Italy + Hasselblad + Film = Bliss

Posted on Jun 20, 2013
Italy + Hasselblad + Film = Bliss

from the Photo Lab

Last May, we were very lucky to spend a few days working and playing in Italy, visiting fantastic places and experiencing them with all four senses. In the company of great friends we hadn’t seen in too long, we ate, we drank, we walked, we laughed and we took pictures… lots of them.

When we were packing our bags for the trip, there were two cameras on our list: a recently acquired Fuji X20 for it’s gorgeous quality images and light weight for long days of walking; and the heart and soul of our film photography work, our Hasselblad 503.
There was no way we were leaving without it, I couldn’t wait to see Italy through that buttery lens. Packed snug in my inconspicuous Epiphanie! camera bag, with 5 boxes of Fuji Pro 400 H and Fuji Neopan 100 Acros  film, we took to the skies. Italia, here we come.

I am saving the Fuji X20 and multiple iPhone photographs for another post, for today, I am excited to share our favorites from the multiple rolls of film we shot while walking our way through Florence, Bologna and Venice.

*a dorky note to photography enthusiasts, other than minor adjustments in Levels (5 black, 250 white), these images are otherwise untouched. You’ll find no fancy Photoshop tricks here. When you have good film, you expose it, process it and scan it correctly, you end up with deliciously buttery images with a wide range of tones, you spend less time in front of your computer and more time enjoying your photographs. That’s why I love film.

But more on that on another post; for now, come with us to Italy!

First off, was the countryside of Florence, far greener than I could have imagined, it made my 6 senses oh so happy.

It was a little cloudy and sprinkly the two short days we were there, but as photographers, we delighted in the light it provided (to everyone’s confusion). Hi Billy!

Sunsets and sunrises were covered in blush tones, contrasted against the rain-kissed greens of the hills… it was just a treat for the eyes.

We stayed in an olive grove and resort called Villa Campestri. The grounds were covered in olive trees, lemon trees, fresh herbs and flowers often used in the home-cooked meals.

Every time I see these photographs, I can instantly smell the fragrant lemon blossoms and damp gravel, so blissful.

The olive groves are covered in little field flowers like these, they use no pesticides and rely on the good bugs to do their honorable work; which makes the olive taste even better.

Ever been olive oil tasting? Add it to your bucket list, it’s mind blowing.

Walking around the Oleoteca, we ran into fun textures like these.

My finest Italian moment was spent right here, with real espresso, overlooking the green rolling hills and Juniper trees. Check-mark on my bucket list for sure.

Of course, no trip to Florence would be complete without a visit to the gorgeous and famous Florence Duomo.

Exploring the not-so-common angles.

One of my favorite parts of the trip was getting to spend time with our amazing friend J. Nichole Smith ( I gave her an impromptu Hasselblad lesson in the middle of the Duomo plaza, the kind stranger that took this picture crashed our “lesson”, he was so nervous handling the Hassy, but he did a good job for a first time 😉

Il Duomo in Fuji pastels

Loving those greens and peach tones.

It started to rain heavily, so Nichole and I found a tiny place to grab some lunch (one of the best meals of the trip) and this was our soundtrack. It could not have been more perfect, on all levels.

Hello Venice! Nope, it’s not Las Vegas, or Epcot, it’s the real thing, and my goodness, it was majestic.

Leave it up to me, to have such gorgeous sites nearby, and what do I focus on? The pigeons. Fat, friendly and bold, stand or sit there long enough and they invite themselves on you.

I made a few new friends that day.

… and so did Bill 🙂

We went through a plethora of “Goodfeathers” quotes and jokes. This guy just hung out there, on Bill’s shoulder for a long while.

These guys were not afraid of the not-so-silent Hassy shutter.

I was so amazed at the quantity of dogs we saw in Italy! They were everywhere, out and about with their people, and in Venice, often off leash but always close to their owners. This guy was a dream to run into, we could not let him escape without a photo, he was very gracious, and turned out to be a Hassy lover himself! Stay tuned for our future Italian Dogs blog post.

We took a Gondola ride (no, it’s not cheesy, it’s a must). It was incredibly relaxing, and it offered sights of the sinking city otherwise unreachable.

Our Gondolera (the only known female Gondolier in Venice) took us down less crowded and touristy areas, it was so quiet and beautiful except for the sporadic accordion playing somewhere and the gentle lap of the water.

There is no better time to photograph Venice, than Magic Hour (one hour before and after sunset).

For the people wondering what I was doing laying belly flat on the ground with a weird looking camera, this was it 😉

What a place.

This city is filled with details.

Venetian traffic.

Before the end of our last day in Italy, we had to go back and say goodbye to a few friends…

Call me weird, and silly if you like, I don’t care. It was still my favorite part of Venice ha!

Thanks for coming along! We’ll be back with images from the Fuji X20 as well as the trusty iPhone, stay tuned for Italian food, bicycles and dogs.



  1. Terran
    June 20, 2013

    Beautiful, beautiful, beeeeeea-u-tiful photos!

  2. Walking and Reading 6|29|13 | notes from a dog walker
    June 29, 2013

    […] I be rich and go see you every year? Luckily Nat and Bill over at Photo Lab shared these gorgeous photos of their trip, so I can live vicariously through them. You can […]


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