Is there any time of the day when huge crowds can be avoided in Cinque Terre in summer? I ask because I am a photographer and want to take great photos. Sunrise? Early mornings? I know sunset is when everyone goes to dinner so that is why I am wondering if early mornings might be better? I am a total morning person :-).
As a photographer you understand that it is all in the angle of the light. Sometimes it is early morning and sometimes evening - rarely at high noon. It will just depend on the location as to the better light. Often my preference is for the yellow, soft light of evening. And CT is always crowded in the summer - just a question of how crowded.
Frank...I prefer sunset/early evenings also but I am also trying to avoid crowds. I am wondering....more crowded at sunrise or sunset?
Probably sunset as most of Italy runs on a late clock. But morning light is not nearly as warm.
Probably the only way to avoid crowds is early morning before the cruise ships drop off thousands of passengers.
I'm also a photographer and I've found that the best conditions for both light and crowds are usually in the early morning (although I'm NOT a "total morning person", so I don't always take advantage of the opportunities). The day trippers will start to arrive from about 09:00 onward, and the cruise ship groups will descend on the towns like a plague of locusts a short time after that (but not every day). The evenings will be VERY busy well after dark as all the restaurants, gelato shops and other businesses will be busy, and especially in Monterosso there will probably still be a few people on the beach. If you're travelling with a Tripod, the evenings can also present some good photo op's. All of the towns will be crowded at times during the days in summer, but Corniglia probably to a lesser extent given its location.
A few points to mention regarding photo op's.....
- A street market is held in Monterosso, and as I recall that takes place on Thursdays in the old town. There are usually some interesting scenes there.
- Especially in the summer, there will likely be talented street musicians performing at the entrance to the tunnel between the old town and new town in Monterosso. I often get some short videos of the performers as well (I always ask first and of course add a donation to their guitar case or whatever they're using to collect money).
- You could also get some good shots of all the towns from the water by taking the boat from Monterosso to Porto Venere (if you have the time). Alternately, you could travel by boat from Monterosso to Riomaggiore (or vice versa) and then take the train back.
- The small harbour in Vernazza with its many multi-coloured boats is a great place for photos. You could also hike a short way up the trail to Monterosso to get the classic Cinque Terre view and even walking in the narrow streets often provides some memorable photos.
A prior crusie post had this website to check which ships are in which port on different days. Some ports close by that day trippers may use. I Picked July 14 but you can change the month and see all the ships in port
Mornings are very quiet.
The light is very soft and the sun takes awhile to pop over the mountains to the east of CT.
The crowds can be avoided by walking uphill :-)
Tourists are part of the landscape when properly framed.
Check out this webcam at Levanto
and these http://webcam.parconazionale5terre.it/
A very peaceful and beautiful place!
I am home ill today with a stomach virus of some kind but I am trying to take my mind off it a bit and read some of your replies here. Thank you all so much for your time to post some great advice...especially specific to photography and day trippers, cruise ship times etc. This will encourage me to get up very early and do some photography, return to Levanto (where I am staying) to drop off the camera and then do shopping and other things afterward. I am planning to get a Cinque Terre train pass good for the whole day so this should allow me to jump on and off the train all day and night (I think). I am not at all into hiking nor am I in good enough shape...will be lucky if I can go less than 1/2 mile in any kind of incline. My only worry now is the long trek to the Levanto station from my B and B in Levanto but I read somewhere that cab rides are 10 Euro in Levanto flat fee. Might be worth it for this one day. I may have to start a thread about getting very early cabs in Levanto ;-).
Lisa, expect those trains to be very crowded around Cinque Terre. And, the entire area of Cinque Terre is walking inclines up/down to take good photos. LOVE that area - just want you to have correct expectations.
Will the trains be standing room only? Is it a common to be pushed and shoved on those trains to where I might have to be worried that I might have something stolen from a moneybelt, sock-"'safe" or similar security system?
