Back from Rome

Started Jul 20, 2007 | Discussions thread
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mrp1124
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Back from Rome
Jul 20, 2007

Hey everyone,

I just got back from a week and a half vacation from Rome and Madrid. Before I left I asked you guys for some advice on how much memory to take with me. What I got was much more than just memory card info ... I got responses on places to go and things to do. Here is the link to your responses:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1034&thread=23679117

Anyway, to get to the good stuff ... One of you recommended that I check out a tour called "Rome through a lens" which is given by a National Geographic Photographer - Toni Boccaccio. I just want to say THANKS for the tip because it was by far one of the best experiences that I had in Rome!!!

I will go ahead and write a small review of what I thought of the tour and Toni himself. I shot all of the pics in RAW [and since I have never done that before, it might be a while before I get the chance to process them all :(]

Anyway, here goes what the tour was like just in case any of you are going to Rome anytime soon:

Alright ... I am realizing that if I write a detailed description of the tour, I will be writing for hours on end, so I will just explain the general experience:

GENERAL:

  • Tour starts at 8:30 am in front of the Coliseum.

  • Any camera that you bring is fine. My sister brought her Canon SD1000 point and shoot, I brought my D50 with 18-55, and the couple that also was on the tour brought their D200 with 18-200 VR. Toni had a D200 with 18-70.

  • Toni focuses on teaching you composition instead of all the aperture/shutter speed/iso/settings ... which is great since I have a good grasp on this and as he said "you can read about that at home for free".

  • You walk a lot!, but all well worth it.

  • Indoor (Pantheon) and outdoor shots (everything else).

  • One of the most important things that I took from the time with Toni is that there are 2 kinds of pictures: an information picture and a picture that gives emotion. Good pictures have emotion.

  • Light and Shadows, Line and Form, Color and Contrast!

PROS:

  • There is A LOT of 1-on-1 time with Toni (he only takes a max of 6 people per tour).

  • Toni gives what I would call short assignments about what he teaches you and then asks to look at what you did ... then he will tell you what you did right/wrong and get you to try again.

  • The tour went from 8:30 am till 3:00 pm (instead of the advertised 8:30-12:30)!

  • As we walked along, he would give short historical info and explain why an image that included certain things would be more interesting than just trying to capture everything at once.

  • One thing that helped me a lot was him making us take a picture of the same object from different angles (I was truly surprised at how different the images came out).

  • There is so much to learn in this short period of time, but Toni really makes it easy to have fun and seriously improve your photography in just a couple of hours (at least in my case).

  • At about 1:30 pm when we were done with the 'tour', Toni invited us to come to lunch with him to a non-tourist restaurant. This must have been one of the best parts of my entire trip, since I got to listen to some fascinating stories of when he worked as a National Geographic Photographer. We talked about how he started, what he does now ... how he ended up in Rome ... just anything you wanted to ask he seemed more than happy to answer. Oh yeah ... the food was amazing - 6 appetizers, wine, 3 pastas, and then dessert (all for 18 euros - which was just a great price for the quality and quantity of food compared to everything else that I had seen around). Toni had to leave at 3 to start his next tour, but he gave us some more tips and some encouraging words.

  • There is so much more .. but I would sit here and write for a while so I will stop now. If you guys have any questions I will be more than happy to answer them.

Here is a pic of Toni helping my sister out with one of her shots of the coliseum. I was amazed at the images that my sister was able to capture on her basic point and shoot camera!

CONS:

  • there were none ... I swear!

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