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I left my heart in…. Italy! It has to be my favorite place ever, so when this weeks theme came up I knew instantly what the answer was, the problem was how to show that in a photo, because there just wasn’t any way on earth I was going to be flying to Italy this week to take a picture, no matter how badly I wanted to do just that. So I thought back to the pictures of Italy that I do have which are many and are also all pretty pathetic since they were taken almost 20 years ago when I served my mission there for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints with a little half broken Fuji point and shoot 35mm film camera, I dropped it soon after arriving in Italy and broke the flash. (Yes children back in the dark ages we shot on something called film, I like to compare it to cave drawings and scratching stick figures in sandstone)

I was not into photography back then although I think I actually did catch a few decent shots along the way despite myself, (it’s impossible to not get a good shot in Italy, I dare you to try – just take me along with you!)  but they’re all little 3×5 prints and they don’t scan in very well, so I thought I’d try to set up a collage of a few pictures and some souvenirs I had brought back from Italy and maybe do a composite with a shot of a local Italian restaurant I saw on a recent photowalk that had looked so promising to me as I passed it in the rain. So I set out to shoot the restaurant and to my absolute horror I realized that there really wasn’t any decent shot to be had once I got there, I think it was the moodiness of the rain that day I first saw it, or I was hallucinating… well so much for that idea back to the drawing board or as I call it Photoshop!

My second homeland!

The background image is a satellite image of Italy which I spherized a little bit to give it some dimension and added a vignette. The masks are two of four that I bought in Venice the next to last day I spent in Italy, the two Tower of Pisa knick-knacks are from Piazza dei Signori itself, you can see the real Bapistry, Duomo, and Tower in the middle photo. The other two pictures are left– Me standing in a narrow alley in Venice, and right -“La Stella” the steel star sculpture that is set up in Verona every Christmas season at the Roman amphitheater near the city center. A small American/Italian flag lapel pin rests near the tower (I wore that on my suit coat on my mission)

I set everything up on a white posterboard in some direct sun on my kitchen floor and used my 5 in 1 reflector to fill in the shadows, some shots were on a tripod but this shot was actually handheld  with 3 brackets at 2EV. I tonemapped and then cut out to place on the satellite image.

Not my best work but I was editing during the Superbowl and the computer was really lagging behind for some reason so I settled for this. Next week will be better I promise!

Happy Shooting!