Been a Crazy Week

Been a Crazy Week

by Charly

Well it sure has been a crazy week for me! I received my new camera and started class at University. Now where shall I begin? Let’s start with my camera. I opted for a refurbished Sony SLT – A65. First a bit of background; I bought my first DSLR camera back in 2010. When I went in to Fry’s Electronics, I intended to buy a Canon like my daughter’s. I knew nothing about cameras, but had used hers once and thought it pretty good. As the salesman was going over the camera, he surmised from my answers I was green. lol He asked if he could show me a different camera and I was fine with that.

He pulled out the Sony SLT – A33 and began telling me the differences between it and the Canon I was originally there to buy. He was a great guy! His patience and quickness to answer all my stupid questions was unusual to find in a super store of any kind. After about 1 hr. I decided on the Sony and fell in love with it once I figured out how to use it and more about photography.

When I purchased the Sony, I also got an extended warranty. After a couple of years, it started getting soft spots on images; randomly appearing. I took it in for repair more than a few times. Oh and with the warranty, I also got a loaner to use so I wasn’t without a camera! Fry’s is a great store! Too bad there aren’t more of them around the country. Anyway, the last time I took it in, they decided not to try and repair it. Per my extended warranty, I received a replacement at no cost to me. I was given a Sony SLT – A58, since Sony had discontinued it’s A37 model.

***

The A58 is a good camera, but I really wanted the A65. Unfortunately for me, the A65 was also discontinued and that is what I wanted. BooHoo! Being a good and long standing customer at my local Fry’s store, they offered me a refund check to buy the camera I wanted. You see usually they give a store credit to use on a different item. If I opted for the A77, it was going to cost me quite a bit more and it would take weeks to get. Well that really wasn’t an option for me, as I didn’t wish to go without a camera for that long…

So I went online to look around. Not really any luck, so I called Sony. The wonderful salesperson listened to my story and offered me some options. One being a refurbished A65 body at not much more than I received from my warranty. I have plenty of lenses, so I only needed a body. I told her that I had used an A65 once as a loaner and it was nothing but trouble for me; a lemon. After relaying all I went through, she said the refurbished A65 was under warranty with an extended available and if anything was wrong with it, I’d get my money back or a replacement. Ok now it was time to think on things…

With Sony, I don’t get a loaner if anything were to go wrong. That’s a draw back indeed! On the other hand, waiting perhaps up to 6 weeks for a camera from Fry’s to me was worse. The next day I called Sony back and ordered the A-65, which I received in 2 days! I opened up the box and through the battery on to charge. Later that afternoon, I put a lens on, put the battery in and shot about 10 quick images. No hang up, no pause, no shut down! Yeah the camera works as it should! Can’t wait to get out this weekend and do some shooting with it.

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My Photography Class

1938 L.F. Deardorf & Sons 5" x 7" camera in beautiful condition and one I missed out on :(, 1938 L.F. Deardorf & Sons, View Camera, Large Format, Large Format Camera, Camera, 5x7, 5 x 7, 5
1938 L.F. Deardorf & Sons 5″ x 7″ camera in beautiful condition and one I missed out on that my Professor at University sold  :(

I’m really psyched about this semester! I will be using a Large Format 4 x 5 monorail camera and nothing else. Now how cool is that?!? Due to my being a bit more advanced at photography, I am allowed to work independently from the rest of the class to perfect my craft. My Prof Richard Doherty suggested Architecture as my course study, since it is something I enjoy and am pretty decent at, I’m very willing. The hardest part will be which type of Architecture to choose, since I love all types! What type of Architecture would you like to see me do for class?

Last semester was the first time I ever shot with a Large Format camera. Within a week, I was hooked! Some might say, “I don’t understand why anyone would revert back to film when digital is so much easier.”

Well there are a number of reasons:

1.  Digital cannot match what a Large Format can do

2.  Film definitely slows one down to concentrate on getting a spectacular shot. In other words, no 300 images in a day hoping 1 is good!

