Posts Tagged ‘Umbria’

Italy is Full of Surprises

February 14th, 2010

I love traveling. I love the careful and detailed planning that is required to make the trip possible. But one of the best things about going on a travel is that you do not know what this journey will bring forth. Some can be bad, some can be good and some can be unexpected. This […]

 

I love traveling. I love the careful and detailed planning that is required to make the trip possible. But one of the best things about going on a travel is that you do not know what this journey will bring forth. Some can be bad, some can be good and some can be unexpected. This trip so far has been no different. You guys all know by now that I am out in Italy again (this is like my second home) for my next Kenny Kim PhotoVenture w/ friends.. I arrived here few days early to prepare everything that we need for the workshop. I also brought couple of my good friends in Stevi & Matt Savage of Averyhouse & Kenny Nakai of Nakai Photography a few days early to show them some parts of Rome and Umbria that I’ve been wanting to share with the for sometime.

This trip has not even began yet and Italy is welcoming me with many surprises. Let me share a few with you:

1) While I was in air traveling to Italy, another photographer signed up for my workshop and have made it officially SOLD OUT. Praise God. Talk about last minute!

2) When we landed in Rome, it sudden started to snow – I mean major snow, that it took us almost an hour to get to our hotel (which should have taken us less than 30 minutes). The taxi driver, in Italian, told me that this is crazy because it has not snowed in Rome for over 25 years. At first I thought he was exaggerating (b/c of our language barrier) but later on I found out that he was being literal. Wow, it hasn’t snowed in 25 years and we just happened to arrive on the day that it decided to snow. Had I known this earlier, I would not have taken a nap right away when I got to the hotel. 🙁 I did manage to get couple of shots before I took a quick nap:

Because we all took a little nap, we were wide awake for the evening. So we decided to walk around Rome on a night shoot. I don’t usually do many shoots at night but walking around in Rome (getting lost around Trastevere) made me realize how awesome it is to use different available light to create some amazing shots like this:

Here is a normal view of Colosseum at night:

And here’s an unexpected view of the Colosseum thanks to snow by day that melted into puddle of water by night:

Pantheon is just as breath-taking at night as it is by day. I love Matt Savage’s innocent child-like response to seeing Pantheon for the first time: “This is one of the coolest place on earth!” Matt & Stevi and Kenny Nakai took some unbelievable photos here which I am sure they will share on their blogs in the future.

I almost found out that Kenny Nakai is afraid of heights. I still made him cross over the Tevere river bridge railing and stand on the other side. He’s not smiling in this photo because he is genuinely scared right now:

We walked around Max’s home town in Terni at night. We found out San Valentino (St. Valetine) is the guardian of the city. Because it was close to 2/14, they were having a chocolate festival there. I have never seen so much chocolate in my life. I learned that Nutella is not just a chocolate cream spread – it is a religion. One of amazing things we tasted were these crepes filled with Nutella inside. I think I am not a huge fan of chocolate but I can eat this any day of the week!

Here Stevi & Matt are patiently waiting for their Nutella crepe. Almost too patient that they are getting angry – j/k…maybe..

Now that Stevi got her Nutella, she is a happy camper. Nakai on the other hand did not get one and now wishes he did:

Max had planned another workshop after my PhotoVenture is over with a group of Italian photographers. He told me he reserved a special room for our meeting and when he took me there, I almost gasped. It is deep in the moutains at a monastery where the monks used to live – which now has been converted to a bed and breakfast hotel. This place is unreal and well preserved in time. I cannot wait to do this. Just picture a bald asian who does not know how to speak any Italian teaching these guys about American style of photography. This ought to be interesting:

We also got to visit Assisi again. We went to the Basilica of St. Francis. Normally this place is packed with tourists and St. Francescan followers. Today it was almost empty and perhaps because of that reason, the guards were not there. This church is full of of the gorgeous and breath-taking fresco art. For this reason, they do not allow any photography inside. But since the guards were not there, we decided to be rebels and snapped some shots. Max told us that this is the first time in his life that he did not witness any guards protecting the basilica:

We took a break after Assisi to relax at a nearby café bar as typical Italians would do. We sat next to this couple and I don’t know why but seeing them enjoy a cup of coffee and dessert made me smile. I took a shot of them and it reminded me of how Italians love life and enjoy it to the fullest. It put a smile on my face again. 🙂

And this last shot is pretty amazing – not only is Terni guarded by San Valentino, he also has a church there and is buried there as well. We drove by the church as they were finishing their mass and noticed these heart shaped lights leading them into the church. We couldn’t help but to take this photos for Matt & Stevi. How many couples can say that they celebrated their Valentine’s Day in front of San Valetino’s Church where he is buried? These guys are so cute together they make me sick. 🙂

Anyways, I need to hit the sack soon. We are heading back to Rome to meet all the attendees tomorrow. I cannot wait for this PhotoVenture to start and to see what surprises are waiting for us around the corner. Are you ready? Andiamo & arrivederci!

