Thursday, 6 March 2014

An Afternoon in the Navigli

It's in all the guide books and it's famous for its canals, but if you know canals like I know canals, then the navigli will be a massive disappointment. I imagined grassy paths and trees lining tranquil waters, and I'm told that is indeed what you get once you are out of the city on the cycle path, but in Milan the canals are often half drained, leaving shopping trolleys and mud in their wake.

Via Vigevano

No, don't go to the navigli for the canals. Go to navigli for the night life. The place comes alive in the evening. The lights come on and the bars fill up and spill out onto the streets and serve cocktails and food.

The Lovers' Bridge on the Naviglio Grande

Or, go to the navigli in the afternoon, for a genteel stroll as I did today, and look in the craft shop windows, explore the nooks, the church and the hidden courtyards, and have a drink in the sun with the hipsters and students. I had fruit juice, but my friend Silvia had a cappuccino which I loved since she's Italian and she's supposed to know better. Nobody batted an eyelid, which might be why the barman ended up bringing her an espresso instead.

Probably not a very good photo.

Then, since the weather was fine, we debated wether to have ice cream or crepes. It must have been 20°c in the sun, but since it's only the beginning of March, Silvia lost her nerve and we had crepes. That was my third round of pancakes in two days. I should probably stop now, although a three-week long bout of flu has provided me with a convenient excuse to put some weight back on.

Santa Maria delle Grazie al Naviglio

I saved the best photo until last. It's a little bit inspired by La Grande Bellezza, that I, like half of Italy watched on TV on Tuesday. I know a lot of people didn't like it, but I personally was spell-bound from start to finish. Dare I say it, I preferred it to La Dolce Vita, which bored me to death.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Spring Colours the Urban Way.

You never hear much about Spring colours, do you? It's always Autumnal colours that grab the headlines, but lime greens, lemon yellows and strawberry pinks are all extremely satisfying photographic fodder.

Pink through the Bars

Today I had a holiday as it is carnival and the schools are shut (hip hip hooray!) but the metro was shut due to a transport strike so I had nowhere to go to make the most of the glorious sunshine and balmy temperatures.

The Wall
Winter Jasmine

I decided to take my camera out for a walk with its kit lens and very much appreciated the warmth of the sun on my face. I wasn't feeling very inspired though. The modern urban landscape is not my cup of tea, so I made a vow. Today I would take photos only in manual (as in, there's not much to photograph I might as well as make the effort to properly get to grips with this thing!). Iso, shutterspeed, aperture, focussing. Everything in manual.

Magnolia Sky

The first photos were instant deleters as my exposure was totally wrong... but bit by bit I remembered everything I've read about manual and I got there. These are the results.

Potted Plant