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Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.7 ASPH

The Mercato Metropolitano in Milan

Milan (Italy). The Mercato Metropolitano is a new – and I think pretty successful – experiment in the vibrant landscape of Milano. It was opened some months ago, just before the summer season, but I think it will be closed soon because it’s largely open air – so do not wait too much if you have not been there yet.

I went to the Mercato Metropolitano some weeks ago and I liked it. It’s the the place to go if you want to eat some nice street food, with many regional cookeries in a very informal environment – as a “metropolitan market” can be. To be honest, I was expecting something more similar to the Mercato Centrale (Florence) or the Mercado do Ribeira (Lisbon), where the daily market in the evening is transformed into a large restaurant. But the concept – in terms of food quality and offer – is quite close to them.

The Mercato Metropolitano is close to Porta Genova: there is one metro line (the Green one) and several trams to / from there. It’s also a nice place to take some photos (as of course I did, with my Leica Q).

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Landscape of Kotor, Montenegro (Just After a Rain Storm)

Kotor (Montenegro). It’s always a nice achievement when I can add a new country to my list of visited places. I went to Montenegro for the first time this summer, and of course I could not miss the possibility of visiting the old town of Kotor (Cattaro). If you google “Montenegro”, one of the first and most popular results is more or less the same photo posted here. This does not mean that Montenegro does not have anything else to offer to tourists, of course! Simply, this is one of the most iconic landmark in the Country.

I arrived to Kotor during a very heavy rainstorm: it was not the best possible welcome, let me say. However, when the rain stopped and clouds moved away, I immediately took my camera, wore good trekking shoes and went along the 4.5 km track (it’s along the upper town walls, and has stairs on its side) which starts from the town and climbs up to the top of the mountain, where – from the abandoned St. John Fortress – it is possible to enjoy the amazing landscape of the town and of the fjord.

However, in my opinion the best landscape was more or less at half of the walk, with the Our Lady of Health church, with its bell tower, dominating the view of the town and the fjord. In my case, moreover, the thick clouds were moving toward the open sea making the scenery even more intense. I decided to climb the rest of the path: it was quite tough – let me say – but it was a very enjoyable walk…

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Ponte della Cresa: Pontremoli by Night

Pontremoli (Italy). This is a self-promotional post: I hope I won’t seem narcissist, but in these days – until the 7th of August 2016 – I’m participating with three photos at an exhibition on Pontremoli and the Lunigiana region. One of these photos is this one posted here.

The photo (already posted in this blog one year ago, that time in black and white)  shows the very old bridge named “Ponte della Crësa”, which initially was built with wood in the 1300s, and it was reinforced – as it is today – during the 15th century. In the background, two landmarks of Pontremoli: the Bell Tower (popularly known as the “Campanone”) and the Cathedral’s Dome. The old town center of Pontremoli extends over a spit of land between the confluence of the Verde and Magra river, and this bridge is one of the city’s symbols. The name itself – Pontremoli – comes from the latin “Pons Tremulus“, where Pons is the latin word for bridge, whereas Tremulus is an old name for the poplar, the material used to build the bridge. According to another interpretation, “Tremulus” might stem from the fact that the bridge tended to shake. This is to say that Pontremoli has somehow built its history on bridges, and bridges themselves are the subjects of my photos selected for this exhibition.

For those who will be around Pontremoli – in the northern part of Tuscany – in these days, the exhibition will be held at the Galleria d’Arte Ex-Macelleria, Via Garibaldi 27 – 50027 Pontremoli (Massa Carrara). Opening hours: 10.30 / 13.00 and 16.30 / 19.30.

 

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Landscape of Istanbul from the Suleymaniye Mosque

Istanbul (Turkey). I’m a bit worried: maybe I’m sick?