3.  There’s just something about taking an image, developing the film, then printing it yourself that is more fulfilling to me as a photographer

4.   You learn more about photography; the Exposure Triangle and although basically the same, it’s a bit different than with digital since the camera does a lot of the work.

***

With a Large Format, the photog has to really pay attention to every single detail to get a good image. Especially shooting Architecture, because you don’t want buildings that are falling in or back or leaning. With digital, some of that is easily fixed with software, yet it’s important to take the time with film to get it as correct as possible without any distortion. I shot some Architectural images last semester and took as much as an half an hour setting up the shot.

That’s definitely slowing one down right? Yet I probably took another 20 – 30 mins. just looking for the shot with the camera equipment still in the car. Not to mention how many I walked away from cuz I couldn’t see the shot like I wanted it. So that means I take about an hour, perhaps more, on each shot. Those who know more than I about Large Format may take less time, but I think one of the reasons a new photog can’t advance to be a better one is they just are in too big of a hurry. Snap, snap, snap, snapping without any forethought.

***

Then there’s developing the film, which isn’t that difficult at all. The toughest part for me is setting up the enlarger to print a wonderful image. Again it takes forethought and knowledge I still don’t have. Yet with time and dedication, I know it will come. Then again it has to! My plans are to buy both a 4 x 5 and 8 x 10 Large Format camera. Thanks to some wonderful photographers that see how committed I am to the craft, I’ve been given some great equipment to set up my own darkroom at home. I hope to have it designed and one room converted by the first of the year. It’s not that difficult to set up and having construction background, I’ll be doing it all myself. Definitely a plus to save on costs!

In the future, I will post more on Large Format and the progress of my darkroom with pictures of course. ;) But for now, it’s time to get some things done around the house and prepare for a weekend of shooting! I can’t wait and sure hope the rain doesn’t dampen my fun.

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Copyright: Facts vs Myths

Copyright: Facts vs Myths

by Charly

PREFACE: I am not an attorney, but a photographer. There is heated debate, publicly and in the courts, on how this all works when it comes to copyright. The reality is the rights of artists… no I should say “EVERYONE” are being chiseled away on a daily basis. Whether you’re an artist or not, or know an artist, this article will disspell some myths out there. It’s always a good idea to check into local, state, country and international laws yourself and seek professional advice from an attorney.

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So what the heck is copyright and DMCA all about? Anything: words written, paintings, doodles, composed music, images, lyrics, songs, digital art, etc. are copyrighted by the person who created them. The creator, of whatever it may be, holds the copyright. Each country has it’s own Copyright Laws, then there’s International Copyright Relations and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Not to mention what can or cannot be seen in the image or if a photographer can even use or sell it. Who would’ve known that loving to shoot images would entail so much legal mumbo jumbo right?

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Merriam-Webster Dictionary Definition:

Copyright n. – : the “exclusive legal right” to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the matter and form of something (as a literary, musical, or artistic work)

Copyright adj. – : of or relating to a copyright  : not allowed to be copied without permission from the author, composer, etc.

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Myth #1:

Everything you find on the net is free to use in any way you want and any where you want.

Fact:

Everything you read or see on the internet is copyrighted by someone. Most who hold the copyright request written permission from them, on their website, to use any of their copyrighted material; be it words, articles, images, lyrics, etc. Though it doesn’t matter as they are protected whether they say written permission required or not.

Simply put, using anyone’s material to represent it as your own in any way, without permission, is against many laws.

 ***

Myth #2:

Even if I do use something without permission likely it won’t be found out or anything done about it.

Fact:

Well perhaps that’s true, but then again perhaps not. The reality is technology is evolving to help copyright holders find out if there’s been any misuse of their material. If any copyright holder determines you have or are using any of their copyrighted material they have a few options on how to handle it.