It is challenging for me to walk more than 1/4 mile on an incline of any kind...this is due to the fact that I recently lost 120+ pounds and am celebrating my weight loss on this trip as my reward to myself. I am about 155 pounds, 5 feet 6 inches, female, non-smoker 52 years old. I walk about 5 miles a day but all on flat land. Inclines and stairs are difficult for me. Is it still possible to enjoy Cinque Terre and not have to walk up more than 1/4 mile incline or more than 50 stairs? I have been training a bit and can do about 20% incline at 1/4 mile but that's it. I can do 30 stairs but 50 is "tops."
Lisa, yes the trains in the CT are quite crowded in the summer months. I've seen the trains quite packed. The entrances into the train carriages are narrow and as many people are trying to get off the train as are trying to get on. On at least one town stop, the train is longer than the platform if you are in the rear of the train, you get off in the tunnel (have done it). But, it's the CT experience. It's not all that bad.
For photography with no people in the picture, it's quite hard to do. One thing we did was to take the ferry from Monterosso to Portovenere. The weather was clear and spectacular. Unexpectedly, the views of the towns from the boat was so picturesque. Pictures of the towns from the boat were just the best ever.
That is wonderful news about your weight loss! And yes, you should celebrate a new beginning to your life. With your renewed body and health should come a confidence and a great self assurance. Yes? :)
Walking is wonderful, some of the best exercise one can do. People are giving their advice on the CT, but, you know your own body's endurance and what you are capable of.
Please Lisa, do not keep fretting and driving yourself crazy about being ripped off. It would be a rare occurrence if someone got "that" deep into your pants and was able to take your money belt and you not feel a thing. Just do not get yourself overly nervous. When you go to the restroom, just be careful your belt does not slip off your waist.
For what you want to do as a solo traveler, it is more important than ever to pack light.
Gee Lisa, I almost wish I can come on the trip with you - meet you. LoL, just to ease your mind and you have a "buddy" so you won't worry yourself sick. Jokes aside, just have confidence in yourself and in and on your trip! It is a celebration!
You will be okay! Trust in yourself.
Yes, congrats on the new you! What a wonderful way to celebrate. If you get in a situation where you have more than 50 steps, you just stop and catch your breath and enjoy the view. No one is going to make you sprint up steps. The thing about stair climbing is that you go from being aerobic to anaerobic quickly so the demand for oxygen is high. Being able to walk 5 miles is awesome and sounds like it will serve you well in Italy.
On my Rick Steves Heart of Italy tour, the guide suggested when wearing the cross-body bag, to have the zipper/s to the front and to keep your hand around the strap and over the zippers.
I agree with Marie as well.
@ Pam :)
@lisaew, an added "thought" - your money belt - can you use a large safety pin and pin it (the strap) to your undergarment? Maybe the pin would prove to be uncomfortable, but if you are concerned about the belt being "undone" or slipped off, I don't know...some "added security?" But really, I think you will be fine and over thinking many things can work against you.
Lisa-last year in Vernazza we had an electrical problem in our rental cottage at around 11:00 one night. Long story short I had to go all the way down Via Carratino-we were staying up above the La Torre Restaurant-to the town, which at that hour was completely deserted with the exception of the folks in the Blue Marlin Bar. It was extremely pleasant, and completely different than daytime, this was in late September. I don't know if night photography is of interest, but full moon dates for the summer are June 13, August 10, and Sept 9. You would have the town and harbor pretty much to yourself-exercise caution here-and probably be able to get some unique photos. Have a great trip.
Thank you all for the kind words and wonderful advice! The generosity of the people on the RS forums is so wonderful.
By the way...when you say to wear the zippered part of the cross body bag to the front, does that mean zipper next to your body? I do not think I will wear a bag at all for my photo-treks...just keep my train pass in my sock along with a few Euros and a credit card plus phone card in money belt for emergency.
@lisaew, The American Tourister one I saw at Walmart has a moisture-absorbing side and the zippered pockets have the nylon material. So, it would seem with the moisture-absorbing material, it would imply or mean that you would wear that against your body with the zippers on the outside for "your easy access." Try it both ways to see what makes you feel comfortable. Maybe the zippers against your skin would be irritating after awhile, especially in the heat.
