Archives for March 2011
Oh, scooters. How I love thee. Wandering the back alleys of an old city, finding a vintage scooter amongst the texture and filtered light has become heaven to me. Do I see scooters because I love to photograph them, or do I love to photograph scooters because I see them? That is the question. Much simpler than Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” and, to be honest, I really don’t require an answer. I’m happy to both see them and photograph them, regardless of the priority order.
This lovely find was in Ortygia, the old quarter of the town of Siracusa in Sicily. We got lost in the back alleys trying to find the duomo, and it was scooter heaven for me this day. I’ll have several to share over time.
I’ve learned that is my favorite thing to do when traveling… wander. Just wander the back streets and alleys, away from the shopping zones. I don’t need long, just an hour or two. I can guarantee I’ll find interesting things to photograph when we just wander.
How about you? Where are you guaranteed to find creative inspiration?
Friday night I came home from work exhausted. I don’t know why, it hadn’t been a terribly stressful work week and I had a holiday on Thursday. Saturday morning I woke up looking forward to a morning on my own. My husband and son were heading off early to watch a bike ride and I had the house to myself. A rare treat. I sat at the computer to get into some of my creative work and what happened? Nothing. There was absolutely nothing there. No motivation, no inspiration, no creativity.
This had never happened to me before, around my creative work. This was new. This was scary. My mind quickly went from tired and unmotivated to panicked. So I took a deep breath. Centered myself. And then did something I never do: I turned off the computer.
Here’s what I did instead:
Took a bath.
Read a book in a sunbeam on the couch.
Tonight’s full moon will be a “super moon” – the moon will be closer to the earth than it’s been in 18 years, making it appear larger and brighter. I captured this photo last night from our apartment balcony, the first time I’ve ever tried to capture a good moon image.
I followed the instructions in this wonderful Muse University post about capturing the moon, written by my friend Barbara. In addition to her tips, I also found that turning the Image Stabilization off, using manual focus and a shutter remote helped. You can use the self timer on your camera if you don’t have a remote. This image was captured at the maximum focal length (zoom) I own, 300mm, and was still not as clear as I would have liked. I had to crop quite a bit to get this composition. It’s the first time I have ever wished for higher zoom. 🙂
If you’ve never tried it, tonight is a great night to “shoot the moon.” Or, if photography is not your thing, take a moment to enjoy gazing at the super moon this evening.
Tricolore in Italian means three colors. It’s the nickname of the Italian flag with its green, white and red, similar to our nickname of “stars and stripes” for the US flag. Yesterday, the three colors were found everywhere for the celebration of 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy. It was a special “one time” holiday, and schools, banks and businesses were closed. We hadn’t known about this in advance, so it was a bonus day off for us. We enjoyed a lazy morning at home and then went into Milan to see what was going on.
I don’t know if this is the same in all European cultures, but on public holidays Italians seem to gather in the piazzas and pedestrian zones. They get out and about. The museums and restaurants are always open and full, even if the shops are not. Surprisingly the shops were open this day, which made it even busier.
There were probably a lot of special events such as concerts going on, but we just enjoyed walking around. Our excursion became a quest to spot the Tricolore, since the colors of the Italian flag were creatively displayed in many unusual places. The colors could be found on public buildings (above) and the light posts became flagpoles in Piazza del Duomo.
They ranged from a complete window set up, like my favorite store Campo Marzio…
… to a subtle little addition in an otherwise full display.
Who knew there was so much to be found in green, white and red? You could outfit your whole desk or wardrobe! I loved these little clocks.
You can’t forget jewelry. Swarovski had a special edition crystal to commemorate the anniversary.
The street vendors were not to be left out. It was a rainy day so you never knew when you might need an umbrella.
The vendors who usually sold scarves or other trinket merchandise were in on the holiday too.
Flags could be found everywhere. On heads…
… and in hands.
The pride in country, through display of the flag, was visible everywhere. We ended our day in Milan by finding a special tram, painted in the tricolore and covered in lights.
We were nearly home when we saw an amazing light show, at the Villa Reale (Royal Villa). Just up the road from us, this “villa” was once the summer home of the king of Italy. They occasionally change the color of the lights, but we’ve never seen the tricolore before. It was a great end to our color-spotting day.
Happy Anniversary Italy! We were happy to be here to see your celebration, and the colors of your country so proudly displayed.
PS – I didn’t forget! Today was the drawing for the giveaway of the Florentine papers. The winner is Deb of the blog Learning As I Go. Congrats to Deb, and thank you all so much for entering.