When In Rome
Rome was one of the most incredible places I have ever photographed. The history, art, architecture, food and so much more make it one of the most interesting cities in the world. In just over two weeks I’ll be back in Rome but just for a quick stop before heading on to Umbria for the upcoming Travel Bloggers Unite conference. Obviously, Italy has been on my mind as I prepare to spend a couple of weeks exploring places like Spoleto, Todi and Orvieto in Umbria as well as Florence and the Tuscan countryside.
I’m looking for some suggestions of places near Florence to visit and photograph, so please leave a comment with your suggestions, I’d love to hear them. I’ve been to Florence but not out into the heart of Tuscany. I’ll be renting a car to get around for a few days and would like to see some of those iconic typical Tuscan settings. Where should I go?
When I say that I’ll be in Rome, it’s really just the airport before getting a ride to Umbria. Since I’ve already been to Rome it’s not that tragic to not be spending any time there but I am a little sad to be missing out on such a great location to take photos in.
As I was fondly remembering Rome, I decided to take a look through some of my older Roman photos and it dawned on me that so many of them would look very cool in a nice black and white sepia toned tint. In today’s digital darkroom all photographers use Photoshop, but even though it is a great piece of software there are things that it does not do as elegantly as some third party plugins.
Want Great Black & White Images?
When converting digital photos to black and white, there is no better way to do it than to use Silver Efex pro by Nik Software.
All of these photos were converted to the sepia toned black and white that you see here by using Silver Efex pro. It’s the industry standard and once you try it, you’ll be hooked. Trust me! I’ll be writing a full review on this and other great software tools by Nik later this year but if you want to try it out for yourself for free, just head over to the download page to get your free trial version.
If – or should I say when – you see that this is the best way to convert your photos to black and white and you want to pick up a full copy, just use the code KENK to save 15% off the price.
“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.”
Rome is made for walking. It is the perfect setting to use that great pair of walking shoes that you own and make them earn their title of “walking” shoe. If you choose to go around by taxi or public transportation, you will miss so many amazing views that will take your breath away. Walk! Seriously, it is far better to see this magnificent city slowly. This way you’ll have time to absorb the sights, sounds, and tastes the way they should be appreciated; in a leisurely and unhurried fashion.
Walking is good for the soul and for the mind. It also helps build up an appetite and Rome is most certainly a great place to have one delicious meal after another. This way you can have those mouth-watering Italian meals guilt free, since you’ll be burning them off with all that walking you’ll be doing.
The one thing that you absolutely do not want to do do in Rome is drive. I have no idea how come there are not thousands of accidents each day in the Italian capital… They drive like maniacs! Consider yourselves warned. :D
Taking the time this week end to work on these photos and write this post makes me wish that I was already in Italy. Not sure that it gets much better than being in Italy in the spring time, but to know for sure, you can ask me in a month when I’ll be back home and looking forward to my next trip – to Iceland!
“Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them.”
The memories all come flooding back as I look at these images. The 5 am shoot at the Pantheon; remembering being puzzled by the kids on the Ponte Sant’Angelo eating horrible McDonald’s food when great eateries abound everywhere you look; being chased by a rather obese (and obtuse) police officer on the Spanish Steps for using my tripod; and being totally and completely in awe of the historic ruins at the Roman Forum for a whole afternoon.
I wonder what memories I’ll have of Italy after this upcoming trip. I can’t wait!
Thanks for taking a walk down memory lane with me on this post. It’s been a fun way for me to get psyched about this upcoming trip. With so much to see in Italy, I know that this is not the last time that I’ll be planning a trip there. I’ve yet to see the Amalfi coast, Cinque Terre, the Dolomites, Lake Como, Sardinia, and Venice.
Venice is the top city in the world that I want to photograph right now and I hope to be able to do it very soon. For now, I’m thrilled to be going anywhere in this incredible country. To be getting the chance to spend time with a lot of friends while in such beautiful surroundings is the perfect setting to create a whole lot of new wonderful memories.
I’m looking forward to sharing those memories with you in the months ahead.
You may enjoy some other posts from my time in Rome:
london hotels says
wow, these images are stunning. What a great post I find here. I really enjoy reading it and seeing such beatiful pictures. Thank you so much for the share.
art lover says
Being a fan of black and white photography I had goose bumps while looking at your photos of Rome. To me balck and white photography is like reading a novel where I can use my imagination and visualize the happenings thus making it my personal journey. Your black and white artistry equals your HDR. Great work as usual.
Siddhartha Joshi says
Wow Ken all of these images are beautiful paintings of Rome, from a bygone era…
And thanks for the tips for b/w image manipulations. I might download and use this software as well…though I fear I get hooked to it as you have warned :)
Lisa Wood says
Gosh the black and white photos are amazing – actually I love all of your photos.
Rome looks amazing! I like how you capture the moment in time and then you add to it so that you have a photo that takes you into the place (be it Rome or wherever!)
Hi Ken, as I told you, you MUST go to “Val d’Orcia” http://www.valdorcia.it/index.eng.php, an area near Siena. Siena itself is a nice city to photograph, but don’t stop there, go to PIENZA, MONTEPULCIANO, and don’t forget BAGNO VIGNONI and MONTICHIELLO. All these small villages are about 100k from Florence, the best way to reach them is to take the route to Siena and then south. You will pass the small Monteriggioni and STOP there. It is a wonderful middle age village, sourrounded by a wall.
Besides the cities I wrote above, the landscape is awesome: Val d’Orcia is in World Heritage List, and green hills with cypresses and small houses on the top are anywhere. It has been the set of some famous movies, such as The English Patient and the Gladiator. If you want me to explain the right places where to find the settings, I can share a map…
If you have more time, take a drive to San Galgano http://www.sangalgano.org/ENG/index.htm where there is the famous sword in the stone.