For more, visit: My Portfolio | Resources For Photographers | Twitter: KennyKim | Facebook Page
contact@kennykim.com | 800-539-1294

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Wedding in Labro, Italy? Yes Please.

February 1st, 2010

Well not really. It was not an actual wedding. But it was a vision. A vision to create a scenario to be able to capture some wedding images from Italy – which is what a group of us did when we went on our first PhotoVenture trip to Italy this past September of 2009. With […]

 

Well not really. It was not an actual wedding. But it was a vision. A vision to create a scenario to be able to capture some wedding images from Italy – which is what a group of us did when we went on our first PhotoVenture trip to Italy this past September of 2009. With the help by our tour coordinator Max Brunelli, we organized a photoshoot with Italian models and for few hours where we photographed them in their wedding attires and came up with some really cool wedding images. My goal was that all of us will walk away with some beautiful images for their portfolio. But not only that, I wanted them to challenge themselves to work in any kind of environment despite the language barrier to come up with shots that they needed. My personal goal was to photograph more weddings here in Italy so I wanted to build a portfolio to showcase more of my work in a unique backdrop only Italy can offer. Last year I had the privilege of photographing a beautiful wedding for Bob Davis and I fell in love there and told myself that I will make a goal and my vision to photograph more weddings here.

Labro, Italy

For this reason, the mock wedding photoshoot took place in a small acquaint hilltop medieval town of Labro tucked away between the mountains. Labro is in the Province of Rieti in the Italian region Latium, located about 70 km northeast of Rome. The town's population is about 350 and is so small that you cannot find it in most tour guide books. They also still have a prince that still lives and governs there.

When we started our shoot, we had couple of obstacle to overcome: 1) Rain. Which meant that we had to pose them in places where they were under the cover and/or the umbrella. Fortunately the rain stopped after about an half hour into the shoot. We learned the lesson of quickly adapting to things we cannot change (such as weather) and rather than letting that discourage us, think of more creative ways to capture the subject.

Despite the rain in the beginning, we came up with some really cool images

Despite the rain, we came up with some really cool images

Trying to explain to the them 'almost kiss but not all the way' was little tricky

Trying to explain to the them 'almost kiss but not all the way' was little tricky

2) Language barrier: Another challenge we had to face was that none of the models spoke any English. And we didn’t speak Italian so many times we had to use our body language, eye contact and just repeating things slowly and audibly so that they can somewhat understand what we were saying. And because many words were used in repetition, they eventually picked up some of our instruction and we also picked up a few phrases of their own. Lesson learned: that communication is very important during a photoshoot even with our clients. Often times I see workshop attendees just silent while they shoot away at their subject. It is important to keep the conversation flowing during our shoot.

Despite our language differences, I was still able to communicate to them on the reactions that I wanted

Despite our language differences, I was still able to communicate to them on the reactions that I wanted

Often times we can use the photoshoot time to get to know things around us. We spent some time w/ the old man in the background and found out that he is 95 years old and has been the pastor of the church we were photographing for over 70 years old. Wow!

Often times we can use the photoshoot time to get to know things around us. We spent some time w/ the old man in the background and found out that he is 95 years old and has been the pastor of the church we were photographing for over 70 years old. Wow!

I love the breath-taking backdrops that only Italy can provide. Rainy weather meant bright blue sky to follow shortly after!

I love the breath-taking backdrops that only Italy can provide. Rainy weather meant bright blue sky to follow shortly after!

As we were driving away at night, we were mesmerized by how clear the sky was and how the bright stars were illuminating the city. Then we asked ourselves: Did we really just shoot there?

As we were driving away at night, we were mesmerized by how clear the sky was and how the bright stars were illuminating the city. Then we asked ourselves: "Did we really just shoot there?"

I am thankful for the experience that we had together as a group. I am putting it on my vision board to photograph more Italian weddings in 2010 so hopefully it will happen soon. In the mean time, I am taking a group of photographers again in less than 13 days on another PhotoVenture with Kenny & Friends. We have people from all over the States & Canada coming to this one. Kevin Swan from KISS Wedding books will also be joining us on this journey and I cannot wait to explore the region of Campania Felix (Amalfi, Napoli, Sorrento, Rovello, Positano, Pompeii, plus more.) It is not too late to sign up! If you are interested in joining us on this adventure, contact me. Until next time, happy traveling!

