Our family got to visit Rome for a second time, and this time we brought our little guy along! Enjoy some of our favorite images from our trip together with us!
We landed in Rome just one day after the new Pope (Pope Francis) was selected to replace Pope Benedict.
Phoenix was super excited to be in our Roman apartment after a VERY long flight from Philadelphia.
A nice little coffee to get me going…
And Phoenix finally crashed. It took us a little while to get over the Jet Lag.
Technology is awesome. I held the entire map of Rome in my hand at all times AND it told us where we were. GPS, you’re my best friend.
We had some really great family time together. We really needed this.
Happy about the Cheeeeese! You and me both, buddy. Daddy loves his cheese!
Extra security in place with the new Pope selected.
Who needs a photographer? We can do this by ourselves.
Mommy, yours looks better than what I have. Can I have some?
Our apartment was just a few blocks away from the Trevi Fountain. If you’re looking for some really spacious and conveniently-located apartments you’ve got to check out Homes In Rome.
Meats! My favorite.
I envy this guy. I would quit my job to move in here for free food.
Phoenix made a little friend. They ran around together while we waited for the Pope to come out for his first Sunday.
St. Peter’s Square was PACKED.
We took a stroll out at night to visit some local shops and sceneries.
This is Valentino, and if you are ever near the Trevi Fountain, you’ve got to make an effort to find him! He makes the best gelato in Rome, I promise, and he’s super friendly and nice, which you won’t get much of that elsewhere. His shop is Gelateria Valentino.
Once we discovered him, we literally ate gelato at his shop every night.
Getting his fix of tunes off the iPad.
Heather and I freaking LOVE this photo! Look at that laugh!
At the top of Castel Sant’Angelo. You’re king of the world, Phoenix!
This is pretty much the greatest place in the world. If you go to Italy, you must visit Eataly. I wish they had these all over the United States. Five floors packed with all types of foods from all over the Italian provinces.
Our awesome friends from Ireland hosted us in their home for a few days. So not only did we get to enjoy Rome, but we flew north and got to visit two countries in one trip!
And it was windy!
This is the rock we brought back home for the Ireland shore. Nice pick, little guy! We of course “picked up” a couple of rocks from Rome as well… but we won’t be displaying those here
Phoenix’s ciuccio almost flew away from the wind!
By this point, all this wind was blowing so much salt water onto my lens that it became nearly impossible to focus…
But that created some pretty cool effects.
Whiskey on tap!
In Ireland, the standard spirit measure was historically 1⁄4 gill. In the Republic of Ireland, it still retains this value, though it is now legally specified in metric units as 35.5 ml.
It was kind of cool to see how liquors in Ireland are served to a specific measurement. This is the equivalent of 1.2 ounces or 1/4 GILL.
I will admit that I actually bumped up the saturation and colors of all the shots we took in Ireland. Due to the weather, the scenery was not actually this bright when we visited.
And it’s true what they say about Guiness… It tastes SO much better in Ireland.
Back to Rome, where people drive like crazy and restaurants sit you on the streets, inches away from traffic.
Street vendor at night.
This is Orlando. We bought a beautiful painting from him. If you’re ever in Rome, please go visit him and buy art from him. He’s extremely cordial and friendly, and his artwork is fantastic.
It wasn’t until our second to last night that we finally found a Neapolitan style pizza place in Rome! Our trip could now be considered complete.
Don’t cry, Phoenix. Hopefully we’ll be back soon!
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Congratulations to my sister Marie for completing her naturalization process and becoming an American Citizen! We love you Marie and are very happy for you!
I used these cupcakes as an excuse to exercise our Sigma 50mm macro. I really dig this glass.
Oh! And happy birthday to our two wonderful boys! Floyd turned 4 and Blake is 5… for the third time (When we first adopted him, the Animal Rescue League told us he was five, and two years later we found out he was actually 3 at the time, so for three straight years we celebrated his fifth birthday). Love our pups!
Heather and I got to celebrate our three-year wedding anniversary in the city where I was born: Rome. Obviously we brought our camera and we thought it would be cool to do a photo post upon our return. The first photo above was taken of a One Way Street sign in Rome… Just added the word “Produzione” to entertain the idea of what our logo might look like in Italian
A tasty collage of different foods we ate on our trip. So much good food! My favorite of course is prosciutto. I must have eaten that salty goodness almost every day! I just couldn’t get enough of it!