They might:

1. Just politely ask you to take down their material

2. Send you an invoice to pay for the usage, whereas they can ask any amount

3. Contact their country’s Copyright Office

4. Contact the DMAC

5. Sue for damages/lost income

6. Request reimbursement for all for their time and/or legal fees to follow up the misuse

7. Any or all the above and more!

Guess one then has to ask themselves if it’s worth taking the chance on using any material w/o permission.

I’ve heard of some photographers that spend a couple, few hours a day just finding those who “use” their images w/o permission. They aggressively hunt the culprits down and take action(s).

Why you may ask? Well simply put, their work is how they make a living. Photographers spend hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands on what they need to make that beautiful image you look at. If someone takes it, then they take money away from them and their families.

 ***

Myth #4:

But I cannot afford to pay for an image that I want to use on my website or to create something.

Fact:

There are many stock image websites out there for you to get images at a very low to high cost. Surely paying a little something is better than just taking it right? A little at the front end might just save you a whole lot in the long run. Heck there are even sites that have free images to use legally.

Besides, what is it called when you take something w/o permission or don’t pay for it? Think about it…

 ***

Myth #5:

Well the images don’t have any copyright on them, so it’s ok to use.

Fact:

It doesn’t matter if there’s a copyright on an image or not. The one who created/shot it holds the copyright! Whether it’s registered with a copyright office or not.

 ***

Myth #6:

No watermark, no copyright info, no way of identifying who took the image then it’s free to use/take

Fact:

Have you ever came upon a beautiful image that either was too small to really enjoy or had copyright info smack in the middle of it? Most of you will say yes. The fact is to help deter people from taking images, the photographer will either put up a very small image/watermark it.

I personally hate putting up small images or ones with watermarks! Some of my images are gorgeous large! But alas, with so many on the internet taking without paying, I have no choice but to make them look ugly. It’s a shame really… But what else can I do? Photography is my profession and I like everyone else need to make a living.

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Myth #7:

I’ll just Photoshop the artist name or copyright info out of the image, then use it without permission

Fact:

Yes one can do that, but if caught you make the artist’s case that you maliciously and knowingly decided to break the law

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Myth #8:

Everyone else does, so I can too!

Fact:

Just one question…. If everyone jumps off a steep cliff will you follow suit also? This has to be one of the lamest excuses out there….

 ***

Of course there are tons more, but I hope that these educate some to choose a different way of thinking when it comes to “taking” or “using” something they find on the internet. Personally I would prefer working with a customer to “use” my work, then spend countless hours hunting down those who didn’t.

***

Here is what the DMCA puts on their Certificates of Protection:

Protection: All original content on https://www.printsofitaly.com/ is created by the website owner, including but not limited to text, design, code, images, photographs and videos are considered to be the Intellectual Property of the website owner, whether copyrighted or not, and are protected by DMCA Protection Services using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Title 17 Chapter 512 (c)(3). Reproduction or re-publication of this content is prohibited without permission. [Note: the ‘whether copyrighted or not’ pertains to if it’s registered with a Copyright Office]

Digital Millennium Copyright Act: Part of the US Copyright Law. The DMCA addresses penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet and protects content creators by “establishing procedures for proper notification” to OSPs when copyright infringement is identified online. Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act, Title II of the DMCA “adds a new section 512 to the Copyright Act to create four new limitations on liability for copyright infringement by online service providers.” These procedures allow content creators or their designated agent to file proper DMCA Takedown notice to the OSP in case infringed material has been detected on their servers.”

This is from the Cert. of Protection on my Prints of Italy home page. Any other page would follow: www.printsofitaly.com/page or image or post name. Besides we all know how aggressive the DMCA is about images, videos, songs and the like. If you’d like to find out more about:

DMCA: please click HERE

US Copyright Office: please click HERE

International Copyright Relations: please click HERE

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Here’s a great article you may enjoy too. It’s on Variety about Kurt Sutter’s (the creator of Sons of Anarchy) take on Google’s blatant Piracy. You can continue reading it HERE (warning: profanity is used in this article)

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A final thought: Imagine just for a moment that you went on the internet and found very few images and written material. Due to people not wanting their material taken, they don’t bother having it online. Or that people just gave up with the misuse and pulled it off. The internet just wouldn’t be the same would it? Thanks to all the creative people around the world, the internet is full of wonderful things. Let’s work together to keep it that way!