For more, visit: My Portfolio | Resources For Photographers | Twitter: KennyKim | Facebook Page
contact@kennykim.com | 800-539-1294

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A Story from the PhotoVenture to Italy…

November 27th, 2009

As many of you know I led a group of photographer across the sea (see my previous post) to Italy this past September on a trip called PhotoVenture w/ Kenny Kim. One of the cool things about the PhotoVenture Trip was that we had a planned schedule which allowed us to visit over 28 different […]

 

As many of you know I led a group of photographer across the sea (see my previous post) to Italy this past September on a trip called PhotoVenture w/ Kenny Kim. One of the cool things about the PhotoVenture Trip was that we had a planned schedule which allowed us to visit over 28 different locations through out Umbria and Tuscany in 8 days! What was even better was that within that planned schedule, our tour guide Max Brunelli gave us room to be flexible so that we can wander off spontaneously. I want to share with you guys one of these “wandering moments.”

We were in Assisi, Umbria – home of the famous religious patron St. Francis. He is the founding father of the Etruscan religious movement and millions of his followers (to this date) have made a pilgrimage to visit this city. Each day thousands of people flock from all over the world to get a glimpse of this grand cathedral built in his honor (where he is still buried inside). As expected, all of us were in awe by the size and beauty of this church. The walls were decorated with breath-taking fresco art that depicted the life of St. Francis and you couldn’t help but to be mesmerized the sheer size of the place. We were not allowed to take photos inside but I managed to grab a couple so I can share how big this church is with you guys.

San Francis of Assisi Cathedral Umbria, Italy

Outside the building of San Francis of Assisi Cathedral Umbria, Italy

San Francis of Assisi Cathedral Umbria, Italy

Inside the building of San Francis of Assisi Cathedral Umbria, Italy

After our visit, Max had another “surprise” (one of many) for us. We walked through small offbeat pathways in the town of Assisi and were led to a small simple-looking stone building surrounded by fig trees. Max told us that this is one of the oldest church in Assisi (circa 1150-1200 A.D.) called Santo Stefano (St. Stephen – the first martyr in Christian history). This church was a drastic contrast to the previous cathedral we had just visited. Simple walls with very little decoration and small in size. Max told us that this is where St. Francis probably used to attend mass while he lived here (the cathedral was built after his death to honor him) and most likely got baptized here as well. Legend also tells us that Santo Stefano’s bells miraculously rang on October 3, 1226, the day St. Francis died. (How neat is that?!) – Also I believe my friend Simon Anderson (Pictage CMO) got married here as well!

Santo Stefano Umbria, Italy

Inside the building of Santo Stefano - one of the oldest church in Assisi - Umbria, Italy

San Francis of Assisi Cathedral Umbria, Italy

Here are the bells of Santo Stefano that rang miraculous on the day he died on Oct. 3, 1226

Santo Stefano Cathedral Umbria, Italy

Inside the building of Santo Stefano - one of the oldest church in Assisi - Umbria, Italy

Santo

Inside the building of Santo Stefano - one of the oldest church in Assisi - Umbria, Italy

While we were standing outside, we couldn’t help but to hear this beautiful chorus/celtic-like music coming from inside the church. Our immediate thought was: 1) it was a recording that they played constantly or 2) there were group of dedicated nuns/monks having service inside. The sound was so beautiful that we decided to satisfy our curiosity and take a peak inside. To our surprise, we found a group of student choir practicing (Found out later that they were group from Germany). We stood there and watched them in amazement. The acoustic in the room made them sound even more angelic and I thought to myself that this is what choir in heaven must sound like!

Santo

German student choir practicing Inside the building of Santo Stefano - Umbria, Italy

Fortunately I had my Canon Mark 5D II (which Canon graciously loaned me for this trip) with me so I immediately flipped on the video so that I could capture their audio and share it with others. I have posted the video of this on Vimeo. Please excuse my video skills (lack of) – you might even want to close your eyes and just listen to them. The video doesn’t do justice to how awesome this experience was but hopefully you will get the idea (1 minute video clip – the clicks you hear are from me trying to adjust the settings):

San Stefano Church in Assisi from Kenny Kim on Vimeo.

I hope you enjoyed this story. Our PhotoVenture Trip to Italy was filled with numerous moments like this. I hope to share more of them with you in person. Delightful surprises waiting around the corner. Good food & conversation. Learning and being inspired by one another and from our surrounding. Rekindling our passion for photography and falling in love again with what we do…and on and on.

I cannot wait for our next PhotoVenture Trip. This time we are going to a different region in the south called Campania Felix (region which includes cities like: Amalfi, Capri, Napoli, Pompeii, Sorrento, plus many more) from Feb 15-22, 2010. I am delighted that my friend & successful wedding photographer & businessmen Kevin Swan is joining us on this trip. We have 2 seats out of 15 available left. We’d love to have you join us. For more information, checkout: http://photoventure.kennykim.com. So what are you waiting for? Andiamo! (Let’s go!)

For more, visit: My Portfolio | Resources For Photographers | Twitter: KennyKim | Facebook Page
contact@kennykim.com | 800-539-1294