In Rome, we stayed at a cozy little Bed & Breakfast called Casa Franci, which was seriously a stone’s throw away from the St. Peter’s Square (well, if you have a good arm at least). We got to cross St. Peters a few times during the day and evening, and it was absolutely beautiful at night with all the Christmas decorations and life-like nativity scene set up.
This is NOT the Colosseum. I say that because we were walking toward it and we overheard an American girl who was convinced that it was. She should have brought a map…. Actually this is Castel Sant’Angelo, with a beautiful statue of the Archangel Michael at the top. When I was little, I used to think that this castle was built just for me because of my name.
A few photos from inside the Vatican Museum. Beautiful architecture, statues and paintings…
Oh, the goodness of Gelato!
This is the type of breakfast we had every morning at Casa Franci. Two warm cups of Cappuccino, some light pastries, apricot juice and Mulino Bianco toast. Hmmm. Light and delicious!
Ruins from the Foro Romano. The most amazing thing about Rome was thinking about the fact that many of its ruins were intact around the time Christ walked this earth.
The Colosseum through our glasses. Photo idea was Heather’s.
Loved all the tiny little cars everywhere. It gave the side streets a vintage feeling, almost as though the cars were placed there just for look. I mean, really, can you imagine driving one of these?
I guess everything is tinier in Rome…
All the little side streets were decked out in Christmas lights. It took me a couple of days before it finally hit me we were in Italy, and it was mostly when we walked through these narrow alleyways that it felt the most real.
Oh chestnuts roasted by street vendors! They smell like a warm autumn day.
We passed by these steps one night. Turned out to be a theater, but we didn’t go. I just loved the sense of discovery at every corner and hidden spots waiting to be photographed.
I got this yellow rose for Heather for New Year’s Eve. Figured we would take an artsy pict-cha of it.
Fireworks and twinkling lights over the Tiber River.
Everyone was taking pictures of this swiss guard. Poor guy. Check out his flashy, colorful outfit underneath his coat, though!
Where’s Waldo? Found him? (Hint: He wants a hug) Okay… now find the Statue of Liberty.
When a Roman tells you he will pick you up in 5 minutes… multiply that by 4. Then take silly pictures of each other while you wait.
Even though I grew up in Italy, I’d never been to Venice before this trip. The main piazza is St. Marco’s Square, with wonderful architecture and some nice open space. Most of Venice is tight little alleyways that make it really easy to get lost within. But the best part is no cars… thus no crazy drivers who disobey all laws of the road.
Some beautiful hand-made carnival and theater masks. This vendor was one of my favorite out of all the maks makers we’d seen since he had a really bold and dark style.
If you want to buy designer clothes, Venice was full of Gucci, Burberry, Prada, Versace and other storefronts we could never even dream about shopping from.
A newspaper vendor in the dusk.
Heather almost punched one of these guys out of reflex. After I snapped this photo of these guys, we were walking the other way and all of a sudden we hear this snapping sound. At the last second we turn and these four paesani were behind us snapping fingers a-la “West Side Story.” I thought it was hilarious. Heather… not so much.
Ah… my beautiful girl
It was so hard to put my camera down walking around Vence. Almost every wall, every door, window, canal was a potential frame. All of the faded paints and weathered walls made it feel like inside a movie set.
Hmm… I think American sandwiches are too complicated sometimes. All you need is a fresh baguette, and some thinly sliced prosciutto or salame. Even Pittsburgh’s own Primanti (as much as I love their sandwiches) can’t beat that!
Something to keep in mind if you visit Venice, every time you dine at a restaurant, they will tack on about 5 Euros as “Coperto” (or cover) charge. If you dine there enough, it really adds up. Oh, and you gotta pay for water everywhere you go to eat in Italy, unless you ask specifically for tap water… which is not always a good idea.
A nice little deli. This one actually wasn’t in Venice but a small little town called Frascati, about an hour from Rome. We just figured this photo went well with the sandwiches above it.
