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How Did I Get That Photo – Traveling to Italy Part 1

1383-0041Last year my wife and I went to Italy for a 25th anniversary. It was the first time for both of us and my wife knew that I would be photographing quite a bit. My wife is wonderful and understanding, as we have an agreement that I can go out early in the morning and photograph whatever I want while she is asleep in her bed and then we can meet for breakfast. This worked out quite well as I shot over 21,000 images, but of course a lot of those were HDR.

As this was our first time in Italy and we were traveling to many different cities, I needed to research different places to photograph and get some ideas of where and when would be the best times to photograph. I have been asked by many people how I knew where I want to go and where did I find information on these places to photograph. This brings me to a great point when traveling to new places that you have not been to and where to start researching for places or ideas you would want to shoot.

1413-0016My first place to start is a website called 500px. This website has some of the best of the best images, it is a high end Flickr and the places I start when I’m going to go to a new place. Sometimes it will give you the city and the location of where the photograph was taken, but a lot of times it will not and you have to do a little bit more research to find out exactly where it is. So my next place to go on the web is Google images. Here you’ll have to go through a lot of bad and vacation photography, but in the end you will find some great locations with a lot more information of where they’re at and how to get there.

1378-0536As I was searching for places in Italy I found a video by some college students who had traveled around the Chianti area near Siena and it showed this winery with great architecture. Now, as some of you know, I am a wine lover, but the architecture at this winery was incredible and as soon as I showed this video to my wife we went online and booked a tour of this winery. I a lot more images to go through but here are two from them winery.

1392-03161392-0895Another image that I wanted to photograph was of the double helix stairway in the Vatican Museum. There are many photographs of it, but most have a lot of people walking through it and as you cannot use a tripod inside the museum it would be hard to remove people out in Photoshop. I did my research and found that there was an early tour that would get me into the museum at 7:30 AM, well before the public would be allowed in. we where able to get into the Sistine Chapel before there were lots of people, but it also allowed me to get to the stairwell just as the museum opened and I was able to photograph it without anyone around.

1416-0287Another great resource for travel that will also give you some photography ideas is Rick Steves. He has a show on PBS and travels the world with quite a lot of information and he goes to unique spots that are out of the way that have great photographic potential and he’ll give you some great travel tips in the process to.

Hope this helps you get some great pictures the next time you’re out traveling around. Look for more on Italy to come.


  • Elaine Larimer - Great advise, thanks Randy! Beautiful shots too!

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