Ah Rome. One of the oldest and most historic cities on the planet. I managed to hop down to Rome for a few days right around Christmas 2011, and captured my impressions. Leaving the incredible food aside, Rome is a prima destination for any travel photographer, with world famous landmarks, literally, piled up on top of each other. I had visited Rome once before, and having seen most of the “tourist” locations, this time around, I sought out a few less noticed avenues. Yes, I’ve got a few classic shots of St. Peter’s Basilica, but I have to say that one of my favorites from this series is the shot of the Pantheon.
For this shot, I did a bit of tricking the camera, as I’m not always happy with what the camera meters as the “optimal” light metering. For this shot, I used my Walimex Fisheye, and then did the distortion correction in post-processing with Adobe Photoshop. The camera wanted to read the lighting of the sky visible through the oculus, which of course would have left the surroundings inside the building, well…in the dark. To combat this, I closed down by two stops, held my breath, and opened the lens for about a half a second exposure. This image was also blown out, so I swapped to aperture priority mode, opened things all the way up at f/2.8 and managed to highlight the oculus, but also keep the ambient lighting of the overall picture consistent. I added a bit of vignetting around the edges in order to keep the eye focused on the center of the image.
Another favorite from this series is the shot of Piazza Navona. Heading back to the apartment from an afternoon of shopping, I managed to time things perfectly, as I strolled into the Piazza just as the Golden Hour started leaving incredible contrasts of yellow, blue, and pink across the sky. This image was shot handheld, and with my trusty Nikon 17-55mm all the way open.
I will say one thing about Rome, however. There’s absolutely no need to visit for any time longer than three days. The first time I traveled to Rome, I was there a week, and it was just too much. Most of what you want to see and do can be done in a short time frame, as most of these landmarks are grouped quite close together. Come to think of it, I believe I took a taxi once, and that was only because I had my gear with me and the rain was pouring down.