I really do not think you need to worry. You have a lot of time before your trip - play around with different things to see what works for you. The safety pin suggestion I had (to pin the strap to your undergarment) is one idea but overkill in my opinion.
I really think you are over stressing yourself, and I am trying to keep you from over worrying. You keep looking for answers and reassurances. You accomplished a goal you set - meaning your weight loss. Why bog yourself down with more? - mental weight and baggage weight. Just trying to be a friend, dear
Also, if you know you will not be accessing your money in your money belt for an extended period of time (which you should not be anyway), you can use those little "twistie ties" you get on bags of bread or whatever - the ones that are "coated wires." You know what I mean. Twist the zippers together. I do not know which money belt you have, but the AT one had two pockets, two zippers - so that is why I suggested you can "join the zippers together" on the money belt while train traveling or whatever.
One of the main things you can do for yourself and peace of mind is to seriously lighten your load - I appreciate the fact you are a photog and want to take beautiful pictures, but the other things you listed a while back seem too much for one person and also because you will be moving around a lot. I can 'maybe' see if you spent a week or two in one area, but I think most would still disagree and say to carry light.
@Marie thank you so much for your thoughtful advice and kind words, encouragement. The only time I would travel with electronics is when going from hotel stop to hotel stop. I would not travel heavy when walking around the Cinque Terre.
I never traveled "paranoid" in the past...LOL...I would leave my purse literally hanging on restaurant chairs with no concern all over the UK, Paris, Amsterdam, Switzerland....this "new age of concern"' for me is very different from what I am used to. Maybe the Internet is partly to blame? Or, maybe I was just really lucky that I never had anything stolen.
Anyway...I am trying to over-prepare because for me over-preparing is the best defense. Maybe it is because I am a high school teacher :-). Over-prepping is always desired in my profession ;-). You have to be ready for anything.
@lisaew, You are welcome :)
I can understand and appreciate what you are feeling. Yes, preparing or planning is good, but over preparing can drive you crazy, lol. Italy will be FUN!
I am sure you worked very hard at your goal of losing weight. As anyone can attest, even trying to lose 10 or 20 pounds needs much discipline and effort. You succeeded leaps and bounds!
So, yes, your trip is a celebration of a lot of things - your new "you," your "new" traveling, your independence - traveling solo. With all that positivity, there should be less worry for the things you are worrying about.
Word of advice? LoL. Do not listen or take too much to heart all the negative this or that from people. Do not read all the negativity from the net. Some things "might be true" - to a point, others may just be disgruntled or perhaps made their story more colorful than it actually was. The old saying is: There are three sides to the truth: "yours, mine and the real truth." ;)
Whoa! I have never let my purse swing from a chair anywhere - hometown, traveling, restaurants, etc. - now or even years ago when "we would not think anything of anything." It has always been just a habit of mine to secure my valuables but not be crazy over it.
Well, it is good you will not be lugging around all your electronics all day, every day. Take what you need and lock up the rest in your luggage in your room. The more you keep things simple abroad, the better you will feel, and the easier it will be :)
OK, so about the zippers toward the front. I use a LeSportsac Everyday bag that has 2 zippers across the top. https://www.lesportsac.com/Deluxe_Everyday_Bag?color= I orient the purse across my body so that the end with the zipper tabs is facing front. I can rest my arm across the top of my purse and when I place my hand around the strap where it meets the purse, can cover the zippers as well. Trina, our guide, said she actually clamps down on the zippers when she is on the famous Rome buses or in the Termini. If you are in a proactive position with your purse someone is probably going for an easier target than you!
You can do as Marie suggests with twistie ties or with carabiners if your purse of choice has the holes punched in the zipper tabs.
@ Marie...thank you again for the kindness. Much appreciated!
