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I'M OFTEN TOLD THAT MY IMAGES OF ITALY ARE PEOPLE'S FAVORITES

April 12, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

 People often tell me that of all my images, the ones of Italy are their favorites. I started wondering why, I think i know the reason. Now I will admit that Italy has many beautiful cities. Rome is one of the world's truly great cities. Venice is a beautiful mystery waiting to be discovered even after thousands of years. The architecture of Italy is amazing. There are ancient structures still to be seen to this day, some being excavated as you watch. The Roma ForumThis was for centuries the center of Roman public life: the site of triumphal processions and elections; the venue for public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiatorial matches; and the nucleus of commercial affairs. Here statues and monuments commemorated the city's great men. The teeming heart of ancient Rome, it has been called the most celebrated meeting place in the world, and in all history.Located in the small valley between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, the Forum today is a sprawling ruin of architectural fragments and intermittent archaeological excavations attracting 4.5 million sightseers yearly. Then there are the landscapes of Italy. How do you describe them adequately? I really can't but then, I'm not a poet or writer but a photographer.

The Grand Canal of Venice ItalyThe banks of the Grand Canal are lined with more than 170 buildings, most of which date from the 13th to the 18th century, and demonstrate the welfare and art created by the Republic of Venice. The noble Venetian families faced huge expenses to show off their richness in suitable palazzos; this contest reveals the citizens’ pride and the deep bond with the lagoon. Amongst the many are the Palazzi Barbaro, Ca' Rezzonico, Ca' d'Oro, Palazzo Dario, Ca' Foscari, Palazzo Barbarigo and to Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, housing the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. The churches along the canal include the basilica of Santa Maria della Salute. Centuries-old traditions, such as the Historical Regatta (it), are perpetuated every year along the Canal.  Ahh, then there's the people. Now there's a reason to love Italy. They are warm, generous and overflowing with the love of life. That truly describes the people of Italy.

Bride & Groom Just married I was walking around Burano when I saw a wedding party was just leaving the wedding. Naturally I started taking pictures. The best man and others showed them with Rose petals Breakfast in RomaA Businessman stops for breakfast which included Espresso and a sweet roll. Taken in the Campo De Fiori Two Italian Gentleman enjoying a breakfast of Espresso and a cigarette Also in the Campo Di Fiori Young Love in Roma Did I mention Italians love romance?

A band playing during lunch in the Campo Di Fiori In Italy music can come from every corner anytime of the day or night We can't talk of reasons to love Italy without mentioning the food and wine. In my opinion Italy has the best food  anywhere in the world. It's amazing because it is simple, uses the highest quality product and they don't add too much to it. It sounds like I could be describing good photographic technique.

Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini Flowers. This was in a restaurant in Venice and they were delicious Fresh Anchovies simply grilled and dressed with Olive Oil and Fennel FrondsSame restaurant in Venice as the flowers, what a lunch lol The owner of Da Romano in Burano6Th generations of the same family For all reasons I've mentioned, my images of Italy might be my best work. I think you photograph best what you love the most. For me, I love the USA but I also love my heritage: the Italian culture I was raised in. I also love my family especially my wife and I love making images of all of them. 

Italy will always be strong in my heart and soul, the place that I feel closest to my bloodline. I love all things Italian including cooking the food while listening to Dino, Frank and Pavarotti. I adore the women, the art and, of course the Vino. All of it is the best in my opinion!

I'll close with some more images of Italy but let me give a little advice in how to improve your photography. Realize what you love in your world, photograph it and keep photographing it. I bet you'll make some of your best images and all your photographic skills will improve. 

My last words will be some Italian sayings that I think apply to photography.

Chi dorme non piglia pesci – Those who sleep don’t catch any fish, plus they miss the best light.

La semplicità è l’ultima sofisticazione – Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
-Leonardo Da Vinci. Just like Italian cooking plus if Da Vinci thinks it's true, it is!

Una cena senza vino e come un giorno senza sole – A meal without wine is a day without  sunshine. This doesn't really apply to photography but it is very true ;) 

Mangia bene, ridi spesso, ama molto. – Eat well, laugh often, love much. Words to live by

Now some final images of the land I love: Italy.

