Walking photo tour of Trapani

The images and text in this post provide a summary of the walking tour that I conducted last month. Greater detail may appear in specific subject articles at a later date.

In view of the really hot weather that Trapani had been “enjoying” the walking tour started at 08:30 so as to complete it before the heat of the sun got too uncomfortable.

Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II

The tour began at the statue of King Vittorio Emanuele II which sits in the square of the same name. We spent a few minutes taking photos of the statue (composition, rule of thirds, golden ratio) before crossing via Fardella, now closed to traffic, to the fountain of Triton.

Triton fountain

The fountain features two large horses in the middle of the water feature that is centred on a bronze figure of Triton (a Greek god of the sea, son of Poseidon).

Here we spent 15 minutes taking creative shots (selective depth of field, aperture control) from various points of view of the fountain before crossing via Spalti to the gardens of Villa Margherita.

A shaded boundary inside the Villa Margherita gardens

Although referred to as a “villa” the Villa Margherita is a public garden that was established in honour of Queen Margherita. It is bounded by broad tree-lined paths with colourful flowers in the central areas.

Bougainvillea, palms and exotic trees in flower in Villa Margherita

There are statues of a variety of famous people dotted around the gardens and a nice water feature at the top end. We spent 30 minutes here (histograms, manual controls).

Piazza Vittorio Veneto

Moving on, we then walked to Piazza Vittorio Veneto, named after the site of a major battle in the Venetian area that ended the Austro-Hungarian empire and contributed to the end of WWI. Around the square are a number of government buildings including the Post Office (under renovation but still operating).

Post Office interior with art deco decoration

The inside of the post office is well worth looking at. It has an art deco style in good condition (contrast, available light). The outside of the building has been partly covered for the last two years but the process of renovating this 90 year-old building seems inordinately slow, though to be fair the work has to be done to last many more years.

Just beyond the Piazza is the start of via Garibaldi.

Via Garibaldi

Via Garibaldi, named after Giuseppe Garibaldi who was instrumental in the unification of Italy and subsequent creation of the Kingdom of Italy, is part of the old town of Trapani. It is closed to traffic other than delivery vehicles. Along the road are a number of historic buildings and churches though the narrowness of via Garibaldi means it is not entirely photogenic.

Bar Il Salotto, via Garibaldi

At the end of via Garibaldi, more specifically at the bar Il Salotto, we took a short rest to have a cooling and healthy pomegranate juice while discussing progress so far and what was to come.

Fish Market Square

Around the corner from the bar is the old fish market square, now used for cultural events.

The square is bounded on two sides by a colonnade atop the sea wall with the sea behind. It features a bronze statue of Venus/Aphrodite near the road.

We left the square, taking the narrow path of via Mura di Tramontana West, along the top if the sea wall. From here we had views of part of the old town fortification towards the Bastione Conca and the beach below it.

Bastione Conca, Mura di Tramontana, Trapani

After visiting the Bastion we took the steps down from via Mura di Tramontana and along the road before entering viale delle Sirene (Avenue of the Sirens) and back onto the Mura di Tramontana.

Beach view, Mura di Tramontana, Trapani

View of Torre di Ligny from Mura di Tramontana, Trapani

Yellow-legged Gull

Torre de Ligny

We left Torre de Ligny, heading back towards town on Corso Vittorio Emanuele (the Rua Grande, built in the 13th century) passing the Cathedral of San Lorenzo (St Lawrence) towards the famous astronomical clock tower on via Torrearsa.

Porta Oscura

Porta Oscura, the dark gate, is one of the four historic entrances to the old town. Above and adjacent to the gate is the clock tower.

Torre del Orologio

The astronomical clock, built in 1596, is one of the oldest of its kind and still functions.

We were now on via Torrearsa.

Via Torrearsa

At one end of via Torrearsa is the fish market square that we had passed earlier, and were now returning to, while at the other end is the port. This makes the road, with its shops, bars, restaurants and points of interest, a busy place for tourists especially those on cruise liners that frequent Trapani.

Fontana de Saturno

While walking along via Torrearsa we stopped at the Saturn Fountain that was built to commemorate the opening of the aqueduct built in 1342.

