Tourist-Free Rome – Moments In Time Ep 11


(sirens blaring) – That’s probably gonna
show up in my audio, so… (laughing) I have no idea what that is. I can’t tell what it’s saying. – [Woman] Maybe it’s like,
“Hey you, with the tripod.” – [Elia] Yeah. (inspirational music) – [Elia] The first spot, we had to visit on our Roman adventure, was
of course, the Colosseum. – [Taxi Driver] Andiamo? – Ah, Colosseum. The Colosseum was built
in the first century as the Roman Empire’s
largest amphitheater. – Ciao.
– Grazias. – [Elia] Host a gladiatorial
fights, religious ceremonies and athletic competitions for 400 years. The amphitheater fell into
disuse and was eventually scrapped for parts to
build other structures, like St Peter’s Cathedral
and Palazzo Venezia. But beginning in the 18th
century, the Roman government started conserving and rebuilding
this three tiered arena, and the reconstruction efforts
are still ongoing today. Maybe change the, down, here. Let’s go the other way. The Colosseum is normally
packed with thousands of tourists and photographers. But here at five in the morning,
we had it all to ourselves. Crosswalk says red, but I don’t think I need to worry about it at
this time in the morning. The best thing to do,
is to just take a look through the viewfinder, make
sure everything is okay. Let’s see what we can do. Something a little lower. Yeah, I really wanna try to
shoot it with this camera. The 18 millimeter is still a little tight. The other idea, is to shoot wide and frame some of this in the foreground. I have this shot, (camera clicking)
and that’s from 2012. And you can see how
pretty the cobblestones are in that reflection. Ah, not as nice this morning– Oh– (sirens blaring) That’s probably gonna
show up in my audio, so… (foreign language announcements) (laughing) I have no idea what that is. – [Woman] You know what they’re saying? – It’s hard to say, I can’t
tell what they’re saying. (foreign language announcements) – [Woman] Maybe, it’s like,
“Hey you, with the tripod.” – [Elia] Yeah. All right, let’s see if we can
make these cobbles look good. That’s pretty wide, now
I can position myself. Find an area that’s not
completely disgusting. And yes, that police
car is now in my frame, with the headlights on, and the blue lights on. Carabinieri are military police. They police the police. I know that sounds
weird, but it is a thing. No clouds, no color in the sky, a little bit of garbage in the foreground. It’s difficult when your
traveling for photography, because you really only have
a few days, in each location. Maybe you can give yourself
a week here in Rome. But if you live here, you
can watch the weather, all the time and you can
check the conditions of this. In this case, I mean, there’s not much we can do about all this garbage, and there’s not much we
can do about the weather. But, that doesn’t mean that
we don’t get up and try. With a little bit of
painting an color correction, in Adobe Photoshop, I was able to clean up the cobblestones, and create this image. Empty, but not for long. Many of these historical sites in Rome, have had to implement
pre-ticketing systems, because the influx of tourism has ballooned astronomically
in the last few years. And nobody knows this
better, than my friend and local tour guide,
Julia Charity, who took me on a walk through her
neighborhood in Trastevere. – Yes, now I hear the
Vatican, basically is just completely, ram-packed the whole time. Many years ago, it was busy, but then you’d have a low season, and you wouldn’t have to
worry about selecting now. You can go through the whole winter, you can walk in, and there’d be no one. Might be like five people. – This is really difficult, I think this is probably the
feedback I get when people visit Rome for the first time, is that, “I couldn’t
deal with the Vatican.” – Yeah. – It’s because you can’t, it’s so busy
– It’s too much. – That you can’t even
move at your own pace. You’re just stuck in a mob of people, and it takes all of the enjoyment out of those artifacts in the museum. – Yeah. No it does, I think it does. I remember when I would
show people around, you literally walk in, you’re like, “Okay, I’m not gonna
think about the crowds, “I’m just gonna switch off to that. “This is my job, I have to do this. “I have to help people
have a nice time, in this.” And it’s not a nice
experience for them unless, I convince them of other
things to concentrate on, and not think about where you are and that person that
is elbowing your ribs. But then, like I say, you
got a pause in the winter. But, now, you don’t get
a pause in the winter, it’s never ever calm.
