Saturday, September 24, 2011

In Between

The bus took those of us staying for Week Two to Florence where we had the evening to ourselves. As in years past, we stayed at the Hotel Olympia, with it's teeny tiny elevator and where the toilets and sinks are actually in the shower. Hey! This time we at least had wooden double doors to the bathroom! I think they converted a closet or something.

No... Potts is NOT really "on the potty", he is just in the picture to add interest.

Here is the view from our window. I balanced the camera on the ledge. Glad I didn't drop it!

Florence is a city with action from morning to the wee hours of the night, but we were so exhausted that we ventured out just for a panini and some gelato. Then we hit the hay. The rock band playing on the piazza below didn't even keep us from our sleep.

Randy's Favorites from the Lakes

At the end of the week, a slideshow is made up of each participants favorite photographs. Hearts and souls are evident in these images. It is my favorite part of the week, I tend to get very emotional as I rediscover Italy through their eyes. So inspirational!

Here are Randy's favorite images.
First image was to be a self-portrait.
(Please listen to your favorite Italian music while viewing.)

The Lakes People

One of the very BEST parts of the trip are the people that come along.
They come from every walk of life - psychologists, executives, radiologists, nurses, architects, attorneys, engineers, homemakers, and one 14-year-old. Only three are professional photographers. Drake, Randy, and Sy. Only four (maybe six) were new to the workshop and came as first-timers.
They are fun, friendly, and extremely teachable...
and have one thing in common...
a passion for photography and by the time we are finished, 
a great love for the country of Italy.
That's why WE keep coming back.

Thanks, Drake, for an unforgettable week in Italy's Lakes District!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Last Stop in the Lakes District

Varenna  There's a cool walkway into the village.

They have one of the BEST gelato shops.

I purchased my one and only souvenir from the Lakes District here. (Besides all the gelato that I will bring back around my middle!)

I do believe it is my favorite village of all.

The water had been calling me all week. I couldn't leave Lake Como without swimming in it first. Somehow I coerced Randy to come with me. And Kate wouldn't let us back out 'cause she wanted to come too. The only convenient place we could find to go in was near the boats by our hotel. It really wasn't quite the memorable experience of Lake Orta a few years back. It was quite cold, which has never bothered me before, but a gazillion flies were buzzing right at eye level.  We only had the gumption to swim to the nearest buoy and back. At least I could say I did it!

P.S. When I climbed out, I found that I had cut my right foot. It bled all the way back to the hotel. Kind of gross!

While Potts is...

While Potts is doing THIS...

and THIS...

photo by Sy Snarr
 or THIS...

most often I can be found doing THIS...
photo by Sy Snarr
 and THIS...
photo by Tim Baker
and sometimes THIS.
photo by Sy Snarr
Potts' time is taken teaching, coaching, encouraging, but that's okay; that's why he's here and he absolutely loves to share all the accumulated knowledge he has stored upstairs. I thoroughly enjoy seeing him in action.

This is what's nice about knitting; I can stay busy and somewhat productive and still converse others and take in everything that is going on around me.

Guess I'll just have to take more pictures.

Two Italian Models

Today we were joined by two Italian Models and a local photographer. They traveled with us for the day and the class was coached on basic portrait lighting.

First Stop - Villa Balbianello as seen in James Bond's Casino Royale and the movie Ocean's Twelve. I don't recall the scenes in the movies -- guess I'll just have to watch them again.

Randy helped a group photograph the retired architect model...

While Drake worked with young Mikayla.
Photo by Stu Wheelright
It might be the Italian way, but Mikayla's clothing choices were quite skimpy. This was the MOST she had brought to wear. Drake had asked her to come in something timeless and vintage. I think the intention was lost in translation.

After the villa field trip, we bused to a local pizzeria for lunch...

Photo by Heather Hobbs

Then on to another small village...

... where the photographers were given more portrait experience.

This time, Randy worked with Mikayla. He had her set up against a door.
Suddenly the door flew open, and Mikayla jumped a mile. A very tiny little old lady came out, spoke some Italian a million miles a minute, then went back in shutting the door behind her. 

Her daughter-in-law came to the upstairs window sporting a smile. (We had an interpreter.) "Grandmother" had come back into the house remarking, "Someone outside has lost her pants, and I think they're all trying to find them."

It gave us all a good laugh.
I TOLD you she wasn't wearing much. 
photo by Shaun McFarland

Next Stop - The Piano Nature Reserve recommended by the local photographer.

Forgot your fishing pole? Just use your tripod!