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Italy and Paris Photo Results (and now Slide Shows, too)

I was pleased with my trip to Europe this May (2016) on many levels, but the only souvenirs I brought home were these photographs. I hope they will be an inspiration for others to grab a camera (not just your phone), go to your favorite foreign country, and create your own photographic memories.
Take a look here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/ralesciophotography/albums/72157667111421793

And for a slide show, try this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCXTgNFrRJs&list=PLEKbOjEZRNfillEz0uMNkbcY73QGqoDMM

And a big thanks to all those at this site who made my trip easier.

Posted by
635 posts

Okay, those are magnificent! Very nicely done. Thank you for sharing them.

Posted by
1192 posts

Thanks for posting, great locations -- but HDR is like the paprika in your goulash or the balsamico in your ragout: at some point it goes over the edge.

Do you have any lodging or dining recommendations/stories from Padova?

Posted by
3389 posts

Lovely photos of many special places! Are they allowing photos now in the Scrvegni Chapel in Padova??

Posted by
120 posts

Yes, and there are many places in Italy where cameras are now allowed. I thought it would make for a better trip, but I'm not so sure as every phone is a camera. The Scrovegni Chapel is wonderful, although I did catch Giotto duplicating his work elsewhere.))

Posted by
240 posts

Robert, your pictures are stunning. May I ask what kind of camera you use?

Posted by
120 posts

I used two cameras, both Canon: a 5D Mk II, and when the weather promised rain, a small, but capable Powershot S100. Both are able to perform Auto Exposure Bracketing.

Posted by
925 posts

Oh, so many of your photos were breath taking and would be good photos to promote tourism. I wonder what the story was on the purple bike? Thank you so much for sharing!

Posted by
2229 posts

Robert, very nice images, thank you for sharing! Excellent composition and perspective, I love the rain drops on the water in a couple of shots. Several photos show the benefit of rising early to get out and shoot.


With regards to HDR/AEB, I view this as the image maker's prerogative and, more importantly, as their artistic vision. I find it a little bit offensive that someone would comment negatively on that vision, better to say nothing and move on.

Posted by
6047 posts

I do agree that in most cases if you can't say something nice/positive, just say nothing at all. But in the case where someone posts their photos in a public venue they are voluntarily opening themselves, and their work, to comments, opinions, and criticism (if that be the case). I see nothing wrong with posting your true opinion just because it isn't in the same vein as all the others. It was fair criticism and not mean or snarky or offensive at all.

And for the record, I loved seeing these photos and for the most part I agree they are wonderful and very artistic. But I also tend to agree with avirosemail, sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.

And thanks Robert for sharing them, it was like looking at one of those beautiful coffee table books.

Posted by
3696 posts

Nice imagery.... and if you are accepting critiques from a professional photographer, I appreciate your choice of style for these images as well as the continuity it gives to this body of work. The camera is just a tool to create your art... use it to continue to expresses your vision. I am sure you had a great time creating these images.

Posted by
1846 posts

Thank you for sharing these. I enjoyed your trip right along with you! I always bring my point-n-shoot when I travel and while I don't take fabulous photos, I do "take" memories that I can look at and enjoy over and over and over!

Posted by
1192 posts

Please, folks -- no offense intended by me!

There is indeed a variety of ways to use the images we capture on vacation trips, from documentary to artistic and more, and it's entirely ok to combine more than one goal in the decisions on how to put together an album.

I often will come up with more than one final image for a capture of artwork on the walls of an important church or museum, one that leans 'documentary' to give a sense of what it is like to be standing there, and one that leans 'processed' so that you can get a sense of the details. I just try to be cautious that I don't get them confused.

Posted by
1976 posts

Beautiful pictures, Robert. They make me miss Italy even more!

Posted by
683 posts

Stunning photos, Robert. I love your editing skills! I still need to work on mine.

Posted by
345 posts

your pictures are stunning. May I ask what kind of camera you use?

Those who appreciate good paintings would seldom ask the painters what brushes they used.

Those who appreciate great meals would seldom ask the chefs what cookeries they used.

Why are photographers frequently asked about their cameras? I think I know the answer :-)

Posted by
2229 posts

^^^ Do tell? At the monthly meeting of our photo club recently the presenter ran through a selection of images from the last twenty years, and commented that he had recently simplified with a new camera system. So I asked him...he started with a Toyo 4 x 5 view, then went to Nikon, and now a Sony a7R II. Why would I ask such a question?

Posted by
1192 posts

Same here -- on almost every photo contest web page that I look at the info included with the image would be, hopefully, the back, the lens, the filters, the software suite, and the recipe. Sometimes the lighting setup, too.

Minimal labeling of paintings displayed in museums or galleries includes something like 'oil on board' or 'drypoint on paper'. Is that revealing too much?

Posted by
345 posts

When the first (and only) question asked is about a photographer's camera (and recipes), they are placing equipment and technique above perception and artistry in the creation of good photographs. Perhaps thinking that the same equipment and technique would improve their own work. Not likely. But the equipment manufacturers love such questions.

Posted by
2229 posts

Robert, your pictures are stunning. May I ask what kind of camera you use?

Or, alternately, perhaps Jackie's inquiry is to simply understand what level of equipment is needed to accomplish photos like Robert's. I would note that she asked what kind, and not what brand, model, and processing. And if there were an eye towards improving ones own work to that level which they admire, then so much the better, no matter how unlikely...

Posted by
1700 posts

Robert, wonderful work!
Can I say in the same reply and still be complimentary that I am very impressed by your mastery of the processing but also feel like HDR processing is better when used in moderation.
The HDR is a strong look so more than other styles you will get opinions on both sides.
I also totally respect and value the desire to have a style and if this is your style that you use on all mages and likely have many fans/buyers of it, than keep it that way.
Many of the most famous photographers strive for a consistent look in their photos for obvious reasons.

