Shooting with what you have: Expressions of the 35mm lens

Art to me is expression, and that specific artistic expression – as well as interpretation – has allowed me to be creative on both the front (camera) and back ends (photoshop, etc) of every picture I take. I don’t take any of this too seriously, of course – simply because I can’t imagine enjoying it as much as I do if I lamented the shot, or if I’ve post-edited something in a shoddy way.

Before my California trip (where these shots were taken), I picked up a 35mm lens for my Nikon DSLR – a first “prime” single-focus lens in the mix of my growing list of lenses. I’d read it’s a great choice for street photography and an overall good entrance to the class of wide-angle lenses. Granted, as for street photography, it can mean getting rather close and intimate with any people you may want to be the focal point. That I didn’t do so much this go round, but instead again decided to just get a sense for the limitation it forces upon the photographer – me, who is used to adjusting my usual all in one zoom lens to suite the subject in a jiffy. 35mm too can lend to some of the best color renditions in photography. Perhaps power of suggestion, but I was in fact pleased with more than a few of the shots that were color inspiring to begin with.

None are edited, only the file size reduced for web presentation. Some are “meh” to  me, but the exercise here was shooting as though I had film in my camera, fixed focal length, with no chance of edits before or after “processing” them. I will admit, some give me the itch to really want to use even subtle post-editing features 🙂

For a bit of perspective, I posted the same images all in monochrome in a separate gallery. *Update – I now posted the monochrome first, as it gives a better sense of the color! Thanks Manja for that suggestion 🙂

I don’t typically photoblog in mosaic, but 80 photos can be tedious presented individually. You can click on the photos itself to view in larger format, as a side note. I’ve not captioned them, they are from around San Francisco, specifically the Financial District, North Beach, Telegraph Hill, Chinatown, and Embarcadero neighborhoods.

So first up: Monochrome set.

 

The same gallery, as shot in color.

A bit of a shuffle,  colorless….

 

 

Thursday Doors December 7: West Coast Doors (sung to West End Girls, if you’re a Pet Shop Boys fan)

FINALLY.

A doors posting for Thursday – what is it with busy lives??

But, on a positive spin, this week’s doors come out of a little vacation, a little respite. Actually, a lot of both, in a favorite place of mine: California. Specifically, the San Francisco Bay part of California. And while I took a boatload more pics of wildlife, birds, nature and beautiful landscapes (all that never end), those will certainly come later,  once I sort thru the mountain of digital images (thankfully, the ‘mountain’ a tiny SD card nestled in my DSLR. Heh).

Ok. Here’s to some fun funky and classy San Francisco doors!

For this week’s doors challenge.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Windows

My window views from different cities, states, and islands and countries.

For The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge, Windows.

 

Thursday Doors September 21: Summer Wanes…

We headed to the weekly grower’s market again this past weekend, having been really fortunate with great weather during this changing of the seasons. And once again, taking it on foot as opposed to tooling around in my car makes it alllllll a new adventure.

I open with, of all things, a gelateria! Yes, Manja Mexi Movie, it’s here in my (almost) back yard waiting for you! Though I’ve not tried it, I’m told the owner is from Italy and knows his gelato! I’ll keep you posted if it’s legit 🙂

For this week’s doors challenge.

As we ended at the market, I photographed the yummy local fruits and veggies that I bought (but no, not the dogs!)

 

Whimsy in Wood and Name: Wharton Esherick

It’s funny how we can have all sorts of amazing cultural places not far from where we live – museums, gardens, historic landmarks – and we tell ourselves “I need to check that place out some time.” And then the years go by, and you’ve yet to check it out!

I can say I don’t typically let years go by, but in this case Wharton Esherick studio was one of those places I’d not visited.   It wasn’t until last fall that I finally discovered him. The eccentric studio and little homestead of this lesser known artist, sculptor, and craftsman is a hidden gem, filled with an array of art in several mediums (mostly wood).  How can one go wrong visiting a place where he outhouse is on the National Register of Historic Places? I love architecture, and while I’m  not fully privy or educated formally around it, to me it’s what is pleasing and amazing to the eye and the knowledge of the feat and engineering required to build it.

Wharton Esherick (1887 – 1970), was a Philadelphia native, the studio/museum not far from where I now live. He began his career as a painter, built his studio, moved on to carving frames for his paintings, and then on to woodcut prints and finally, sculpture and furniture. He is considered a pioneer in the 20th century for his organic harmonizing style, mostly wood, and today his influence can be seen within the “Studio Craft movement.”  His actual studio evolved over forty years, and is considered his biggest “piece” of artwork. Having visited twice now, I can say I’d never ever tire of popping in a couple times a year.

You can also check out his super interesting bio here.

 

Through the looking glass, Italian style

Windows, windows – I hadn’t realized how many I had photographed in Italy. It’s high time to share!

These run the full spectrum of Rome, Volterra, Cinque Terre, Lucca, Florence, Orvieto, and the uber-charmant Civita di Bagnoregio.

A brief taste of Lucca Love

Lucca is the smallest portfolio of my photos, in having had only part of a day to visit. As anyone who’s been there could probably agree with, our brief stop left me stomping my feet out of frustration for wanting to see more. Alas, there’s always next time, this I am certain of!! And now, even looking back and sorting through photos, I see exactly why I left wanting more.

