Fun at Madame Tussauds in London, with a Leica Q

Last week I was in London for a pleasure trip with my sister and my nephew who had never been in the city before. Of course, it’s been a touristic stay, visiting the classic sightseeing, including the famous Madame Tussauds, where the waxworks of famous and historic people and also popular film character are exposed. I was not planning to do serious photography there, I mean, with my Leica Q, but only souvenirs snaps with the iphone. But, wait a moment…
Once in, I realized that this place could be a good gym where to train a kind of street photography, where the subjects, does’nt move at all!!
And having my nephew and my sister role playing with the statues, well, I realised I could make some nice photos.
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Slow travel: from Luxembourg city to Mola di Bari, Puglia by train ( with a Leica Q)

Finally, It is time to be on the road again, or, in this case, on the rails… Yes, indeed, this time I’ve decided to start my journey at a much slower pace. because I want to enjoy and feel it.

When and how the idea was born

Before getting on board for my next long distance trip (I’ll tell you where soon…), I have few days free and I need to reach my hometown, Mola di Bari, in the south of Italy. Of course,  by instinct, the first thing I would do is to go to Ryanair website and book a direct flight that in only 2 hours will bring me home.

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Milano, street life – A collection of pictures, with a Leica SL

Milano, here we are! It took me almost 13 years before I could come back to the city where I’ve studied and lived for three years, from years 2003 to 2006.

I have to admit, I’m not a fan of this city, but I cannot ignore the fact that is the only real big city in Italy, undoubtedly, the only city with a vibrant and dynamic life that flows between its streets.

Comparing to 13 years ago, Milano has grown and changed a lot, and even though it is not the place I would love to live in, it is for sure a great playground for street and travel photographer, like me.

Unfortunately, I had only 24 hours to get the most out of it, and, of course, my Leica SL and the two great lenses I always carry along. the Summicron M 28mm f2 ASPH and the Summicron M 50mm f2.

24 hours is not too much but can be a lot, If you stay around until 5 am… 🙂

Go to Duomo in the middle of the night!

Visiting the area of  Duomo, the Milano’s gothic cathedral, at night, totally empty from tourists, is a unique experience that I highly suggest you.

There is a kind mystic atmosphere, where the magnificent Duomo dominates over everything making you feel a tiny ant.

But one of my requirements, for my photography, is to always add a human being element to the scene, so I had to wait a bit for someone to cross the empty square, and it happened just very few times.

This is one of my favourites:

A city full of tourists, a challenge for myself

About my street photography, the challenge was to capture a candid moment of life, trying to avoid the tourists as much as possible and, mostly, avoid being trivial and obvious.

That was not easy at all.

To achieve that, giving the fact that I could only be in the city centre, I had to walk continuously and obsessively observe everything to find the perfect moment. And there were few captured moments, I’m quite proud of:

1. Love has no gender.

Maybe an obvious shot, but to me, it isn’t. These two girls were passionately kissing each other, ignoring everyone else all around. Pure love.

They grabbed my attention and so I’ve tried to approach discretely while contextualizing the scene adding the dominating Duomo in the background and the small pigeon in the foreground.

2. The smoking lady

Here, I like the way the light is somehow shaping the scene, guiding your eyes from the bench to the cigarette, and up toward the castle.


And here is the rest of the pictures… I hope you will find something interesting…

Milano, street life – Series of 20

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See you soon Milan, I hope to come back soon as there is still a lots of life to photograph!


Useful links:

To buy as prints or digital high resolution files, please go to my official porfolio page here:

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Cheers,
Sabino

 

My London: candid moments of urban and street life – with a Leica M

Hello, folks!
Today I want to bring you in 
one of the most photographed places in the world, clearly a very touristic destination: London City.

I know, you are already thinking about the Big Ben, the London Bridge, Picadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and so on… Do these names sound familiar to you, right? I must admit, also for me, the city was always just about that.

Stay there, don’t leave, because this time I will show you a side of London that you are not used to see, as I will try to go more local, more Britis, If I may say so…

To get more original pictures, always follow the locals.

Being a street photographer, after some years of experience, I’ve learned that the best side of a place, the real soul, is always away from the touristic paths, where the locals are used to spend their daily routine.

And so, after many many times visiting London, and coming back always with the same boring pictures, I’ve decided to get rid of any transportation and explore another side of the city, all by foot, along the entire weekend.

With a Leica M and my legs.

At the end of these exhausting but certainly exciting two days, and walking for an incredible distance of 35km, I’ve seen a beautiful and vibrant side of the city, that I’ve never seen before.

with me, other than my beautiful wife, my lovely Leica M typ 262 and the two lenses, Summicron M 28mm f2 ASPH, and Summicron M 50mm f2

All starts from Mile End.

The long walking path starts from Mile End, and continue following the Regent’s Canal, then passing through Islington and then I just randomly choose the directions by following the instinct.

It was tough, but I may say that for the first time, I’ve breath the real British side of London, feeling not as a classic tourist. I finally had the chance to see a genuine of local life that you will never see around the most famous and iconic sightseeing.

