Sun Is Rising Through Poplars (Zulugne in Friulano Significa Brina)

Codroipo (Udine / Italy). Zulugne is a Friulian word, means frost. It’s the typical deposit of ice made overnight by humid air in cold conditions. I love walking through a poplars grove early morning in winter, when the sun is rising and the “zulugne” crackle under my feet. This is one of the many landscapes of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and another good reason to love this amazing place of Italy.

Codroipo (Udine). Zulugne è una parola Friulana, e significa brina. E’ il consueto strato di ghiaccio che si deposita a terra di notte in ambienti umidi. Adoro camminare in un bosco di pioppi all’alba di una mattina invernale, quando il sole sorge e le “zulugne” crepitano sotto i miei piedi. Questo è uno dei tanti panorami del Friuli-Venezia Giulia, e un’altra ottima ragione per amare questa bellissima regione italiana.


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Sunrise at La Défense, Paris

Paris (France). Early wake-ups are never very welcome, especially when I have to catch a plane. But there’s an exception: it’s when they make you experience (and photograph) such a beautiful sunrise!

This morning I was at La Dèfense – a large suburb of Paris – and I was walking around my hotel to breath fresh air before going to some meetings: when I turned my head toward Paris from the Esplanade de la Défense, I remembered when some weeks before I took this image posted here, and I immediately surfed my archive to find and share it here in my photoblog. I still have in mind when I saw this scene: I was literally impressed because it was early December (there’s a Christmas decoration) and despite the tragic terrorist attacks happened few weeks earlier, which put the city in a sort of deep chaos, I remember that everything in that exact moment was incredibly calm, relaxing, charming. The reflection of these thin lampposts on the fountain’s water was close to perfection, and the color of the sky was going from an intense blue (still with some memories of the night that was going to finish) to a warm orange announcing a fantastic sunrise – as it effectively was few minutes later.

Probably someone is curious to know how this same landscape was today… well, definitely not the same, unfortunately: cloudy and foggy, very annoying. However, this situation makes me think about another great strengths of photography, when watching something of already seen, brings your mind to the same place but in a much better situation, creating intense emotions…

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Contemplating Paris from La Défense

Paris (France). The initial idea was giving to this post a title such as “why I love shooting landscape photos with an old inexpensive 180 mm prime lens”, but at the end I thought it would have been a bit irrespectful for the old inexpensive 180 mm prime lens, which is- by the way – one of my favorite lenses for shooting landscape photos …

OK, let’s try to be serious now. I have taken this image yesterday early morning on my way from the “Esplanade de la Défense”, a large square perfectly aligned with the Arc de Triomphe and the Grande Arche, to my office. The sunrise was simply perfect, with a soft and gentle light colouring the sky with a warm orange tone. Photographing a landscape like this is more than just composing the frame, focusing the scene and clicking: the situation is at the same time calm (given by the sky) and chaotic (with the traffic along the Avenue de la Grande-Armée and the Avenue Charles-de-Gaulle at Neuilly-sur-Seine), and what I try every time to do is balancing these two opposite aspects, so that the observer can find indifferently one of them.

And for me it’s the same: I can observe this photo and think about the sense of calm I had yesterday morning at sunrise, but at the same time I can concentrate my eyes on the central stripe of traffic and be more distracted by the chaos. And – back to the beginning of the post – I believe that this perfect balance of feelings is given by a(n old inexpensive) 180 mm prime lens, which compresses the scene and puts the detail on the same plane of the general context. Here’s why I love shooting landscape photos with my amazing 180 mm tele lens!

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New York Skyline at Sunrise from the Sheraton Tribeca Hotel

New York (USA). The typical skyline of Manhattan – with the majestic Empire State Building – is normally photographed from North (for example, from the Rockefeller Center’s observatory). However, I found this point of view particularly interesting, with the low houses of Little Italy, Soho and China Town gradually converging toward the tall skyscrapers of Central Manhattan, which looks like a huge wave…  I took this photograph from the terrace of the Sheraton Tribeca Hotel on Canal Street.

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Paris from La Defense (With its Architectures) at Sunrise

Paris (France). My followers could start thinking that I have a sort of obsession for Paris, and particularly for the district of La Defense, since I have been posting photos from these places for several days. No, it’s not true – at least I don’t believe so. The point is that I’m frequently travelling to Paris for business, and I love bringing my camera with me to capture some photos and relax a little bit. With the fall arriving, there are marvelous sunrises with the sky getting red just behind the Tour Eiffel, and it’s a shame not getting the opportunity of photographing it!

