Travel photography: Rome 2019
May 11, 2019
Before we start looking at some images I'd like to share something I found interesting. As you may know I enjoy to take pictures all around the world and I like to geo-tag those images. That I do for various purposes - as a reminder of where I have been (like those maps with pins in them), to have the possibility to recreate a specific shot at a later time (maybe with better equipment or skill) or also to be able to quickly filter images for certain locations.
To do this efficiently I'm not using one of those bulky and expensive GPS modules that can be attached to the flash hotshoe of the camera but a GPS device that almost everyone carries at all times - a smartphone. By simply synchronizing the camera clock precisely to the phone time and then geo-tracking with an appropriate app, one is able to add exact GPS coordinates to all images in post processing.
Additionally I wrote a little piece of software that will combine a number of separate GPS-tracks (I usually record one track per day) to a single large track that includes all the locations visited during the entire trip. This not only streamlines the tagging process since you can apply coordinates to all images with one click, it also looks cool.
I just wanted to share this image because I think it is very neat and also useful to have your entire trip on record like this.
Due to the geographic vicinity to my home (Austria and Italy are neighboring states) I have visited Italy many times in the past. There is already a short article about Venice on this website and also one about my extensive trip from Naples via the Amalfi coast down to sunny Puglia that I did a couple of years ago. But especially the northern regions I have visited extensively albeit before I was into photography. A special gem is Tuscany with its capital Florence, where I have been when I was just starting to take pictures more seriously but in hindsight those are not actually good (admittedly I did think I was pretty good at the time).
Where I had never been however, was Italy's capital city - it's economical and cultural center and one of the historically most important cities in the world - Rome. It was about time to make up for this shortcoming and so I took my time - nine complete days for a thorough photographic exploration.
While that does seem like a long time for just one place, there is a large difference in just visiting to see some sights and visiting to take proper pictures. Often it is necessary to visit the same spot multiple times for better conditions; additionally the appropriate times for photography are the early morning and the late afternoon. In light of this you'll probably find your time dwindling from seemingly several days to just a few hours.
Photography in Rome
As one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in Europe, Rome is home to countless historical treasures.
Saint Peter's Basilica is the largest church in the world and the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture. It replaced the Old St. Peter's Basilica from the 4th century that was built on the supposed burial site of Saint Peter. It took 120 years to construct.
The best part about Rome is in my opinion the still tangible spirit of the ancient Roman empire, embodied through the amazing buildings and ruins existing to this day.
By far the most important sight and the symbol of Rome since almost 2000 years is the Amphitheatrum Flavium, better known under its modern name Colosseum. The largest amphitheatre ever to be built was capable of holding upwards of 50,000 spectators. Gladiatorial contests, animal hunts, executions and sea-battles in the flooded arena were just some of the events that took place for the entertainment of the Roman people.
Nowadays much of the southern façade of the building has collapsed and the seats of the auditorium are factually nonexistent. Nevertheless the structure is an exceptional testimony to the architectural mastery of the ancient Romans.
My thoughts on the state of modern Rome
Rome is without a doubt one of the most impressive and culturally most important cities of the world. During my stay I could however never really shake the thought that this was thanks due to the people that lived there hundreds and thousands of years ago. Modern Romans seem to be adding little value to this historical place. Many public services that are nowadays taken for granted in European Capital cities are performing at a basic capacity at best or occasionally not at all at worst.
The constantly unpunctual but overcrowded public transportation is one example. Even worse is the city's trash management. In no place I have ever been I had to spend so much time picking up trash before taking a picture and cloning out the remaining litter during post processing. Seriously, removing junk with the repair tool in those photos took about as much time as all other post processing steps combined.
This is only my personal opinion and I'm probably seeing this to harshly but the current state of the city is unworthy of its unrivaled historical legacy and significance. I feel like if the ancient Romans could be magically brought back to life and put in charge, that city would look different entirely.
Thanks for reading!