Seeing Double

“Seeing Double,” capturing a subject in reflection, was the prompt for the last week in Picture Inspiration. I love capturing reflections in my images, whether in water, glass or metal. I found this image in Milan during our hunt for the tricolore in March. Piazza del Duomo is always a busy place, but on a holiday, it’s incredibly crowded. The puddle gave a fantastic reflection of the Duomo, but only when the space behind it was clear of people. I spent quite a bit of time waiting and watching how the crowd moved to capture this image, a great example of Waiting to Click. Even then, I had to do some creative editing (tilt, black and white) to eliminate some distracting elements outside of my control.

The other “Seeing Double” images I shared this week are of cars. This car in the streets of Ravenna was interesting on its own, but the reflection gives it a sense of place that just sings “Italy.” It reminds me of another reflection-in-car image I took, very early in our time in Italy. For me, that sense of place makes all the difference, since cars aren’t normally one of my favorite subjects.

That’s why it’s surprising that my third “Seeing Double” image is of a car as well. This fantastic black Mercedes from the 1930’s was found in the Museo dell’Automobile, just reopened after extensive remodeling in Torino. We visited last Sunday afternoon on a quest to see vintage Fiats, and were rewarded with many more vintage European cars as well. My favorite cars were from the 1920’s and 1930’s, they had such style! I loved how the reflection continued the pattern of the men in tuxedos from the wall behind into the body of this classic 30’s automobile. 

Have a great weekend! We are off to Florence this weekend, riding the Freccia Rossa (“Red Wind” – the high speed train between Milan and Rome) for one last visit. Be sure to come by on Monday – I have something new and exciting to share with you!

In Search of the Tricolore

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.

Sometimes it was as simple as a flag added to a display, as in this elegant mens clothing store (note the price of those pants – 1590 Euro!)…

… or neatly stacked shirts.

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.

What do you do with Defeat?

Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent. 

 – Marilyn vos Savant
I was struck by this quote as I read it in The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women this morning. Think about what constitutes defeat: Rejection, criticism, negative comments – these are all external factors. These are not of us, they are what comes at us from other sources. 
Giving up, however, is all internal. It is a choice, a decision we make. Our choice is what makes the “defeat”  permanent.
This is something important to remember. As artists, we are all going to suffer defeat. We have a choice in how we respond. If we give up, we cannot point to anyone other than ourselves as the reason, no matter how much we might want to blame the defeat.
The images in today’s posts are from a Sunday excursion into Milan, using my phone camera for the current Mortal Muses theme. Visit me at Mortal Muses today to see another subway shot that captures something uniquely Italian.

Time Travel

Someone once told me that human beings are the only animals that time travel. We move forward and backward in time unceasingly in our heads. Dwelling on the past or dreaming of the future, we barely glimpse the present moment.

This time of year is big for time travel. Reviewing our accomplishments of 2010, we are astonished that another year has passed. We look to 2011 as if it is something shiny and new, a package waiting to be unwrapped. Really, 2011 will be another collection of moments, strung together in time, just like 2010 has been. There is nothing special about these days at the end of one year and the beginning of the next, they are only numbers on paper. A way to mark time.

Where have you been time traveling these last few days? What have you seen in your past and your future? I hope for today you spend some time celebrating the present moment. Because that’s all we really have, when you get down to it. Our ability to time travel is just an illusion.

Today’s 9 Muses Musing prompt is CELEBRATE. Tomorrow’s prompt wraps up 9 Muses Musing with RESOLUTION. See you then!

Photographic PS – The “time travel” image above was created by setting my camera to a 1 second exposure, and then zooming from max to min focal length during the exposure. You can see it was handheld because of the wiggly lines, if I had been using a tripod they would be straight. I got this idea from my friend Barbara’s post on lights, but when experimenting I found I really liked the effect with people. Below is a normal shot of the same place, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan. Which do you like better?

Share Your View: Holiday Lights

What fun, holiday lights! This is the holiday streetcar in Milan, where for the price of a transit ticket you can take a ride and get your picture taken with Santa. What a fun holiday tradition, and such festive lights!

Now it’s time to Share Your View. Link in your recent or archive image of holiday lights below to share and then visit the other links to see what others have found. Share what you’ve learned in the process, and any tips or tricks you figured out – either in the comments here or on your blog, we would all love to learn from you too.

Link will stay open for 30 days, so feel free to come back any time you have a great capture of holiday lights. I can’t wait to see your view – thanks for participating!