30 June 2012

ArtOdysseys—The Art of European Travel Photography

The turreted rooftop of Chateau de Chambord in the Loire Valley in France resembles a French provincial village. All content property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited. 

Welcome to ArtOdysseys once again my friends with this month's installment—the art of photography—the visual romance—from the sublime landscapes and medieval castles to the charming seaside villages and fascinating cultures. I hope you enjoy this visual tour through Europe and don’t forget to scroll to the end for more links leading you to unique perspectives on photography from around the world.


It's difficult not to fall in love with the enchanting and timeless city of Venice, Italy. Most of these buildings in this living muesum have been standing for more than 500 years.  

What is photography?


The magnificent Saint Peter's Basilica and Square in Rome, Italy. 

Wikipedia states that the word photography derives from the Greek phōtos meaning "light" and graphé meaning the "representation by means of lines or drawing," or combined—"drawing with light." Personally, I like to think of photography as "painting with light." After all, from the primary colors of visible light—red, blue and green—we see myriad reflections of every shade, every hue, and every vibrant wavelength of saturated living color! And so the light becomes our palette of pigments that renders each vantage point, unique perspective or sublime vista within our canvas frames.


Perhaps one of my all-time favorite photographs ever taken.  The glass pyramid at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France, appears to have a liquid surface on its left side—-a striking contrast to the cold stone-carved facade of the building in the background. 

Like all artists, the photographer too must remember the rules of composition and light, or in some cases not, but also calculate the exposure and manipulate the lens of reflected wavelengths to capture the scene—a frozen moment in time or the movement of time with dramatically fluid results; think flowing waterfalls or skies of billowy white clouds blurring seamlessly into the surreal. The possibilities are infinite and the photographer is limited only by the imagination!

While the rules of photography have not really changed over time, the technology certainly has. As a photographer "classically" trained in the day when not pixels of light but silver halide or salts were our friend, we honed our craft on film and chrome; from 35 mm and 2 1/4 formats to 4 x 5 and the glorious 8 x 10 view cameras. But the piece de resistance in those days was Kodachrome yielding vibrant and saturated colors that really brought the scenes to life. "Mamma, please don't take my Kodachrome away."—Simon and Garfunkle.

Today, the digital revolution has reshaped the industry and mostly did away with film and replaced it with image sensors and pixels. Instead of developer, stop bath and fixer, we have photo processing tools that convert raw data into the most dramatic and stunning images I have ever seen; especially in the case of the high-definition imagery that renders visible every grain of sand in the beach or pebble in the road with quite astonishing results!

My love affair with Europe.


The view of Paris and the River Seine from the very top of Notre Dame in Paris, France. 

As you know, I have a love affair for things European and to help me bring that love affair to life for you the reader, photography is a key ingredient for EuroTravelogue. Around every corner of this magnificent European canvas, a Kodak moment is waiting to happen. And, it's all mine for the taking. Alas, I am but one unique perspective looking out into this great big world of ours, and one who strives to paint with the God-given light and transform the mundane into the magnificent, or at least try, and hopefully draw you in to share the moment in time with me.

Below are a few studies of magnificent domes, medieval fortresses and enchanting villages—among others.

A Study in Domes


The Church of Santa Maria della Salute in Venice, Italy.

Michelangelo's cupola at Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome. 

Brunelleschi's Dome topping Santa Maria del Fiore has been dominating the Florentine skyline since its completion in 1436.

The many domes of Basilica di San Marco glisten in the timeless city of Venice, Italy.

Flowing Rivers


Bernini's "Fountain of the Four Rivers" preserved in Piazza Navona in Rome, Italy. 

Charming house boats like these line most of the picturesque canals of Amsterdam in The Netherlands.  

This enchanting shot of a canal and drawbridge in Edam, The Netherlands, beckons to artists of all mediums.  

Kinderdijk complex makes for a wonderful half-day tour through this picturesque land of Dutch windmills. 

Cathedrals and Chateaux


Our Lady of Paria, aka Notre Dame de Paris, stands on the Île de la Cité in Paris for almost 1,000 years. 

Colossal and magnificent doesn't begin to describe the imposing yet beautiful chateaux of the Loire River Valley in France. Construction on Chateau de Chambord began in the early 16th century and remains unfinished to this day. 

The medieval fortress that is the Palazzo Vecchio has been standing in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence since 1302.

Notre Dame de Chartres is one of Europe's most unique cathedrals with its two distinct bell towers. 

Stained-glass majesty in the windows at Notre Dame de Chartres in France.  

Westerkerk or West Church can be seen from the canals of Amsterdam in The Netherlands.

Enchanting Villages


Welcome to the village of Cheverny in the Loire Valley in France. 

Charming hilltop town of Pienza in Tuscany, Italy, offers spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding sublime Tuscan landscape. 

Quintessentially Dutch architecture lines the charming brick-paved lanes in the village of Volendam in The Netherlands. 

Benvenuti a Montepulciano in Tuscany, Italy.

Uniquely Dutch architecture with its fabled gabled rooftops lines the streets of the seaside village of Volendam in The Netherlands. 
Seaside village of Marken in The Netherlands.

A schooner or 'schoener' in Dutch, docked in the Volendam Harbor in The Netherlands. 

The vibrant gardens provide a striking contrast to the stone-carved facades of the Musee du Louvre in Paris, France.

I hope you enjoyed this postcard tour through some of my favorite European destinations and hope you are inspired to grab your camera, lots of batteries and memory chips, and set out to capture your own moments in time.


Gargoyles view from the top of  Notre Dame de Paris.