Sorry if I have been so long, but you really need to have those places photographed!!!!
P.S. Hi again. If you want to have a preview of what you can find in Val d’Orcia, just type “Val d’Orcia” in your browser and click on images… just wonderful landscapes… ;-) I really love that corner of Italy, and I do not live there!
Beautiful B&W HDR I agree with you on Rome, I was there a few times and I always come away saying; No matter where you look there is something to see!!!!! Check out the site above and go to the entry The Many Faces of Rome
Go to Volterra in Tuscany. It’s a charming little town on a hill. They have an ancient Etruscan stone archway and some beautiful stone steps.
Cherie Wright says
Thanks so much for the link to your site. I love travel photography and am always trying to hone my own skills as well as admiring those of others.
Hey Ken! Don’t forget to go to Vertine (Chianti region). Trust me! It was love at first sight for me.
Carlos Garcia says
Fantastic images Ken. You continue to amaze!
To call these images lovely is a gross understatement. They are beautiful! How did you capture them with little to NO people in them!!
Really! You can fool some of the people some of the time…….. Something doesn’t sit right. I don’t think Ansel would go for it.
Awesome HDR shots! Reminds me of some video games. I really need to learn how to do this as it works so well for buildings/ruins :D
Ah, Roma! I cried my way through Roma. (In a sentimental way, not a neurotic way. :-) ) You can feel the history in every fiber of your being, and it’s completely overwhelming and awe-inspiring. Your black and white tribute is hauntingly beautiful.
For when you return to Italia . . . . First of all, take me with you. Please. Pretty please? I would MOVE to Italia. I love that country so much it hurts.
Siena is my favorite city thus far, and I’ve heard tremendous things about Pienza. You must wend your way over to the Tuscan Coast/the Tyrrhenian Sea and the charming medieval towns that kiss the coast. It will leave you breathless.
And if your Italian quest also involves the pursuit of one of The World’s Best Wines, then visit Montebelli. Ah, Montebelli! Remember how Scarlett O’Hara waxed nostalgically over Tara? That’s how I feel about Montebelli. Order the Acantos. http://www.montebelli.com/montebelli/the-grounds-montebelli-farm.htm
Ciao, bello! Can’t wait to see you capture the heart and soul of Toscano through your photos!
Amazing B&W images, Ken! Several years ago, I did a quick stomp through Rome with an instamatic. Ugh. Next time, I definitely will stay longer, take my time, and hope to bring home some pics similar to yours.
Ken Kaminesky says
Art, that’s part of why I love the feel of B&W images on ancient ruins and buildings too. As Einstein said: “Imagination can take you anywhere”
Siddhartha, give it a shot. The initial trial is free, you have nothing to lose.
Lisa, thanks so much! Rome IS amazing :)
Ilaria, this is great advice and tips! I really appreciate it. I hope to get the chance to use this advice now :)
Bruce, so true… Rome never looks bad, from any angle.
Jonb, noted and thanks!
Cherie, my pleasure… Come again soon.
Adriana, I’ll make a note and look it up, thanks!
Carlos, gracias amigo :D
Micah, it takes practice, patience, photoshop, and planning. ;)
Ashray, Thank you. The ruins really do feel ancient this way, I love it.
Michelle, Yup… I’d move there too if i could. Likely the most beautiful country in the world. Cheers for the great tips!
Danielew, any excuse to head back to rome is a good excuse!
Corporate Headshots says
The Ponte Sant’Angelo image is simply stunning. Superb work of the highest creativity.
Maria Alexandra @latinAbroad says
Ooohhhh Rome, how much I miss thee! Your photos transported me back to my trip there last year. Man, life-long dream came true, for sure. It is even more captivating in person, although your photos did it great justice! ;) My favorite place is the Pantheon. It is absolutely breath-taking inside. And the aura is indescribable.
Eric @ Trans-Americas Journey says
Awesome photos. I love the HDR effect in B+W
Nomadic Samuel says
These are incredible shots!
Stephanie - The Travel Chica says
Words cannot describe how amazing these photos are.
Are these all HDR?
Seriously spectacular photos Ken. Great work as always :D
Doug Porter says
Hi Ken, I am awestruck by your amazing imagery, can’t wait to see what you do with ‘ Bella Venezia ‘ che bella .
wow, amazing. i like this pic, arghh. LOL
by the way, you are awesome photographer. bye :)
Liz Decker says
I just found your site while searching for St. Paul’s Basilica…particularly the portraits of the popes. A new Pope was elected yesterday, which reminded me of the portraits of the Popes I had seen. At the time there were 3 blank medallions for the remaining Popes, which signified the end of Rome and/or the world. Since that time, John Paul passed away, and Pope Benedict has resigned. So according to the legend/prediction, it appears Pope Francesco is the last Pope. Your photo took me back to relive my too-short visit to Rome and this particular Basilica and the awe it inspired…what a treasure. Thank you for the imaginery visit and the renewed interest in this particular story of the Popes. I will be sure to return to your site when I need another mental vacation. Have many more blessed journeys and thank you for sharing.
Amazing shots! I’m from Rome and I go to these places often, but seeing them through your lens is an amazing experience. :)
very well done!! amazing and very tasteful…thanks for sharing
Dating Headshots Vancouver says
High quality images! I want to go to those places. :) I would like to extend my appreciation to the photographer of those images.
These pictures look like somebody drew them by pencil.
Does this software work effectively on a batch of images so one can apply the effects to a stop motion sequence?
Lee Coles says
quality article, and love the HDR effect mate