I recently went on a small trip to Rome. I had more or less just gotten back from a four week trip to Iceland. This much travelling is actually quite unusual for me, given that I've lived on a student income for years. Living in Scandinavia it’s always preferable to go for a little trip in march or april to get a head start on the spring. And even though the early spring weather in Iceland was exceptionally mild this year, I wouldn't call it a head start on anything other than the bright evenings in the north.
There is a certain rhythm when you shoot in Denmark or Iceland, the lighting of the seasons can seem a bit extreme. We have severely dark winters, where you don't see the sun for weeks and bright summers where - especially in Iceland - the sun barely sets.
When in Rome I had to get used to shooting in bright sunlight again, the shift surprises me every year. I spend months getting used to the soft overcast light with no shadows. Suddenly the light shifts and I need to work with harsh shadows and bright highlights. When I shoot using ambient light I prefer the overcast weather, where the sky is actually a huge soft box, it creates a kind of melancholy vibe that I appreciate. But shooting with flash the bright sunlight is fantastic for creating an intense contrast and dramatic shadows. It also has the advantage that it camouflages the flash light, so it seems more subtle than it will if you flash at night.
I always love to experience a city for the first time and Rome was particularly exiting. The city of Rome feels much like one huge museum. Everywhere you turn there is an old ruin or something historical. And the density of turists is quite overwhelming. When I visit a city i'm not interested in searching for whatever conception of authenticity that might belong to that city. I'm mostly interested in the things I see, and I pretty much follow my intuition on what I gravitate towards. That's why I detest planning and structured tours, I'm much more interested in just wandering aimlessly.
I never know what I will end up shooting, so I usually carry around way to much equipment. I tend to lug around three cameras at all times. A medium format camera, one slr for shooting with flash and a rangefinder for more discrete shooting. One of my own biggest misconceptions about going back to strictly shooting film has been that I would focus less on gear. It has turned out to be the exact opposite for me!
In the gallery below I've gathered a some of my flash shots from Rome.