Tag Archives: Cinque Terre

Of Heaven and Earth – Italy’s Cinque Terre

As spiritual as it may sound, these are also the key ingredients of a landscape portrait.  When they cooperate with one another, you get a brilliance of color, drama and magic.  When they don’t, you get flat lighting, dull colors, and generally wet.

The latter was the case on a recent trip to the Ligorian coast of Italy to shoot the five rugged coastal and mountain villages that comprise the Cinque Terre (Five Lands).  For centuries these ancient villages derived their livelihood from vineyards finely suited to the steeply carved mountain terraces and the warm Mediterranean climate.  In recent years tourists have outnumbered the grapes, the economy has flourished, and the age-old tradition of cultivating vineyards has dwindled.


What makes these villages unique is their isolation.  They can only be reached by mountain paths, a ferry, a few trains and a small treacherous road with limited vehicle access.  Modern development has virtually been shut out.  For this reason, the area was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.


Visiting the Cinque Terre, I was hit with the Trifecta of bad luck: the trails between the villages – which provide the best vantage points for photography – had been closed for maintenance; the ferry – which provides the second best vantage point for shooting the villages – doesn’t run in the off-season; and the weather – which was predicted as sunny to partly cloudy – was foul (except blue sky the day I was leaving).

Despite bad weather and bad research, shots were fired.  You’ll find these and other recent photos in the Latest gallery.


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