– No, you don’t. – It’s never quiet. – And, Julia, this is
everywhere in the world, this is in northern Norway, winter’s busy. It’s just become, it used to be where we would be able to visit these places, have it to ourselves, now winter
is a destination in itself. – [Julia] It’s the Ryanair,
easy jet culture, isn’t it? The kind of side of things which is the, it’s made it so easy. Sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes the local attitude is kinda
like, “Ugh, tourists!” You know, sort of, ‘Oh,
I’m so sick of it!” But, it’s what the city lives on, this is the main source of income, this is our economic source of funds. It’s getting really busy, but we should be finding ways of dealing with it better. – [Elia] We all kind of just see the Forum as just a bunch of ruins, but I mean, this really was like the heart of Rome. – [Julia] Well, it’s
the heart of the city, from a governmental viewpoint, from a social viewpoint, from I mean, if you think about what
the word “forum” means now, when we’re online, it means a place where everyone is welcome. So, you have this piazza, if you will, in the middle of the city,
where everyone is welcome. A speaker’s platform at one end of it and then around it, you
have temples and basilicas, a law court, you have the senate. It’s the hub and heart of the city. – It’s where all commerce happen, people would campaign for re-election, all these things.
– There was no shopping there as such, that’s not really where it was at
– Oh, really? – [Julia] The markets of Rome
where kind of by the river, by where the port was. – The Forum is a place
where everybody is welcome, so do you think Julius Caesar
is rolling around in his grave to know that Reddit is
now the online community for the biggest forum in the world? So, if you think the Roman Forum, and you think Reddit–
– I don’t know, I think he might be all down with Reddit. – Well, it was really nice seeing you. – Yeah, it was good to see you too. It’s been so long. – I know.
– Oh my gosh. We could say goodbye the Italian way? – Oh yeah, and it’s this way. (kissing) Even though Reddit, is the
world’s new, modern forum, I wanted to kick it
old school for a while. So, the next morning, we
woke up very early again and decided to walk
across the city, because that was easier than trying
to find a cab at four a.m. Since the Forum complex itself is closed this early in the morning, my secret photography spot is actually through Piazza del Campidoglio, under a walkway and up
against this railing. Well, it’s a little
disappointing that the lights here on the main columns are off, but not a deal breaker. What’s interesting now is we modernize all of our lighting changes, went from Tungsten, which
is the old yellow light to incandescent light, now to LED light where we
can control the temperature. And often that means
that in places like this, we’re just gonna pick the daylight, which is the cleanest light. It’s very white, so it can be a problem for objects that are white. Some of the lights are like, super hot. People who shoot sunrise casually, aren’t really thinking about
the blue hour transition into sunrise and the light up. So, I think people get here,
at like, quarter to six. So, I’m just trying to
set something interesting in anticipation of, the sky. Let’s make sure it’s in focus. You definitely don’t wanna get
up this early in the morning, and then mess something up. But, when you get up this
early in the morning, that’s usually when you mess something up. The Romans are responsible for a lot of the building practices
that we still use today and most of what has become Europe. Romans developed a concrete
that would work under water. So, they were able to
actually build aqueducts, all of these things. So, in many parts of the world, the reason that people have fresh drinking water, is because the Roman
aqueducts, are still intact. Right now, the light balance
of the blue hour, is awesome. It’s still a little
dark in the foreground, but you can actually see it. But the clouds, they’re just too thick, I don’t think there’s gonna
be any color, this morning. So, I don’t think this is
gonna be a sunrise shot, it’s gonna end up being a blue hour shot. So that’s just a really good lesson, even if you’re coming to shoot sunrise, kind of anticipate that there are chances it’s not gonna be a vivid sky. And, in that case, you
gotta be here early enough to capture the blue hour. And since I’m shooting into the sun, the sky gets really bright really quick. Washes out the foreground, so usually you have to shoot an earlier blue hour. So, instead of 30 minutes before sunrise, sometimes it’s up to
an hour before sunrise, depending on the length of day. Based on this handful
of ruins that remain, it’s hard to imagine what
kind of grand structures used to stand in this very same spot. At least, without any tourists
or people in the frame, we can appreciate the beauty of the space, for what it once was. Even though, I don’t love the shot, it’s still pretty good. It’s just that I know what this can be, with the sunrise behind
