In April 2017, Christine and I headed to Rome for a couple of days with some friends of ours. This was our first time visiting Rome, so I wanted to make sure I came away with some good shots for my portfolio.
I spent weeks planning and searching for locations beforehand. The accomodation we booked was just a two minute walk from the ‘Altare della Patria’ the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument (AKA - The Wedding Cake!). This was a great location as it was just 15 minutes walk from some of the main locations I wanted to visit, and about 40 minutes walk to the Vatican.
We arrived in the late afternoon, and just about managed to check in and walk to the Colosseum for sunset. I shot through sunset and into the blue hour, but there were way too many people around, so it was impossible to get a decent shot.
The next morning I got up and headed out to shoot the blue hour before sunrise. I went to the Colosseum again as I wanted to capture this iconic building whilst it was still lit with artificial light, and hoped that the warm sodium lights would contrast with the cool blue tones of the blue hour. Unfortunately, there were no clouds, so I ended up without a decent shot from this session. I wasn’t going to give up, I would just have to revisit the location the next morning.
For sunset I headed to Ponte St Angelo to shoot a classic composition of the bridge leading to Castel St Angelo. There still weren’t any clouds in the sky, so although I had captured an image I was happy with, I knew it could be improved.
On the second morning I again headed out to shoot the Colosseum. Unfortunately, it was the same story, no clouds in the sky, so I changed plans and decided to shoot the Wedding Cake and Roman Forum instead.
Throughout the day, clouds increased from very light clouds around lunch to some menacing cumulonimbus clouds by late afternoon. Seeing this as a great opportunity to capture a dramatic sky, I decided to shoot the classic shot of the Vatican down the river Tiber. I knew this would be a busy location at sunset, so I got to the location and set up an hour and a half before sunset to ensure I could find the best spot. The clouds continued to tower and I could hear the distant rumble of thunder as a huge thunderstorm made its way South, passing right on top of the area I was in. I did bot have my hard shell jacket or an umbrella, as there was no rain forecast for that day. The rain came, and I didn’t budge, eager to keep my spot and make sure I captured this epic shot. Luckily the Romans seem well prepared, as out of nowhere, the salesmen who usually sell roses and cheap toys started selling umbrellas and ponchos. I bought one of each and weathered the storm. It was definitely worth it, as the huge storm clouds caught some lovely red and orange hues at sunset, really adding to the overall feel of the image.
Confident that I had captured all the frames needed I move to Ponte St Angelo to shoot a shot from on the bridge. This was extremely challenging in the rain as I needed to keep wiping my lens dry to avoid rain drops and flares on my lens. The resulting image though was definitely a keeper!
On the 3rd morning, I headed out to find a very light drizzle, I knew this meant I would be getting the exact shot that I wanted as there were finally some nice clouds in the sky. I set up my composition and shot through the blue hour and captured one of my all time favorite shots, The Colosseum in the blue hour.
As the clouds thickened at sunrise, I shot a couple of long exposures to get the movement in the clouds and smooth them out.
I then also shot the Wedding cake again on the way back to the apartment for breakfast.
After a long day of walking around Rome and sightseeing, with some clouds in the sky, I was confident I could capture a better shot of Ponte and Castel St Angelo than I had done on the first day of the trip. I headed back to the bridge and shot through sunset and blue hour to capture this shot.
Only the way to dinner I also quickly stopped to capture this shot, not as good as it can be, as it was already pretty dark, but definitely one to try improve on next time!
Having tried to visit the Trevi fountain on 3 seperate occasions unsuccessfully throughout the trip (Too many people to get anywhere near the fountain), Christine and I headed there an hour and a half before sunrise on our final day so that I would be able to capture a few shots before the crowds arrived. We got there and only found one other couple there. I shot several panos and ended up with the below photo as a result.
Our weekend break in Rome was great, its an incredible place, and I am sure I will be back some day!