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“If you want to help “EVERYONE” maintain their right to create and not lose their material, please share this on your social media networks!” ~ Charly

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Should I really chance it?

Should I really chance it?

by Charly

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I don’t know about you, but overall I’m pretty adventurous and been that way my whole life. Always taking chances and more than a couple of times were very scary to say the least, even for me. In most situations, I actually ask myself, ‘Should I really chance it?’ with yes as the usual answer. Being a very passionate photographer, I do and go where most won’t venture. Not that I can blame anyone who doesn’t want to take the risk. It could cost you dearly if you make the wrong decision in more ways than one.

***

I thought about doing this post because of what happened to me just today. I went to the post office to ship off one of my prints to a customer. As I was getting into my car, a wonderful woman stopped me saying I had a flat tire. I graciously thanked her and drove slowly to the nearest gas station to get air. Really … 75 cents for air? Come on that is a big ripoff! Anyway… That’s when I realized I didn’t have just one tire that was bad, but a second one also. Geesh! Just my luck; so much to do and now a trip to Discount Tire to see what the problem was.

As I was driving to the shop, I played through where I’d been that might have caused the tires to go low/flat. I remember a couple of weeks ago going to an area where I probably shouldn’t have driven my car. I had a feeling I was taking too big of a chance, but I had to get that shot! A guy met me as I was getting out of my car and asked what he could do for me. I told him about going where I shouldn’t and think I may have picked up something in 2 of my tires. He looked them over and said he didn’t see anything, but they’d look into it.

***

An hour+ later, they drove my car out and I pointed that it was my car. The guy got out and said, ‘You had a nail in one tire and a piece of metal in the other, but you’re all set now’. Just as I figured. I thanked him and drove home all the while thinking, ‘You really need to get a truck and stop driving your car where it’s not meant to go!’ And I’m glad I bought my tires there and got the warranty, which means I don’t pay for flats or rotation and they’ll replace any tire no matter the damage; prorated of course.

I haven’t edited any of the images I took where I should have said “no” to my question of: Should I really chance it? But I got some great images that I think will be winners.

***

The scariest thing I’ve done to get a shot? Well there’s been 2 that I almost didn’t make it back from. One was in Italy. High on a mountain above Florence, I hung over a cliff to get the “shot” and slipped. Thankfully I had one leg wrapped around a guardrail and held onto my camera tight! I’d estimate at least a 200 ft. drop down a shear rock faced cliff. But for me, even though I couldn’t stretch out further safely to include all the windy road, the shot below was worth the risk! (Click on image to view larger)

Misty Morn O'er Florence
Misty Morn O’er Florence

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The other was climbing down a steep bank of the Missouri River, treacherous at best, to get on a huge culvert. I was wanting a shot of the Train Trestle that is no longer in use. Due to branches being in the way of my shot, I moved a bit, slipped and almost plunged into the rock/thick cement fragment filled river head first with camera and tripod. Thankfully I was able to grab a branch that didn’t break, stopping me from probably certain death. Don’t think that fall into the rocks/cement fragments would’ve been injury proof if I didn’t die and I wouldn’t have been found anytime soon either. Again for me the shot below was worth it all, as I received a photography award for a series it was in of the Train Trestle.