this type of architecture, if it’s that once a year, whole red sky, kind of situation, I know it’s gonna be an amazing portfolio piece. So, until I actually get that amazing sky, I’m perfectly happy coming here over and over and over again. Apart from the occasional pigeon, Rome isn’t really known for it’s wildlife. But my good friend, and
Fuji film ex-photographer, Simone Sbaraglia still calls it home. Apart from being a really
talented landscape-photographer, Simone is also world-renowned
for his wildlife photo’s. – There’s two types of wildlife
photography, I would say. There’s one type of wildlife photography, which is kind of mainstream, even today, when you sit and hide, and
you don’t wanna be seen. And you just try to get a picture of an animal when it comes. But the animal is not
aware of your presence, there is no interaction. And I don’t like this type of wildlife photography, too much. Because I need the interaction. I need that feeling,
that closeness, you know, I need the animal to know that I’m there, I need him to accept me. So, I went for another route, you know, a different type of wildlife photography, which is mostly with wide angles, not much with Telephoto. But for that, you need
the animal to accept you, so you don’t want to be a threat. You wanna behave in a non-aggressive way. You wanna be seen, I mean, they have to see that you are there. You don’t want them to fear you, right? So you, it takes time. – This is also something very
particular with primates. – It is, it is. You can’t do this with
all animals, of course. But many animals, you
can, not just primates. But even birds will get
used to your presence. Many animals will actually. And when that happens,
it’s an amazing feeling of being accepted. – [Elia] When you establish
trust, with the animals, and your able to
establish that connection, it sort of transmits through the photo, because it creates a more candid moment. – Yes.
– They don’t feel like they’re being observed.
– Right. – They start to act more natuaral. – Yes, yes. And you can see that there
is some intimacy going on. Sometimes you can see
just the eyes, the glance. You wouldn’t get that if
you were like 100 meters away with a 600 millimeter Telephoto lens. You would never, yeah you
will get, maybe a closeup, but you never get that type of look. – Simone also invited me into a studio, which he also uses as a
gallery and teaching space. So you rotate this out? Because right now, I’m
seeing a lot of elephants. – Yes. – [Elia] But elephants
is not your, I mean, I wouldn’t say you have a primary, but you don’t just focus on elephants. – No, no, not at all. Elephant is one of my latest works, and it’s part of this book series. So, this is a series that I’ve been working on now, for over a year. It’s in collaboration with Fuji film, and it’s basically each book, is on a subject, or theme. And there’s a new book every three months. And the idea is, try to give
something that’s more in depth, not superficial and
that can tell the story of an animal through photographs, but also through explanation
of what is going on, what is the risk of
extinction, for this animals. And for each book, we
also do an exhibition. So this is the exhibition on elephants. And then we do an opening that try to, convey the
idea that photography is something more that a snapshot. – And you chose a
tangible format as a book, rather than an eBook. – Yes, yes. – This is very important, right? Printing. Being able to stand in
front of, or touch and feel and immerse yourself. – [Simone] Exactly. You know, I always tell the
story about this picture. You see a kiss between a
baby orangutan and a mother. And it’s very moving, right? Because you connect to it. Humans kiss each other
and so, this is sort of a representation of love. But in reality, they are
not kissing each other. The baby is just trying
to force the mother to regurgitate some food. – So this is not affection at all? – No. – It’s just feeding. – It’s just feeding. And that’s the way
photography works for me. I mean, you kind of use
reality, to show emotion, that’s not the true reality. But it’s something that
you are trying to convey, that something goes beyond that. So, the message is love. And then through these
animals, you can show that. But it’s not a pure
representation of what’s going on, because that’s very different. Sometimes, we use tricks. (laughing) So, in this case, it’s impossible to get that close to an elephant. To a wild elephant like that. ‘Cause he will crush you. I mean, he will have a reaction for sure. – They’re extremely
intelligent animals too, so you can’t hide, it
doesn’t work like that. – So, in this case, I used
a remote controlled device and sent it in the, you know, between the legs of the elephants. I mount a camera on it, and take pictures. Which is kind of challenging,
for many reasons. First of all, the animals are
scared by this moving thing. So, you can’t move it to much. Because it you move it around, run around, all the elephants would go crazy, and start running around. And then you make a mess, you destroy all the harmony of the situation. And that’s not what you want. – [Elia] The whole idea is to hide it. And it’s interesting,
