyond the perfect mix of interests mentioned at the beginning of the post, this place is also a great location for street photography – although the recent terrorism alerts (vigipirate) are creating some problems to photographers…

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