Postcards From Rome: My Crazy Sunset!

A Postcard moment

This Postcard From Rome has waited. Lurked, searched for the right moment to be delivered and pinned to the wall.

I didn’t want it to be lost amidst the flurry, hustle and bustle of Germany, France and all the rest. It needed its own moment. It was #Magic. Now it has one.

Those of you who have followed my Postcards project, might remember this video. I was scouting the best spot to set up for a sunset, should a good one present itself… and I wanted one of the iconic St. Peter’s Basilica and Tiber River images. Yeah, everybody has one… but hey, I wanted one too! And I never did show you what eventually happened. This is the first time I’m showing the final result.

I started out down by the river, hoping I could find some kind of different angle for this shot, but in the end was governed by the positioning of the sun, the buildings and how light would eventually bounce off of everything I wanted in the frame.

So… I chatted about my gear, how I was set up and what I was thinking about as I did said scouting mission one evening:

Then it happened

Well, I say it happened… but it took a few days! The night I made the video was NOT a great sunset. It’s funny how us photographers Harumph a gorgeous spot, the sheer miracle of being somewhere like Rome for the first time.. on a project… with incredible people… but the sunset? Meh. So the whole evening is a big “whatevs” in our mind. We’re such dorks!! hahahahah!

So I waited. For days. Finally… I espied me a promising cloud pattern move in around 1pm in the afternoon. I thought… “Ooooo, if that sticks around, wouldn’t THAT be an awesome sunset!” See, around home this time of year (May), I might see amazing clouds in the afternoon… but then right before the big show, it all burns off.

I wasn’t sure if that would happen here, so I kept my beady little eyes on the heavens. And by golly… they stuck around! So I headed down to the Ponte Sisto, where I determined the best composition would be. This, after heaving a big sigh for the sheer obvious placement of it all. I mean, nothing original about the location… only the moment itself. I would have to be happy with that. Picky, picky!

I got there early and set up. Shortened my Really Right Stuff tripod all the way down and set it up on the short wall of the bridge. It was going to be a lazy girl’s shoot, clearly. The teeming masses streamed by… and increasingly, as sunset approached… pressed in next to me. Never my favorite thing. But oh well.

Now THIS was a postcard moment!

Then… my eyes slowly started to bug out. Because it started going OFF. Not just any sunset, this one. It was the “HOLY CRAP” of my dreams! I mean, I imagined this exact scenario… but I’m still so impressed when they actually happen!

I shot many frames, many exposures, as many compositions as I could think of. I wanted every hue, every light level.. .and I wanted the city itself after the lights came on. Which was after the color dissipated. I got ’em all.

Then I blended the city lights with the sky on fire. In Photoshop – it’s how I roll. But nope, no enhancement to the color in the sky nor reflection in the water. What you see is what we got. Thank you Fufifilm X-Pro 2 and 16-55mm lens. Freakin’ amazing.

TRUTH TO TELL: I actually wanted the shot to be wider. I DID shoot wider versions of it for the skycolors. But somehow only managed to get the perfect shot of the lights zoomed in to this level. sigh. So, closer cropped it is.

The wacky thing: it looks SO much like the version that my friend Elia Locardi took from here a couple of years ago. Almost the same, except for the building in mine that was having work done and was thus covered by a huge advertisement. (Hey, a differentiator!)  Elia’s had inspired me ever since I first saw it.  But at least a year apart, if not two. Seriously, WHAT ARE THE CHANCES?? Even the composition crop… which I purposely was trying NOT to do, but through pilot error ended up there. Sigh.

Note to self: [as my mother always said] Be careful what you wish for… you might get it! I would amend that to say… be conscious of how you hold the vision of your desires. 😉

Well, that’s the behind-the-scenes. Here’s the result. I love this image. And even though it may not SEEM original… it completely, totally, utterly is. It was MY moment. When things like this happen, I’m always what a gift it is.. and I’m always so full of gratitude. Can’t fake what happened here. Not any of it.

One Night In Rome

Yes, you can purchase this print… and all of my work by clicking this link.