Las Vegas, NV – Venetian Hotel (HDR)

Viva Las Vegas! When walking thru the Venetian this early AM…around 8ish..all was quiet and a few drunkards were stumbling by. While taking the gondola ride the evening before…I had to grab this shot and decided to come back. I’m sure many people have the same photo as well. It is a nice re-creation of Venice. The fake buildings look solid in HDR. Now here was the challenge…the original ceiling is a lighted sky. The lighting is odd and the sky def looks off and funky in HDR. So whats a photog to do? I added a sky layer to make it look cleaner. I messed with Saturation, skew and added NIK tonal contrast to the sky to get it to fit in properly. Now its Viva Las Photoshop!

Talke Photography Settings:

Camera: Nikon D300
Lens: Nikon 12-24 f/4.0
Setting: Aperture Mode
Focal Length: 12.0 mm
ISO: 200
Exposure: HDR 5 Exposures (+2 to -2)
Aperture: f/22
Gear: Tripod
Post Process: Adobe CS5, HDR Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, OnOne Software Photo Tools 2.6

Rome, Italy – St. Peter’s Basilica

There are Places 2 Explore and then there are places you have to visit one day!  This must visit is The Vatican/St. Peter’s Basilica.  I must say that in all of my travels world wide…this location has got to be the most awe-inpsiring place I have ever been!  It is very surreal and you kinda feel not worthy that you get to see this amazing place with your own eyes!  The statue above is one of many in St. Peter’s.  There are four that surround the piers of the dome. This is St. Longinus.   I have a strong memory that will stick with me forever the first steps I took into St. Peter’s and looked up at the inside of the dome…I froze in wonderment!   I have only been there once…and will surely go back in the next few years!   No tripods allowed…so hand hold every shot and they still will look great!

Rome, Italy – Trevi Fountain (HDR)

Here is the real Trevi Fountain in the amazing Rome, Italy!  A super Place 2 Explore!!   Rome is truly stunning!  If you have already or  plan to visit…one week in just Rome is perfect!  So many things to see and the food is unreal!  I was in a few years back and wanted to see the Trevi Fountain.  I took a cab from my hotel just to get here.  In Rome…everything seems to be about a 10 minute taxi ride.   It was a Sunday afternoon…this means lots of people hanging out.  I walked up and just grabbed a few shots.  This was taken before my HDR days…converted with a single raw.

You can see the grand scale of the fountain compared to the one in Vegas.  Such a beautiful place!  I’d like to plan a vacation here in a few years.  Then take a train up to Florence & Venice.  Italy is one stunning country!!  Molto Bello!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D70S
  • Lens: Nikon 18-200 f/3.5-5.6
  • Setting: Aperture Mode
  • Focal Length: 18.0 mm
  • ISO: 800
  • Exposure:  1/100 second – Single RAW HDR (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/16.0
  • Gear:  Hand Held
  • Post Process: Adobe CS5, Color Efex Pro, HDR Efex Pro,  Photo Tools 2.6

Rome, Italy – Colosseum

This was taken a few years back…before my love of HDR’s.  What I would give to get back to Rome and spend a week HDR’ing!  Rome is in my top 5 places to visit in the world.  I could photograph the Colosseum for hours!  Hopefully I can get to Italy next year.  I still have yet to visit Tuscany, Venice, Florence, Pisa, etc….    Italy is one great place 2 explore!   As for Rome, it is a big city.  It seems as though everything is a 10 minute taxi ride away.  That equals alot of Euro!   A tour would be fun!   Lots to see and do in Rome.  A typical hop on/hop off bus has these stops…

– TERMINI: Piazza dei Cinquecento – corner Via Cavour
– SANTA MARIA MAGGIORE: Via Liberiana 16 – side Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore
– QUIRINALE: Via Nazionale – corner Via XXIV Maggio
– PIAZZA VENEZIA: Museo Vittoriano, side Piazza Ara Coeli
– COLOSSEO: Via Celio Vibenna
– CIRCO MASSIMO: Piazzale Ugo La Malfa – side Circo Massimo
– ISOLA TIBERINA: Piazza di Monte Savello ATAC bus stop
– BOTTEGHE OSCURE: Via Botteghe Oscure – ATAC bus stop
– NAVONA: In front of S. Apollinare Church
– CHIESA NUOVA: Piazza della Chiesa Nuova (Corso Vittorio Emanuele)
– SAN PIETRO: Opposite Caffè San Pietro – Via della Conciliazione
– CASTEL SANT’ANGELO: Piazza Sant’Angelo opposite to the Castle
– AUGUSTO IMPERATORE: Piazza Augusto Imperatore front restaurant “Gusto”
– TREVI: Via del Traforo – corner Via del Tritone
– BARBERINI: On the square – Corner Via Veneto (front of Fontana delle Api)
– REPUBBLICA: Piazza della Repubblica corner Via Terme di Diocleziano – Boscolo Exedra Hotel / Mc Donalds

If you have visited Rome, other than The Colosseum and the Vatican…what would be your top spots?