We then made our way back to Piazza Vittorio Emanuele to conclude the walking photo tour.

Apart from learning a little bit about Trapani, participants on the tour receive practical instruction on camera usage including:

Starting: Camera basics – body, lens and sensors

Seeing: Composition and objective

Capture: How to use the camera’s shooting modes

Control: Making the most of aperture, shutter speed and ISO

Lighting: Daylight and artificial light

Histograms: what they tell you

A Taste of Trapanese History

Entrance to the Pepoli Museum (facing out towards the gardens of the Santuary of the Madonna of Trapani)

In my teens, while visiting relatives in Rome, I was given a choice of spending a day visiting the Vatican etc or going to the beach. I chose beach! I guess, as a younger man, I always preferred sun and sand to old relics though I now like art galleries and museums more than beaches. Or as my daughters might say “You like old relics because you are one!”

In spite of having spent many weeks or months in Sicily over the past 10 years I had never visited a museum on the island. Last week, while returning from a photo project, I passed through the gardens adjacent to the Agostino Pepoli Regional Museum, took a few pictures and decided that I should return.

Considering the history of the region I am surprised that there aren’t more museums in Trapani. I suppose it’s because the majority of tourists come here for the sun, sea and sand as I would have done years ago.

The Pepoli museum covers a wide range of aspects of Trapani’s history and I was happy to see a group of young school children with their teachers apparently conducting a history lesson there.

View from the gate of the museum, separating from the Sanctuary gardens, towards the entrance to the museum.

The entrance to the Museum is behind the Santuary of the Madonna of Trapani, one of the principal churches in the town, and is reached by passing through the gardens that seem to attract a daily quota of both pensioners that enjoy the coolness and tranquility of the setting and young children, whose laughter as they play under the watchful eye of their mothers in the shade of the trees, echos off the front of the Sanctuary.

The Sanctuary viewed from within the gardens

A gate separates the museum from the gardens, with a pair of white stone column heads positioned as if to welcome visitors. A wide path leads between an area littered with ancient masonry and a large anchor on one side, and a bust of Sr Agostino Pepoli on the other.

One of a pair of white stone column heads outside the museum gate

Once inside the shaded entrance of the Museum one can see the cloisters that borders the museum garden.

Cloisters with garden

I paid €6.00 to enter the museum and was given a brochure in English. I believe they offer French and German versions too (in addition to Italian, of course).

Brochure and entrance ticket

Museum staff are on hand as one enters the building and throughout the museum in various rooms to ensure you follow the appropriate flow of the exhibition areas. Anyone with questions or seeking clarification on any aspect can of course approach the staff who are happy to provide the benefit of their knowledge.

One of the first exhibition areas in the museum is that of religious artefacts

Ceramic tiles depicting the town of Trapani

Garden with the bell tower of the Sanctuary above and behind the museum walls

A number of stone decorations on loose display under the cloisters

View of the cloisters and shaded part of the garden

What to see

Paintings of historical figures linked to Trapani

Paintings and sculptures of religious subjects

Example of clothes and jewellery of the Baroque era

Painted wall and floor tiles

Roman and Greek pottery, metal and glassware dating back over 2,500 years

Fascinating finely detailed carvings and dioramas of historic scenes eg views of life, of nativity, and horrific images of the Massacre of the Innocents.

How to get there

via Conte Agostino Pepoli, 180

By bus, taxi or car, but there is only street parking

Open:

weekdays 9 am – 1 pm and 3 pm – 7.30 pm Sundays and holidays from 9 am to 12.30 pm

SUMMER TIME (JULY AND AUGUST):

weekdays: Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 5.30pm

Sunday and public holidays: from 9.00 to 12.30

This is a great place to see so much history in one place. A visit to this museum is highly recommended.

Photographic Tour of Western Sicily

Segesta

After a very warm Easter in UK what better way to see out the end of Spring than to spend a few days in Sicily!

I spend a lot of time in Sicily which is an enormously fascinating country – and photogenic too. I shall be there in June / July to welcome anyone with an interest in learning more about photography to spend a day with me exploring towns like Marsala, Erice and Corleone.

Apart from the opportunity to get fresh air and see parts of the island, you will gain an understanding of how to control your camera and to see landscapes with a different point of view.