Yesterday early morning, just after my wake-up, I was watching outside my hotel’s window and my attention was catalyzed by a huge condominium, similar to those ones in the peripheries of Moscow or Shanghai, made with many apartments all alike, but incredibly captivating. I took advantage of the warm sunrise light to photograph it, including the Tour Eiffel just to add a typical Parisian contrast to this composition.

At a later time I tried to find some more information and I discovered that the name of this condominium is “L’immeuble Bellini” (from the name of the underlying street) and that it is the first residential building at La Defense. It was designed by the architect Jean de Mailly in 1957 and it hosts 560 apartments. The following year, de Mailly designed the CNIT and in 1966 the opposite tower, known with the name “Tour Initiale” (the original name was “Tour Nobel“), which today houses the RTE’s headquarter.

I’m more and more convinced that to know – and at a certain extent to further appreciate – Paris, it’s necessary going beyond its “arrondissement” and its glimpses seen thousands of times (I’m talking as a photographer and as a tourist) to discover its recent past that in one way or another, has many stories to tell.

Parigi. Chi segue il mio blog potrebbe pensare che ho una specie di ossessione per Parigi e in particolar modo per il quartiere de La Defense, dal momento che ultimamente sto postando parecchie foto da questi posti. No, non è così – almeno non credo. Il fatto è che sono spesso lì per lavoro, e amo portarmi la macchina fotografica per scattare qualche immagine e rilassarmi un po’. E come ogni anno, con l’arrivo dell’autunno si iniziano a vedere delle albe bellissime, con il cielo rosso proprio dietro la Tour Eiffel, ed è un peccato non approfittarne!

Ieri mattina appena alzato, mentre guardavo fuori dalla finestra del mio albergo, la mia attenzione è stata catturata da un enorme condominio, simile a quelli che si vedono nelle periferie di Mosca o di Shanghai, fatto di appartamenti tutti uguali, eppure nel suo genere incredibilmente affascinante. Ho approfittato della calda luce dell’alba per fotografarlo, includendo la Tour Eiffel giusto per aggiungere un contrasto tipicamente parigino a questa composizione.

Successivamente, volendomi documentare, sono andato a cercare alcune informazioni, e ho scoperto che questo condominio si chiama “L’immeuble Bellini” (dal nome della strada sottostante) e che è stato il primo edificio residenziale a La Defense. Fu progettato dall’architetto Jean de Mailly nel 1957 e conta 560 appartamenti. L’anno successivo lo stesso de Mailly ha progettato il CNIT, e nel 1966 il grattacielo antistante a L’immeuble Bellini, conosciuto con il nome di “Tour Initiale” (ma una volta si chiamava “Tour Nobel“) che oggi ospita la sede di RTE.

Sono sempre più convinto che per conoscere – e per certi versi apprezzare maggiormente – Parigi, sia necessario uscire dai suoi “arrondissement” e dai suoi scorci visti mille volte (parlo anche da fotografo, oltre che da turista) per andare alla scoperta del suo recente passato che in un modo o nell’altro ha molte storie da raccontare.

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Flying Together: Exploring Cappadocia On Hot Air Balloons

Goreme (Turkey). Every morning (except when weather conditions don’t allow it) tens of hot air balloons take off around Goreme at sunrise, for a ride over Cappadocia – Turkey. It’s a lifetime experience, which gives not only the possibility to admire the incredible morphology of this unique region, but also the feeling of a silent flight suspended in the air.

And since the direction is mostly determined by the winds, it might happen that groups of hot air balloons fly together: initially it can be scary, but it takes few seconds to realize that these situations are risk-free…

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Good Morning Goreme!

Goreme (Turkey). Every morning, just before the sunset, hundreds of hot air balloons take off with tourists on board to fly all together above Cappadocia – a popular region in the hearth of the Anatolian Turkey – and see the sun coming out from behind the famous fairy chimneys.

I had the privilege to make this trip some years ago, and it is still extremely vivid in my mind. Just simply flying with a hot air balloon is something unique, especially when you are used to fly with a plane, because finding yourself suspended in the air without the noise of engines is really surprising. And flying with a hot air balloon over an unique land like Cappadocia is a breathtaking experience!

Today, hot air balloons are part of this landscape. Googling “Cappadocia” or “Goreme” shows a huge set of landscape photographs with hot air balloons everywhere. I must confess that I could not resist to the temptation of doing the same photo of many others! So, one morning I woke up before the sunrise and I prepared my tripod and my camera for the shooting. With the very first sunrise lights, I was able to see some hot air balloons taking off. And once the sun rays were more and more filtering through the fairy chimneys, this is what I had in front of my eyes.

I decided to print this photograph in a very large format, and it is now hung on a wall in my living-room. Every morning, when I watch it while drinking my coffee, I say the same thing that came to my mind when I photographed this landscape: “good morning, Goreme!”

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