Train Trestle Swing Bridge
Train Trestle Swing Bridge

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I wouldn’t encourage anyone to take even the slightest risk to get a “shot”! For me, my adventurous spirit always takes over. Usually my great common sense, along with my training and quick reaction without panicking, keeps me safe. Perhaps one day nothing will prevent me from injury or death, but at least I’m doing what I love, enjoying every bit of it no matter the risk, and my life is never dull. ;)

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Horrific Storm

Uncertain Future, Blue, Rowboat, Oars, Beach, Black, Sand, Waves, Wave, Water, Close, Closeup, Rolling, Motion, Vernazza, Italy, Italian, Cinque Terre, CinqueTerre, 5T, 5Terre, Europe, Travel, POI, Prints of Italy, Images, Photographs, Prints, Cell Phone Cases, Canvas, Acrylic, Metal, Framed, Unframed,
Uncertain Future…

 

Horrific Storm
by Charly

 

I drove the backroads to find when I arrived at Vernazza, I had to park on the steep, narrow road above the village and walk with luggage downhill. Yes being in shape is a good plan if visiting Italy, as many of the villages and towns I visited had very steep streets/paths that were a tough walk. Then there are ones like those in Cinque Terre where steps seem to never end to reach your destination. Unbeknownst to me though arriving on a beautiful sunny day, a horrific storm was in my future…

***

While exploring Cinque Terre for the first time, I stayed in Vernazza at an apartment rented by La Marina Rooms. Besides the near 100 steps to get up to the apt., it was lovely. I especially enjoyed shopping the markets for food and cooking in the full kitchen.

For my stay In Vernazza, I took the train to the other villages to take in what they had to offer. I walked the Via dell’Amore trail between Riomaggiore and Manarola. It’s one of the flattest trails in Cinque Terre, winding around the cliffs and the Ligurian Sea always in sight.

***

There is much to see in Cinque Terre, which is located on the Italian Riviera in the Region of Liguria. Cinque Terre means the Five Lands, which is comprised of 5 villages; Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The hillsides, cliffs and villages are part of the Cinque Terre National Park of Italy.

Overall the weather for my trip around Italy was great. On Oct. 24, 2011 it threatened rain most of the day, with a bit of drizzle on and off. Still captured some wonderful shots. Without TV or Radio, I had no idea what was coming….

***

I arose early on the morning of Oct. 25th; my last day in Cinque Terre scheduled to leave that afternoon. As I descended down the stairs to make my way to the harbor, the wind was strong. I could hear its howl as it whipped through the village. Wasn’t sure how my shots would turn out with that kind of wind, even with a good tripod.

When I got to the harbor, the wind seemed to pick up. The Ligurian Sea roiling with waves and hitting the black sand beach. I walked out to the harbor landing and watched in the low light of early dawn, as a wave crashed over it. I set up my tripod in the hopes of getting some good wave shots. After about 10 mins., I was looking through my camera, when all I saw was a wall of water. I quickly grabbed my tripod and jumped back, the wave pouring over my boots….

Thankful not to be swept away by the large wave into the rocks, I stood there for a moment. The storm building, sea getting angrier and I had a bad feeling. I walked back some to get other shots, as a fisherman told me to get off the pier, bad storm coming, too dangerous in Italian. Well I think that’s what he said, my Italian wasn’t very good. I told him I understood and made my way back towards the piazza; getting a few more shots along the way.

***

I stood for awhile watching the storm as it worsen over the short time I was out. Again that feeling came over me and decided at that moment to pack and leave Cinque Terre as soon as I could. By 9:30 am, I was on the steep, windy road heading up out of Vernazza to make my way towards Verona. When I reached the top of the mountain, I stopped to get some more shots. The wind was so strong, I had a hard time keeping in place. About 5 mins. later the rain began….

I hopped in the car and started for Verona, which is 290km away; about a 3 hr. drive. I wasn’t far from the mountain top overlooking Vernazza, when the skies literally opened up. Torrential downpour that never let up! It took me 5 hrs. to drive to Verona and much of it was at fairly slow speeds. I had never seen that kind of rain, for that length of time ever in my lifetime. Finally a couple hours after arriving in Verona it let up.

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Via email, I received a message from the wonderful people who’s villa I stayed at in Tuscany, asking if I was ok. I wrote back yes, though I was clueless why such a question. It wasn’t until I was on the plane to return home, that I saw a newspaper in some language I wasn’t sure of. I asked the gentlemen with it what was in the story on the front page. I deciphered storm and 10 dead.