Just so you know… when the sky looks this beautiful, all of the Gondola Men will try to double their prices for a ride and rip you off. The key is to NOT buy a ride from any of the Gondola Men at St. Marco Square. They’ll try to swindle 100-150 Euros out of you ($140-$200 American). The best thing to do is get lost in the little alleyways and work a deal with a Gondola Man you see waiting on a little bridge. You’ll come away spending way less.
Man… look at that sky!
Nice shiny Gondolas. Primed for some tourists to hop on.
So of course we took a ride. You get to do this only once!
Here we’re at Pompeii. Just so you know, Mt. Vesuvius is NOT a walking distance away from Pompeii. Heather and I walked for about an hour before we realized that the volcano was another 10 or 15 miles away. Fortunately we asked a stranger to give us a ride back. Turned out he was a local wedding photographer in the area. Us photographers gotta stick together!
The view from on top of the hill of the Pompeii ruins was stunning. I couldn’t stop marveling all around us. The sky just opened up out of nowhere after a muggy, grey morning. All this blue surrounded us… I couldn’t stop snapping pictures out of fear it would fade away any moment.
Mt. Vesuvius… Again: NOT within walking distance.
This is the only decent photo I was able to snap away from the Catacombs just outside of Rome. You’re not allowed to take pictures inside. Of course, I tried anyway. The catacombs were really sweet. They went 5 levels deep under the ground, up to 150 feet into the earth. In one of the tombs there were still bones of early day Christians from hundreds of years ago.
Sheep’s got an itchy. We saw this herd on a plot of land just outside the Catacombs.
This is the main door to the apartment building where I grew up. I think I might have actually met the guy who now lives in the apartment I used to live in. He let me in through the doorway, but told me not to go any further, so we just got a photo from the outside.
Unfortunately our wonderful trip had to come to an end. At the airport we found what probably is the largest and the tiniest jar of Nutella I’ve ever seen in my life. I was tempted to buy the big jar. Could probably have made chocolate sandwiches for a year! Instead, we bought the tiny one (which was intended as a Christmas ornament) which probably doesn’t have enough Nutella inside to spread over a pinky. But at least it was cute!
The last sunset we got to see in Rome! Hopefully, Lord Willing, we will return soon…
So… no cute family or engagement posts this week. Instead we bring you a beatiful view from the Cathedral of Learning in Oakland. I woke up early before work a few weeks ago so I could take these shots. And actually the first time I went out, I wasn’t crazy about the sky, so I went again the following week and captured a great mysty horizon. Then as the sun rose, some nice drama and color came across the sky. I actually took these shots for a client who purchased a voucher through LivingSocial. We typically don’t take these photos for clients, but she wanted them as a gift for someone special, so we obliged.
Hopefully these will keep you satisfied long enough until we get to post our next shoot!
So I just bought a new Tamron 17-50mm lens, and I absolutely love it. I was afraid that this lens was going to have a major drop in quality compared to the similar Nikon lens, but not at all. I love the fact this is a fast F/2.8 aperture lens and it cost about half of a used Nikon 17-55mm.
The lens came just in time, too, because next week we’re jam-packed with photo shoots. Make sure you stay posted!
Here are some of the shots so far. Enjoy!
Here are a few random photos from the day. This first one actually has a bit of an interesting story. Other than the fact that I like the form and composition of this picture with the iced-over gutter against the wall, I was actually taking a picture of a woman holding a pair of dried out flowers when a man rushed over to me and in a fit of excitement asked, “Excuse me, are you a photography student?”
I told him no, that I was taking pictures for the Post-Gazette and he told me there was this “ice sculpture” he wanted me to photograph. “You can follow me if you like,” he told me. I was a bit hesitant of that. My mind immediately started rambling with fears of him leading me into a dark alley and robbing me of my cameras.
“Who created the sculpture,” I asked?
“Nobody,” he said. “It was mother nature. It looks like a ream of half hearts.” He drew half-heart curves in the air with his finger. I wondered then if he was homeless. His beard was long and his hair uncombed. But he carried around a leather case that looked official.
