Stories from Italy, Traveling with a photo model is pretty cool
Before I get to the trip, story and photos, let me expalain why this one matters. Becuase if next COVID doesn't come around this trip was a start of new era for me. Or I so I think 🤔Before I was a physicist I was a photographer. OK I was also a scout, but that's a story for another time. By the time I finished high-school everyone was like: "Wait you are gone study what? Physics? I though you're gonna be a photographer?"I though so too, but by that time I had enough friends from physics and photography camp that I knew that I didn't want to be broke. And to be clear I don't regret putting photography aside for several years not a single bit.When I was a kid my dad got me my first camera, one with film, that was 1998-ish. I did use a few films, but didn't get far. Then at the end of primary school I started peaking interest in photography again. So when I was 14, 2008 I embarked on the journey of picking my first DSLR. I picked Nikon D-90 with iron frame (heavy and nicely sits in hand, plus pretty robust), because my dad had Nikon F-90, an bunch of gear. Side note dad used to photograph, a lot.14 year later, camera might be all banged up, but it still works brilliantly:(DSLR with small lens)Then for next four years I was photographing like mad. 40 to 60 thousand photos a year, if there was an event either in high school or scouting I was photographing. Period. The first significant photo project was Jamboree in Sweden, 2011 this one was though, first month long travel abroad, plus I really had a chance to photograph a unique experience. Took me months to edit the photos. Till the time I started Uni, I wouldn't say I improved much. Still sucked at photo editing.Then as I was finishing high school 2013 and new some stuff already I crossed paths with Tina Ramujkic a professional photographer. Here workshops and lessons had a very large effect on me. I went with photography to the next level. But a year after we met I started studying physics and there was no more photography. For a year.Then in 2014, Slovenia hosted a large scouting event, World Scout conference. And I signed up for photography slot, I was a bit cocky at the time and though I was good enough to lead the photo team. I wasn't and I'm still not on the level that the photo team boss Iztok Hvala was at the conference. The first day we looked at the photos, I submitted 10 from the first evening shoot, I thought they were pretty good. Iztok trashed all but one, for which he said: you fucked up a, b, c, ... but it's publishable. Am OK 👀, those critics were bit harsher then the ones my dad gave me till then. But on point.That week was a cold shower that I needed, took my photography skills to the next level and I learned how to edit with Lightroom really fast. Cause if we were slow Iztok started breading down our necks. Not to mention that he's pretty tall and muscular. You said yes sir and did what he said. We had to perform and we dutifully obeyed an also learned, a lot. Because it was clear he was the pro, we were the noobs. But Iztok was also a brilliant boss, that really invested into us and took care of us.Funnily the photography experience at World Scout Conference helped me land my first job as a bachelor student in physics during summer a year later 😂 Bit of back story. In 2015, Slovenian High Energy Physics community hosted the Lepton Photon conference . Which is a really big deal. I attended as a student and was supposed to carry the mic around to audience when there were questions. You can imagine that I wasn't thrilled about my job. Even got into a bit of an argument with my later boss Andrej.Then I noticed that the local PhD student that was responsible to be an official photographer wasn't too thrilled about here job. I said I can help, they dismissed me, but then the next day I showed with a "cannon" did few shots, which were orders of magnitude better then what others were capable to do (as I look back I think my stuff was actually crap) and in span of 3h I was an official conference photographer with access to everything 🤓BTW if you check the group photo you can see that I fucked up the sharpness. To low aperture 🤦. They didn't mind, but I did. Learned the hard way that group photo of 200 people is not sth. you get a do-over on. Anyhow I performed overall well enough that Andrej Gorišek offered me a physics student job at F9, IJS. Which lead to programming experience, ETH, CERN, all sorts of physics lessons and then to my master thesis and my current PhD position. In some sense photography opened the doors for me in physics that would otherwise stay closed. Ironically in