Mouzon Images: Blog http://images.mouzon.com/blog en-us (C) Mouzon Images steve@mouzon.com (Mouzon Images) Thu, 21 Jul 2016 19:29:00 GMT Thu, 21 Jul 2016 19:29:00 GMT http://images.mouzon.com/img/s3/v26/u1042088695-o269098252-50.jpg Mouzon Images: Blog http://images.mouzon.com/blog 120 120 Portofino Night Shots http://images.mouzon.com/blog/2016/7/portofino-night-shots

We arrived in Portofino for the first time just before nightfall, after riding the train from Milan to Santa Margherita Ligure and then taking a taxi from the station the last few kilometers along the coast road. We had no reservations in Portofino... we typically travel in Europe with no reservations, preferring to simply follow the beauty. So when the taxi driver dropped us off in the upper square (not the one everyone’s seen in all the photos) the first order of business was to find a hotel for the evening. We happened to be just a few steps from the Hotel San Giorgio, so we tried there first. It turns out we were able to negotiate a great rate, as usual... when you show up early in the evening, any rooms that are left are unlikely to be rented to anyone else.

So after settling in, we headed down to the harbor for dinner. Wanda and I were traveling with Wanda’s sister Janna; just after we left for Italy, Wanda and Janna’s grandmother, who was 97 years old and in failing health, had taken a turn for the worse, and wasn’t expected to live until we returned. We were nearly finished with dinner when the call came. I was the only one with a phone that worked in Europe on that trip. When I looked down and saw it was their dad calling, my blood ran cold. He asked to speak to Wanda. But he wasn’t calling to tell them Lela was gone... rather, she had rallied and wanted to speak with them both from her hospital bed! The old lady, who had been a member of America’s legion of Rosie the Riveters in World War II, had pulled back from the brink one more time!

These photos were taken after dinner that evening, as we explored the edges of the harbor. The evening was one of those rare instances where great beauty experienced for the first time coincides with a memorable personal event. I don’t know if the images justly depict how firmly that evening is imprinted in my mind; you be the judge. All images were shot hand-held with available light at insanely long exposures, so large prints will not have the sharp focus of a sunlit image, but in my opinion, that contributes to the romance of the night images. Here's the full Zenfolio gallery.

Enjoy!

~Steve

]]>
steve@mouzon.com (Mouzon Images) Milan Portofino Santa Margherita Ligure boats harbor sidewalk cafe yachts http://images.mouzon.com/blog/2016/7/portofino-night-shots Thu, 21 Jul 2016 19:25:35 GMT
Segovia http://images.mouzon.com/blog/2016/7/segovia Original Green icon image

The Segovia day was the sweetest shooting screw-up of my photography career. I was in Spain for a few days late in 2009, and had it totally clear in my mind that I was returning the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. No doubt about it. But Tuesday morning, I got a call from the guy from whom I was renting the little apartment asking me what time I would be leaving. Panic ensued as I checked and found that I was actually ticketed for Tuesday. I frantically threw all my stuff in the gear bag and suitcase and drove like a maniac for the airport. I ended up missing the flight, and paying way too much to get re-booked for the next day. My original plan was to spend that Tuesday in Madrid, but since I was already so far out of town and had no place to stay in Madrid that night, why not look for a little town in which to shoot instead? I already had several days of shooting in Madrid, after all.

I did some quick web searching while I still had airport wifi and settled on Segovia. By the time I got to town, rented a room for the night, and stashed my stuff, the afternoon sun was already making a quick descent in the Western sky. I made my way back from the Plaza Mayor to the town’s entrance under the fabulous aqueduct, the best I’ve ever seen. And so began an afternoon and evening of shooting that probably produced more 5-star shots than any other day of my life until now. As a matter of fact, the 5-stars almost outnumbered the 3-stars.