@Pam...your purse posted is a much more expensive than what I have. I have a Travelon theft-proof bag with all these zippers everywhere but it is RFID and slashproof. I will have this bag INSIDE my crossbody pilots bag when in train stations but it will only contain a few Euros to get in and out of restrooms. I may also strap this pilots bag to the handles that pull the small, carry on suitcase when boarding trains.
In train stations, I will carry passport and credit cards and any other cash in the money belt even though that seems so strange to me. I still cannot understand why a person would not carry all of their valuables in the "carry on" sized luggage item. Chances of luggage getting stolen are slim, right? One of my world traveler friends said she always carries all valuables in her carry on luggage when in train stations because she pushes it in front of her or secures it between her legs at all times. She said she has felt hands down her pockets and into her purse but never her luggage. So...luggage seems safe to me. Or am I crazy?
I also am planning to spread out the electronics...put cheaper stuff into pilot's bag and more expensive into carry-on luggage. Is that a good or bad idea?
BTW...I plan to lock my pilot's bag and luggage although some people say that locks attract thieves in that they think if you lock it, it is more valuable.
@lisaew, I do not think locks attract thieves unless they are a locksmith and love the challenge. Kidding!!
I would think, what would attract a thief new to the "profession" or not, would be the distractions, the vulnerabilities, the confusions, the fumbling with too much baggage of any traveler - especially solo. Hence, being confident and packing lightly as possible.
No, in general, I do not think a thief is going to ponder anyone's "reasoning" or try to be a psychic (of goods in a bag) if they see a lock. They want to move in and out - fast! (An exception of a thief surmising riches in a bag is if someone is flaunting expensive this or that - luggage too...and make themselves a target to be followed somewhere.) Not trying to add more to your woe, but it is only an example - not set in stone. Someone in your own home town can follow you when you leave the bank or surprise you out of nowhere. Just saying...
Are you using combination locks? I would not really suggest a key one - because you could lose the key. Use the same combo for each lock. Write down the combo number on an index card, in case you forget it, and put in your money belt or some place secure.
I have seen some people bungee cord (piggy back) their tote/carry on onto their main luggage. This way you don't have the tote or smaller bag flopping all over.
Lisa, Please do not worry. And please "test drive" your own things. People are giving advice or suggestions, but ultimately, it is all up to you.
Your travelon purse is fine. Pam was just giving you her example or suggestion.
Money belt, neck wallet, security purse - to each their own - no one is saying you must use a money belt. Some like it, some do not. RS and others suggest it. Do what is comfortable for you - but be aware - that is the most important thing. And, I am not an advocate for "turning around a money belt" so it fits into the small of your back as some suggest. That has more potential for thieving or coming undone and falling off than the other way.
What pilot bag? You mean the 20+ pound one? So you will pack your travelon purse into the pilot bag and have the carry on too, plus check other luggage? "Spreading out your electronics" in the carry ons is a good idea because of the weight shift you will have to lug. Basically that is it. The electronics you will not use on the plane, lock up in the bigger carry on. Keep the pilot bag/tote (whatever you choose to use as your 2nd) handy - under seat within your reach of your needs. Put the bigger, locked carry on in the compartment above you or as close as possible.
Just wanted to say Marie is correct...I was just using my bag to show you how the zippers are set, not to try to get you to use what I use. Take what you already have and what feels comfortable to you!
First - congrats on your amazing weight loss!
Secondly, there's an app called The Photographer's Ephemeris ($4.99) that you might want to check out. It will tell you sunrise/sunset times for your location based on your tablet/ipad GPS. (It shows a map of the location.) It also tells the direction the light will be coming from. It also tells moonrise/moonset and phase of the moon. Obviously, you will need wifi for this to work. However, this may be more info than you want or need. The golden hour is 1/2 an hour before and after sunrise/sunset.
Also I think having people in a shot is good sometimes to give your shot perspective of the size of things, distance, etc. Something to consider. Sometimes the crowd is "the story".
Have a great trip and let us know how it all went for you.