Corleone.png

What you will learn:

  1. Starting: Camera basics – body, lens and sensors
  2. Seeing: Composition and objective
  3. Capture: How to use the camera’s shooting modes
  4. Control: Making the most of aperture, shutter speed and ISO
  5. Lighting: Daylight and artificial light
  6. Histograms: what they tell you

What you will need:

  • A digital camera with the ability to control exposure:
    • Programmed Auto (P)
    • Shutter-Priority Auto (S)
    • Aperture-Priority Auto (A)
    • Manual (M)
  • Flash (optional) There may be a flash incorporated in the camera that you have
  • Standard/wide-angle. (Telephoto/zoom lens – optional)
  • Tripod (optional but useful)
  • Water and warm clothes

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The Tour (conducted in English)

This will be a whole day session with an early start!

We will meet at the railway station in Palermo that will enable us to get some good views, to stop and chat about what we are doing, and to discuss/answer questions.

We will stop half-way through to have lunch (cost not included in the package) and talk through any issues. There will also be time to try cannoli or ice cream.

In the afternoon we have the option of seeing either the old and infamous town of Corleone or to visit the archaeological site of Segesta and the salt pans of Marsala (where we may stay on to sample the famous fortified wine).

Total time from start to finish will be about 10 hours.

Don’t forget to ensure you have a fresh memory card and fully charged battery in the camera. If in doubt bring back-up!

AS17-03470

Freshly made cannoli

Price

£200.00 per person (excludes flights)

£100.00 on booking to secure place (non-refundable)

Balance to be paid on the day of the tour.

When

Date: 12JUN19 or 19JUN19

How to get there

Fly to Palermo. There are direct and indirect flights from various UK airports.

Photographic Tour of Edinburgh

Screenshot 2019-02-01 at 17.54.07Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

It’s as cold as it will get in Edinburgh at this time of year. Best to stay indoors near a warm fireplace, drinking hot chocolate. Or not!

Why not venture out? If you had a New Year resolution to take up or improve your photography then why not wrap up warm and take a photo tour of the beautiful city of Edinburgh with an experienced professional photographer to guide you in a practical walking workshop.

Apart from the opportunity to get fresh air and see parts of the city, you will gain an understanding of how to control your camera and to see the city with a different point of view.

Screenshot 2019-02-01 at 18.14.17

What you will learn:

  1. Starting: Camera basics – the camera body, interchangeable lenses and camera sensors
  2. Seeing: Composition and objective
  3. Capture: How to use the camera’s shooting modes*
  4. Control: Making the most of aperture, shutter speed and ISO
  5. Lighting: Daylight and artificial light
  6. Histograms*: what they tell you

* If your camera doesn’t have these features, let me know in advance of the tour.

What you will need:

  • A digital camera with the ability to control exposure:
    • Programmed Auto (P)
    • Shutter-Priority Auto (S)
    • Aperture-Priority Auto (A)
    • Manual (M)
  • Flash (optional) There may be a flash incorporated in the camera that you have
  • Standard/wide-angle. (Telephoto/zoom lens – optional)
  • Tripod (optional but useful)
  • Water and warm clothes

Screenshot 2019-02-01 at 19.25.37

The 9th March, 2019 Tour – Royal Botanical Garden

It will be a slow walking tour, not a long trek, but one that will enable us to get some good views, to stop and chat about what we are doing, and to discuss/answer questions.

We will stop half-way through to have a light lunch (cost not included in the package)  which will give us time to talk through any issues.

Total time from start to finish will be about 5-6 hours.

Meet: East Gate 10.00am

Don’t forget to ensure you have a fresh memory card and fully charged battery in the camera. If in doubt bring back-up!

Note: This tour assumes that images captured will NOT be used for commercial gain, solely for personal use. In order to use images captured in the gardens commercially it is necessary to obtain prior approval from the RBGE press office.

Please note that entrance to the Gardens is free but there will be a charge of £7.00 to enter the Glasshouses – well worth the visit if only to warm up on a cold day – where we can photograph exotic flowers, cacti and orchids.

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Price

£90.00  £60.00 per person (Winter Special!)

£30.00 on booking to secure place (non-refundable)

Balance to be paid on the day of the tour.