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PIXelations 32

Just a stroll

by fotofinish , 11-24-2011 at 09:19 AM (814 Views)

Last weekend, Jayne and I needed to get out and enjoy the nice weather, so we decided to take a three mile hike at Session Woods nature preserve near us. This is my favorite place to go when I just want to practice with the camera or just enjoy some fresh air. I took the camera because I also wanted to see how my leg would hold up after my problem a couple of months back (see a previous entry below). We also have our trip to Tuscany next week so I wanted to know how my legs would handle the trip. So, here are some results.

Here is my favorite…

A little more abstract…

A little more traditional…

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! I have so much to be thankful for…

Keep shooting!

Soriano nel Cimino

by fotofinish , 12-27-2011 at 12:01 PM (633 Views)

Happy New Year everyone! I finally have a moment to write about our recent trip to Italy. Jayne and I spent a week in Soriano nel Cimino, a small hilltop town about an hour and a half north of Rome. This town is located near the tri-province border of Lazio, Umbria, and Tuscany. From this location we made visits to various sites that were the normal tourist destinations and a few that were certainly off the beaten path.

Since our trips only involve Jayne and I, this allowed us the freedom to explore at our own rate. By renting a car, we were able to find a few locations that were truly Italian. The tradeoff, of course, is that we did not get the history of the places we visited. Our thoughts are however, that we could research any of these locations once we returned.

Part of my routine is to first research the surrounding area for photographic opportunities. Therefore, my next few blog entries will be related to these discoveries.

This first installment is about the town of Soriano. As with most hilltop towns in Italy, Soriano was once an Etruscan and then Roman settlement. Anyway, the picture below is my best of the entire trip.

I actually took this from our hotel window! Our hotel,Palazzo-Catalani, is a 17th century building that was once the mansion of an Italian nobleman. All the walls and ceilings in the hotel are actually hand-painted frescos! Currently, there are only 18 rooms in the hotel, so needless to say, we were just about the only tourists in town for the week! This was the best way to see Italy; one-on-one and off the beaten path!

You can see the rest of this gallery here. I also added some history from the web.


Civita di Bagnoregio

by fotofinish , 12-30-2011 at 09:09 AM (1560 Views)

Happy New Year everyone! During our recent trip to Italy, Jayne and I had the privilege of visiting the dying city of Civita di Bagnoregio. This 2500 year old city only has 19 residents remaining! But what a photographic wonder! After walking across the reconstructed access bridge, you enter the city gate and are immediately transported back to the 12th century! Even in December there are still flowers blooming and richly covered ivy walls. The volcanic valley views from within the city walls are spectacular. Truly a forbidding place to try to conquer. There are many stray cats within the city. I found this place during my research for unusual photographic locations before we traveled.

You can see the rest of this gallery here. I also added some history from the web.


Great captures, fotofinish!

Thank you, Greg! And thanks for the visit!

The World Is Your Garden

by fotofinish , 01-08-2012 at 09:31 AM (1259 Views)

During the 1500’s, the mark of a person’s stature and prominence was the size of his garden. Cardinal Gianfrancesco Gambara started work on this garden complex near Viterbo, central Italy. This was eventually completed by the 17-year-old nephew of Pope Sixtus V, Cardinal Alessandro Peretti di Montalto. Even though Jayne and I visited this magical garden complex in early December, the ambience was delightfully relaxing in spite of minimal color. The gardens were developed on around 22 hectares, adorned by statues and fountains. It was easy to understand why these grounds were chosen by these powerful men as a place to escape from the troubles and commitments of their time.

You can see the rest of this gallery here.


Italian Shopfronts

by fotofinish , 01-14-2012 at 09:02 AM (1690 Views)

During our travels on our recent trip to Italy, I found myself attracted to the many artistically decorated shopfronts in some of the towns we visited. The varied colors, shapes, and textures of the arranged items truly made these a visual delight. Although many of the shopfronts consisted of window and door displays of handcrafted objects, even simple fruitstands were made attractive by the color and shape arrangements. Most of the shopfronts were located in Orvieto, but there were a few others from Rome.