After a moment of hesitancy, I decided to follow him, but I noticed myself gripping my cameras more tightly than ever. He led me across various intersections. I asked him about the sculpture and he said he found it about an hour and a half earlier and he’d been running around looking for a photographer since. In my mind, I expected some magnificent touch of God, some hidden treasure of art that I would be privileged of finding.
Then he led me to this narrow alley, and I eased a little since there were still people around. It would be difficult for this man to try to rob me with so many witnesses.
“There it is,” he said, and pointed at this gutter with a wavy line of ice running down it.
To be honest, it didn’t look like much of anything. It was interesting, but was it art? The man stood behind me for a moment. Suddenly, he looked embarrassed, as though he had read my mind. I took a few snapshots of it, trying to look at this ream of ice through this man’s eyes. If he was able to appreciate its beauty, why couldn’t I?
In the end, it turned out pretty interesting.
This man said he was a Vietnam veteran. He even pointed at the bulldog pin on his hat to prove it. I was originally taking pictures of this girl sitting on a computer chair waiting for the bus when he called me over and said I should take a picture of him. I thought, why not? I snapped a couple, and I loved the hardness of his face and the intensity in his eyes. I shook his hand, told him I had deployed to Iraq myself, and thanked him for his service. I actually like it when people call me over to take their picture. This one turned out to be a pretty nice portrait.
For this next photo, I simply liked the striking contrast of the various lines. The twigs of the tree clashed with the diagonal power lines, which also brought a nice feel over the ghostlike gray building in the background. There wasn’t a whole lot of color to this picture to begin with, so I desaturated it and bumped up the contrast way up. I’m not sure if in the end the photo turned out the way I first imagined it when I snapped the photo, but I like it all the same.
Caught some beautiful photos of the snowy and icy weather this morning when driving around to find features for the Post-Gazette. These four are my favorites. I wanted to capture a few images where the composition was mainly driven by shadows. Lighting in photographs is something we should never take for granted. After today, the sun will never look quite the same in the sky, and the shadows it creates will not be what they looked like when you woke up early to go to work this morning. It’s a subtle reminder for us all to treasure the glimpses of light and hope we receive every day. Every small blessing from God can fade away just like the shadows we see. Too many times I’ve fallen into the trap of my own laziness that says: “Oh, don’t worry about it… it will be there again tomorrow.”
The reality is that, no, no it won’t be. The same is true about our children and loved ones. I’m not simply saying that life is temporary. I’m saying that God gives us these days, these friends, our loved ones, to truly and deeply cherish them. Our children will grow older every single day. Our wives need us right now, not tomorrow, to spend time with them and listen to them. Even our friends move in and out of our lives. So make the most of these subtle little “shadows” because they move as the sun moves, and some will fade away before night fall.
I walked around downtown today and I saw a lady feeding pigeons. She had maybe 20 pounds of feed and bread with her. I wanted to take her photo as a feature, but she said I couldn’t because she’s a Mennonite. So instead I took photos of the pigeons up close. There were a few flying shots, but they were too blurry
It’s been too long since I last posted a photo. Right now photo shoots have been slow because of the unpredictable weather. Maybe this will make up for it.
I snapped this photo while driving into Station Square for work. Immediately I pulled off and ran out with my camera. I bracketed several shots in case some day I want to turn this image into an HDR, but I didn’t use a tripod so that might not work out. Either way, I’m happy with how this sunrise and silhouetted city image looks.
This morning I headed out a few minutes early before going to work in hope of catching a beautiful sunrise over the Pittsburgh skyline. This is what I saw instead…
I woke up early this morning to catch some nice wintery shots of Pittsburgh. A lot of them came out really beautiful. The snow was fresh from overnight and as the sun rose the sky turned this gorgeous icy blue color. There were also a few clouds moving around that gave the sky a little more appeal.
I have to say, though, that it was absolutely freezing! My feet are STILL cold right now and my fingers froze stiff a few times as I was snapping photos.
But it was worth it!
(These photos are property of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Here’s a couple landscape/abstract shots from downtown.
This is a shot I took this morning as I was driving into work.
I was crossing the Smitfield St bridge downtown, just as this train was going through. The photo was actually pretty plain, so I touched it up some.
I was heading to work early one morning and took this shot. I love how the coolness of the morning clouds contrast against the warmth of the lights at the other end of our driveway.