Venice from across the Grand CanalEarly morning light striking Venice SunriseA beautiful Sunrise on the Grand Canal

Piazza are all over Italian Cities Squares are where life happens in Italy like this one in Roma A Rainy Day in VeniceWe took a walk in the rain and I made this image. Don't allow the rain to take away a great image, get out in it and keep your camera covered. Storm coming in VeniceDark storm clouds moving over Venice The Rooftops of Roma Sant'Agnese in AgoneSant'Agnese in Agone (also called Sant'Agnese in Piazza Navona) is a 17th-century Baroque church in Rome, Italy. It faces onto the Piazza Navona, one of the main urban spaces in the historic centre of the city and the site where the Early Christian Saint Agnes was martyred in the ancient Stadium of Domitian. Construction began in 1652 under the architects Girolamo Rainaldi and his son Carlo Rainaldi. The Piazza Navona in Roma Simple window with patio The combination of Italian Stone used in buildings and the beautiful Roman light makes a simple scene like this special Sunset in Roma. The Castel Sant'Angelo in Romahe Mausoleum of Hadrian, usually known as Castel Sant'Angelo, is a towering cylindrical building in Parco Adriano, Rome, Italy. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The View into Roma from Castel Sant'Angelo


The Amazing Landscape of Yellowstone N.P. in Wyoming ( Part 1)

October 26, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

 

 

 

 

White Dome Geyser is stunning cone Geyser I was told it would erupt every12 to 24 minutes we waited over a half hour twice and missed it. Must be why it is not called Ild Faithful The Yellowstone and Grand Teton region is one of the most dynamic seismic areas in the world -- wracked by earthquakes, cracked by water boiling to the surface, and littered with the detritus of previous volcanic eruptions. Today, the bowels of the Yellowstone caldera are again filling with magma. Geologic studies show that, for the past 2 million years, the plateau has blown its top every 600,000 years or so -- and the last explosion was about 600,000 years ago. That means that a titanic blow -- bigger than anything seen in recorded history -- could happen, well, any century now, give or take thousands of years. The geological time frame is a long one, by human standards, but this didn't stop people from getting excited when an unprecedented "swarm" of minor earthquakes rattled the park in early 2009. The good news is that the big one is not imminent; geologists say things need to heat up considerably first.

Old Faithful Geyser It did erupt every 90 minutes while we were there. We stayed at the Old Faithful Inn, which is located right in front of this geyser

By the end of the 1872 Hayden expedition, explorers had identified several distinct areas in the park, each with its own physical characteristics. Less spectacular than the craggy mountain scenery of Grand Teton, and less imposing than the vast expanses of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Yellowstone's beauty is subtle, reflecting the changes it has undergone during its explosive past.

Although Yellowstone has its share of mountains, much of the park is a high mountain plateau. The environment changes dramatically as you ascend the mountain slopes from the foothill zones in the valleys -- the elevation at the entrance at West Yellowstone is 6,666 feet, for example, compared to 5,314 feet at the Gardiner entrance. Because the park lies about halfway between the equator and the North Pole, its summers consist of long, warm days that stimulate plant growth at the lower elevations.

Situated on 2.2 million acres, Yellowstone is significantly larger than its sister to the south. Encompassing 3,472 square miles, Yellowstone boasts 310 miles of paved roads and 1,000 miles of backcountry trails, and it is home to more geysers and hot springs than the combined total in the rest of the world. Fountain Flats Drive The Firehole River flows past meadows frequented by Bison. Lots of Bison!!! Fir Trees on the way to Yellowstone lake. We found this old abandoned house surrounded by Aspen. This was in September and the colors were terrific Then comes the mountain zone (6,000-7,600 ft.), thickening forests dominated by lodgepole pine, broken by meadows where deer, elk, and moose often graze. The transition area between the highest forest and the bare surface above timberline is known as the subalpine zone (7,600-11,300 ft.). Finally, we come to the bare rock at the very top of the continental shelf, where small, hardy plants, such as glacier lilies and sky pilot, bloom briefly after the annual thaw.