Then I knew and my heart sank. When I walked in the door of my home, I went straight to my computer. The images and video of the devastation was very hard for me to see. This beautiful area of Italy hit hard by the storm of October 25, 2011 and those who lost their lives in that horrific storm that sent a rushing wall of water, debris, cars and other things down that road I walked on. Downhill to the harbor to this boat, beached on the black sand with an uncertain future pictured above… I took that very morning.

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“My heart will always be in Italy, especially in Cinque Terre” ~ Charly

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You can look up videos and images online, but here’s one that shows the before and after

This video is by © lifetimetravels on YouTube

(At 1:54 of the video are umbrellas buried in mud where I ate the day before)

Make a Travel List, then Pack

Make a Travel List, then Pack

by Charly

Why make a travel list? Well it saves on time packing and usually will ensure you forget nothing. So having one is just a good plan overall. Have you ever arrived at a destination to find out you had forgotten something essential? I have and when you cannot find what you need at a local store, it’s frustrating.

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I’m on the go a lot, whether it’s taking an impromptu trip or traveling outside of the USA. The one thing I developed over the years is a Travel List that is on my computers. I use it for 2 day trips or month long stays and pack what is necessary for where I’m going and for how long. Since it’s a text document, I can add to it or strike out what I won’t need for a particular trip. Then when I’m finished with it, either save the changes or not.

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Being a freelance photographer, at the top of the list is all my electronics/equipment. Of course I carry more than one who has a point & shoot or bridge camera, but none-the-less, be sure you have everything you will use on your trip. In Italy, though I brought many SD cards, I ran out in Venice I believe it was. When I found a store that had 32GB card, I paid a whopping 80 euros for the privilege. YIKES! That converted to near $100!! So not only make your travel list, but be sure you’re prepared. Here’s an example:

Camera(s) | Lens(es) |  # SD cards | SD Reader/Cord | Batteries | Battery Charger | Laptop | Laptop Cords | Cell Phone | Cell Phone Charger (car/home) | Camera Cleaning Kit | Camera/Lens Cloths | Filters | Waterproof Card Holder | Tripod/Head | Rain bags for Camera | Plastic Rectangle Table Cloth | Gray Cards | Flashlights | Backpack Protector Bag | Locks | Electrical Converter for Country needed? | # Rolls of Film | # Sheet Film boxes | and more

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Now it’s time to pack. I’m very good at putting a lot in a small area. My daughter tells everyone, ‘My mom can make 10 lbs. of stuff fit in a 5 lb. bag!’ lol She’s too funny, but that is so very true. Most of my camera stuff will fit nicely in/on my Tamrac slingback backpack. Even my laptop fits in the computer pocket it has and the tripod on the outside area. All packed it weighs about 20 lbs., a carry-on when I fly and is very easy on me when walking a long ways.

What I do is grab everything on my list and put it next to the bag I’m going to put it in. As I pack an item on my Travel List in it’s proper bag, I strike it out. This let’s me know I’ve packed it. Yes I do this to each individual item, no matter how small, to ensure I forget nothing! I don’t add 3 things and hope I remember that they’re all packed. This is what the list would look like of packed items:

Camera(s) | Lens(es) |  # SD cards | SD Reader/Cord | Batteries | Battery Charger | Laptop | Laptop Cords | Cell Phone | Cell Phone Charger (car/home) | Camera Cleaning Kit | Camera/Lens Cloths | Filters | Waterproof Card Holder | Tripod/Head | Rain bags for Camera | Plastic Rectangle Table Cloth | Gray Cards | Flashlights | Backpack Protector Bag | Locks | Electrical Converter for Country needed? | # Rolls of Film | # Sheet Film boxes | and more

This tells me the camera(s), SD Reader/cord, laptop, cell phone charger car/home, camera/lens cloths, etc. are packed in the bag they belong. When everything is struck out, I print the list and go over it one last time. Then zip, and lock with TSA approved locks if flying, all bags. At this point, though very sure everything needed for the trip is packed, I’ll pour me a cup of joe and go over the list one final time. Now time to wait to leave in the car or head to the airport.

