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Thursday, 02 April 2009

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There's a good reason why the slogan for Umbria is "L'Italia ha un cuore verde" - Italy has a green heart. It's a very pretty region with lots of medieval towns on hilltops. They've got reenactment festivals. They've got Perugia with Etruscan remains. The vistas like the one in this beautiful photo are almost dime a dozen. And the food and wines are terrific. :-)

Come to southern Australia, Mike, and have a look at the light here- crystal clear, sharp, challenging-even in our winter-July-August- VERY challenging as a wedding photographer in summer, but lovely late in the afternoon. Love your newer (reverted) access - first site I go to in our mornings. Very kind regards- I'd love to support you through your affiliates, but postage kills everything to our great Southern Land. I WILL subscribe..

Damn - I do like some of those landscapes - they remind me of a couple of prints I have by Sergey Cherep (like the Panoramique ones here)

@erlik, the vistas may be, as you put it, a dime a dozen, but that doesn't make them easy to capture in a photograph.

Mike,

don't do just Italy, do all of Europe, in say 6 months. I'm sure you will have enough TOP fans who yould be more than happy to host you for a few days and go out shooting with you at their favorite locations.

I would certainly be happy to show you around Hamburg, Germany. And before you just put my idea onto the stack "Nice, but will never happen," just give it a second thought, OK?

I used to wonder how many fans the KMP has and then I found this.">http://kmp.bdimitrov.de">this. Maybe you want to add something similar to TOP?

Cheers

Mike,

Time to come up with a "workshop" idea; market some of those skills. Might pay for the trip, or better. Take Zander as assistant. I've been to Provence, somewhat akin to Tuscany. Rural folks live well, there.

Bron

Italy has plenty of beautiful places, but they are expensive (Italy is expensive in general).
You can find nice locations (a bit cheaper), with just as breathtaking vistas, on the eastern side of the Appennini's. Google "Urbino" for example.
I'm supposed to go there this fall, and if I take some nice pictures I'll put them online.

One of these days I'll move back there for good.

I may be in the minority here, but the place does nothing for me. Of course, as my accountant friends like to say, there's no accounting for taste...

Assuming it's not in the cards for 2009 anyway, I'd let the Europe idea percolate for another year or two (i.e., you could start planning and creating a thick folder of notes). As your readership grows, you'll have more and more Europe-based readers who would be honored to show you around (when you don't want to be left alone), help you find places to stay (there are lots of apts vacant for a week or two for respectable guests), and even host you in their own homes (to the degree you'd want that).

I'm picturing you doing a long European sojourn, not a wanderjahr but maybe three months (in late Spring, when the weather and light are good and the crowds are tolerable) poking around famous photographers' haunts and locations, looking at museums, reporting on galleries and shops, talking to local photographers singly and in groups, observing tourists and their habits, and otherwise posting interesting daily reports for your TOP readers.

Gets you thinkin', doesn't it? Nothing would rejuvenate you personally more than a healthy and prolonged change of scenery, and it would only enhance, not diminish, the quality of TOP.

You could possibly even INCREASE TOP readership by reporting from the road, posting pictures, and so forth. I've never had the chance to try traveling while working a non-traditional job, and obviously doing the work would cut somewhat into time for other things. But it would also let the trip run longer. Tell us how the unfamiliar conditions affect your creativity! Make us all insanely jealous!

Be sure to take along one of those "stabilized" bodies you're so fond of. You'll need it..a little wine, a little click, a little more wine, another click....

@jeremy: Of course not. But you'll be spoiled for choice. :-)

@GVdP: If you want cheap(er), forget Urbino. Go to Istria. When you're not in the tourist meccas, Croatia is still cheaper than Italy. And why Istria... It's amazing how Istria and Umbria are similar. And pretty. To (badly) translate an Istrian poet on what you see from the mountain above Istria:

"little houses,
white,
tiny, like big
tears.

Little white roads, thin paths
where little wagons drive,
and a tiny, narrow creek,
where children
play."

You should see the view we have from our bedroom window. A 150ft block of flats without a hint of sky. Mind you, I love no city more then my own and in many ways find our view more interesting then the one above. Beautiful as it is

Rome can be brutal during a heat wave- as can NYC, or any large metro area. Italy can be darn near miraculous however, an adult Disneyland of sights and treats for body and mind. A small cappuccino at a neighborhood trattoria can taste like a vacation in a glass itself! We get excited when something is a hundred years old here, their antiquities go back 2,000- and they mix freely with everything else on their winding streets. Avoid the heat and crowds of summer- I never could and always tried to incorporate them into the viewfinder. Marvel at young, high heeled, Italian women effortlessly traversing the ancient cobblestone streets. We live to work here in the US, in Europe they work to live- totally different, saner, healthier mindset.

I see a great idea coming together Mike.