Lisa, I am also a professional photographer and while I may take a few sunset photos I am joined by about every tourist in the place. When I am traveling and want some serious photos I am up before dawn to get the images I want. Trust me, there are not too many people willing to do that, so you often have the place to yourself. The light at dawn or sunset is virtually the same.... about 3200 Kelvin ( which is a measurement of the color temperature of light)Both will be warm. What will be different however is the direction the light is coming from. So, if you want to sun over the water, obviously you have to photograph when that is happening. Most often you will be using the sun as your light source and not photographing directly into it. If you do find one or two photographers wandering around they will often move out of your image as they are trying to achieve the same thing you are. Or, you can just learn a little photoshop and zap them out of your image quite easily. After the sun starts to come up fully just head back to your hotel for your breakfast and shower having had an incredible start to your day. Then you can watch everyone else struggle to try and get those images you have already created in your camera!!! In Ct however there are plenty of little side streets or small pockets that you can photograph during the day as lots of the areas do remain in shade because of the closeness of the buildings. It is so worth getting up early if photography is indeed important to you.
Thank you ALL so much for the great advice. I am so encouraged now :-). I am SUCH a MORNING person...LOL...comes from years of doing morning radio in the USA back when live radio was "big."
I am now thinking...I should bring the Canon 30D even though it is SO HEAVY.
7pm is WAY TOO LATE for me to eat anything other than a small snack and I already know that is when dinner is served in Italy. That will not work for my body. So...maybe I will start a new thread/topic on where to find the best food/wine/appertivo in Cinque Terre from 5pm-7pm :-) for those of us who do not want to eat late. Please feel free to post ideas in that thread when I start it.
Lisa... I would not take any camera that is not going to be worth hauling around. I travel as light as possible with my equipment, but I do need a DSLR, but my Nikon is much lighter than your camera. If you are not enlarging these images a lot I would reconsider taking a camera that you think is too heavy. It will become a burden. You can do some great photos with a small camera if you spend your time on lighting, composition and subject matter rather than hauling equipment you don't need. Sometimes it can be a good challenge to show what can be done with a simple camera... as has been said a million times...it's not the camera, it is the photographer.
I am a morning person too and do not like to eat too late... there is almost always someplace to find a simple dinner...pizza, salad, soup, bread, dessert and wine. Just plan ahead and scope out who might be open for the tourists..
@Terry....agree that my Canon 30D is very heavy and I am encouraged by your thoughts in that I could focus on what I can do with a smaller camera...like the Power Shot... that is much lighter. It also takes AA batteries that I hope I can easily buy in Italy. I am Adobe Certified in Photoshop so I can do a lot in post-production to make an average image AMAZING :-) but I know some photog-purists do not respect that technique. I know some of my co-workers or professional photog friends would not respect me if I did not take the DSLR and shoot 100% manual but then again I have to remember that this trip is for me...not for my co-workers ;-).
Lisa... don't tell them what camera you bring... remember it is all about results, no matter how you get to the end image. If they seriously know anything about art or photography they will not judge you. Digital photography has allowed photographers to become artists in their own right... using the camera and whatever techniques available to create their image. It takes someone with vision to take an ordinary scene and make it extraordinary and uniquely their own. There are a million photographers who can copy that 'postcard' image, but once you take that image to the next level it becomes a statement of your own vision, not just a 'record photograph.' Ok... off my soapbox....
Well... not quite... why would one shoot manual if the camera has already given you the exposure that you need? Yes, if you are a pro you should know how to change it if the results are not what you want, but ??? Some people just like to act like they know more 'technical' stuff and make life difficult... again... it is only the results that matter... manual, raw files, auto, whatever...just show me the image:))
Lisa, I agree with Terry Kathryn about equipment, it's not the camera it's the eye looking through it. Last year I brought my DX format Nikon, a good Sony point and shoot, and my iPhone. While I can tell the difference between the DSLR and the P & S photos, I still used the P & S for 75% of my photos, and after heavy editing I came back with 2500 shots that let us re-live our trip. That's not to suggest you don't bring your "big" camera, but it is to remind that the best camera is the one you have with you. I have a really stunning photo of Vernazza harbor that I made with my iPhone. It's a small file, sure, but the color rendition is really good. I also have the same shot made with my Nikon, and a lovely shot of the Conor Pass in the southwest of Ireland made with the same camera-glad I brought it.