More Photography from Around the World:

A parting shot an early morning in Kinderdijk in The Netherlands. May it inspire a new dawn for you to capture the moments of your travels.


The Kinderdijk Windmill complex in The Netherlands. 

38 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos Jeff. Like you, I am a huge fan of Europe. I love the cathedrals, towns, and museums. I still have a lot to learn about photography. Sometimes I've gotten lucky and have taken some great photos. Now I have a better camera and am learning how to take better pictures. However, photo editing software also helps :)

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    1. Hi Jeremy and thank you so kindly for the compliments! Good luck in your photographic endeavors and I think between us, we know enough professionals out there who can assist us when we need it. And yes, photo processing tools certainly add a touch of beauty and warmth to the end result when they are needed of course. Thanks so much for stopping by!!!

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  2. Wonderful photos of European city attractions. Bravo, Jeff!

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    1. Hi there Marlys and thank you so much for your compliments and for stopping by! I need to add so many more destinations to my arsenal of European photos...so much more to see, experience and capture forever! Thank you for stopping by my friend!

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  3. The very first photo is my favorite, those flying buttresses around the lantern make such a fantastic pattern.

    Always great to see such gorgeous European architecture (it was like a blast from my art history past) featured, and of course I geeked out over your cathedral shots. Medieval architecture FTW.

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    1. Hi there Erin and thanks so much for your kind words!! Your comment made me chuckle as well...I geek out over cathedrals medieval architecture as well my friend...I can totally relate. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!!

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  4. That picture of the Louvre is gorgeous! I have to admit photography is not my strong point - my husband takes the majority of the pictures when we travel ;-)

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    1. Hi Ashley and thanks so much for your compliment. I too love that photo...it's just so surreal..and I love the liquid effect!! I think if you have your hubby show you a thing or two on the camera, I believe you'll find photography quite addictive...especially because you're an artist!! Give it shot. And yes, pun intended. ; )

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  5. I love all of these as I'm sure you knew I would! I particularly love the one of Chambord. I can't believe after all my time spent in Paris I have never visited the chateaux in the Loire! I don't know how that happened!

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    1. Well Andrea, that's easy...you're waiting for me to come and take you on an escorted tour of the entire region. Between the two of us, just think how much we can conquer! Thx so much for stopping by to share your commments...I really appreciate it!!

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  6. it's like I took art history refresher...great post!

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    1. Thank you dearest Charu for stopping by and for the wonderful comment.

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  7. Thank you, Jeff, for glorious photos of stunning places!

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    1. Greetings Santa Tatiana, Thank you for your most kind words my friend and for stopping by to share your thoughts! Comments like these mean the world to me!!

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  8. What an inspiring set of photos. I love them all but the light is particularly fantastic in the last one.

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    1. Hi there Leigh and thanks so much for stopping by and for your compliments! The Kinderdijk photo is one of my all-time FAVES! Thx again.

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  9. Gorgeous gorgeous crisp photos!

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    1. Hi there Hilarye and thanks so much for your kind words and for stopping by to share your commments. I really appreciate it!!

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  10. You've got beautiful shots in there Jeff! Europe is so photogenic and it's actually the ideal place to perfect one's photography skills. So many inspirational sights!

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    1. Hi there Marie-Eve and thank you so much for your kind words. I totally agree with you that the camera certainly LOVES Europe and all that it has to offer! I could spend a lifetime touring and photographing every vista, every view and everything in between.

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  11. Your photos and enthusiasm are inspiring, Jeff--I heart ArtSmart Roundtable!

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    1. Thank you so much Lesley for your kind words and for your love of the roundtable. We love it and glad you do too!! Thx for stopping by so share your thoughts!

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  12. Great photos! Looking at them reminds me of how much of Europe I still have yet seen, despite living in Munich.

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    1. Thank you my Laurel for stopping by and for your kind words!!! I have yet to visit Bavaria and you must be my guide!!

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  13. I do love pictures! Pictures have led me to discover many small villages that are now some of my favorites. All of these pictures are great but I especially love the domes of Basilica di San Marco. It just seems to glisten!

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    1. Thank you Debbie!! I couldn't agree with you more! Europe is just a postcard waiting to happen around every corner! Thx so much for stopping by to share your comments!!

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  14. I'm having a love affair with Europe, too. Your wonderful photos of places I've been and places I want to go really make long to get back there soon. That's an incredible photo of the Louvre -- very unusual and beautiful.

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    1. Hi there Cathy and thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! I say we both leave for Europe right away and never look back. Thank you for stopping by and for your compliment on my all-time fav photo!

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  15. Hi Jeff, that a nice piece of writing about photography and your photographs of Europe is pretty inviting.

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    1. Thank you again Marisol for stopping by and for your kind words! I really appreciate it.

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  16. Beautiful photos Jeff! I adore Europe too and this brings back fond memories of the time I spent in Italy and France. Gems of architecture everywhere...a photographer's Seventh Heaven.

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    1. Hi there Charu and thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind words! Don't you love all the architecture wherever you travel? I can't control myself when it comes to snapping the shutter and capturing every moment I can while I am there. Thx for stopping by my friend!

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  17. Gorgeous photography Jeff!

    Europe is so beautiful & photo opportunities abound!

    I can't decide which photo I like best but the one of Pienza really makes my heart skip a beat ;)

    Keep up the great work!

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    1. Hi there Karla and thank you so much for all the compliments! Opportunities certainly abound throughout Europe and I personally, want to discover every single one of them. LOL. I loved my time in Pienza, a heavenly little hilltop town in Tuscany! Thank you for stopping by!!

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind compliments my friend!

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    1. HI there my firend and thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind compliments.

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Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!