the process when physics opportunities ramped up, my photography activity decreased. But the lesson is this. You never know when the hard work will pay off. Then for few years I barely picked up the camera up.In 2018 I signed up to go to US as a patrol leader, for the World Scout Jamboree, I pretty much forgot about photography by than. Had other priorities a start-up, CERN internship, master thesis and bunch of other broken promises. Then one evening we were singing sth. and kids pulled out lighters and started waving them around. I ran to a collage for a camera and tried to take a shot. Fucked it up (fingers were to rusty and didn't know the machine), but sth. Woke up. The desire to shoot again. Photos to be clear 🤨What followed was a more ambitious project Jamboree, 2019, USA , here I attempted to photograph for 30 days and publish each day a blog post. I did manage to publish sth. each, day but some posts came a bit later 🙂 Being responsible for 9 kids and keeping up a daily photo-written story blog is not easy. But I again upgraded my skills, significantly.On the USA trip the kids in my troop asked me: "We noticed you photograph very little." And I explained that with experience you look first hard for a story, figure out the lighting in you head then when the moment arises you take the shot:(Like this biker, smoke in NY)But they didn't buy it and went on and on while they were standing on the wall, I took the camera up made one shot and went away. "Hey you didn't let us get into the pose." I was a bit smug and showed the photo:(My troop on the wall)"Oh wow, oh wow. We love it." Lesson observe, capture the moment. That's it. Sounds easy? Well with 10+ years of practice it is.Then back before COVID started in 2020, I wanted to restart the photography. Had an email for Tina, ready to be to sent on how to take things to the next level, but was waiting to start the new job, the PhD. Then two weeks later after my contract stated Slovenia went into the first lock down, and the idea about photo journalising photography like here went to ice. OK whole world went on ice, but I guess you noticed that.But as part of the idea I upgraded my gear:(DSLR with small lens)I like to tease people and start with that small lens, so they perceive me as nobody, but then when the real shit starts, I pull out the big guns 😛(DSLR with large lens)And yeah that's all the photo gear that I have. OK two more backpacks and that's it. Used to have the external flesh, grip, ... But now I carry the minimal amount of stuff around to to good photos. So when new photographers ask me about the gear? Get one very good lens, then photograph all the time. After years of practice, start considering new gear.Then in the beginning of 2022 I get out of the blue an email from Tina, one of my former photography mentors, to come and visit her new studio and a photo exhibition . After the photo exhibition in beginning of March, I tagged along for a day trip to Italy, a photo walk as they call it.Now enough about 14 years of history. The story and photos that were the result of the 26th of March trip are below:
Udine - PortoPiccolo - MiraMare- Trieste
Besides if the foot traffic at Frankfurt AirPort from a week ago is any indication, then travel is picking back up to towards the pre-COVID era.
As Italians emerged at around 10ish the city filled up. As one elderly illustrated at that hour is that it's never too early to drink white, snack chips and read the day's newspaper in the sun. I still don't have the courage to take photos of people being immersed in their life.Got to enjoy life.Sometimes you've got to look up:
Second most expensive cup of black tea I had. Also pretty good. BTW if you're in the very strong sun and the waiter can't get your QR code on the COVID pass to "work" move the whole affair into the shade. Poor rich lady can't have a moment of privacy with all the paparazzi swirling around the exclusive resort.
Little castle swarming with Italians getting some fresh air in the nice park. Pro tip: Take a shot of insulin before you visit this place, or don't eat sugar for few days prior, place is as cheesy as they get.
We had to do the sunset, despite that we were all hungry already:Ice-cream, the boss reminded me a bit of this guy:Niffler from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them (see here from 01:43 on). Hungry for coins. And yes the Niffler is trying to store in his pocket a gold bar.As I quite literally rip the fruits of the trip:OK strawberries are from Spain. Sure food isn't arranged into the most instagramble formation, but Italian cheese, proscutio, chocolate are still 🤤 12 photos out of 150 shot is a good outcome.