21st century juliet

Here’s one more shot that I want to share from Verona. I took it in the passage that leads into the courtyard of the house where Juliet is believed to have lived. For decades, lovers have left their hand-scribbeled notes on the walls of the passage, creating an amazing clutter of colors and shapes. It was an incredibly hot afternoon and we had been in the sun all day. I sat down in the shade of the passage to cool off for a while when two girls started taking each others pictures in front of the graffitis. The light in there was amazing so I took a couple of shots. I like this one the most, because of the pose that the girl strikes and because you can hardly see the other girl with the camera, leaving you wondering what is going on.

A girl strikes a pose for her friend's camera in the passage leading into the courtyard of the Casa di Giulietta (Juliet's house) in Verona, Italy, Saturday, June 30, 2012.

July 3, 2012

venice

I spent the last week with Beth and Rita in Venice and Verona after we conducted a photo workshop for five Missouri students the week before in Munich. Venice is a remarkable city that everyone should have seen at least once. However, it’s also a dying city, killed by the obsolescence of the trade that once made it rich and by the hordes of tourists that suck the remaining bits of genuine Venetian life out of its veins.

While it’s an amazing and fascinating place to see, it’s also extremely exhausting. Both the heat and the masses of people around every corner took their toll on us, and after three days, we were more than happy to leave the laguna behind and escape to Verona.

The setting sun shines through the main hall of Santa Lucia train station in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, June 26, 2012. The construction of the railway bridge that connects the laguna with the mainland has severly disturbed the natural tidal flow around Venice, leading to increased floods.

The setting sun shines through the main hall of Santa Lucia train station, Tuesday, June 26, 2012. The construction of the railway bridge that connects the laguna with the mainland has severly disturbed the natural tidal flow around Venice, leading to increased floods.

A "Vaporetto" water bus steams past Ferrovia station at the Grand Canal Venice, Italy, Tuesday, June 26, 2012. ACTV, the operator of the water busses, owns currently around 120 water borne vessels and transports upward of 180 million people annualy.

A "Vaporetto" water bus steams past Ferrovia station at the Grand Canal, Tuesday, June 26, 2012. ACTV, the operator of the water busses, owns currently around 120 water borne vessels and transports upward of 180 million people annualy.

Murano glass wear is displayed in a shop window in the San Marco quarter near the Rialto Bridge in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, June 27, 2012.

Murano glass wear is displayed in a shop window in the San Marco quarter near the Rialto Bridge, Wednesday, June 27, 2012.

Two young couples hang out on the Rialto Bridge across the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, June 27, 2012.

Two young couples hang out on the Rialto Bridge across the Grand Canal, Wednesday, June 27, 2012.

Rita Reed, my former professor, Master's committee chair and second mom in the U.S., takes a photo on the famous Rialto Bridge in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, June 27, 2012. It was the night of Rita's 62nd birthday. Happy Birthday again, it was a blast!

Rita Reed, my former professor, Master's committee chair and second mom in the U.S., takes a photo on the famous Rialto Bridge in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, June 27, 2012. It was the night of Rita's 62nd birthday. Happy Birthday again, it was a blast!

Hordes of tourists crowd the area in front of the Basilica di San Marco at St. Mark's Square in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, June 27, 2012. The Piazza St. Marco and its surrounding buildings are the most famous architectural landmark in Venice.

Hordes of tourists crowd the area in front of the Basilica di San Marco at St. Mark's Square, Wednesday, June 27, 2012. The Piazza St. Marco and its surrounding buildings are the most famous architectural landmark in Venice.

Tourists snap a picture of carnival masks displayed in a store window in the San Marco quarter in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, June 27, 2012. Genuine Venetian masks are handmade and very costly. Unsuspecting tourists often fall for the cheaper and low-quality imitations from East Asia sold by street vendors and in souvenir shops.

Tourists snap a picture of carnival masks displayed in a store window in the San Marco quarter, Wednesday, June 27, 2012. Genuine Venetian masks are handmade and very costly. Unsuspecting tourists often fall for the cheaper and low-quality imitations from East Asia sold by street vendors and in souvenir shops.

A tourist couple enjoys a Gondola ride in the Cannaregio neighborhood in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, June 27, 2012. Formerly the only means of transportation in Venice, there are now about 500 gondolas left. At € 80.00 for a 40-minute ride during the day and € 100.00 at night, a gondola ride is an expensive affair.

A tourist couple enjoys a Gondola ride in the Cannaregio neighborhood, Wednesday, June 27, 2012. Formerly the only means of transportation in Venice, there are now about 500 gondolas left. At € 80.00 for a 40-minute ride during the day and € 100.00 at night, a gondola ride is an expensive affair.

A group of young men watches a girl pass by at the Rialto vaporetto station in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, June 27, 2012.

A group of young men watches a girl pass by at the Rialto vaporetto station, Wednesday, June 27, 2012.

