Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan

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Only steps from the Duomo you will find this magnificent mall, a glass and iron covered gallery. Breathtaking

!Rich Smukler specializes in Landscape and Fine-Art Photography from his studio in South Florida. His works have been featured in numerous museums, galleries and private collections internationally. You can acquire his works at (Kick back and stay awhile).

Roman Rain (series)

Rich Smukler Fine Art Photography

Italian Fine Art Photography, Images of Rome

As I wandered the streets of Rome, the heavens opened and spewed forth this wonderful opportunity. I huddled in a doorway hoping for the rains to slow, when this image revealed itself, a colorful umbrella reflecting on the sidewalk below.

Rich Smukler specializes in Landscape and Fine-Art Photography from his studio in South Florida. His works have been featured in numerous museums, galleries and private collections internationally. You can see more of his works at (Kick back and stay awhile).

Longest Night travels to Rome

PRIZE 2016

I am thrilled to announce that I will be one of 30 artists named as finalists. The opening reception will be held 4/1/2017 at Arte Borgo Gallery
Borgo Vittorio 25
Tel.: +39 06 44 61 945 at 18:00 h

Honorable Mention IPOTY - International Photogragy of the Year and Nominee International Color Awards

Longest Night – Eastern State Penitentiary

Rich Smukler specializes in Landscape and Fine-Art Photography from his studio in South Florida. His works have been featured in numerous museums, galleries and private collections internationally. You can see more of his works at (Kick back and stay awhile).

Where Does That Lush Ochre Pigment Come From?


Have you ever considered where the lush and vibrant colors and shades of ochre pigment come from? Situated in the Luberon, at the foot of the Monts de Vaucluse, the village of Roussillon provides the answer. Nestled in the heart of one of the biggest ochre deposits in the world, Roussillon is famous for its magnificent red cliffs and ochre quarries.

The red, yellow and brown shades of the earth form a striking contrast with the lush green pine-trees. The vivid blue of the Provençal sky and the exceptional quality of light make this a magical site. It is like an artist’s pallet, with the infinite combinations of colors varying from yellow to purple with all the shades of pink and red in-between.IMG_3440

The ochre façades of the houses are magnificent… shades vary subtly from light yellow to dark red, set off by the brightly painted shutters and doors. Numerous artists, naturally, have been seduced by Roussillon: Jean Cocteau, Carzou, Buffet, Ambrogiani... to name a few.

The images I’ve included in the current post print beautifully on canvas and archival-treated paper. But don’t pass up the opportunity to see the way these images pop out at you when printed on metal. They are magnificent and can be printed in any size and configuration that your spatial needs and creative desires call for.



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 (Kick back and stay awhile)

Against the Traffic: Stovepipe Wells and Mesquite Flat Dunes

For the rest of the week we will be bunking at The Hotel at Stovepipe Wells, Death Valley. This is not The Four Seasons Hotel, make no mistake! In fact, the movie “Mad Max” comes to mind. The rooms are clean, large and extremely basic.  Wifi is spotty at best. Telephones are non-existent in the rooms and there is essentially no cell-phone coverage (calls must be made from the spare number of phone booths on site). There is a restaurant and bar. I will be polite about the food in the restaurant. The burgers and beer at the bar are just fine, especially if you want to shoot a game of 8-ball. Across the road is a general store and gas station where you can stock up on water, snacks, food and fuel. If you are truly looking for top-notch accommodations, consider The Furnace Creek Inn and Ranch Resort around 26 miles down the road. You will pay substantially for this luxury, however.

A brief thought on the issue of no phone or computer service: It can make you a little nervous at first, especially if you are addicted to these electronic toys, as I am. But after you get over the fear that the world will somehow come to an end if you are not tuned in, the world gets more serene and beautiful. You can see better. Your photography will soar, if you allow it to do so.Image

Just down the road is Mesquite Flat Dunes. These dunes are the best-known and easiest to visit in the national park. They are located in central Death Valley and accessed from Highway 190 or from the unpaved Sand Dunes Road. Although the highest dune rises only about 100 feet (compared to 680 feet at Eureka), the dunes actually cover a vast area and provide quite a different subject matter. Many first time visitors to Death Valley are surprised to find that it not covered with a sea of sand. Less than one percent of the desert is covered with dunes. It just so happens that the first two locations of our tour of Death Valley are duned areas. The benefit of Mesquite Flat over Eureka is its proximity to your room back at Stovepipe Wells. It allows you to make return visits to shoot based on your decisions over lighting, cloud-layer, etc. The remote location of Eureka Dunes pretty much kills off this flexibility, unless you are willing to set up camp. The suggestions I made about dune-shooting at Eureka in my prior post applies similarly to Mesquite.

Happy Shooting




Over the years I have gone to hundreds of museums and galleries, studied the works of the masters, read the analyses and opinions of critics, seen and opined on the works of my fellow students and mentors. All the time, I am searching for a thread, a common denominator. What makes a piece of art wonderful, memorable or just plain awful? And within that question, I try to evaluate the body of work of that particular artist and ask whether or not this is the work of a fine artist?



George DeWolfe, in one of his master classes, fascinated me with his revealing analysis of paintings of the masters, such as Rembrandt, Degas, Cezannes, Pollack and others, as they related to development of the fine black and white photo. He took images of these paintings and reduced them to grayscale to better view the breadth of tonality in each of these pieces of art, even before photography was on the map. This was done to demonstrate some of the amazing qualities of these painters, all painting with color, but somehow fully understanding the quality of composition in its underlying tonality. They knew how to see well. Dewolfe went on to say that,


  “The masterful articulation of the grayscale in these paintings is not only the key to good color, but also the essential key to creating presence in the work – the foundational element of a masterpiece.”



This is as good a place as any to start our thought process.


I confess that often I’ll go to a museum and wander through the exhibits and unfortunately, not get it. I mean that I am not moved, wouldn’t want to own it, in fact, I am angry that I am wasting my time! And yet, these exhibitions, installations, or pieces of art are often heralded by the museum, or someone of credibility, as being significant and noteworthy. I shrug my shoulders.


What does impress me however, is when an artist has over the years developed a unique and consistent body of work; pieces that would be recognizable as being that artists’ artwork years after being produced, yet, in some way, different from the earlier work. I am sure we are all familiar with some exceedingly successful artists who have a signature style that is forever recognized as being special and unique. Some of these artists, unfortunately, get caught up in their success and are fearful of leaving an established comfort zone. Others display the guts and artistry to move forward with newer and more challenging work. I say SHAME on the former, and HATS OFF to the latter.



I am willing to allow the definition of a fine artist to remain somewhat undefined for the moment. I am steadfast, however, in my belief that a fine artist will create a unique and recognizable body of work that continues to evolve as the artist explores and builds on the past. We owe a debt of gratitude to those of you that adhere to these convictions. What are your thoughts?


You can see works of Rich Smukler at






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.


You can see other shots taken in Tuscany at