It wasn’t me, of course… the light was perfect. And Segovia is filled with iconic scene after iconic scene, beginning with the one above, which I now use as the Original Green title image. I normally walk everywhere, but I had driven to the town gate both to save time and also because I was certain there would be some great shots of the castle from the valley below. The castle didn’t disappoint. It’s not Cinderella’s castle… it’s a little smaller, but probably more iconic because it encapsulates so much “castle-ness” into a smaller body. And the way it’s perched on the rock outcropping is totally classic.

When the valley shoot was done, I drove quickly back to my hotel and stashed the car, finally on foot for the first time. The Plaza Mayor was excellent, with late afternoon sun streaming all across. I walked first back toward the town gate, where  I got some even better aqueduct shots than earlier, and from highter ground. I then began a trek back to the castle, hoping they might let me in. There’s an excellent shopping street that runs the ridge of the hilltop town, with great little storefronts along the way.

I made it to the castle just as the sun was setting, and… well, just check out the images yourself. Maybe I’m just too much in love with them because of my memories of the amazingly perfect afternoon. But the shots around the castle, and then within and on the rooftop (yes, they let me in) were just stunning. Whenever you have a chance to get shots from high ground or from a tower, do it… it’s a vantage point you don’t often experience.

As sunset faded to nightfall, I finally made my way back out, then along the main street back to the Plaza Mayor, getting about three dozen excellent night shots with the fading light of day stretching in a perfect gradient from the horizon up to the black of the night sky. And yes, the next morning, I actually made it to the airport on time and made it home for Thanksgiving.

Enjoy!

~Steve

SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave]]>
steve@mouzon.com (Mouzon Images) Original Green Segovia Spain aqueduct castle city wall http://images.mouzon.com/blog/2016/7/segovia Thu, 21 Jul 2016 19:23:42 GMT
Silo City http://images.mouzon.com/blog/2016/7/silo-city CNU22 at Buffalo's Silo City      

The road to Silo City twisted painfully through so much industrial wasteland on the outskirts of Buffalo that both we and our taxi driver were completely convinced at various times that we were hopelessly lost. But Siri never gave up, and eventually, we bumped off the road and onto the long driveway. Silo City had at one time been a massive shipping hub, collecting grain from the American and Canadian heartlands into too many monumental silos to count as night drew close. But like so many things in the region, the fall had been hard and brutal. I’m not sure how many (if any) of them were still in use, but the sprawling site had in recent years taken on another use as a gathering spot for large open-air events.

The cavernous central square between two huge banks of silos was lined on one side with food trucks that seemed like mere matchboxes at the feet of the towering cylinders. A quick glance revealed that those of us who had come for the Congress for the New Urbanism were decidedly in the minority, with most of the crowd apparently being locals. I assumed they would keep their distance from the planning and architecture geeks that we are, but a strange thing happened as the light faded in the west and the house lights came on: the locals began to gravitate to the hundreds of seats encircling the stage just as we did. Apparently they were going to give us a chance to entertain them.

The opening act was Sjoerd Soeters, a fascinating Dutch architect I can’t believe I’d never known beforehand, especially because so much of his work dealt with issues I’m concerned with as well. But then Andrés Duany stepped up, and in the rarest of form. The sky had deepened to the blackest of violet and the light show had taken on heroic proportions as Andrés launched into an oratory for the ages. He told me later “when I saw how they were responding, I went straight into full-on Mussolini mode.”

At first, I shot from the front corner of the crowd, but realized I was missing the best angle of all, so I slipped behind the stage and wedged myself into a crevice where I captured what are undoubtedly the most heroic images I’ve ever shot. Andrés’ presentation occupies slightly less than half of the 57 images in the gallery; the rest are of the Silo City setting, mostly taken in the last golden glow of evening sun.

Enjoy!

~Steve

]]>
steve@mouzon.com (Mouzon Images) Andrés Duany Buffalo CNU Congress for the New Urbanism Silo City http://images.mouzon.com/blog/2016/7/silo-city Thu, 21 Jul 2016 19:12:37 GMT