July 2, 2012

broadening my horizon

As I discovered new parts of my beloved island that I hadn’t seen previously on our hikes with Beth, Flo and Corinna (see also my post from yesterday), I played around more with panoramas. I’m trying to get a grip on this technique, as it massively distorts the scenery in front of you. Apart from getting a uniform exposure over the entire panorama, I’m also trying to figure out how to play with background and foreground as well as depth of field. Below are some of the ones I liked. Click the pictures to view them large (the large files are downsampled to 3,000 pixels on the long side. The originals are up to 30,000 pixels).

View from the patio to Porto Azzurro; approximately 270 degrees. Monday, May 14, 2012.

View from the patio to Porto Azzurro; approximately 270 degrees. Monday, May 14, 2012.

On the Percorso del Monserrato, Porto Azzurro; full 360 degrees. Wednesday, May 16, 2012.

On the Percorso del Monserrato, Porto Azzurro; full 360 degrees. Wednesday, May 16, 2012.

On the Percorso del Monserrato, Porto Azzurro; full 360 degrees. Wednesday, May 16, 2012.

On the Percorso del Monserrato, Porto Azzurro; full 360 degrees. Wednesday, May 16, 2012.

On Monte Perrone, Marciana; approximately 270 degrees. Friday, May 18, 2012.

On Monte Perrone, Marciana; approximately 270 degrees. Friday, May 18, 2012.

On Monte Strega, Rio nell'Elba; full 360 degrees. Monday, May 21, 2012.

On Monte Strega, Rio nell'Elba; full 360 degrees. Monday, May 21, 2012.

On L'Aquila, Marciana; full 360 degrees. Friday, May 18, 2012 (Happy birthday, Beth!).

On L'Aquila, Marciana; full 360 degrees. Friday, May 18, 2012 (Happy birthday, Beth!).

June 4, 2012

elba

We recently came back from a two-week trip with Flo and Corinna to the island of Elba in Tuscany, Italy. Even though it wasn’t the expected fry-in-the-sun-at-the-beach vacation because of the chilly spring-time weather, it was a great trip. May is wild flower season in Tuscany and the entire island was exploding with colors. We went on several hikes and saw places that I have never been to in the thirty years that I’ve visited this island now. Below are a few impressions of the Elban spring.

Florian Peljak and Corinna Vermeersch feed the sea gulls on the ferry from Piombino to Porto Ferraio, Elba, Sunday, May 13, 2012.

Flo and Corinna feed the sea gulls on the ferry from Piombino to Porto Ferraio, Elba, Sunday, May 13, 2012.

Lichen and two-colored rock work together to create the impression of an abstract painting on the Percorso del Monserrato hiking trail in Porto Azzurro, Wednesday, May 16, 2012.

Lichen and two-colored rock work together to create an abstract painting on the Percorso del Monserrato hiking trail in Porto Azzurro, Wednesday, May 16, 2012.

Looking East from our roof terrace across the sea to the Italian main land, Saturday, May 19, 2012.

Looking East from our roof terrace across the sea to the Italian main land, Saturday, May 19, 2012.

Beth Suda celebrates her birthday at L'Aquila (the eagle) just off the pilgrims' church of Madonna del Monte above the village of Marciana, Friday, May 18, 2012.

Beth celebrates her birthday at L'Aquila (the eagle) just off the pilgrims' church of Madonna del Monte above the village of Marciana, Friday, May 18, 2012.

A huge agave spreads its leaves at the Percorso del Monserrato hiking trail in Porto Azzuro, Wednesday, June 16, 2012.

A huge agave spreads its leaves at the Percorso del Monserrato hiking trail.

Florian Peljak hikes up the Percorso Pietre Rosse trail from Cala Del' Inferno beach in Rio nell'Elba, Monday, May 21, 2012.

Flo hikes up the Percorso Pietre Rosse trail from Cala Del' Inferno beach in Rio nell'Elba.

Pine trees cast their shadows on the grass underneath at Mount Calamita, Capoliveri, Tuesday, May 22, 2012.

Pine trees cast their shadows on the grass underneath at Mount Calamita, Capoliveri, Tuesday, May 22, 2012.

Florian Peljak, Beth Suda and Corinna Vermeersch take a break after hiking up the steep and strenuous trail to Monte Strega, Rio nell'Elba, Monday, May 21, 2012.

Flo, Beth and Corinna take a break after hiking up the steep and strenuous trail to Monte Strega, Rio nell'Elba, Monday, May 21, 2012.

Rosaries, photographs and other offerings are lined up on a wall inside the Madonna del Monte pilgrims' church above the mountain village of Marciana, Friday, May 18, 2012.

Rosaries, photographs and other offerings are lined up on a wall inside the Madonna del Monte pilgrims' church above the mountain village of Marciana, Friday, May 18, 2012.

Florian Peljak, Corinna Vermeersch and Beth Suda fool around while watching the sunset atop L'Aquila in Marciana, Friday, May 18, 2012.

Flo, Corinna and Beth fool around while watching the sunset atop L'Aquila in Marciana, Friday, May 18, 2012.

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