Ok, let me serious, since my parents and relatives could read this sentence and get scared… I’m joking of course! And I’m perfectly healthy – I have some kilos to loose though, perhaps I spend too much time blogging my photos and I do not run enough. Anyway, the point is that out of 8 posts in January (including this one), 7 (some 90%) are about Istanbul! So, the conclusion is only one: I’m sick of Istanbul, meaning that I’m totally crazy for this city and I’m loosing control in photo-blogging about its places, landscapes and situations… This is my problem, and I do not want to find a cure 🙂

Probably the two snowfalls that hit the city this January are responsible for my situation, but I found that everything – including places where I have been several times before – when covered with snow was irresistibly beautiful!

This one posted here, for example. I have seen this landscape of Istanbul from Suleymaniye Mosque an uncountable number of times: I love these small domes of the former “preparatory school” (in Turkish, mülazim) gently degrading down toward the sea; and I could stay hours watching the Galata Tower dominating the Golden Horn (Haliç) and the Karakoy peninsula. But the scene is covered by the snow, it’s completely different – not to mention the fact that all around is silence (but – I’m sorry – photography cannot represent noises yet).

The weather forecasts bulletin says it’s going to snow again: I recommend all photographers to prepare their cameras and lenses, and to include the Suleymaniye Mosque in their photo-tour around Istanbul…

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A Breathtaking Landscape of Odle Mountains, in the Dolomites

Ortisei (Italy). Summer landscape of the Odle Mountains in the Dolomites, taken from above Seceda, at the end of the Fermeda chair lift. This is one of the highest panoramic observatory, and the view from here is really breathtaking. A curiosity: in June 2017 at the Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference in San Jose (United States) the same image – well, not exactly this one of course – was used as wallpaper for the launch of new iMac and iMac Pro computers. Apparently someone in Cupertino loves these mountains, but I hope they won’t become too much popular, since I love walking along their tracks without too many people around…


Ortisei (Val Gardena, Italia). Panorama estivo del Gruppo delle Odle (catena montuosa delle Dolomiti) scattato da sopra Seceda, alla fine della seggiovia Fermeda. Questo è uno dei punti più alti, e la vista da qui è veramente mozzafiato. Una curiosità: in Giugno scorso alla conferenza mondiale degli sviluppatori Apple tenutasi a San Jose, Stati Uniti, un’immagine analoga è stata utilizzata come sfondo per il lancio dei nuovi iMac e iMac Pro. A quanto pare qualcuno a Cupertino ama queste montagne, ma spero non diventino troppo famose perchè amo camminare lungo i loro sentieri senza troppa gente intorno…

odle-dolomites-new-apple-imac

 

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The Central Courtyard at the Palacio da Bolsa in Porto

Porto (Portugal). Yesterday I posted a photo of a nice courtyard in Milan; here today I’m posting the same subject – but this time it is from my recent trip to Porto, the second city of Portugal and one of the most beautiful one.

This sumptuous and elegant neoclassic building is the old Palacio da Bolsa (in English, the Stock Exchange Palace). It’s not used for its original scope anymore: for example, the courtyard photographed here in the past was the negotiations room, and the ceiling is decorated with the emblem of the countries with which Portugal was having commercial relationships.

However, today the Palacio da Bolsa it is still used for the meetings of the local commercial association.and for some special events. During the day, the Palacio da Bolsa opens its doors to visitors, and it is possible to walk along its corridors, as well as to visit its rooms, following a 45 minutes guided tour. I particularly appreciated the fact that during the tour I could shoot photos, and this one is one of my favorite from that visit.

The Palacio da Bolsa is located in the Infante D. Henrique Square in the historical center of Porto, and is designated World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

To capture this image I used a Leica Q camera: I think its 28 mm lens is very versatile and is very suitable for architecture photography (with a touch of creativity).

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At Christmas Time, We Let in Light and Banish Shade (Florence, 2015)

Florence (Italy). I took this photo last Saturday, when I was walking around Florence enjoying the city where I was born. Exactly one year ago I took the same photo and I posted it with the same title! Perhaps, now that Photographing Around Me is going through its second year of life, I should consider carefully what I posted in the past to avoid the risk of being repetitive…

However, I have been feeling something for this photo since the moment I prepared its composition, trying to include the carousel, the tree and the illuminated building – all of them symbols of Christmas and typical of this period; and I even used it as a cover of my Facebook profile (by the way, feel free to follow me if you want, it’s open to everyone and I use it mainly to share my blog’s posts and some other photos).