Rivers are fed by the melting glacier and snow peaks The Amazing Color's of Yellowstone in September This raven followed us to three consecutive pull offs , as if it was showing us his park! The Big Sky of Yellowstone.Montana is not the only place with big Skies When you arrive at the Southern Geyser Basin you might feel that you've been transported through a geologic time warp. Here you will find the largest collections of thermal areas in the world -- there are perhaps 600 geysers and 10,000 geothermal features in the park -- and the largest geysers in Yellowstone. The result: boiling water that is catapulted skyward and barren patches of sterile dirt; hot, bubbling pools that are unimaginably colorful; and, of course, the star of this show, the geyser Old Faithful. Plan on spending at least 80 minutes here, as that's the typical period between the eruptions that send thousands of gallons of boiling water through the sky at a speed exceeding 100 mph. Old Faithful Geyser AreaOld Faithful gets old the great press but the area around it can be just as beautiful Old Faithful after it had erupted, All of a sudden a rainbow appeared right over it. Phyllis and I stumbled upon this scene. The rivers running through the fields of Orange, Red and Yellow was amazing to see Rain Storms would bring great dark clouds with beautiful light The Northern section of the park, between Mammoth Hot Springs and the Tower-Roosevelt region, is a high-plains area that is primarily defined by mountains, forests, and broad expanses of river valleys that were created by ice movements. What ever direction you travel in Yellowstone you see beauty. This was in the south area on the way to the Grand TetonsWe found this scene on the side of the road The Grand Prismatic Spring Located in the Midway Geyser Basin  In part two of our Yellowstone  National Park landscape  we will concentrate on the thermal areas of Yellowstone. This includes the Midway Geyser Basin which is where the Prismatic Springs ( seen above) is located.

 

Midway Geyser Basin


An Early Morning Hike up to Logan Pass in Glacier National Park

October 18, 2016  •  3 Comments

What and where is Logan Pass you ask? Located at 6,646 feet above sea level, Logan Pass runs along the Continental Divide, which is at the summit of the Going -To -The -Sun Road. This is the highest point you can drive your vehicle but trails such as Hidden Lake can take you much higher. A visitors center is open only during the summer season. The pass is closed during the winter due to the impracticality of keeping the road clear of snow and avalanches.

The first time we drove to Logan Pass the temperature was 40 degrees with a twenty mile per hour wind. It was pretty cold for a 4 mile round trip, many of it in open area. It was just the start of our week and we decided to wait till a few days later.

First Try at hiking Up to Logan Pass40 degrees and twenty mile per hours wind really a raw cold day up at the beginning of the trail. We decided we would wait for another day

 Two days later Phyllis and I started out at 6:30 AM, stopped for coffee and a breakfast burrito at Montana Coffee Traders. This is a chain in Montana and the coffee and breakfasts are great. The burrito is so large we would split one. If you're in Montana, try them out. You will not be disappointed.  If would take us about thirty minutes to reach the parking lot at the visitor's center which is where you start the hike up Hidden Lake Trail. It was a beautiful morning and we both agreed we were happy we waited a few days to walk it.

The middle of the hike up Hidden Lake trail.You can see much of the trail in this image until it winds around that small mountain. The atmospheric conditions were amazing and this cloud hung around for a few hours.Like a beacon showing us where the Visitor Center was ​ As we walked the trail, I kept looking up at Reynolds Mountain trying to guess how far we had to go. It loomed ahead of us as both a destination and a challenge. As people were coming back down, they would smile and say, "Still a ways to go but worth it". I heard that so many times, mostly unsolicited. I would smile and think, please no more "A way to Go".

 The colors in the rocks and the plant life were amazing, so many colors, so many textures.

​ I won't lie, it was a challenge. The air is lighter and we are both in our sixties but I was really proud of Phyllis. She just kept walking and whenever I looked back at her, she would smile and wave, at least that is what I think she was doing! Although she usually uses all of her fingers.

​As we started getting closer to where the road would flatten out, we became excited knowing we were near the top. We found a pond near the top.

Then we reached the overlook and had our first view at Hidden Lake. What a beautiful vista, just a gorgeous setting up high in these magnificent mountains!

