We do photography the right way.

Landscape/Abstract

Our Little Trip to Italy and Ireland as a Family

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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.

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American Cupcakes

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!


See Italy through our lens!

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.

Constantine’s Arch.

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…

And tastier.

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…


A view from the sky…

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!


Papa’s got a brand new toy…

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!