Lake Garda

It’s been a while since I have posted, partly because life has been busy, and partly because I wanted to let the pictures from my first wedding shoot sit at the top of the page for a while. I enjoyed the experience a lot and am therefore looking forward to doing more, if you or someone you know wants a wedding photographed by someone who loves people and people photography, then get in touch, I’ll be delighted to help. Anyway, last week I had a great holiday with my girlfriend Julie in Limone, Lake Garda, Italy, and it was lovely. I thought I would share my favourite holiday snaps with you. The first one shows the little town of Limone nestled at the foot of the massive Gardaside mountains, even the shops often had back walls hewn from the rock. This one was from the Monte Baldo range on the opposite side of the range, ascent by cable car of course!

This was the street outside our hotel on the first night. So Italian, shutters everywhere, they became an obsession for me, as you will see later.

And here is Julie relaxing on our first evening as we took in the town. Regular readers might recognise her “Kelly Moore” camera bag, very girlie compared to my manly black “Lowepro” camera rucksack, grrrr…

This one is of Julie in the opposite town of Malcesine enjoying a drink by the lake.

We went on a guided tour of the whole lake, and one of the most lovely stops was in the town of Lazise, on the opposite shore from Limone, close to Bardolino and the wine country. It was a walled town, and had a lovely harbour area. I’m sure the leaning of the church tower has more to do with my lens being wide and therefore slightly distorting. It was my Sigma 10-20 at 10mm, and it was so good for fitting in whole townscape scenes like this. Talking of which, I took six lenses with me, I didn’t carry them all with me everyday, but I actually used them all! I can’t decide whether that was self-indulgent-overkill, or good sense since photography is my passion, even on holiday?

In this self same harbour, was the cutest duck ever, freeloading on a speedboat tonneau cover; it looked really happy. We should all consider parking speedboats with covers, it’s for the animals….

Back in Limone, this view shows the steep backdrop again to the town, and the ice-cream shop that the tour company claims to be the best in Limone, the “Pink Panther”. You would have to ask Julie however, I can take or leave ice cream. Another more trivial phenomenon can be seen in this picture, this seemed to be the year when DSLR’s have exploded into common use, huge amounts of them were hanging from tourists necks just like the man in this picture. This is a Nikon, but Mr Canon in Japan will be chuffed to note they were mostly Canon.

Just down the right hand street from the previous picture was this fruit stall; when people say that black and white pictures are always more artistic and striking, they are not thinking of fruit stalls!

This is one of my favourites, my shutter and wall obsession really got going here, and this lemon on the wall, a common Limone ornament, contrasts starkly with the unadorned and rough walls. Bizarrely, Limone is not named after Lemons! This one using my main walkaround lens, the Canon 17-85 IS, at 17mm. This is a lens I don’t love much, as I mainly photograph people and it’s maximum f4 aperture is no good for portraiture, but it is sharp and versatile.

Note: (I was using my Canon 7d, so all focal lengths have a 1.6x multiplication factor, so 17 mm lenses become effectively 27 mm in old 35 mm film camera terms.)

Another detail from the same wall.

I love this one, as it shows the old town with it’s rough Mediterranean stonework, juxtaposed against real modern life; the children’s toys don’t seem to fit somehow, although the woman below could be working in an earlier time. This is the same 17-85 lens at the full telephoto end.

The roofscape of a lemon orchard using the telephoto compression of the 85mm end of the same lens; I love this effect as the gaps between the beams are reduced. Choosing a shallow angle for this shot helps as well.

Here is the same roofscape zoomed out to 20mm.

Looking the other direction from the same magnificent viewpoint, (the Limone, lemon museum), gives a fabulous landscape looking to the North of the lake. Sigma 10-20 again, 10mm.

And straight ahead to complete the set, 10mm again, what a viewpoint. The town opposite is Malcesine.

Here is Julie at the lemon museum, high up in Limone.

The red terracota roofscapes are delicious, I cannot resist them. That telephoto compression effect adding something by squeezing the roofs together. 17-85 again fully extended.

Terracotta roofs and shutters, it had to be photographed.

