Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Liguria, Italy by Alessandra Piasecka

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Picture Story

This wonderful shot, apparently, seems a classic of the "Cinque Terre", but in reality it is not so, given the nightly realization. This is the only night photo of Riomaggiore made from that perspective. In fact it is a unique image of the village portrayed with these particular weather conditions. That evening the waves reached a height of over 5 meters.

But what is behind this work? The professional photographer tells us Alessandra Piasecka: “I would like to underline the difficulty of Riomaggiore's shot, which took place in extreme conditions, violating the basic safety standards.

One Sunday in February, after a look at the weather, I note with pleasant surprise that the wind is very strong on the Ligurian coast and my thoughts run immediately to Riomaggiore and Manarola two splendid villages of the Cinque Terre. With the favorable weather, the expectation grows and the desire already projects me anxiously to see if the real conditions will live up to expectations. A hasty check on my Nikon D800, checking the memory cards of the optics and batteries and running towards Liguria, choosing Riomaggiore as a destination.

During the journey of approach to the subject to be photographed, the imagination runs to the rocky coasts of the villages with the waves crashing majestically, spreading the splashes of water on the rocks theater of a splendid scenery. Upon arrival, the waves up to five meters high slip between the spaces of the rocks, creating fascinating water features that end their race against the small marina of the village. A few moments to understand that, if the waves had continued until late in the evening, the shot would have been full of intensity. Without wasting time I go to the discovery of the best observation point and once identified I position the tripod and do the first tests for the best composition. From now on the wait and return to the country begins.

Entering the village by taking the road on the left that runs alongside the houses, you can get to the small beach for a panoramic tiled path that was completely submerged by the waves that frequently attacked the passage. Once the moment arrived, I started to prepare myself to position myself at the point I chose for the shot. The bitter discovery was to find the access gate to "my" station closed with chain and padlock. In the meantime it is evening and it gets dark. For a moment, discouragement dominates my feelings, but then thinking about the shot that I imagined I throw the photographic backpack beyond the gate and with determination I climb over the obstacle and I go to the chosen point while the waves crashed on the rocks and rocks surrounding with an imposing roar that aroused fear. Once I get off I position the easel with the sea water that invades my workplace in a dangerous way, given the strength of the waves crashing against the rocks behind me. I am forced to find makeshift support. Determined not to lose my observation point, I start a shuttle, rhythmic by the cadence of the waves, between my reflex and the precarious support. After a few attempts I manage to position myself in the decided point in the afternoon, to correctly fix the tripod and to set the shooting parameters to find the right composition.

Now I just have to choose the right moment of shooting after calculating sensitivity and balance, time and aperture identified the correct focus, all strictly manual, between one wave and another, waiting for the perfect one ... Only time to look at the result, collect the equipment and run home, not without having first climbed over the gate again. They remain: an adventure, exciting, a difficult but rewarding realization of the image, a pinch of unconsciousness in a wonderful shot that recalls everything ... Photography is also this.


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