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 18-200 f/3.5-5.6
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 34.0mm
  • ISO: 800
  • Exposure:  1/500 (Single RAW HDR)
  • Aperture:  f/18
  • Gear:  Hand Held
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Color Efex Pro
  • Rome, Italy – Colosseum Archway

    A few year back maybe most of us watched the movie Gladiator with Russell Crowe.   The Colosseum must have been a spectacle to see back in the days!   Here is a view while walking into the arena.  You can see some tourists in the background to give you a size reference.   They said 50,000 people could fill the arena.  An amazing feat of engineering and beauty!   These days we only see a small percent of what was back in the day.   I enjoyed the tour and the incredible views.

    Info from the web: The Colosseum was used to host gladiatorial shows as well as a variety of other events. The shows, called munera, were always given by private individuals rather than the state. They had a strong religious element but were also demonstrations of power and family prestige, and were immensely popular with the population. Another popular type of show was the animal hunt, or venatio. This utilized a great variety of wild beasts, mainly imported from Africa and the Middle East, and included creatures such as rhinoceros, hippopotamuses, elephants, giraffes, aurochs, wisents, barbary lions, panthers, leopards, bears, caspian tigers, crocodiles and ostriches. Battles and hunts were often staged amid elaborate sets with movable trees and buildings. Such events were occasionally on a huge scale; Trajan is said to have celebrated his victories in Dacia in 107 with contests involving 11,000 animals and 10,000 gladiators over the course of 123 days.

    Rome is a must visit in one’s lifetime.  With the Colosseum and the Vatican…thats a few days well spent right there!  Ciao!!

    Talke Photography Settings:

    • Camera:  Nikon D300
    • Lens: Nikon 18-200 f/3.5-5.6
    • Setting: Aperture  Mode
    • Focal Length: 29.0mm
    • ISO: 200
    • Exposure:  1/250
    • Aperture:  f/8
    • Gear:  Hand Held
    • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Color Efex Pro (Tonal Contrast)

    Rome, Italy – The Vatican – Gallery of Maps

    NIKON D300, Nikon 18-200 VR

    When visiting Rome, Italy…a must see is the Vatican.  You can take a tour of the museum that leads you from all throughout this amazing place!  While on tour look around or up and there is magical views everywhere!   Here in this shot you can see the Gallery of Maps…and all the tourists walking the halls on tours!    I think visiting here was probably the most surreal place I have ever visited..due to its rich history and truly amazing art and beauty!    There surely are many  places 2 explore in this world…and this should be on your list if you have yet to visit!

    Here is some info from the web:  Gallery of Maps takes its name from the 40 maps frescoed on the walls, which represent the Italian regions and the papal properties at the time of Pope Gregory XIII (1572-1585). They were painted between 1580 and 1585 on drawings by Ignazio Danti, a famous geographer of the time. Considering the Apennines as a partition element, on one side the regions surrounded by the Ligure and Tyrrhenian Seas are represented; on the other, the regions surrounded by the Adriatic Sea. The map of the main city accompanies each regional map.

    One!  Have a golden day!

    Rome, Italy – St. Peter’s Basilica

    St. Peter's Basillica

    NIKON D300, Nikon 18-200 VR

    Rome is one of the most beautiful cities in the world!  Any place you would like to visit here seems about a 10 min cab ride away!  With 2 of the most famous places on Earth – The Vatican and The Colosseum – who wouldn’t want to visit!   I was truly mesmerized during my visit to the Vatican.  Such history and beauty everywhere you looked.  One word – surreal! My jaw dropped as soon as I walked into St. Peter’s Basilica.  Looking upward is true breathtaking art!   I have read about the amazing Dome, but was curious about the dark canopy that stands in the middle lower section of this photo.

