When you think of Marlon Brando in The Godfather, what comes to mind? Don Corleone, Palermo, and Sicily?
Perhaps, but Sicily is so much more than that. With five World Heritage Sites, amazing ancient architecture, and Teatros Grecos that see current use, including an international film festival, it offers culture and sophistication that supersedes the once-iron-grip of “The Family.” Not that the family doesn’t still exist. We’re not quite sure, but we suspect we may have met and chatted with some “cousins.”
We stay in Taormina, an ancient town perched more than 800 feet high on a bluff overlooking the Ionian Sea. Yes, that sea you learned about back in fourth grade.
In the evenings, one of our pleasures is to walk Corso Umberto I, the cobbled street that runs the length of the historic Medieval town center. We often stop to enjoy a glass of wine or two at one of the outdoor cafés. It is one of the things to do on a warm evening in Taormina. There are those who sit or strut by conspicuously, so they will be seen. Others, like us, just enjoy “watching the scene.”
I’ve always loved the way the light plays off this piazza at night. It glows. That magic of light that Arnie and I are always seeking. I ducked across the street from where Arnie and I were sitting and quickly did a vertical shot, using the tile patterns to advantage. As I was heading back to Arnie and my glass of wine, some people strolled by. It was a wonderful effect, but their legs weren’t right for what I decided I had in mind. And so, I waited. I knew exactly where I wanted people to walk, but of course, that was out of my control. So, I waited some more.
Finally, three friends strode by, the lead leg perfectly silhouetted against the light tiles. It was exactly what I had hoped for, and I got it!
In our workshops, we often talk about looking for patterns as we observe the world around us. It might be the patterns of the scene, as with the checkerboard tiles, or it might be the pattern of movement, whether flowing water or in this case, foot traffic. Look for them yourself.
Then, put yourself in the right spot for the composition you envision, and wait for the pattern to repeat itself. Yes, you often have to be patient, but it is usually worth it as was the case here.
And just in case you hadn’t noticed, photography often is about patience!
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