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“Hope this helps you enjoy your travels! Ciao”

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My Drive Around Italy

My Drive Around Italy

by Charly

In 2011, I went to Italy for a month with just me, myself and I. A single, mature woman, 50+ years young, spent 6+ months planning my dream trip of a life time and opted to rent a economical 4 door hatchback diesel with manual transmission. Why you may asked? Well I was just starting out with photography and wanted to stop when I felt like it to capture what spoke to me. I’m not the touristy type. I wanted to go where I chose to. And most importantly, I couldn’t wait to drive those great Italian mountain roads.

Wow! Those mountain roads were great to drive with a stick shift! In case anyone is wondering, they drive on the right side of the roads, not left side like the UK, Ireland and other countries do. The majority of Italy’s roads are wonderful to drive, with a few exceptions. I did drive the A super-highways twice to save time, but mostly drove the backroads and smaller highways. Studying their rules of the roads was interesting, like keep left turn signal on until you move over to right lane, which could be for miles) and fairly straightforward. The one thing I didn’t learn in my research was shoulders are pretty non-existent in many places. Not good for one that stops a lot to capture a moment! But I made due. ;)

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My drive around Italy itinerary was such that I could change it a bit. A couple of times didn’t have hotels booked so I could meander.

• Fly into Rome International Airport, take taxi to rental car and drive from there
• Drive to Ostia to my hotel on the Ligurian Sea
• Take train to Rome and Ostia Antica while in Ostia
• Head down the western coast towards Paestum, find a place to stay 1 night
• Stay in Paestum to see the ancient Greek Ruins and drive south down the coast
• Drive towards Assisi and spend the night (this was NOT long enough!)
• Drive to the Tuscan villa I rented for a week (on the mountainside above Lamporecchio) While at villa: drive to Lucca, Pisa, Vinci, Volterra, and many other places
• Drive onto Cinque Terre. Stayed in Vernazza in an apartment, traveled to other villages by train. Monterosso al Mare, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore
• Drive to Verona stay, take train to Andrea Palladio’s home of Vicenza
• Drive to Venice stay in an apartment, take boats and do lots of walking
• Start towards Rome again, find hotel around Florence
• Stay near Rome International Airport for night, take car back, fly home

***

For my trip I purchased some of Rick Steve’s books that were highlighted in a lot, an Italy road atlas and some maps. I carried my camera equipment including carbon fiber tripod in my Tamrac slingback backpack and to ease my mind when I didn’t want to carry it around, bought a PacSafe bag protector. I also kept the bag protector on all throughout my time in Rome. (Words in green are links to click on)

***

Unfortunately like most places nowadays, it’s always good to stay alert and watchful. I didn’t encounter any serious problems, though had a couple of minor ones in Rome. That was the only place in Italy where I stayed ultra alert to my surroundings, did my best to stay clear of the pushy street sellers that were around tourist spots and didn’t walk around at night alone. Everywhere else was perfectly laid back and most enjoyable.

***

Overall my trip was spectacular! Italians are great people! They are quick to help, were kind/patient with me speaking little Italian poorly and were great drivers! Every place I stayed was exceptional with great service and staff!

***

“Il mio cuore saranno sempre in Italia”

***

 

My tips for Italy:

1.) If at all possible make up your own itinerary and rent a car

2.) Get lost every chance you get! Or you’ll miss so much!

3.) Take your time to “see”, “experience” and “love” Italy!

4.) If you have a short time in Italy, pick one or two places to visit! A
month was nowhere near enough time for me! Next time it will be 2
month minimum!!!! :)

5.) Try to stay away from the tourist traps and spend your money on more
important things! Like taking a Vespa ride in the country or finding
that out of the way fantastic restaurant or teatro (theater). Hey even
rent a Red Ferrari and enjoy those mountain roads!!!!

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