1) Rent a Villa like this one : http://www.villaeurope.com/ItalyProperties/VillaCiterna/VillaCiterna.htm

2) Get a group of people together to share the cost (the guise of a photo workshop sounds good).

3) Have a great time :)

I like the workshop idea myself. Thing is, you'd need some help with the travel portion, and it's probably not a great idea to do a travel photography workshop in a place you've never been.

The solution, though, is to go twice! I have a friend who's a high end travel agent and he and his partner literally travel all around the world scouting locations for his clients (yes, discounts help). Or you could arrive before the workshop and scout out the area before your customers arrive. Either way it might not be a bad idea to restrict your trip a bit.

I'll second Bojidar's suggestion of the whole of Europe.
Just organise the 'plane over here and TOP fans can put you up for a few days to show you the glories of their location and then give you a ride to the next rendez-vous.
Yes Mike, there are enough of us to do that! - and it would be worth it to read your reports of the trip.

Cheers, Robin

There's gotta be a way you can do this! I'll help you start... If you fly into MXP, I'll pick you up and you can spend a few days here in Lugano, Switzerland. I can talk my in-laws into letting you use their apartment for a few days. It's big enough for Zander, too. If the timing is right, you can chum around with my fellow foody, NPPA's Don Winslow. Shake off your jetlag, then hop on a train and Italy is your oyster!

Mike: As the mafia Don told Seinfeld when he asked if there was a villa to rent in Tuscany. "Si, this one." Just do it.

Dave Kee

Thank you Jake, but let's not jump the gun on this. Nothing's in the plans yet. I appreciate the thought (and the enthusiasm), though.

Mike

Mike,

You're welcome. It would be my privilege to host T.O.P. Really it would. When I 1st picked up a camera for the class that Winslow was teaching in 2005, you were there, and you helped me learn about photography.
I see 2 words in your post: yet and enthusiasm. Yet means it could happen and as for enthusiasm well, when I moved here, my 1st time out of North America at age 34, it was because my wife had the enthusiasm to do it, over my skepticism. Nowadays, I want to encourage enthusiasm. I WANT to help YOU. In fact, I owe you. I live in a very beautiful part of the world and I want to share it. So, give it all a thought; there are probably fans of yours in Italy who are willing to host you also.

Ok Mike,
I have had the extreme pleasure of visiting Liguria and Tuscany twice one year apart both times in September 5 and 6 years ago.
Can't wait to return. The areas are spectacular. Cinque Terre is fantastic Trains go everywhere in short order. Its no where near as expensive as people are suggesting.
(2 people for 10 days for a D700worth each including air fare).
More important than the scenics are the people/culture. I found the people there are very friendly and so very much alive.
You NEED to go there. Every one needs to just to remind them that there is more than working/waiting to retire.
I am heading back in 2010.

dale


Hi Mike,
In fairness, my wife just reminded me that our 'hood ain't too shabby.
We have a tiny cottage (use to be a chauffeur's) here in Maine next to this place.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/heydale/2737644601/
The light house is 1/8 mile from our yard as the crow flies. And on tiptoes you can see Portland harbor from our living room.

Dale,
Tell you what, when you go to Tuscany, I'll rent your cottage in Maine. [g]

Mike

Hey Mike sounds like a plan...
I live in Cape Elizabeth, 5 minutes from downtown Portland. Tons of spectacular small restaurants, including a brand new one started by a couple from Milan in true trattoria style, fresh everything with no menu. what they buy/make that day is what your choice is. (the wine is better in Italy and far less expensive bottled water and wine run about the same$$)
I should add that my cottage is part of an 1885 "association" so I have waterfront rights to the same landscape as the lighthouse.In the 1800s, my neighbors property was the location of "The Village Smithy" of Longfellow's poem, he used to hang out at Portland Head Light, the more significant of the 5 lighthouses within a couple miles.And If that doesn't intrigue you. Winslow Homer's Studio was/is about 5 miles away and the "Cliff Walk" that meanders his 'hood, scene of many of his famous works is open to the public.(I am not bragging, my wife and I fell into this place a year ago and still can't believe it)
dale

Rome is beautiful in May and October, summer is too hot.

bye
Giampiero

Are there rednecks or the equivalent in Italy? Just wondering...

"Are there rednecks or the equivalent in Italy? Just wondering..."
Well Ed, I can't speak for all of Italy, but the majority of the "pick-ups" you see in Tuscany are what they call "Reginas" or "queens of the road" they are pretty much enclosed motorcycles with a flatbed on the back. Many have handlebars instead of steering wheels. I didn't see any gun racks at all. The hot rods are pretty much Ferraris, so not a lot of mustangs or chargers or road runners either. There are a lot of "townies", but they are typically very friendly and very helpful even to non Italian speaking tourists. They do appreciate even feeble attempts at their language though. You can get by with lotsa smiles and pointing quite easily.
I found that most Italians are much smarter than I am and are surprisingly willing to humor me.

dale

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