Why this photo is so important to me?

Both when I was capturing it, as well as when I was editing and preparing it for the blog, some words came to my mind:

… It’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid

At Christmas time, we let in light and banish shade

And in our world of plenty, we can spread a smile of joy …

I guess it won’t take too much time remembering the song’s lyrics these words are coming from (however, just in case…). And I found these words incredibly appropriate, considering the hard times we are going through and what’s happening in the world. So, I truly hope that this Christmas – not only for believers – will come into our lives spreading these exact words and teaching us how to smile. Again.

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Soli di Notte: Joan Miró Exhibition at Villa Manin – Italy

Passariano di Codroipo (Udine / Italy). I’m back from an interesting exhibition about Joan Miró, hosted at the prestigious Villa Manin (more or less one hour from Venice, one hour and half from Ljubljana, and 3 and half hours from Milan and Salzburg). In these situations, it’s very unlikely that I photograph some paintings, since I found this action totally useless. What can be the reason behind photographing a painting at an exhibition? If it is to save a memory of the visit, I can photograph something else, something of more personal and intriguing; if it is because in a following moment I want to analyse in detail the painting I’m photographing, I’m sure I can find much better and more detailed images on the web; if it is to show-off that “Hey, I   w a s   t h e r e ! ! !”, it’s obviously pretty stupid.

However – and here’s the reason of this post – walking at an exhibition I enjoy photographing the ambient around me and directing my lens towards some large rooms or trying to capture people’s behavior.

One of the main rooms at Joan Miró’s exhibition is the one photographed here: it reproduces – using original tools and instruments – part of the artist’s studio. Watched from the balcony (the exhibition is on two floors) I found the view of this room very interesting and worthy of being photographed: I liked the soft light, and I felt like I was really there, in his studio at Palma de Maiorca, watching his table immediately after he completed one of his paintings and left his instruments on the table.

It was just a feeling: but isn’t it great using photography to capture a feeling?

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The Duomo Square of Milano in Chiaroscuro

Milan (Italy). Since “photography” means literally “writing with light”, shooting photos when the air is incredibly clean – such as after a rainstorm – it is like writing with the purest and most brilliant ink or painting with the most prestigious temperas!

Days ago I visited the Museo del Novecento (I already wrote a post about that day), and just before leaving the building – more or less it was the beginning of the so called “golden hour” – I dedicated some more minutes to enjoy the fantastic view of the Duomo (Cathedral) with its facade painted by a warm sun and with the churchyard completely shadowed. I found this contrast very interesting and inspiring, especially because it was perfectly marking the landscape’s shapes, enhancing the beauty of the Cathedral’s facade with its details and architectures.

Around one year ago I wrote a post on a “chiaroscuro” glimpse of Venice (another place where the light can be really magic sometimes): perhaps I should consider this type of situation more frequently, and to support this resolution I create the “chiaroscuro” tag for writing more posts…

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Entre-temps à La Défense… (In the meantime at La Défense…)

Paris (France). This photograph represents the typical “merge” between my work and my biggest passion! The first one makes me travel very frequently, whereas the second one makes me bring my Leica Q always with me.

The last week I was once again in Paris, at La Défense (technically, La Défense is not Paris, since it’s located in the so called “banlieu”, the Paris Metropolitan Area, and is shared among different municipalities; however, there’s a total urban continuity between Paris and La Défense). With my office at the 38th floor of the very tall EDF Tower, it’s pretty easy to be distracted by the landscape outside my window, and I love sometimes stopping to work and moving my eyes far from the laptop screen.

This image posted here is the landscape I captured some days ago, at sunset. It was late afternoon and the sun was against me: I liked the effect it was giving to this landscape, with the intense blue and orange sky, and with thick clouds filtering the sun rays. I took my Leica from my bag and I made some photos through the window’s glass (luckily, it was clean!).

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