Photographing the Cinque Terre

If any area of Europe needs no marketing it is the Cinque Terre in north-west Italy.  All you need to do is look at the thousands of images online and you just want to visit.  The brightly coloured houses piled on top of each other around quaint coves just scream out to be photographed and posted to Facebook.

For our recent visit I new I wouldn’t be capturing any new or particularly original images but I wanted to make a good attempt at capturing the light during the “golden hours” either side of sunset.

To do this you need to use a tripod so, despite the weight and the hassle, that is what I packed and lugged up several very steep hillsides.

The five little towns that make up the Cinque Terre are all pretty in their own way but a couple of them stand out, Manarola and Vernazza.  They are both best approached from the north on the rugged coastal walk.  That way you get glimpses of the towns as you approach them, and then they reveal themselves into all their glory as you round the final bends in the path.

This image shows Vernazza at dusk.  The long exposure turns the bobbing boats in the foreground to blurs but the tripod keeps the detail of the buildings crystal clear.


This next image shows Manarola as the sun is setting, turning the town orange in the glow.  Swimmers are enjoying jumping into the sea from the rocks in the foreground.


As the sun sets and the lights of the town come on, the exposure gets longer and the surf breaking against the rocks takes on a ghostly blur.


The final picture is of Riomaggiore, the town we stayed in.  It has a small harbour and small boats parked all over the town and its high street.  We experienced an early evening thunderstorm (the first real rain for 3 months) and  found the long exposure brought out the shine of the wet pavements.


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