Hidden Lake such beautiful colors Hidden Lake such beautiful colors I met another photographer and he told me we had just missed seeing three Mountain Goats which was very disappointing, for up till then they were the only animals on our wish list we had not seen. He pointed to the mountain behind us and said one had climbed up there and the other two went down into the valley. As I gazed up at the mountain, I saw a white spot moving up the rocky face of the mountain. It was the Mountain Goat not very close even with my 400mm lens but I took a few images hoping they would be good. If this was going to be our only chance to make an image of one, I was going for it.

Mountain Goat Climbing up the face of the mountain Mountain Goat Climbing up the face of the mountain Soon it was out of our sight as it went into the mountain with one look seemingly back at us. We then turned our attention to the beautiful scenery that was all around us.

As we were walking around a slight bend in the trail I saw an amazing sight, two mountain goats were right in front of us no more the twenty feet from the path. The other two had come back up from the valley and stood in front of us. The excitement and adrenaline rush was fantastic and I just started shooting a few with my 80- 400 and a few with my 17- 55 Nikons. This sighting made our day, such beautiful and seemingly peaceful animals they were not bothered by any of us being so close and no one violated their space. It was a really great encounter with these beautiful furred animals.

​After this experience, we decided to head back down the two mile path to our car.

Mountain Goat on Logan Pass Mountain Goat on Logan Pass Mountain Goat on Logan Pass We started down and saw the view of where we were headed.  As we passed people making the trip up, they would ask us how much further and we would smile and say, " A way to go but worth it" and I would laugh to myself. Hey, you need to amuse yourself on a four mile hike up and back lol.

The path back down ..OH BOY !!! When we made it to the bottom of the trail we stopped for a moment to look back at where we had gone and we both smiled and congratulated each other. This image is of a very happy Phyllis when we reached the end of the trail!

Let me say, I don't care what your age, if you are physically able to walk the Hidden Lake Trail, do it. You will be happy you did and when people pass you on your way down smile and tell them, "A way to go but so worth it!"


The Grand Tetons Everything You Have Heard and More !

October 13, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

 

 

On our trip to Yellowstone we planned a day trip to the Grand Tetons. We took off in the early morning mainly because any trip through Yellowstone needs to have frequent stops built in for all the amazing animals and beautiful scenery. This was worth the time and effort even though the weather was not great mostly cloudy skies with the threat  of rain. We planned to come back and stay a night but the weather report for over night and the next day included words like mud slides, avalanches, washed out roads and falling rocks. Not words to make us want to travel back the next day, but on our next trip to Yellowstone we are planing on building in a few days for the Grand Tetons. We really loved the area including Jackson Hole where we had a nice lunch and there was a STARBUCKS ....YES !!!!!

​Near the end of our day I met a wonderful family visiting the USA from India.They had asked me to take their pictures with their phone and I offered to also take one with mine and mail it to them if they contacted me . Im hoping they do and that they did not loose my contact info.

 

Here is some technical information about the Tetons and in 2018 I'll have even more images. I should let you know that we were there this past September and the foliage colors were amazing, It's a great time to visit the area and much of the crowds have left.

 

 

 

 

 

Location: Wyoming

Established: February 26, 1929

Size: 309,994 acres

The peaks of the Teton Range, regal and imposing as they stand nearly 7,000 feet above the valley floor, make one of the boldest geologic statements in the Rockies. Unencumbered by foothills, they rise through steep coniferous forest into alpine meadows strewn with wildflowers, past blue and white glaciers to naked granite pinnacles. The Grand, Middle, and South Tetons form the heart of the range. But their neighbors, especially Mount Owen, Teewinot Mountain, and Mount Moran, are no less spectacular.

A string of jewel-like lakes, fed by mountain streams, are set tightly against the steep foot of the mountains. Beyond them extends the broad valley called Jackson Hole, covered with sagebrush and punctuated by occasional forested buttes and groves of aspen trees—excellent habitats for pronghorn, deer, elk, and other animals. The Snake River, having begun its journey in southern Yellowstone National Park near the Teton Wilderness, winds leisurely past the Tetons on its way to Idaho. The braided sections of the river create wetlands that support moose, elk, deer, beavers, trumpeter swans, sandhill cranes, Canada geese, and all sorts of ducks.

