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Shadow and Light in Florence

Yesterday’s post is a tough one to beat so I’m going to bring things down a notch. All day it rained. Cold. Dreary. Flat light.

We spent much of the day at the cathedral Santa Croce checking out not only gorgeous art, but the tombs of Michaelangelo, Galileo and, surprisingly, Machiavelli. (He being of morally ambivalent character - the Franciscans are surprisingly lenient as to whom they allow to be interred in their churches. They let Galileo in too. His excommunication was only recently repealed by the pope. The Franciscans were 400 years ahead of the curve on that one. Being excommunicated means that you’re not even allowed on church property - since you’ve been condemned to the fires of hell and all - let alone buried with a massive memorial in a monumental cathedral.)

In case you haven’t guessed, Santa Croce is a Franciscan church which means it’s run by the Order of Saint Francis. One of the highlights was seeing an actual robe worn by the saint. (There’s lots of bones of saints in Florence, not much of their wardrobe is on display however. It usually being burned at the time of their execution by the heathen tribe du jour - usually Romans.)

By the time we finished, I was hungry and freezing. Being Monday, many places were closed and the ones that were open were closed for the afternoon. After some walking, a few rejections and closed doors, we finally found a warm restaurant to settle down in. We drank a couple carafes of wine, had several courses and whiled away the afternoon

When we emerged, gone were the gray skies and dark clouds. Not a cloud was left! Just crisp warm light and blues skies. Finally!

So I grabbed my camera and headed out to catch the last hour of light as it raked across the buildings and alleys. Inspired by the hard light, I decided that my photographic theme for the day was to be shapes and shadows. Instead of trying to capture detail or tell a story about the specific objects in my photos, I’d look at them as abstract features in my compositions of light and dark. (Yes, I’m such the erudite photo dork.)

I recently read a quote from someone who said that the one great advantage that photography has over painting is black and white. So true!

My apologies to all those who are expecting more straight-forward holiday snaps. I try but something goes wrong, my focus get’s blown and I take picture of the wrong thing or the right thing with something in front of it!

That’s it for today gang. Stay tuned for something completely different tomorrow.

John

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