You can see the rest of this gallery here.


Great captures of the colorful storefronts, fotofinish! I wish I would have been into photography years ago when visiting the cities of the Mediterranean, compliments of Uncle Sam.

Thank you for the kind words! And it is NEVER too late to go back!

Monster Park

by fotofinish , 01-21-2012 at 09:03 AM (934 Views)

Bomarzo, Italy boasts the first theme park in the world, Monster Park, and this one was built in the 1500’s! According to folklore, Prince Vicino Orsini commissioned the Bosco Sacro park to be built in memory of his then late wife as a way to demonstrate the insanity he went through as a result of her death. It is also believed that the architect Pirro Ligorio, who is credited with finishing St.Peter’s Cathedral after Michelangelo died, did the actual work of creating the grotesque figures carved from the natural rock in the park. When we were there, it was in late afternoon and the light, though flat, seem appropriate for the mood of the park!

You can see the rest of this gallery here. I also added some history from the web.


Italian Trip Synopsis

by fotofinish , 01-28-2012 at 09:21 AM (1500 Views)

The past few blog entries have involved specific location detail from our December trip to Italy. We did however visit a few other sights, of which I will not go into much detail. One common pleasant surprise was the way each city decorated for Christmas.

The highlight for Siena was the annual medieval arts festival. This was just luck on our part to have this event occurring at the time of our visit. We actually stayed until it was dark because we were told that the tops of all buildings in the square would be lit by candles.

Jayne and I had been to Florence 35 years ago during our honeymoon, so we knew what to expect. I don’t think I would ever grow tired of seeing the incredible wall sculptures adorning the sides of the Duomo in the town square.

Orvieto was on my secondary visit list which got quickly moved to a primary visit location after the recommendation by our concierge. If you are into pottery, this is the place to visit. Most of the products were locally made by third and fourth generation pottery makers.

Assisi was a wonderful example of a medieval town. Of particular highlight was walking through the formidable Roman fortress overlooking the town below.

Our highlight of the two days we spent in Rome was getting to see the Pope in the pope mobile. I was in the right place at the right time with the right lens!

And of course, no visit to Rome would be complete without a visit to the ancient ruins.

So that’s it! You can see all of my Italian galleries here. I also added some history from the web.


Ancient Passageways

by fotofinish , 02-05-2012 at 09:47 AM (602 Views)

I finally completed my new series. Here is my statement about it…

What was on the other side? This may be a simple question to ask, but it is one that engages the imagination and often invokes wild flights into fantasy. The collection of works presented here attempt to entice the viewer to ask and then answer this very question. All of these are based upon passageways, from medieval to Roman times, which were captured during my 2011 trip to Northern Italy.

Each passageway suggests the results of an attempted pilgrimage, either as an open-ended story, or one that had abruptly ended. Each image palette presents its own aura of history with a sense of obscure, time-worn mystery.

Within the series storyline, we wander through the entrances depicted in the first images. Once inside, we turn in different directions, trying to proceed through other passageways only to find some barred and others closed. In other images, some are only partially open, perhaps in reluctance, while others are completely open, perhaps in abandonment. And still others are more openings than doorways. Finally, we find ourselves before the memorials of life in the ending loggias.

But we must decide for ourselves why this passage as a storyline has led us here. We have been on a journey between frozen fragments of time that progress from one opening to the next until we come to this ending. But where is that ending? And is there any lesson metaphorically that we can learn from the barred and closed passageways within our own lives? If we listen close enough and long enough, we may still hear the faint echoes of the lessons learned from our ancestors as they walked these Ancient Passageways.

You can see the rest of this gallery on my website here. You can also buy the ebook version from my website here.


The Making Of “Ancient Passageways”

by fotofinish , 03-04-2012 at 09:08 AM (642 Views)

In keeping with the purpose of this blog, I want to take some time to describe the process I used to create this series.

On a recent trip to northern Italy, one of the lasting impressions I had involved the sense of mystery which seems to surround the many entrances, doorways, and openings that I encountered. Since I enjoy all things history-related, my imagination conjured up visions of what these passageways may have witnessed.