because he obviously noticed. – He got really angry, because he saw that it was moving and he was upset. So, he started running and kicked a big stone, which hit the camera. Luckily, there is a protection. So, it destroyed the
protection, it didn’t destroy the camera itself. If I come back with 2
000 pictures like this, that’s not gonna cut it for me, because I need this, but I also need this, this, this, that. You know, otherwise, it’s not a story. It’s just individual pictures. In the end, they have to
connect, like a story. It’s like a book. You know it, you have to have pace, you have to have some strong points, some moments where you kind of relax and lead the viewer to
the next strong point. So, that’s what I’m trying to create when I work and then when I go back, after you know, through the
editing and composing the book. – That’s an interesting
way of thinking about it, and maybe just because
we are photographers, we forget that sometimes, because we work in such a highly visual medium. And we’re not thinking about
some of the best stories that we’ve read, or we’ve seen, you know. Whether it’s a fantasy novel
or it’s a photo journalism, you’re right, there’s gonna
be a normal story evolution building up to a climax and a lull. And you have to have some
struggle in there too, and maybe some controversy
to pull people in. That’s really interesting, that
you think about it that way. – I truly believe that
photography can help us become, what we really are, what we really want. It can help us see
things the way they are, can help us bring out our
emotions, share our emotions. And that’s the beauty of it. Photography is not that important. Life is important. Our planet is important. That’s important. Photography is a part of it. – I agree. So, I’m really happy that
there are people like you, are helping make the world a
better place for photography. So, thanks for that.
– Well, I hope so. Thank you. – [Elia] For me, a trip to
Rome, would not be complete without a visit to Castel Sant’Angelo and the surrounding bridges. A lessor known Roman
destination, this area holds a special place in my
heart, because 10 years ago, it was one of the first areas I visited when I was building my
travel photography portfolio. While the view from the top
of the bridge is magnificent, with the Vatican and St Peter’s
Basilica in the distance, the view of the castle
from below the bridge, is amazing as well. This is one of my favorite
places to take photos in Rome. And I’ve been coming here for years. It’s also really nice,
because it works perfectly for sunset. And during sunset, nobody
can get in your frame, because you’re either
shooting at the water, or up at the bridge, or
far away from the bridge, so you don’t see any people. This may look like I’m
really close to the edge, that’s because I am. I’m really close to the edge right now. But it’s okay, because it’s super stable. This green line, is my built-in level, so I can use it to make sure
that I level out a scene. But in this case, I can also
use it to shoot dead center. So, center my horizon. And I don’t usually do that in landscape and cityscape photography,
but in this case, I can have, with a centered horizon, a perfectly mirrored reflection. So that the top of the
castle, has it’s perfect reflected self on the
bottom, at equal distance. So, it can be kind of
a cool effect to have that perfect reflection. I don’t think this is wide enough. So, I’m gonna set up a
second camera close by, with the widest lens that I have. That way, if that sky
continues to get better, I’ll have more of it in the frame. So, I can choose. A little closer, maybe right over here. Over here. If I move over here, I
can get more of the cloud. Gotta be quick. I didn’t expect that cloud to turn red. Yeah, looks pretty good. Make one small adjustment to this. It looks like, yeah, right
around 14 millimeter, I think, the conversion on this. Just for the next few minutes
I’m going to set this to every 30 seconds to catch the last little light. And now let’s hope somebody
doesn’t kick this in the water. I ended up with two different shots, one’s wide and one’s a
little bit more tight, at a different angle. Let’s take a look. Which one would you
use for your portfolio? This one, or, this one? Well, that’s it for Rome. There’s so much here to
see in the eternal city, that I wish I had more time. But, we have a train to catch. So far, every episode of
Moments in Time has taken us to a major city that I’ve been to before. And I think it’s time to step out of my photographic comfort
zone and visit some place new. Next week we will be exploring
the absolutely stunning little Italian town of Bassano del Grappa. Am I talking to myself? Am I talking to the camera? Am I really awake right now? Did I sleep last night? I don’t know. – [Woman] (speaks in
foreign language) Kitty! – [Elia] Photo bomb me cat. Do it.

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