Watching Paris From Notre Dame

Paris (France). I posted a similar photo some days ago: in that case the lens – my beloved Nikon 105 mm Defocus Control – was on the so called “gargoyle”, one of the bizarre sculptures decorating the Notre Dame Cathedral. The image posted here has been taken from the same place, but with a wide angle Zeiss lens to capture¬†a wide landscape of Paris under a beautiful cloudy sky.

I have been desiring¬†to go to¬†the top of the Notre Dame Cathedral for years, but every time I was discouraged by an incredibly long queue, with waiting times of some hours! When recently I finally had the opportunity of being in Paris on a Monday morning, I did not hesitate one minute and I went straight to Notre Dame around one hour before the opening. I wasn’t the first of the line – some Japaneses arrived earlier than me, of course! – but I could enter 20 minutes after the opening: still it was a success! “Such a long waiting time must¬†be compensated by a gorgeous landscape”, I was thinking when I was climbing the tower’s steps: so getting closer to the top I was more and more nervous, because my expectations were very high¬†and the biggest risk was to be¬†disappointed.

However, at the end¬†I can say that it was a successful experience: the landscape of Paris from Notre Dame is something of¬†breathtaking, especially when the light is not too sharp. The entrance is regulated, so the downside is the long queue, but the upside is that on the top it¬†is not too crowded and everyone can¬†find the time to concentrate and shoot. One last but important advice: it can be bloody cold and windy over there, so bring an extra layer and be prepared…

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Buda Castle (Budapest By Night)

Budapest (Hungary). Budapest by night is a great photographic experience. This photo has been taken in 2011, long time ago: however, I still perfectly remember the vibrations that this city, so nicely illuminated when the sun goes down behind the right bank of the Danube river. The feeling was quite unique, and still today it’s a bit difficult to be described.¬†In a certain sense¬†– let me say –¬†photographing Budapest by night¬†was like photographing a woman¬†that perfectly knows about her¬†beauty, and that for this reason invites you to prepare your photo calmly,¬†choosing the best possible composition and dedicating all the necessary attentions to transform just a click into an experience for your soul.

In detail, this was a photo captured at the Buda Castle, which overlooks the city and offers a perfect place for beautiful landscape views. But I was also intrigued by the castle itself, and I dedicated more than one shot to it. This is one of them.

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The Giants and the Girl (Casa degli Omenoni)

Milan (Italy). It’s all about motivation. What? Everything.

Yes, everything. Everything is about motivation: our whole life – without a reasonable dose of motivation – will be empty, grey, dark, senseless. Why I’m writing this? Because in the past days I’m so overloaded with things to do with my job, that my mind is totally distracted by things to do and I essentially lost my motivation for photography!

And it’s quite weird, especially because normally photography is my discharge valve for when I’m under pressure: what’s happening then? I don’t know, this time seems different. When I fly, commuting back and forth to Paris, I love reading books, especially about street photography, and I imagine myself with my Leica shooting around in incredibly stimulating environments. But it’s just imagining… The reality seems¬†different in these days.

What I know, is that in such situations I’m extremely¬†happy that photography is not my work. It’s already frustrating walking around me with the camera in my hand but without seeing nothing capturing my attention; I can’t imagine how it could be if I should send my shots to an agency or a customer… terrible!

Anyhow… Last Sunday, after a very tough week, I decided to take a walk¬†around Milan. The weather was fantastic and the city during¬†the weekend is incredibly crowded (I thought that after Expo it the situation would have been more calm, but I was definitely wrong). In such situations it’s nice walking and¬†photographing around me, but as said my eyes were frozen and I could not see anything. The only “inspiring” moment was when I notices this little girl being observed by these huge men on¬†the facade of “Casa degli Omenoni”, a famous palace¬†just behind Piazza della Scala. If you want to know more about this place, this is the wikipedia page.

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Silence! The Chef is Creating – At Contraste Milano

Milan (Italy). How can the Contraste restaurant recently (September 2015) opened in Milano be defined? It’s not just a restaurant: people don’t go there simply for “eating something”.

I started this post writing my feelings about this place: not only the food, but also the atmosphere and, in general, my personal experience. Then, I deleted everything I had written! Why?

Very simply, because I think that

food is – in this respect – incredibly¬†similar to photography. It’s such¬†a personal and intimate experience, that it’s illogical taking for granted the opinion of the others.

What I can do, is recommending this place – not necessarily because it’s good (perhaps someone could find it “normal”, or even “outrageous”) – but because for sure it offers an absolutely unique experience.

Around each dish, there’s an accurate and meticulous research on ingredients, as well as on composition and on balancing of flavors. The customer becomes¬†spectator of something going beyond the simple “tasting”, other senses are involved: sighting, smelling and touching of course,¬†but¬†also hearing, when you listen to the story of what you are going to heat (or have just eaten).

At the restaurant entrance (although it looks like an apartment, with few tables in what is a dining room with a living room) there’s this nice “welcome”: a face comes out from a dark wall, and with the finger at the nose looks saying “silence! The Chef is creating”. And the chef is just there, you can see¬†him at work through¬†the keyhole in the wall…

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