Three Weeks in Tuscany (day18)


IMG_7131-2 copyFrom the hills outside the center of Bagno Vignoni with Rocca d’Orcia in the background.

Rich Smukler currently resides in Boca Raton, Florida. His works have been featured in numerous museums, galleries and private collections internationally. You can see more of his works at http://www.richsmuklerphoto.com. (Kick back and stay awhile).

Three Weeks in Tuscany (day17)


BAGNO VIGNONI is an ancient village in the heart of Tuscany situated in the Val d’Orcia National Park. I was first introduced to it years ago when studying at TPW (Toscana Photographic Workshop) as it had become a favorite evening hangout for many of the students.

IMG_7251-2 copyBy day, this sleepy village hosts wonderful hillside and mountain views of the valley below. You are also treated to a haunting scene of Rocca d’Orcia in the distance.


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Enjoy the thermal waters that course through the hills and carve fascinating archeological dig-like opportunities; a small park with children; the occasional hardy biker; folks staying at the nearby hotels and spas dipping their feet in the waters. But at night, it all begins to happen! The holiday-like lights throughout the village take over from the long Tuscan setting of the sun. The Square of Sources captures the reflections from the surrounding shops and restaurants. Its’ glow is magical.

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Rich Smukler currently resides in Boca Raton, Florida. His works have been featured in numerous museums, galleries and private collections internationally. You can see more of his works at http://www.richsmuklerphoto.com. (Kick back and stay awhile).

Three Weeks in Tuscany (day 16)


IMG_7302-2 copyBoth San Quirico and Pienza are magical, ancient Tuscan towns. They are connected by an extraordinarily exciting road that  strums the true sounds of Tuscany. For years I have driven the 6.25 miles of this amazing highway and never tire of it.

SP146 / Strada Provinciale di Chianciano ribbons through the Tuscan countryside and is the stuff that Lamborghini and Ferrari must have had in mind. Go as the sun rises or as the sun is stretching its long shadows from the west. Any time of year will reveal the many facets of this magnificent countryside. There is one lane in each direction with multiple winding curves that provide a bonanza of sight lines. At a decent speed the entire ride is about 15 minutes. Downshifting into one of the many hairpins brings a broad smile to your face.

For a little extra delight, as you approach Pienza, look to your left for a sign to Santa Anna Comprena. This back road will take you to the 15th Century Monastery where Director Anthony Minghella shot many scenes from his movie The English Patient starring Juliette Binoche and Ralph Fienes. The setting is both serene and haunting.

Rich Smukler currently resides in Boca Raton, Florida. His works have been featured in numerous museums, galleries and private collections internationally. You can see more of his works at http://www.richsmuklerphoto.com. (Kick back and stay awhile).

Three Weeks in Tuscany (day15)


IMG_7422-2 copy Heading towards the south of Tuscany for our final week, it is time to enjoy some of Montalcino‘s famous Brunello di Montalcino. The vineyards surrounding Montalcino are about 120km south of Florence in the Tuscany wine region. In 1980, Brunello di Montalcino was awarded the first Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) designation and today is one of Italy’s best-known and most expensive wines.IMG_7393-2 copy

The hill upon which Montalcino sits has probably been settled since Etruscan times. Its first mention in historical documents in 814 AD suggests there was a church here in the 9th century, most likely built by monks associated with the nearby Abbey of Sant’Antimo.IMG_7355-2 copy

About 9km down the road from Montalcino you can find the Abbey of Sant’Antimo. Though its history is somewhat obscure, it is believed to have been in existence since the 8th century.

Rich Smukler currently resides in Boca Raton, Florida. His works have been featured in numerous museums, galleries and private collections internationally. You can see more of his works at http://www.richsmuklerphoto.com. (Kick back and stay awhile).

Three Weeks in Tuscany (day 14)


IMG_6281-2 copy-2 Pietrasanta is a town and comune on the coast of Northern Tuscany in the province of Lucca. This medieval jewel has roman origins dating back to 1255.

IMG_6284-2 copy-2 It has been over seven years since we were last here, and little has seemed to change, except for the magnificent art work that adorns the city center and essentially everywhere you walk and look. Scores of artists have congregated here to feed from the synergy of creative juices.

IMG_6299-2 copy-2 If coming for the first time, my strong recommendation is that you make sure to be here during the evening. This sleepy town comes to life as the sun goes down; restaurants and shops open, street mimes, musicians and entertainers all come out to make this a completely entertaining experience. For those enjoying the beach, you are only three kilometers from what is considered one of nicest.

IMG_6312-2 copy-2Rich Smukler currently resides in Boca Raton, Florida. His works have been featured in numerous museums, galleries and private collections internationally. You can see more of his works at http://www.richsmuklerphoto.com. (Kick back and stay awhile).

Three Weeks in Tuscany (day 13)


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Heading through the mountains from Castelnuovo di Garfagnana to Pietrasanta is nothing short of an amazing experience! Open your windows; turn off the radio; and breathe in the best that mother nature can dish out!

IMG_6262-2 copyAs you approach the west coast you sense something very special happened here. The marble mines in the Apuan Alps is where Michelangelo secured so much of the marble he worked with.IMG_6276-2 copyPietrasanta, is a wonderful artists’ village, stocked with scores of sculptors, painters, artists of all types, which create a unique and delighful environment. It will be tomorrow’s stop on our journey.