I started out in Adobe Lightroom with the raw photos from the trip. I spent some time developing the images to the point where, in this series, each photo was adjusted for tonality, contrast, color, and exposure. From there, I brought the photos into Adobe Photoshop.

Once in Photoshop, I applied as many as four different pattern overlays, each one opened as a new layer above the original photo I imported, using, for example, selections from FlyPaper Textures.. These are similar to what some photographers are using in iPhone art.

But rather than using “Overlay” as the blend mode on each texture layer, I experimented with many of the remaining blend modes, like Vivid Light, Multiply, etc. Once I had the basic “look” I had in mind, I added additional layers for Levels, Curves, Hue and Saturation. In some cases, I added a final layer and used the brush tool to add a sense of volume and separation to objects within the image. This was accomplished by building up several luminosity and hue brush strokes to the sides of some objects, for examples, the pillars.

Once the image composites were completed, I created the image sequence for the series. This gives a logical progression to the images that creates the sense of story, the flow from the first image to the last.

The most important step for me was the writing of the series statement. It was during this struggle of writing down the words that best define and describe the intent and direction for the works that a sense of cohesion finally emerged for me. This exercise, as difficult as it can be, was critical for guiding the composite designs and the series movement. It is amazing what this exercise can provide to the creative process. If the goal is not clear in your mind, the result will reflect this.

I prefer starting the proof of concept first to get a feel for what it is I want to share with the viewer. Once I feel I have momentum for the series, beginning the statement writing provides the direction and clarity I feel I need to complete my concept.

You can see the rest of this gallery on my website here. You can also buy the ebook version from my website here.. Enjoy!

More Night Moves

by fotofinish , 03-11-2012 at 01:24 PM (1400 Views)

I shot these three images during a recent visit to Quincy Market in Boston. I just took my trusty, old Canon 20D and 16-35mm while out walking and shopping with my wife, Jayne…


The Orsini Insanity

by fotofinish , 03-24-2012 at 10:32 AM (1125 Views)

I finally completed my new series. Here is my statement about it…

In 1547, Prince Vicino Orsini commissioned work to begin on a park filled with twenty four natural bedrock-sculpted art pieces. Most of these are based on grotesque figures of mythological origin that were important during this time period. The park, currently considered by many to be the first theme park, was called Bosco Sacro. It is known today as “Monster Park”, located in Bomarzo, Italy. It eventually became dedicated to the loving memory of his wife, Giulia Farnese, who died in 1560 before the park was completed. The Prince commissioned Pirro Ligorio, well-known at the time for finishing St. Peter’s Basilica after Michelangelo died, to create these sculptures.

Legend has it that the heart-broken Prince had lost his sanity soon after his wife’s death, and changed the park’s creation to reflect his state of mind. This may have been his way of conveying his sense of anguish, or the confusion and dizziness of this experience within his head.

Inspired by Prince Orsini’s artistic vision, I have attempted here to present a modern adaptation of a dreamland journey through the course of his insanity. The distorted pieces contained within this series are composited versions of many of the original twenty four Ligorio works.

The story of the insanity begins with our hero, the proud figure of a man, Hercules, dreaming of the loss of his beloved wife. During the course of his dreams, the man barehanded slaughters Cacus. He must also avoid the echo and terrorizing scream of the Orc Mouth of Hell. Around this mouth of this orc are the words: “Abandon all thought, ye who enter here.” There are encounters with Jupiter and Neptune. The fortified elephant of Hannibal is found carrying the unconscious body of a legionnaire. He passes Cerberus, the three headed dog, guardian of hell; a winged Dragon; a clash between Pegasus and the winged Fury; and Ceres, the goddess patron of Rome.

Our hero’s journey ends consumed with the tortured images of women. The final vision is that of Glaucus, the fisherman who became Proteus, the Marine God, after eating a magical herb. Here, Proteus is dreamed swallowing the tortured eyes of his wife.

You can see the rest of this gallery on my website here. You can also buy the ebook version from my website here..


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