Sky leads me through labyrinths of cities and apartments…

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Toscana spring photo tour has come to its end. It was the luckiest and at the same time the unluckiest one. We had an awesome group. But we never got so unlucky with the weather. Every sunrise and sunset was unforgettable. We watched fogs, sun, snow, rainbows, rains, dark clouds. Toscana was flirting with us showing its beauties every day, and we only had to capture miracles. But my personal luck got a serious hole. I have never had so much trouble at once. One day before departure someone hit out my minivan windshield, stole all ski equipment, my tooth broke and car insurance expired. I had to solve all problems within one day. I barely managed. First day of our trip on the way from Prague to Rome a tube in the car engine broke down. Diesel fuel was flowing outside. I managed to solve it too, met the group in time. First day of our tour in Civita I left my bag with passport and all documents in a café. I didn’t see it again. Many other nasty small things happened, I won’t number them. Just as an epilogue, on our last day in Rome, within those 10 minutes while we were checking-in, someone hit windshield in my car again and stole my macbook pro, tablet and hard drive with all photos from the tour. That was a blow under the belt… Well, I complained and it feels better now! ) Now I am sorting out what is rest on camera card and going to show you piece by piece!


This is Pitigliano at sunrise. It is a tuff city ingrown in a rock riddled with labyrinths. City with the friendliest old men, tastiest dolce and flavourous white wine. What are streets there! I guess I have some pictures, I will show them next time…

I wanted the city feel the sky with each nerve, each window…

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it was certainly the most craziest day in my life! I described already how it all started
in my last entry . Now I will tell you how it all ended! when we gathered back in the apartments wet and tired, we were thrilled with emotions! We got warmer with tea, shared our snowy adventures enthusiastically and wanted to have some rest before dinner when our landlady rushed in and said high water was been expected that night! I had warned my group about such possibility in advance, and some took rubber boots. But it turned out that only waders could help… That night water was 1,6 meters high at San Marco. That was 6th highest Aqua Alta for the last century! Unfortunately, I couldn’t shoot it. I will tell why under cut. Also you can see promised photos from Canon 5d MarkIII…

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Dance when it is snowing…

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I do not know if there is a more spectacular show than snow in Venice! It was my third Carnival, and I got lucky again! This time I decided I would not miss even a small street! Two cameras at my sides, I put 120mm macro lens on to middle format cam and universal lens 24-70mm on to 5d MarkIII. And thus I rushed to catch vaporetto! From Ferovia to San Marco, almost whole Venice along Grande Canal. I was lucky the vessel was not stuffed to the gilles! Normal people had no doubts I was a crazy man! Between stops I managed to run through the vessel about 3 times. I spoke word “permesso” about 500 times for half an hour! The boy responsible for tie-down helped me clear the way, and the skipper opened his window and distracted me all the way with his questions. I bet he never saw such a crazy man! When I am old and dying I will recall happy moments of life, and it is going to be one of them…

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The city is watching its dream, a cold movie…

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That morning didn’t promise anything unusual. At 7 am. Just like at work, we were at San Marco looking for new masks, scenes, ideas. A bottle of traditional Jagermeister and warm gloves didn’t let us drop off the hooks. There was no sun that could spark everything up and make us move fast from one mask to another. The only thing that did allay our boredom was meeting with Darrell Gulin, an American photographer who had been a guide in our penguin expedition through South Georgia. We hugged each other happily and he rushed to show me to American old ladies who had traveled with us and at the moment were shooting masks near by! Well, that was kinda linkage on the Elbe and a slight nostalgia. Well, for 3 years of carnival mornings at San Marco at least half of photographers seem familiar… But let’s get back to the masks…

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Game, movie again, one more encore show…

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That morning there were fewer photographers at San Marco. But it seemed old dodgers stayed only. It became more and more difficult to find good shooting angles. That’s how it usually happens. Morning twilight, masks stand in interesting places. And there are at least 10 photographers around each of them. First ones you hate are flash-men. There are hundreds of them there, starting from people with P&S cameras to those maniacs with studio light. And a third of all morning shots are light shots. Second group is a wide-lenses addicts. They need to place their cam right at the nose of a mask. And you stand close waiting for them to end their shooting, different from all the rest. But there is a third group of photographers, the foulest one, – god-photographers. They think everything surrounding belongs to them. I even had to perform peace enforcement operation with one of them, right in this gallery…

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Only time is oozing like moon through cracks, no faces seen, only smoke is visible…

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While my recollections of those crazy 5 day of our Venetian Carnival tour are still fresh, I need to tell you about it. So, in the morning of February the 8th, the first day of the Carnival I met the whole team in Marco Polo airport. A couple of Tuscany red wine bottles killed upon our meeting tuned all of us in a positive friendly way, and we set off to check-in. Apartments were beyond our expectations: gorgeous interiors, wooden ceilings, old furniture, roof exit where one can admire Venice from above. Sheer delight. But as it turned out later a simple 3-star hotel would be a better choice… But no words thereof today… So we spent the other half of the day in Osteria Giardinetto where I introduced guys to Larissa and Virgilio, best restaurateurs in Venice, in my opinion. And further on we spent every other night there, which I had been sure of beforehand. Morning after we had our first sunrise shooting at San Marco. Masks and a hell of lot photographers there. Fight for best shooting angles and no light at all. I guess it was not bad for warming-up!

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Take name from soil and light sunrise to the spring…

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It’s been a year and I only started reviewing photos from last year spring photo tours. I’ll start from Belvedere, one of the most beautiful places in Val d’Orcia and absolutely one of the most photographed places along with Torrenieri cypresses. I love seeing sunrise there. Sky is always gorgeous there. And a beautiful side, almost shoulder light. You can work with perfect light, just like in a photo studio. But sometimes funny things happen. When I took my first autumn group there it turned out that sun rises 20-30 degrees to the right and you get full back light, sun beams do not reach houses walls. I got a couple of anger beams )), Vadik hello! And to the left of this villa there is another villa, absolutely ugly where the angriest man of Toscana lives. It turns out that the best shooting location is right beside his house and on his fields. And he runs out, rushes, comes, if he were wounded he would crawl, and starts shouting at us. I have never seen the most disgusting person! But we found bypass routes!

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I will turn into storm for a while, as still…

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Today I would like to show you how different mountains can be during a day. Well, not even during one day… I checked EXIF, difference between these photos is only 36 minutes. Colour correction is minimal. I used middle format Pentax 645d, slide profile.
On the first photo sun just rose up and started to paint light edges of Cuernos right from the horizon. Strong wind was blowing. You can see it as there is a beautiful dropping snowstorm over Lago Pehoe. On the second photo it just took off and turned mountains into flaring gold. I wrote about it earlier, but I just want to remind that we stayed in Torres del Paine park over a week for these pictures…

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