Rich Smukler currently resides in Boca Raton, Florida. His works have been featured in numerous museums, galleries and private collections internationally. You can see more of his works at http://www.richsmuklerphoto.com. (Kick back and stay awhile).

Bliss honored by IPA -The International Photography Awards


BlissIPA, The International Photography Awards conducts an annual competition for professional, non-professional, and student photographers on a global scale, creating one of the most ambitious and comprehensive competitions in the photography world today. Bliss, by Rich Smukler, was awarded Honorable Mention in the Professional Photographers’ One Shot Home category. This stunning black and white was captured in Ravello, Italy, hovering over the luxurious Amalfi Coast. Smukler has spent a considerable amount of time exploring the Italian landscape and will be presenting a solo exhibition of his work “Una Retrospettiva Fotografica” at Galleria La Rondine in Bagni Di Lucca from June 6 thru June 14, 2015. The opening is at 6:30PM and open to public without charge.

Rich Smukler currently resides in Boca Raton, Florida. His works have been featured in numerous museums, galleries and private collections internationally. You can see more of his works at http://www.richsmuklerphoto.com. (Kick back and stay awhile).

VIEW RICH SMUKLER’S WORK AT THE ELMHURST ART MUSEUM


See Rich Smukler’s photograph “Cross”  at The Elmhurst Art  Museum’s National Art Premiere 2012 to be held from Friday, February 21, 2012 thru March 28, 2012. “Cross” is an image taken in an abandoned marble quarry in Apuan Alps, near Pietrasanta in northwestern Tuscany. This area is known for the quality of marble used by Michelangelo. “Cross” had earned distinction at San Diego Art Institute’s (Museum of the Living Artist) 50th International Award Exhibition. It will also be displayed at The Elliott Museum in Stuart, Florida from February 3, 2012 thru March 2, 2012.

The Elmhurst Art Museum is located at 150 Cottage Hill, Ave., Elmhurst, IL 60126.

 

 

Rich Smukler’s works can also be seen at www.richsmuklerphoto.com.

View Rich Smukler’s works at The Elliott Museum


See Rich Smukler’s photographs “Cross” and “Jessie” at The Elliottt Museum’s 7th Annual Juried Art Show to be held from Friday, February 3, 2012 thru March 2, 2012. “Cross” is an image taken in an abandoned marble quarry in Apuan Alps, near Pietrasanta in northwestern Tuscany. This area is known for the quality of marble used by Michelangelo. “Cross” had earned distinction at San Diego Art Institute’s (Museum of the Living Artist) 50th International Award Exhibition. “Jessie” was also on display in San Diego and  is currently part of The American Juried Art Salon: Fine Arts Show 2011 (on-line). It is also published in Photographer’s Forum Magazine / Best of Photography 2011 (Serbin Communications).

Due to museum construction, The Elliott Museum’s preview is scheduled for Friday, February 3, 2012 at Northern Trust Bank from 5:30 – 7:00pm. RSVP required. 2201 SE Kingswood terrace, Monterey Commons, Stuart, Florida.

Rich Smukler’s works can also be seen at www.richsmuklerphoto.com.

 

Against The Traffic: PIETRASANTA (Michelangelo’s Marble Mines)


 

Pietrasanta is a marvelous artists’ community located in northwestern Tuscany. It is less than 3 km from the coast, 32 km north of Pisa and part of Versilia. This jewel was founded in 1255 and was recognized by Michelangelo for the quality of the marble mined from the nearby Apuan Alps. Artisans by the dozens populate the area and draw fellow-artists and collectors world-wide.

By day, this town has a quiet, sleepy quality with exciting cathedrals, towers and museums to be taken in. At night, the excitement is rolled out! It’s as if the movie “Night at the Museum” is being played out in real life. The lights from the many restaurants, shops and galleries sparkle. In the Center Square you are treated to street musicians, mimes, and more. This is a wonderfully lively setting for those of us into night street shooting. The colors, action and energy explode!

For me, however, the true excitement is traveling into the nearby alps to search out its many marble quarries, some active, some not. It is easy enough to Google “quarries near Pietrasanta” for some guidance on locations. I preferred just driving around and hoping to stumble upon something interesting. I was fortunate enough to find one quarry no longer operational. Yet, I was able to walk through and marvel at this natural masterpiece. It was peaceful and oh so quiet. I will never forget it!

This is where you will have to remember to make the appropriate adjustments for exposure. Inside the quarries there are often strong reflections and bright glare, much like you would find in snow-like environments. My first outing into a quarry some years prior left me with most of my images being near pitch black and under-exposed when first opened. I was only saved through post-processing in PhotoShop. For the best way to handle this technically, I commend you to Jim Zuckerman’s discussion on white balance

 

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“Use your in-camera or hand held reflective meter to read a middle toned, or medium-gray, subject: a gray camera bag, a pair of jeans, a tree trunk or perhaps a rock outcropping. Any middle-toned object will work (regardless of color) as long as it’s receiving the same light as the scene before you. Once you’ve determined this reading, manually set the lens aperture and shutter speed and don’t use the automatic exposure mode to make the shot.” 

Pietrasanta is this photographer’s delight:  The combination of so many photographic challenges: indoor, street and natural shooting, makes this one of my favorite excursions against the traffic.

HAPPY SHOOTING!

You can see other shots taken in Tuscany at www.richsmuklerphoto.com