    Here is some info from the web:   At the crossing of the transepts is the central focus of the interior, the baldacchino. This monumental canopy shelters the papal altar and the holy relics of St. Peter. Artistically, it also serves to fill the vertical space under Michelangelo’s great dome. Made of 927 tons of dark bronze (removed from the Pantheon’s roof in 1633) accented with gold vine leaves, the baldacchino stands 90 feet (30 meters) tall. The baldacchino was created by Lorenzo Bernini from 1624 to 1633 under the direction of Barberini pope Urban VIII, who added Baroque embellishment to much of Rome.

    The spiral columns derive their shapes from the columns of the baldacchino in the original St. Peter’s Basilica built by Constantine, which legend has it came from Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. Cherubs are repeated throughout the monument, giving an overall effect of the Ark of the Covenant. Symbols of the Barberini family can be seen throughout, including a golden sun and bees. Thus, in addition to being a beautiful work of art, the baldacchinio symbolizes the union of the Old Testament wisdom of Solomon, the Christian tradition of Constantine, and the rebirth of a triumphal church under the guidance of the Barberini family.

    If I have the chance to visit again…I would enjoy reading a book about all the wonders of The Vatican before I visit.  This visit I went in with little knowledge…next time I will be an expert!  Hopefully!  Hope your day is enlightened!

    Rome, Italy – The Colosseum

    Rome, Italy - Colosseum

    NIKON D70S, Nikon 18-200 VR

    This week celebrates Places 2 Explore 6 month anniversary!  Its been a great pleasure to keep this blog going and I plan on keeping P2E running for many years to come!    This photo is the one I used for the header above (just with a little extra photoshop work)!   Rome is just a magical place to visit and it a must if you can!

    Here is some info on the Colosseum from the web:  The Colosseum or Roman Coliseum  is an elliptical amphitheatre in the center of the city of Rome, Italy, the largest ever built in the Roman Empire. It is one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and Roman engineering.

    Occupying a site just east of the Roman Forum, its construction started between 70 and 72 AD under the emperor Vespasian and was completed in 80 AD under Titus, with further modifications being made during Domitian’s reign.

    Capable of seating 50,000 spectators, the Colosseum was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles. As well as the gladiatorial games, other public spectacles were held there, such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology. The building ceased to be used for entertainment in the early medieval era. It was later reused for such purposes as housing, workshops, quarters for a religious order, a fortress, a quarry, and a Christian shrine. It has been estimated that about 500,000 people and over a million wild animals died in the Colosseum games.

    Although in the 21st century it stays partially ruined due to damage caused by devastating earthquakes and stone-robbers, the Colosseum is an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome and its breakthrough achievements in earthquake engineering. It is one of Rome’s most popular tourist attractions and still has close connections with the Roman Catholic Church, as each Good Friday the Pope leads a torchlit “Way of the Cross” procession around the various levels of the amphitheater.

    I took a guided tour this day of the Colosseum…it was fantastic.  History does live amongst us.  I didn’t see Russell Crowe this day during my visit.  Maybe next time?  Enjoy!

    Milan, Italy – The Galleria

    Milan, Italky - Galleria

    NIKON D300, Nikon 18-200 VR

    I just had some pizza and it brought back a memory of my favorate pizza in the world!  Any pizza from Italy!   LOL  I will not make it to Italy this year and usually get to Milan once a year.   From my last post Milan is not the most beautiful city in Italy…but it is known for the best shopping at the Galleria!   A bit expensive for my taste…but a nice place to visit if you are ever in Milan. 

    Here is a shot I took hand held from about 2 years ago.  I gave it the sepia look to make that old world feel.  Look at all those people shopping!  Other than the Duomo and the Galleria…oh yes, the painting “The Last Supper”…move on to the next city…Pisa and/or Florence are close!   Not sure if you can find a Pizza Hut in Italy!  Enjoy!

    Rome, Italy – The Vatican

    Rome, Italy - Vatican

    NIKON D300, Nikon 18-200 VR, Color Efex Pro 3.0

    This photo is from the Vatican in Rome, Italy.   Taken out front of St. Peter’s Basilica.   I gave this shot the “Old World” feel by using NIK Software Color Efex Pro 3.0.  Check my previous posts for details on the Vatican.  It is a must visit when in Rome!   Dont forget…its closed on Sundays! 

    Rome is one of the greatest cities in the world.  Acutally a big city…everything seems to be a 10 minute taxi ride away!  City tours are available and you get to see all the sights!   Italy is one of the most beautiful countries…I still have to visit Venice, Pisa, Almalfi Coast, Tuscany, etc….   Whew!  A 2 week visit would be perfect!  Arrivederci for today!