And here are the pictures…

My London, candid moments of urban and street life

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Like my pictures?

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How to buy my pictures

All the photos you see can be purchased, as high-resolution digital files (different licensing options) or as a Fine Art Signed print, at my personal portfolio website www.sabinoparente.com

Please click on the button below, if you want to browse the complete gallery and/or buy any of the photos.

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Thanks a lot for reading,
cheers,
Sabino

Cuba, life at the doorstep – 10 candid street photos – Part 2

…and here is the second part of my photo series about candid life in Cuba.

Please read the full story from the Part 1 article here

Which one you like the most? I would really appreciate if you leave a comment on this post

Cuba, life at the doorsteps

(all pictures were taken with the Canon 5D Mark III and the lenses EF 35mm f1.4L USM and EF 24-70mm f2.8L II USM)

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“Finding love on your doorstep will make you open up your heart to the world.”
― Anthony T. Hincks

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How to buy my pictures

All the photos you see can be purchased, as high-resolution digital files (different licensing options) or as a Fine Art Signed print, at my personal portfolio website www.sabinoparente.com

Please click on the button below, if you want to browse the complete gallery and/or buy any of the photos.

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Thanks a lot for reading,
cheers,
Sabino

Cuba, life at the doorstep – 15 candid street photos – Part 1

As well as the majority of Latin countries, a lot of life is happening just at the doorsteps of the houses, where most of the locals spend their time, maybe only standing still.

This reminds me a lot of my hometown, in the south of Italy, where life is just happening outside, at any time and that’s why, while visiting Cuba, I love taking candid portraits of those people. And they were so open and pleased to be photographed. 🙂

I think, going through this photo series, you can really feel the genuine and humble atmosphere you would encounter by walking in the streets of Trinidad or La Havana.

Which one you like the most? I would really appreciate if you leave a comment on this post

Cuba, life at the doorsteps

(all pictures were taken with the Canon 5D Mark III and the lenses EF 35mm f1.4L USM and EF 24-70mm f2.8L II USM)

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“Finding love on your doorstep will make you open up your heart to the world.”
― Anthony T. Hincks

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When can I see the second part of this series?

Yes, I know, you can’t wait to see the rest of the gallery ( :-p ), but you have to wait a bit and keep following me, as there will be other nice content in the meanwhile.

Cuba, Life at the doorstep – Part 2
will be online on October 2nd ( at midday)

Thanks a lot for reading,
cheers,
Sabino

Lisbon, 15 Street photos that will make you love this city (part 1)

Lisbon is that kind of place who could dream about any street photographer. The city indeed is full of life and colours but also so different from district to district.

From the seaside walk looking to the impressive “25 de Abril” suspension bridge, (very similar to the iconic one in San Francisco) and the beautiful elegant Belém tower up to the Alfama, the oldest district of the city, home of Fado nostalgic music, and to the many up and down streets in the Barrio Alto district.

There is a lot happening in here, most of the time supported by a wonderful weather that makes the atmosphere so vibrant and happy.

Lisbon is a city with many faces, endless shades As a street photographer who loves candid daily life moments, you just have to get lost and walk around without a map: every corner, every street, will give you something, either a picture or just a warm smile of a local.

But be aware: you need to be really well fit to explore the city, not only because is wide, but also because of many ups and downs.

Today I’m sharing with you the first of three series from this beautiful, unique city.

Lisbon, fragments of candid street life –  Part 1

(all the pictures below, were taken with a Fuji X-T1 and the Fujinon X 23mm f 1.4 R or the Fujinon X 14mm f2.8 R or the Fujinon X 35mm f1.4 R )

 

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment or share my pictures.
Stay tuned and keep visiting my blog to see the second and third series of Lisbon street photos.

Grazie,
Sabino

One night in Osaka, Japan – 20 street photos

After a long journey of more than 20 hours, my first contact with Japan has been Osaka, catapulted into the vibrant nightlife of a Japanese futuristic city.

How could I go to sleep while having plenty of street photo opportunities right down the hotel?

So let’s have a walk…

with a Fujifilm X-T1 and the great lens XF 18-55 mm f2.8-4 LM OIS

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My thoughts on Osaka

Definitely a great destination for a street photographer, you will never get tired of taking pictures while walking.

The thing that fascinates me is the constant contrast between modernity and tradition, perfectly in harmony between them and never annoying.

A big thumbs up for Osaka!

Thanks for reading,
cheers,
Sabino

15 photos of the amazing Mezquita de Cordoba, Andalusia (with a Leica SL)

As already mentioned in my earlier post about Cordova, the Mezquita is the most famous spot of this nice city in Andalusia, other than being the most important testimonies in Islamic culture in Europe.

In this post, I show you my best 15 photos I have taken with my Leica SL

15 Photos of the Mezquita de Cordoba

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

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Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

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Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

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Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

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Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

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Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

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Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

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Leica SL + Pentacon 135mm f2.8

Conclusions and photography reflections

The Mezquita is a very nice spot for photography, full of interesting details. I had the chance to visit the inside of the ancient Mosque, but I could not enter the tripod so all the photos have been made with the Leica SL, hand-held, and ISO 800.