The Tetons are normal faultblock mountains. About 13 million years ago, two blocks of Earth's crust began to shift along a fault line, one tilting down while the other lifted up. So far, movement has measured some 30,000 vertical feet, most of it from the subsidence of Jackson Hole.

Before Europeans arrived, the Teton area was an important plant-gathering and hunting ground for Indians of various tribes. In the early 1800s, mountain men spent time here; it was they who called this flat valley ringed by mountains Jackson's Hole after the trapper Davey Jackson. (In recent times the name has lost its apostrophe and s.) The first settlers were ranchers and farmers. Some of their buildings are historic sites today, although ranching is still practiced in the vicinity. When the park was established, it included only the mountains and the glacial lakes at their feet. Portions of the valley were added in 1950.

Today the park's 485 square miles encompass both the Teton Range and much of Jackson Hole. Park roads, all in the valley, offer an ever changing panorama of the Tetons. Most visitors never go far from the road. But the Tetons are popular with hikers; backcountry trails climb high into the mountains—and behind them. Easy trails in the valley lead around lakes and beside wetlands where visitors see moose, elk, deer, and all kinds of birds.

Did You Know?

Grand Teton National Park was actually established twice, first in 1929 to protect mountain peaks and the lakes surrounding the mountain bases, then in 1950, when the adjacent valley floors as well as the Jackson Hole National Monument, created in 1943, were incorporated into the park visitors love today. Since 1972, the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway has connected Grand Teton to Yellowstone National Park, enabling visitors to experience both the slopes of the Tetons and the volcanic landscape of Yellowstone.


I SHARE AN EARLY MORNING HUNT WITH A COYOTE IN YELLOWSTONE N.P WYOMING

October 05, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Coyote in Yellowstone on the hunt

It was 5:30 AM and Phyllis and I were both up as we were each morning in Yellowstone. After a light breakfast downstairs at the Old Faithful Inn, we set out to photograph the wonders of Yellowstone. This morning we were accompanied by our cousins Carl Rossi and his beautiful wife, Cheri. As we drove through the grounds of the inn, I noticed something running across the road behind our SUV. We all turned and saw that it was a coyote. He was running onto a find of yellow grass. As we pulled the car off the road, we could see that he was taking his time looking around slowly. At first I thought he was looking at us but soon realized he was on a hunt, as I was. He was looking for breakfast and I was trying to capture one of the images on my photographic bucket list.  Ever since I lived in Arizona back in the 70s, I have  loved coyotes. I find them beautiful and elusive.

I had my 80-400 Nikon lens up to my eye ready to try and capture the image I wanted. In these moments, I feel excited and a little apprehensive about not screwing up. I know that Phyllis and our cousins were within feet of me but in these moments I am at one with my subject. I really don't hear or see anything that is not in my lens. 

​I kept watching the coyote waiting for 'the' moment, not sure what it would be but knowing there would be one. As I watched and took some pictures, I was thinking about how much it reminded me of our little girl (our cat). Its head cocked to one side looking first backwards and then down, just like when she is about to pounce on one of her toys.  Our hunt was on, he had seen something and I had seen him looking.

​When he looked down he froze for a moment and just at that moment, I knew what was coming, It was the same moment I had seen many times with the 'Little Girl'. The pounce was going to happen and I was not going to miss it or at least I hoped I wouldn't. Then he started to pounce.

​The head cocked, the back feet tensed and the front paws rose up, never taking his eyes off whatever he saw. Then all of a sudden he was up in the air, his eyes not moving from its prey, much like mine did not move from mine.

Coyote mid pounce

Up in the air and just as quickly down, his nose was in the grass with paws on either side. His back paws were now up in the air and much like an athlete, was never losing concentration. As the back feet landed, it looked like there would be no breakfast. It had missed its prey but I caught mine.

It did not stop but turned quickly and ran to the back of the field never looking back. I kept looking at it, took one last picture and put my Nikon down by my side. I realized I had a smile on my face. It was early morning but this was a great day already.

​If you have heard how great Yellowstone is for nature photographers you have heard right. We had an amazing week there and I'll be sharing our week with you all. I hope you come back to see more of our trip to Yellowstone N.P. Wyoming.

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