Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Travel Wrap-Up; It Was An Amazing Journey!!!

Good Afternoon Everybody,

DAZ-LD picAfter two months traveling over twelve thousand miles, and 18,282 photographs later we finally made it back home.  We finally arrived back in the USA last Thursday late afternoon. This past weekend was a whirlwind with unpacking and also attending some family functions that were on our calendar before we left. This week it's “noses back to the grindstone” and back to work.

Wrapping Our Trip Today and Tomorrow

What a great two months we had on the road traveling to all parts throughout Italy, Spain and the Mediterranean.  Conducting an exciting and I believe an informative week-long class with my friend and good buddy Clay Blackmore in Tuscany and meeting so many new photographers was certainly one of the highlights of the trip.  Another of the highlights, for me, had to be traveling for 12 days on our Mediterranean cruise. 

Rudy, DAZ, MarcusThen it was on to Spain for my two days of programs for the photographers of Spain – where we also made some new friends and wonderful acquaintances.  My special thanks to Rudy (left) and Marcus (right) that made our visit to Spain such a special treat.These last two months were probably the most exciting time in our lives and we enjoyed every single minute of every single day of it!

But today’s post is to bring full circle our travels and experiences in that last week of our trip.  Today I want to share with you a few more images and a few more stories of some of the places we visited in Spain. Then in a day or two I want to share with you the images we captured during my Spanish workshop in Madrid. We had a great class and a beautiful model allowing me and the workshop attendees to again capture  some terrific images.  Look for that the post to hit either tomorrow or Thursday.

Spain Travels Wrap Up

As I've mentioned a few times before at DigitalProTalk, trying to keep the blog going through eight weeks of intensive travel has been quite the challenge. The early-morning risings and the long days left very little time to really spend on the blog. And, I need to tell you, if the choice was between the travels and the blog and I chose the blog - LaDawn would probably have tossed me overboard otherwise ;~)

ScheduleAnyway, were back in town for a couple of weeks so I’ll try to get things back to the regular schedule. Now, there is one hitch to the regular schedule. We've got Thanksgiving next week and we leave for Cabo, Mexico for three weeks that following Saturday. But, as followers of DigitalProTalk know, that even while in Mexico – a trip we make every year – I’ll continue to keep the blog running.

These last eight weeks provided “tons” of blogging material that I want to share with you. Topics will include photography, lighting, composition, color, speed-lighting technique – you name it, I’m going to cover it in the following weeks.

Little RichardLet's get right onto our travel wrap up. During our eight weeks on-the-road we pre-arranged several tours. One of those tours was in Madrid, Spain where we spent half the day checking out the city. Now you may be thinking I'm about to throw up a beautiful photograph of Madrid right about now but, that's not the case. One of the most interesting things I noticed while traveling in Madrid was on a stop to the Hard Rock Cafe in downtown Madrid.

We climbed off the tour bus for a short break and as I was perusing the rock 'n roll memorabilia on the Hard Rock Cafe's wall I was taken by one promotional banner in particular. Check it out - it's announcing a concert with Little Richard playing with none other than the Beatles from way back in 1962. What I thought was particularly interesting and telling was the fact that little Richard had top billing over the Beatles.  Anyway, back to the sites of Madrid.

Madrid 1

Madrid is a first class world city – on par with NYC.  It’s busy, noisy, and full of energy.  And yes, with all the new construction going on, parts of the city are pretty much steel and glass.  It’s kind of a cool contrast when compared with the medieval, historic parts of the city.  It’s certainly an architectural combination we don’t see here in the states.

Madrid 2

I have to say, that I learned one thing about European travel – probably travel for any part of the world – but particularly here in Europe. You can read any travel guide you want but, the common denominator is it's always about the fabulous museums, unbelievable cathedrals, and the food. We enjoyed plenty of it all!

Madrid 3

I have to tell you that I was most impressed with our visit to the Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain.

Prado Museum

Here was simply an un-believable collection of classical artwork that needed at least two days to walk through, digest and enjoy. We only had allotted four hours but took advantage of every single moment. Most impressive to me were the a 90 Peter Paul Rubens paintings on display at the Prado. What's interesting is the fact that the last Rubens painting was auctioned for $75 million. You can do the quick math - the value of the Rubens paintings in the Prado must be worth upwards of $7 billion! And, you could walk right up to them and enjoy them – close and personal.


One of the most amazing facts for me in learning about Peter Paul Rubens was the fact that he painted over 1500 paintings in his nearly 40 year painting career. When you do the math that means that he painted nearly 40 paintings a year. These paintings, many of which are 5’ x 7' and larger, were painted at a rate that averaged nearly four per month or one per week!  What is mind blowing about that fact is to look upon those images and figure out how he did it. Sure Rubens was one of the finest painters of the time and had some great students which also helped with his amazing output of work. He sometimes just painted the hands and the faces and let the students carry on with the rest of the painting. But still four paintings a month for 35 years or so – WOW!  


Oh, and also let’s not forget, he was a well-known diplomat of the times traveling throughout Europe as well . What an amazing individual.

On To Toledo – Not  Toledo, Ohio

One of the highlights was our side trip to Toledo, Spain about an hour south of Madrid. The ride on the bullet train was super relaxing too and you got a chance to enjoy the beautiful country side along the way.


Why don’t we do this is the US as well? A great and inexpensive way to travel! 

Toledo is full of history and beauty and is an absolute joy to visit and we had a picture perfect day for our trip.  Toledo was also home to Miguel de Cervantes who wrote the world's best-selling 16th century novel Don Quixote, which is considered to be one of the most important and influential books in the history of publications.


As with all the medieval cities we visited on our travels we were equally impressed with the city of Toledo.


Not only did it showcase the fabulous Toledo Cathedral dating from 1226 a.d (above), the oldest synagogue building still standing (below) in Europe (14th century), and amazing museums all of which I was able to photograph in, made for a spectacular visit on Tuesday afternoon.


Another one of our highlights of our travels to Toledo was, once again, all the art that was available for viewing throughout the city. Some of the museums were even FREE to visit.  Most prominent was the works by El Greco one of the most famous Spanish Renaissance painters.

Now an interesting fact about El Greco is that's not really his name. It's really Doménikos Theotokópoulos but as you can see signing with his real name would take up half the canvass so he chose to sign his name to most of his paintings as El Greco which means The Greek.

I happen to be a big fan of his work and it was quite the treat to see so many of his famous paintings first hand.  Here was the surprise:  The viewing conditions were quite dim and you really couldn’t enjoy the full richness of El Greco’s color palette under the museum lighting.


Heck, the paintings are 500 years old – the museum wants them around as long as possible so they keep the lights dim;~)  The image above gives you an idea what the art looked like under the museum lighting conditions.

But, after fiddling with the exposure with my Canon 5D Mark III I got an amazingly different result – a result that let me really appreciate the full range of color, contrasts, and tones used by the artist. Just look at the same image below. 

Painting 2

With the properly exposed (illuminated) image that you see above, it’s a spectacular difference and gives one a brand new and very enthusiastic response to the art work.  I photographed several images in the museum just so I could better appreciate them once we returned home.


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  I hope you appreciated the posts these last several weeks. It’s not only been fun for me to share with you some of our visual adventures but I also hope I brought a photographer’s eye to all the locales we visited these last two months.

I’ve still got one more post to get up from our travels – my workshop in Madrid.  I promise – it will be much more photo and lighting centric so please stay tuned.

See everybody soon and Buenos Días for now, 


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