Rome at Night

The New York Times has a nice article about Rome at night in yesterday’s Travel section. The Web version includes a slide show and a multimedia walking guide.

It brings me back. Rome is one of my three favorite cities in the world (I haven’t yet decided what the other two are), and as the article suggests, it is particularly magical at night. When Martine and I were there about two years ago, we spent a lot of time walking the various streets and neighbourhoods under the cool white light of the full moon and the ochre-yellow glow of the street lamps.

Piazza Navona, via Giulia, via dei Coronari, Piazza di Spagna, Campo dei Fiori, via del Governo Vecchio … I can’t imagine I’ll never go back, yet there are so many other places to see.

Thank goodness for well written travel pieces, as well as Flickr, my blog, and the Monday Morning Photo Blog. It keeps the memories alive.

Via dei Coronari, under a full moon.

5 thoughts on “Rome at Night

  1. Ed, this photo looks like you used that technique–I’ve forgotten the term now, but it involves bracketing on either side of the exposure and then merging the three to form a basically uniform exposure that involves all the highs and lows (for instance, allowing a very bright light in the pic, such as the moon, but now blasting out the lows as well). Fascinating technique (and produces painting-like photos such as this one).

    Forgot the word, dammit . . . DFR photography, or something acronymy like that

    Anyway, fantastic photo

  2. Thanks Nick. You’re talking about HDR (high dynamic range) photography. As you say, that’s where you take three successive photos, one under exposed, one correctly exposed, and one over exposed, and you merge them, taking just the correctly exposed parts and throwing the rest away. The result is an image in which there is detail in the darkest shadows, the brightest highlights, and all stuff in between.

    I didn’t use that technique here. This is simply a hand held shot in a scene that, although it was night, had a lot of pretty uniform lighting, so there exposure was pretty good. Personally, I don’t like 90% of the HDR images that people create. I find people go way too far with the effect, creating garish and unrealistic effects that are ugly and look amateurish. HDR should be like wearing makeup; it should not be apparent. When it is subtle, it can be wonderful (both HDR and makeup) but when it’s overdone it’s awful.

    In this case I just the various lightening/darkening controls, and a bit of “tone mapping,” which is sort of a poor man’s HDR.

    But I find the more I look at this image the more I want to fix it up. I find it far too orange, and I don’t like the tilt of the buildings (caused by the wide angle lens). Both of these things can be corrected. Maybe I’ll do a “before and after” and let people vote on which they prefer. (Generally speaking, I’m a “realist” photographer; I don’t like to deviate too far from so-called “reality,” but things like color correcting and lens distortions are artifacts of the medium, so they are very subjective.)

  3. Thanks for posting this! We got engaged in Rome on my birthday, so the city is very dear to my heart as well.

  4. Super photo. I simply have to get back to Rome sometime, and I’m not waiting until the kids are grown up either!

  5. Beautiful photo that brings back my own memories. Yet I find it increasingly difficult to admire the aesthetics of Italy in the face of their increasingly disdainful politics. Seems the new mayor of Rome is openly fascist.

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