At our photo club meeting the other night, we had a guest speaker who talked about iPhone photography, he's a teaching pro and he uses his iPhone most of the time. There are so many excellent apps for mobile phones in general, even an editing app that has a brush tool! However, he's also about to order a new Nikon full frame camera. I suggest taking your DSLR with you, if it's cumbersome make sure you have a good pack, or a comfortable strap-I love the Black Rapid straps. I'm sure you've thought of all this, but as one who likes to make photos, give yourself as much flexibility as possible for the trip you are investing in, and, like Terry Kathryn says, don't tell 'em what you shot it with!
"I could focus on what I can do with a smaller camera...like the Power Shot... that is much lighter."
One disadvantage of using only the smaller Powershot P&S Camera is that you'll likely be limited to working only with JPEG images, so Photoshop won't be much help. As you know, a lot of the information is removed from JPEG images when they're processed in-camera, and any further processing degrades this further. Using the 30D will provide the ability to use RAW images and get the best image quality possible.
I've been shooting RAW only on recent trips, and then processing only selected photos when I get home. One other reason I decided to use that method is that is that the 7D file sizes are HUGE when using RAW + JPEG.
I use photoshop on JPEG files all the time. Especially if you have correct exposure. Also depends on what you want to do with the final image. On my Nikon I shoot JPEG fine all the time and if you interpolate your image at 110% you can enlarge. There is always a controversy over which is best, but often times it is overkill and again if you can get results you like that is all that matters. I did do raw for about 4 years and just found it was a waste of time and effort and computer space. A number of my professional photographer friends have decided the same thing. ...keep life easy and concentrate on what really makes a great image.
So great to read such good advice here from photographers! Thank you for your generous time and tips. I am a big fan of the semi-fake-looking HDR toning style so I have found that I can get great results with a high quality JPGs, bracketed, etc. I teach Photoshop and am Adobe Certified so I do so much work in Photoshop on all my photos. I admit...I exploit the software to the fullest extent. I go to photography classes and they are loaded with people who do not even know how to use Lightroom or never use any software at all. I admire these people but I think they are making too much work for themselves. I would rather shoot first and then crop/adjust later. I can make a crappy pic on a point and shoot look amazing (using Photoshop or Lightroom) although it will never look as good as a perfectly shot RAW photo.
This is the type of shot that I can take using auto settings and then use Photoshop to create the look you see here...this is the image that inspired me to travel to the Cinque Terre:
@James...thank you for the post/insight. It made me think...yes...photography IS a major part of my trip versus museums and typical sightseeing. But, so is eating/drinking/shopping :-). For example, while many people will want to go see museums and sites I prefer to just take pictures. I am now thinking if I plan my photo treks separate from my shopping and eating/drinking treks I will be OK :-)
So now I am thinking...bring the Canon 30D for "photo shoot" times and use the Ipod Touch for all other pics.
Maybe a dumb question but I do not want to depend on having to charge anything at a hotel. The reason I wanted to bring the Power Shot was because it takes AA batteries and those are cheap and easy to find anywhere (I think). I am going for the least stressful situation possible. If I charge up 4 of the Lithium batteries ahead of time here in the USA before I leave (mine are about 2 inches long and 1.25 inches wide and have the two adjacent curved parts) will they be safe on the plane in my carry on bag even if it is gate checked? Will they stay charged through my trip?
LOVE that photo! Are all of the people contributing to your Travel Forum question going to get access to one of your best photos? : ) Cinque Terre has so many tourists - you don't need to worry about finding a place open for something to eat.
@Jean...thank you....that pic I posted was not taken by me but was the photo that inspired me to travel to Cinque Terre along with the Rick Steves videos I also saw. I will probably post the photos online somewhere.