Three Weeks in Tuscany (day 20)


IMG_7109-2 copyFor those who have the time, the rolling landscape of the Val d’Orcia is interlaced with ancient trails that connect many of the villages and towns in the area, passing through scenic, contemplative countryside. These walking paths have been around forever, the way people traveled before the advent of the automobile. Take your time and breathe this in. There are walking paths seemingly everywhere, hidden from the frenetic traveler.

Tomorrow is our last day of this wonderful voyage. We are off to Florence.

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 (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 (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 Its first mention in historical documents in 814 AD suggests there was a church here in the 9th century, most likely built by monks associated with the nearby Abbey of Sant’Antimo.IMG_7355-2 copy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).

ENDLESS NIGHT a Finalist in Tokyo Competition


Endless NightEndless Night has been selected from 4,173 works and 2,838 artists to participate in the finals exhibition of 240 pieces of art to take place in Tokyo, Japan. Art Olympia 2015 has chosen these pieces from three venues: New York, Paris and Tokyo. The exhibition of these works will take place in The Exhibition Hall of the newly built Toshima-ku office building in Tokyo from June 15, 2015 thru June 28. A panel of 14 jurors from New York, Paris and Tokyo will select the final prize winners on June 10 with the top three pieces purchased by Art Olympia and exhibited in the Living Treasure Museum in Japan.

“Endless Night” was captured at The Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is known for its radical prison reform and design in the eighteenth 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).

Tea Time at Morikami


Tea Time at MorikamiThe Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray, Florida has 16 acres that surround Morikami’s two museum buildings and include expansive Japanese gardens with strolling paths, resting areas, world-class bonsai collection and lakes teeming with koi and other wildlife. The wider 200-acre park features nature trails, pine forests and picnic areas.

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)

INFRARED PHOTOGRAPHY: To See The Light That You Cannot See


Explore the Surreal with Infrared Imagery

Conventional photography endeavors to capture the light that the human eye can see. Infrared photography captures light outside the spectrum of the human eye, just past the red bands that we can see in the rainbow, to simplify.

Your conventional camera is set up to block infrared rays which prevents this type of imagery, as opposed to special infrared lenses and filters or cameras dedicated exclusively for this type of photography. The results, as you can see from some of the images I have displayed here, produce an another-worldly, ghostly and surreal feel. You will need to suspend your sense of reality and enjoy them for their aesthetic beauty.

I have posted a series of infrared images to my website at www.richsmuklerphoto.com. Go to “images”, “infrared”, then click on the images individually or enjoy the slide show.

If you have any questions about this fascinating style of photography, please feel free to contact me.

Rich Smukler Photo

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Against the Traffic: Ravello, Italy (or where to toss my ashes)


Ravello is a sleepy town and commune located above the Amalfi Coast in Southern Italy. It is in the province of Salerno, Campania.  And though I keep an open mind, this is where I’d prefer to have my ashes distributed when that sad day comes.  The views are magical, but I must warn you that the curving roads along the coast to Ravello are so treacherous that you might want to bring your urn with you in case of your premature demise. When renting a vehicle in Europe you are most likely to receive a standard transmission as opposed to an automatic. If you aren’t familiar with a stick shift, I suggest you select an alternative option. Unfortunately, hiring a driver could be extremely expensive. Automatic transmissions are typically rare to find or are far more pricey, so be forewarned and prepared.

When we finally reached Ravello, it was a pleasure to park the car at the hotel and not drive it again until our departure. Cabs and walking were much better choices. With the roads being so narrow and challenging, and with few places to safely stop and shoot, you’d be wasting much of your precious time. As an aside, if you like a taste of Limoncillo (a popular Italian lemon liquer) produced and readily found in Ravello,  you might find yet another reason to stay from behind the wheel!

The town has a storied historical background. It was founded in the 5th century as a shelter place against the barbarian invasions which marked the end of the Western Roman Empire. “The town has served as a destination for artists, musicians, and writers, including Richard Wagner, Edvard Grieg, M.C. Escher, Giovanni Boccaccio, Virginia Woolf, Greta Garbo, Gore Vidal, Andre Gide, Joan Miro, Truman Capote, …” and many others. This provides an insight to the creative juices that are percolated in these ancient surroundings.

I list just some of the easily found sites, all of which provide an amazing photographic opportunity. If you enjoy shooting landscapes of the surrounding mountainsides, seascapes of the Amalfi Coast below, the architecture of the ancient town structures, lush garden shots or images of the locals and tourists enjoying the area, they are all here.

Bring sturdy walking shoes and Happy Shooting!

Overview

  • “In 1996, Ravello was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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  • The Duomo (Cathedral) of Ravello: the central nave contains the “Pulpit of the Gospels”, on the right of the central nave, created in 1272 by Nicolò di Bartolomeo from Foggia.
  • Villa Rufolo (1270), built by Nicola Rufolo, one of the richest Patricians of Ravello, on a ledge and it has become a famous attraction for thousands of visitors. The villa was mentioned by Giovanni Boccaccio in his Decameron and it is the place where Richard Wagner in 1880 was inspired for the stage design of his opera Parsifal.
  • Villa Cimbrone, famous for its “Terrace of the Infinite”.
  • The church of San Giovanni del Toro (Saint John of the Bull) dating to before the year 1000. The church contains the Bove pulpit, dateable to 1200–1230, incorporated as mosaic fragments Raqqa bacini.
  • The small church of Santa Maria a Gradillo (11th century). It has a basilica plan, with three apses.
  • Sanctuary of Sts. Cosmas and Damian (14th century)
  • Two famous gardens: Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo.
  • Amalfi Coast: the amalfi coast, or Costiera Amalfitana in Italian, is a stretch of coastline on the southern side of the Sorrentine Peninsula of Italy, extending from Positano in the west to Vietri sul Mare in the east”