The main issue I had, other than the very low light, it was the presence of tourists scattered all around and, you can imagine, invading any framing I tried to make. I love placing a human being in my pictures, but It should add value to the shot.

To make some nice pictures I had to really move a lot and act very quickly, shooting as soon as I had no people walking in front of me.

At some point, I thought that the only way to get rid of the tourists was to have long exposure time, but I had no tripod!

So I found a nice spot, placed my leather bag on the floor and stabilised the Leica SL on it.

That was a good idea though, the final photo was indeed very good. (picture nr. 1 of this series)

 

About you, which picture from this series do you prefer the most and why?

I would highly appreciate your comments.

Thanks for reading,
Sabino

Discorvering Cordova, photos and useful tips – Andalusia on the road

The third stop of my trip on the road to Andalusia is the historic city of Cordova, serenely lying along the Guadalquivir river and at the foot of the Sierra Morena.

In contrast to the most dynamic Granada and Seville, Cordoba is in fact very quiet. Life around the majestic Mezquita and in the alleys of the Jewish quarter of Juderia, named World Heritage by Unesco, runs at a mild and quiet pace.

Cordova in one day?

Yes, the city of Cordoba could be visited even in one day, as it is not too big and everything can be reached in a few minutes walk. But the serenity that transmits this place invites you to spend much more time, because, I assure you,

stroll along the Guadalquivir shore or cross the beautiful Roman bridge at sunset and then dine at the tables of one of the many great restaurants in the historic center, is a regenerating experience.

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

The Mezquita

Built by the Omeya princes, between the 8th and the 10th centuries, this mosque is one of the most important testimonies in Islamic culture in Europe as well as an extraordinary example of Moorish architecture.

As happened to other mosques in Andalusia, the Mezquita was converted after the Christian conquest, in the Cathedral from 1523.

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

Free admission at the opening!

Being the most popular and visited site in Cordoba, I planned to visit and photograph it as soon as it was open to the public. The cost of the ticket for a visit without a guide is 8 € but, with pleasure, once on the spot, I found out that the entrance is free for those who access the opening, so at 8:30.

Unfortunately, though, there was already a fair group of visitors so my enthusiasm dropped instantly as soon as I got in. The inside of the Mezquita is very beautiful and impressive with this set of columns and bows but as soon as the visitors are scattered, it has become very difficult to make decent photos. Also, it is not allowed to enter the tripod so I had to hold the ISO high and hand-held.

Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

At some point I sat on the ground and placed the Leica SL on my bag to give it stability, and took some photos with slow exposure time to try to somehow eliminate the tourists presence.

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

The Juderia and some street photos

Juderia is perhaps the most famous Jewish quarter in Andalusia. Losing yourself in its white lanes is the best thing to do to enjoy it at best. But also here, as in Granada, there is not much life around, everything is static but clean and finely decorated. For a street photographer like me, it is almost boring.

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH

Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

Plaza de los Capuchinos

This was for me one of the most striking and photogenic spots of Cordoba, for its mystical atmosphere. A small and cute little square with theCristo de los Faroles, a crucifix illuminated by eight lanterns, and the convent of the Capuchin friars.

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2.8 ASPH

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH

Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2.8 ASPH

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2.8 ASPH

Plaza de la Corredera

This square, have a very similar architectural style than the one in Madrid, and is the most extensive portico of Andalusia. A large rectangle enclosed by three-story residential buildings, in which hundreds of balconies are aligned. Very beautiful and photogenic.

iphone 6s

iphone 6s

Hotel in Cordova

My accommodation experience in Cordova was fantastic because the hotel I chose turned out to be really great in all aspects, so I highly recommend it:

Hotel NH Cordoba Guadalquivir (Esperia )

Strategically located, just a few steps from the Roman Bridge in an area with free parking and a beautiful view of the Mezquita. Large double room and huge bed. Nice also the rooftop pool, small but very pleasant.

iPhone 6s

My photography, in Cordoba. How did it go

To be honest, nothing special and memorable. Street photography opportunities were very rare. I alternated all the lenses, trying to stimulate the look with different focal length, but in the end, the subjects were almost always architectural.

I may say that, speaking on photography, Córdova, it is not a place that has stimulated me particularly.

The most beautiful photo opportunity?

Definitely the panoramic photo at sunset on the Roman bridge and on the Mezquita, from the roof of the hotel NH Cordoba Guadalquivir, from which I had a privileged and unique view. Although this is not my favorite type of photography, at least I justified bringing the tripod with me, as this is the only place I used it.

Leica SL + Pentacon 135mm f2.8

Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

 

Conclusions

Did I like Cordoba? Yes, much, especially for its quiet and relaxed atmosphere. As in Granada, I was disappointed by Juderia’s Jewish quarter for the same reason: I expected a more genuine and loud life. Maybe I still have in the eyes and in the heart the life in the Moroccan Medina, and this influences my expectations a lot. But certainly the global vote on Cordoba remains positive.

Vote: 7

If you need more information, do not hesitate to contact me, I will be happy to answer you.

Thanks for reading,
see you soon,

Sabino