October 2012 - Piazzale Michelangelo

Category: Newsletters 05 September 2012

Piazza del Duomo at dusk; Tuscany, Italy
Canon 5D mkIII, 17mm TS-E lens, 10 secs @ f16

I always feel a bit guilty returning to locations I've photographed before; it's as if I'm just re-hashing a recipe of old. Experience shows it does pay dividends though; times change, techniques change, I've changed and the whole World of Photography has changed immeasurably since we were first in Florence in 1987. We were on our honeymoon then, though it goes without saying we were still rising before the lark for the dawn light; it's reassuring some things don't change. The view from Piazzale Michelangelo over the Arno to the birthplace of the Renaissance is one of Europe's, maybe the world's, classics. Back in '87 we did climb the steps to expose there, but in those pre panoramic days I hardly did the scene justice. A fleeting visit in the 90s was largely unproductive; all of Florence seemed clad in the garb of renovation then with scaffolding and green tarpaulins everywhere.

I know the world is hardly short of pictures of this famous view but I had to do my version; how could I not? One beautiful evening in early September I exposed 10 vertical frames as dusk settled to be stitched later into this panorama. I can't pretend it was one of those solitary evenings of tranquillity waiting for the light behind the lens; the rest of the world was up there with us and we had to jostle for tripod space in the prime place, but the magic of Italy was there for all to see.  

Piazza del Duomo at dusk; Tuscany, Italy
Canon 5D mkIII, 17mm TS-E lens, 10 secs @ f16

I'm writing this now in a chalet in south western France. What a month; we went from Florence to Somerset to Ireland in a few days, then back to Blighty for a shoot at a school followed by one precious day at home before boarding the ferry.

To all who came to our Road Show in Portlaiose thanks for the wonderful Irish welcome you gave us. In amongst the whirlwind of travel, I did manage to shoot on one crisp morning racehorses excercising at the Curragh; all laid on courtesy of our Irish hosts.  

A racehorse being excercised at the Curragh, Co Kildare
Canon 5D mkIII, 100-400mm lens @ 400mm, 1/30 sec @ f14

It's now 6am and I'm up for the dawn light over the Montagne Noire, except I'm too early; sunrise isn't until 7.45 am here this time of year. The autumn equinox is past and the days are shortening rapidly; which is why I have time to tap this out before heading for the Cathar Castle of Saissac. We're holed up here in Soreze; scene of our previous Languedoc Workshops, principally to enable me to get on with my third book in peace and quiet. It's working, but of course the prospect of exposing pixels can't be ignored. I have to get this copy to Sharyn this morning, she'll sack me if I don't, but the location we scouted yesterday just looks too promising and I can see stars in the sky above; it's game on again.

The road to Soreze, Midi-Pyrenees, France
Canon 5D mkIII, 70-200mm lens @ 200mm, 0.4 sec @ f16

Later this week we return home briefly before heading for Provence to run our first autumnal Workshops based at le Couvent Royal; a fomer 11th Century convent. That'll be a first. Later in the month the Road Show heads north for shows in Dunfermline, Stafford and Cheltenham. Our Jurassic Coast Workshop follows, as do a few One to One Tuition Days before heading for Burma as winter approaches in late November. And that will pretty much be 2012; last I remember I was writing a previous newsletter in a bleak hotel room in Sutherland announcing the launch of the Chasing the Light eZine at the start of the year. 

Did anyone notice the passing of the summer?

Bookings for next year's Jurassic Coast Workshop in March and our two ever popular Umbrian Workshops in May have just gone live. These always seem to fill up within days, so if you're contemplating joining us I wouldn't dither. 

Fancy joining us in Umbria next year?

If you're wondering what happened to the September Newsletter this is in effect it as we've rescheduled the Newsletter release to coincide with the issue of each month's Chasing the Light eZine. Again we have a wealth of enticing photo-stuff for our f11 Members. This month's Issue includes a continuation of the series on the Fundamentals of Post Production; In the Dark. The Composition Tutorial takes us to the shores of Buttermere on a September morning to contemplate balance and harmony in our lives and pictures. The Low Down concludes the series Back to Black and White by looking at just how best to convert our full colour digital images into monochrome. The Field Trial gets to grips with one of the most ubiquitous lenses in my arsenal; the 70-200mm tele-zoom, whilst Stepping Back ruminates on the dangers of Venetian Affairs. The Guest Feature is a real treat; Marc Aspland, Chief Sports Photographer at The Times writes about his experiences this summer shooting the Olympics. It's a fascinating insight. And there's the Member's Gallery, with constructive (I hope!) comments from yours truly. If you've net yet joined our growing band of f11 Members you can check out the benefits here or view a free trial. And on top of all that Wendy's Wanderings is back; Her latest offering is now live; Mission Impossible.

We're back from Saissac now; it didn't come together as planned. We waited for the light that never came. It's a great location and the sky was full of streaky clouds, but a bank of cloud sat resolutely on the eastern horizon refusing to budge until it was way too late. That's the way it goes more often than not; we'll try again tomorrow morning and just continue chasing the light.

The Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa
Canon 1Ds mkIII, 0.3 sec @ f8
An image from this month's eZine feature Back to Black and White

Keep exposing.

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David Noton Photography
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