My Travels: Setting up a Tripod in Rome

A peep at San PietroMy evening in Rome started out on Piazza Bologna at a Kosher Sushi Bar called Duruma. It was hot and sticky and a very refreshing Mojito or two prepared me for an evening of photography in Travestere. We drove by car to Piazza Trilussa and got stuck in Roman traffic at 8:30 in the evening! I was late, and Patrizia arrived a little after me on her bicycle. While I waited in the piazza I did not notice any other photographers. It was easy to recognise her when she arrived: she was the only person carrying a tripod in a bag over her shoulder.

Pat is a professional photographer who has been living in Rome for the last five months and has worse in the fashion business in Paris, but is happier doing reportage. I had booked a night shhot with Rome Photo Tours online the week before. After quick introductions we moved off onto Ponte Sisto on the Tiber. There are markets on the banks below the road level with small bright white square marquees set up in rows like some medieval knights congress. There are outdoor cages and bars and even cinemas on the banks of the river and leading onto the Isola Tiberina.

I have not done any serious city night digital photography, and Pat was very helpful in advising settings. We shot a warm sunset over the river with city cupolas in the distance and seagulls dotting the sky. She told me in her listing lispy Spanish accent of one time when she was changing lenses on her camera and her tripod was stolen, so I kept a keen eye on my equipment. It was so hot with a back pack on that I had to wear my bandana at night to prevent the sweat falling in my eyes.

We moved back into Trastevere and set up opposite a bar and did some mood pictures of people sitting at the bar and the interior. I was a bit nervous about shooting without permission but Pat reassured me. We moved into a small intersection on the cobbled streets near Piazza Di Santa Maria in Trastevere and did some great panning shots. By now I was shooting only in black and white and had a lot of fun watching people and trying to capture the mood. We moved into the main piazza but everyone was very still, with the youngsters lounging as if they were on a hot beach, and not on the steps of the fountain. The only people moving were the kids playing its bright blue lights that they launched into the night with catapults.

We moved off to a restaurant with an interesting interior and were taking pictures when an aggressive manager came out and chased us off. Seems he must have had a film star inside or someone who felt guilty because he as having dinner with someone other than his wife. This broke the tone of the shoot for a while until we got onto the Isola Tiberina. This housed outdoor temporary restaurants, cafes, bars, a disco and even a movie house all in the shadow of the ruins of the Ponte Emilio, the remaining arch of an old bridge that has no connection to the banks anymore. Colloquially they call it Il Ponte Rotto, the broken bridge. There were two Geisha dressed Italian beauties with parasols that allowed us to take pictures of them but nothing came out good.

It was a great evening. It was super to have photographic company to empower me to place my tripod and take pictures. Pat was also fun to be with, taking me to spots with good views or angles and we both had fun.

Playing in the shadows in fornt of the gelateria

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