We shot a lot of pictures on our trip to southern Europe so I thought I would show you a few and also give you a few pointers on how to take more interesting photos.
Pictured at left is a photo I took of a post card which gives the panoramic view of the castle we toured in Carcasonne, France. The castle still has all the shops in place as you enter its first set of gates. Shop keepers selling wares–everything from enticing baked goods to scarves and purses–greet you.
I normally take my own shots and don’t advise taking photos of photos. I made an exception with this one because I wanted you to see the full scope of this incredible castle which a regular width camera lens couldn’t capture. I imagine the photographer who snapped this shot took several and then spliced them which is one trick you can do if you want a wide shot of something or you can use a wide angle lens camera.
If you want an intriguing photograph, consider framing it with something in the foreground. This next photo was taken from inside the castle looking out over the town. Notice how I kept the walls surrounding the arch in the shot. I think it makes it more interesting. You’ll see I used this in several other pictures as well. Carcassonne became famous for its role in the Albigensian Crusades. You can read more about the castle’s history here.
The next photo was taken at Porto Verne, one of the five towns of the Cinque Terre (five small towns that are close together on the Mediterranean.) The photo was taken inside a church in natural light. The black and white stone that you see is native to the area and is used in some local buildings giving them a beauty all their own.
The photo of the water was taken in the same area. I also captured some of the surrounding window which adds a nice frame. It contrasts well with the vibrant blue of the water. All along the cost of the southern Mediterranean there are round stones the size of cobble stones. The water isn’t murky but a brilliant blue.
The photo of the angel statue was taken in the town of Montarosso which is one of the five towns. You could take some steep steps up the mountain and we found a statue of St. Francis of Assisi overlooking the sea and further up was a convent, at the very
top, a cemetery.
These are very unlike American cemeteries. They have crypts and niches and beautiful statuary, works of art in
themselves. This angel shot was taken looking up from the base of a monument on a tomb into the blue sky. Sometimes what is called a worm’s eye view (looking up from the ground) can add interest to a photo.
Many people try to eliminate any surrounding objects, but sometimes keeping them in the shot can make for a more interesting photo. The snapshot with the people and the cupola was taken inside the coliseum in Nimes, France. The structure is intact (though with some leaks), and believe it or not is still in use today. They still hold concerts and bull fights there. During the Middle Ages it housed a castle and 25 small houses, each built within an arch on the bottom level. They have since been removed. The stadium is about 1/3 the size of the Roman coliseum which is in very poor condition.
I had to share a great shot my husband, Jeff, took in Rappallo. The bright purple petunias make the photo really pop and the lines of the street again create natural framing. This charming small town is right on the water, a great place for shopping in quaint little stores. There is fortification (looks like a castle tower) right at the entrance to the harbor which was built years ago as protection from pirates.
You can see the structure isn’t centered in the picture. I try to avoid taking a perfectly centered shot with the main object in the very center (except sometimes the photo calls for it such as with the purple flower photo). Though you may want those, you don’t always want to center. You do however, want to balance you photos. To do this, pay attention to where larger objects are located. So, say for instance, you have a large object on one side, or a really dark subject that will “weigh” heavier in the photo. You may want to balance it out with something of substance on the right etc. I think that’s why the photo of the fortification works. The rocks to the left help even things out.
One last tip. If possible, take photos in natural light. It will provide a much richer color and tone. Flash can help illuminate, especially if faces are shadowed, but flash will also wash out contrast so, when you can, avoid it.
We snapped so many photos on this trip. I couldn’t possibly share them all but I have to close with one last one. This bust was in one of the two museums we visited in Florence. We first toured the smaller Accademia where I saw Michelangelo’s famous David. Bella!. The Uffizzi Gallery is filled with works on every imaginable notable classical artist. It holds many works from the Renaissance as well as Roman and Greek scultptures. As I made my way toward the exit, this shot begged to be taken.
The look on the subject’s face and the way the light was hitting it from one side coming in through the window made it even more beautiful. Don’t you think?
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