For me the HDR looks lovely on your shots on the inside churches and some of the Paris city scenes but looks over processed on many others where I would prefer a more natural look. Skies I rarely like the look, though am more of a sunrise/sunset photographer myself which can really limit the amount of time per day one can photograph and shots per day you can get.
Overall the album has a nice cohesive look and there is bad HDR and good HDR and this is definitely good HDR so while not my style I am a fan of the album and appreciate you posting for us to enjoy!

Posted by
120 posts

I appreciate your comments about HDR, and, you may be surprised to know, that I agree with you. Skies pose a difficulty that can prompt compromises. For these, I accepted that trade-off because of what I wished to achieve in the rest of the shot. Some of these are experimental. Perhaps there are ways that others overcome the sky problem via a program like PhotoShop. Well, at this stage I’m not going to live long enough to learn PhotoShop. So, this is what I get, and, as I’m not a professional, I do this mainly to please myself. They are intended to represent my alternative views of some wonderful places. Thanks.

Posted by
1700 posts

No offense intended Robert, it is a beautiful collection and a lasting memory of your trip.
I hope you get a few printed and hang them in your house.
The incredible detail and colors in the frescos do highlight the benefits of HDR processing.

Posted by
120 posts

None taken. It gave me an opportunity to describe my intention in this being a leisure activity. I wouldn't enjoy the extra work striving for perfection.

Posted by
1516 posts

Hi Robert, thanks so much for sharing your beautiful photos! I'm very, very amateur but enjoy taking vacation photos and making them into slide shows and movies. Every trip I hope for just one or two "perfect" photos that I can print and display in my home. Your collections of Italy and Paris were very moving and inspired me to try just a bit harder for that perfect shot this year!

Posted by
977 posts

Robert, thank you for the suggestion to take a camera and not just use the one on your phone! I have seen this advice on other forums and was so glad I purchased a small point and shoot. I am by no means a photographer, just someone who likes to take pictures on my trip. I really admire people who can take photos and capture the soul of a person and stir emotion. Well done!

Posted by
75 posts

Thank you for sharing Robert! We will be heading to Paris and Italy in about a month- My daughter's hobby is photography and I'm sharing your pictures to encourage her to get up and out of bed early!! Seeing your pictures is a great treat...

Posted by
406 posts

Wow those were magical. Where there really no people around for any of the shots? How early did you take those to get the empty streets? Thanks for posting the link.

Posted by
1655 posts

Robert,

Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos with us! Your photos brought back memories of our time in Tuscany.

We were in Tuscany in December and sailed down the Rhine in July. I took the big camera (5D2) and little camera (Lumix LX7) on the December trip, but left the little camera home in July. I found the Lumix images were usually too noisy after post processing.

OK, setting artistic considerations aside, let's talk shop. First, folks who ask about cameras should also be asking about lenses and post processing tools.

What lenses did you take for your 5D2? For Tuscany, I took a 17-40, 50mm f1.8, 85mm f 1.8, 135mm f2.0 and a 70-200 f2.8. I simplified in July, leaving all the primes at home and adding a 24-70 f4 IS.

How are you processing? For the first time I did some hand held multi-exposure captures. I combined them with Oleneo HDR software and was very pleased at how well it registered and handled ghosts. I also use a combination of other tools: Nik Silver Efex Pro for B&W, Topaz Labs Adjust and Detail, Replichrome Lightroom Plugins and ON1 Photo 10, especially their Effects module with Photomorphis texture plugins.

Again, it's a matter of individual vision. I tend to be a little more conservative in Post Processing and probably would have set the opacity of the effects layer at less than 100%. Still, those are great images of what must have been a wonderful trip!

Posted by
12 posts

DUH! What is HDR/AEB?

Regardless of the answer to that question, these photos have persuaded me to take a real camera with me, not just my smart phone.

Posted by
1655 posts

BlockquoteDUH! What is HDR/AEB?

They go hand in hand. Automatic Exposure Bracketing (AEB) can be set so that the camera will make a series of shots varying exposure from correct, underexposed and overexposed. My camera, the Canon 5D Mk2, can make 3 AEB exposures. Newer models can make 5.

When you have an image with deep shadows and bright highlights, a normal single exposure will render the shadows and highlights with no detail. By using 3 AEB exposures, the underexposed image retains the highlights and the overexposed image captures details in the shadows.

High Dynamic Range (HDR) software blends the three (or more) images to make an image with both highlight and shadow detail. You can adjust the settings to create vivid images, as displayed by the OP, or you can dial back the settings to create a more realistic depiction of the scene. You can even carefully hand hold while taking the exposures and the software will find common anchor points in the images and align them.

When we took a Viking River Cruise in July I occasionally shot HDR. Cathedral interiors is a good use, where you want to get detail of the space yet not overexpose the stained glass windows. When we were at the windmills at Kinderdiik, it was a brilliant day. I shot HDR to hold detail in the sky.

Posted by
95 posts

Thanks for sharing, Robert! I was in Italy in April and enjoyed many of the same sights.

Posted by
73 posts

Robert, Amazing! Congrats on capturing some wonderful memories. I love your use of filters to achieve the tiny details in each photograph! I would love to use a few in my memory album of our recent trip if you do not mind.

Thanks for sharing!

Posted by
150 posts

Robert, this is the second time I've looked at your photos and I just have to say that your only souvenir is more than a person needs. Your trip photos represent so many lovely travel memories.

Thanks for sharing.