Lucca is a charmer – a Tuscan town, an ancient wall surrounding it’s loveliness. Present day, that same wall graces a delightful rampart, where heavenly Tiglio (Linden) trees beckoned us forth. If you’ve not been graced with the fragrance of a Linden tree in bloom, well, I surely can’t begin to describe it here. Perhaps like the blending of honey and lemon peel  – and well, even though that sounds wonderful, it still leaves no room for actually strolling under them on a warm summer day – what a glorious experience. The Linden clearly defined Lucca for me, that day.

And so, I give you, Lucca.

 

Gems of Italy: Swoon-worthy Cinque Terre, +1

When I first discovered we wouldn’t be staying in any of the five dreamy villages of the Italian Riveria region the Cinque Terre, I was a little disappointed. Levanto, a town just north of the “fifth” town, Monterosso al-Mare, isn’t technically part of the Cinque Terre. But, as our trip had gone, and how Italy had not disappointed even one iota, Levanto – I quickly discovered – was the place to stay while visiting this ever growing tourist attracting Italian coast.

Between lazily swimming in the Ligurian Sea, hiking the cliffside trail between Vernazza and Corneglia, and gazing upon cliffs of grapevines and olive trees – oh, and eating the out of this world local seafood/food – our two days in the Cinque Terre and Levanto were utterly magnificent.

As a side note, it’s incredibly difficult to discern which photos to post, as I took so many throughout Italy. Cinque Terre was no exception to this dilemna!

Our first stop, the northern-most of the 5 villages, Monterosso al Mare.

Monterosso al Mare

 

Monterosso al Mare


North of Monterosso al Mare was our town of Levanto. We arrived late in the afternoon, and for dinner had one of the best meals there, a delightful Tuscan feast of local seafoods (and rabbit, and pesto that the chef made for us as a demonstration beforehand!)

 

Fresh mussels, anchovies, calamari, crab, bruschetta, pasta with pesto, risotto with porcini mushrooms. Profiteroles and limoncello. A very memorable meal.


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Levanto

 

Morning in Levanto
We were up very early the next morning to get the train to hike the trail from Vernazza to Corniglia. The train here runs thru tunnels to connect the 5 towns, and beyond, and was built in the late 1800’s – fascinating when you see the engineering feet required to do so!

 

A few pretty pictures in Vernazza while walking to the trail head entrance (above).


In about 2.5 miles, and ~60 flights of stairs later, we would be in Corniglia – just in time for breakfast and more beautiful views!

Leaving early gave us the narrow trail mostly to ourselves. We were told it can get quite busy, and my hike mates Paulette and Charlie were early birds like me; we made for pretty decent hiking partners 🙂

 

Looking back at Vernazza as we ascend the beginning of the trail. Stunning!


 

Some highlights from our hike (above).


 

The olive tree nets (sprawled out when harvested) sure looked like hammocks to me!


 

Corniglia in sight! Fortunately it was mostly downhill from here 🙂

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A well deserved breakfast in a little village in Italy. Who could ask for more? And the coffee – every cup, everywhere, was wonderful (my usual, cappuccino). Also, I discovered Spremuta d’arancia – wonderful fresh-squeezed orange juice. That too became a ritual for me in Italy!

Lovely Corniglia
Heading down to the train (about 1/2 way there), which we took back to Levanto. I believe for those coming up, it’s about 33 flights of stairs 🙂  We’d already paid our dues on the other end!
Back in Levanto, enjoying a lovely evening by the Mediterranean Sea.

Volterra: Ancient Times and Fairy Tales

While it’s not easy – or even necessary – to choose a favorite place in Italy, I may have to put Volterra on the top of my list. Coming off of our first stop of Rome, and the city-esque crowds of tourists, Volterra was an incredible respite. And, an amazingly gorgeous hill town that left me teary-eyed from the overwhelming charm and history.

Volterra, historically, is a walled hill town dating back to at least the end of the 8th century BC. What’s amazing is, it’s believed to have been continuously inhabited since that time. AMAZING. This is a place where just being and sharing space with the beauty and history settled into my soul in a gentle, healing, humbling way.

Much of my pictography in this post is meant to convey Volterra in a simplistic way. The irony of simplistic is, here it is charming and beautiful, no matter where or how one ventures in this lovely classic Italy hill town.

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Panoramic view from Volterra, beautiful Tuscany
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Under the Tuscan Moon
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Early a.m. view from my room window
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Ombra della sera, “Shadow of the evening”, Etruscan museum. The statue represents a nude male, 22.6 inches tall, with very elongated body but head in normal proportions. It is estimated by archaeologists to date from the third century BC.  Quite humbling.
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Wine cellar, the wine tasting fantastic.
Roman Theatre, excavated in the 1950’s, built in the late 1st century BC.
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Volterra Cathedral
San Giusto, Volterra
Cute Italian dogs and cute Italian men 🙂
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Etruscan Arch, entry into town
One of many, many quaint streets in Volterra.
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Beautiful everything here.

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