Frascati (Italy) is an ancient city, which is situated on the hills above Rome, in the South. It’s famous by its view on the Rome. The view is especially beautiful at night, but there are other unknown sight-seen – ancient villas and gardens.
I’ve been there many times before I discovered this side of the city and its surrounding. Many villas are private and their gardens are closed, but some of them are a national heritage and gardens of such villas are open for the public. You can smell a mystery and history in such places. Villas are full with the underground passages and hidden rooms for secret society meetings. On the villa, which I visited, Lions Club still meets. Some gardens still have parts of an ancient paved roads which were leading to Rome.
These hills are also famous by the city named Castel Gandolfo. The summer residence of the Pope is located there, but this is a story for another post.
The story of the world’s first electron–positron storage ring, the Anello di Accumulazione (AdA), starts in the hills above Rome. In a small city named Frascati. It is famous for many things, but first above by its beautiful view on Rome.
AdA was built in Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN), under the leadership of Bruno Touschek, it stored its first beams in February 1961. A year later it was transported to France, to a small city in the neighborhood of Paris named Orsay.
The story of Soaring Cupola photograph begins in 2009. That year I was spending my vacation in a beautiful Italian capital – Rome. Late at night as we were walking from Saint Angelo castle (Castel Sant’Angelo) in the darkness I was stunned by the beautiful view of the bridge and azur cupola of St. Peter’s basilica floating above the Tiber river. I could not resist and took a picture. The Rome nights in March chilly and I managed to take just a couple of shots before the wind pierced me. (You can notice the wind even on a long exposure photographs below.)
Since then I was planning to retake this shot in a more appropriate time to eliminate dark areas and high contrast.
5 years later in 2014 I finally found time to retake it. I came to the place to find that this composition doesn’t really work for me, doesn’t communicate my filling of the place. The sense of the depth was lost and there were some distracting elements. I found a new position which I liked more and started to wait for the perfect light, but that day light show was happening above my head – not above the selected subject. So I had to wait longer. When the lights were switched on clouds start organizing to an interesting structure. I was hopping that one of the clouds will emphasize structure of the cupola and this did happen. I like how background clouds are separated behind the cupola on the final shot.
I spent around 1.5 hour in my ambush on the bridge, talking with tourists and Pakistani guys selling souvenirs. I had a nice time patiently waiting for the shot.
You can buy a print here or contact me if you are interested in photo modification/raw format.
Many times I’ve been asked – What to photograph in the middle of the day or how to use the harsh day light.
I think many of us were trapped by the harsh light in the middle of the day during a travel. Same happened to me in Rome, when I was enjoying a walk to an evening location, which I have selected couple days before. The sun was still above my head and light was quite harsh. Passing Fountana di Trevi I noticed how beautifully the light was falling on one of a figures.
The scene reminded me of baroque paintings tecnique with the main characters advancing from a dark background. Actually the figures of the fountain were created in the baroque period and the fountain is the largest baroque fountain in the city.
So, I had a baroque figure and a baroque light, I only had to find a composition which would work.
There are following elements which make the picture work for me:
Rhythm in shadows and highlights
Diagonal rising composition
I believe this is a good example on how even the harsh light can assist in bringing out a special character of a picture.