The Italian heritage is evident in the endless Catholic artefacts around the towns. This is a typical pathside shrine, I loved the colours.

Perhaps the main feature of a Lake Garda Holiday is the flottilla of water buses/boats that run in a regular timetable all across the lake. They are fun and efficient and considering the roads are tunnels and ledges hewn or blasted into the mountains, the quickest way to get from place to place! There were two paddle boats working the North end and I loved them. Our hotel was right behind the Italia’s stern and was in fact adjacent to the ferry pier.

The castle at Malcesine, from one of the ferries. The Monte Baldo range is behind the town. It has a cable car and a healthy ski industry in winter.

The G. Zanardelli at Malcesine.

Malcesine again from its own ferry pier.

After a cable car trip up Monte Baldo, (an overrated trip due to overcrowded cars, scratched windows and horrendous queuing), the gorgeous summit ridge was a lovely 20 minute stroll giving great views of the whole lake. This is the North end with Riva and Torbole at the head. I chose the 17mm wide angle approach, but Julie zoomed in and selected areas of the landscape to compose into more dramatic landscapes. Her pictures are better, hey-ho, I’m always learning! Julie’s Pictures here.

This one looking back inland.

Due to the aforementioned horrendous waiting, we almost missed the last ferry back to Limone. Every cloud has a silver lining however, the light was fading and the view South was dreamy and elemental.

This lovely couple, Jean and Kenny, kindly introduced themselves to us and joined us for drinks over a few evenings. Great people and fellow Scots from Ayrshire. They might have been a bit shocked by this portraitist’s voracious need to photograph them, but hey, I’m used to that and they were too polite to hurt my feelings anyway.

These guys were playing latin jazz guitar and they were frankly shit hot. Sooooo cool. My two Euro’s in their cases was good value for a snap I thought.

This one from our trip to the “Grigolleti” winery in Nomi, Trentino. I tasted the best red wine I have ever enjoyed, and in fact bought a couple of bottles. Friends will know I take my red wine seriously, and will understand that I do mean the best. I have lost faith in the general old world French and Italian wines and far prefer the big, oaked and spicy Californians and Aussies. The “Gonzalier” oak aged Cabernet Merlot blend is the most vanilla spiced sweet oakfest I have ever tasted. I’m kind of in love. These are the oak barrels they use; 800 Euros each and used twice. 16 Euros a bottle is expensive, but understandable.

One of their storage rooms. Although it is a small boutique vineyard, it is full of design and artistic touche like this.

It is run by one family, and even their children helped with the tour. Marica and her children are shown here. It is not the best picture technically, but I wanted to include it as they were such warm and welcoming hosts. They were too busy for me to want to ask them for multiple shots!

Torbole at the ferry pier. This at the North end of the lake. I love these posts that the ferry sits against. They make lovely leading lines to the town. Torbole is a windsurfing mecca. How the ferries navigate among them is anyones’ guess. Certainly our trips were punctuated by ferry horns and angry crew.

The other town at the head of the Lake, and a lovely short walk from Torbole, is Riva. This is one of its squares with the mountains, as ever, behind. The white tower is a ruin, called the Bastione and has a small cafe. It is a steep half hour walk, but so worth it for the views.

OK, sorry, shutters and walls, I did say earlier, here we go…




They might be the last, might not, I’m not saying. This is the view from the Bastione with the cafe I just mentioned.

During the walk down in intense heat, we saw butterflies flowers and beetles. If any naturalists out there want to identify them, let me know. If any naturists out there misread this, well what the hell, you can get in touch too!


Yay, I know this one, it’s a daisy!

Maybe some more shutters! Framing a picture with an archway is such an easy device. Good fun for travel images. (Holiday snaps, but posher!)

Julie suggested bringing home pasta, but I felt that would take up wine space in the luggage.

After the pasta pics, I just craved colour, sorry, these scarves could be anywhere, you’ll just have to trust me that they were in Riva.

There I go again, it’s a sickness. Would you like to see the other 50 I didn’t show you? No, really?

Julie having a relaxing lunch, when I noticed the Lake reflecting in her sunglasses. Never travel with a photographer, we’re just annoying!

Riva from the ferry to give you a flavour of how it nestles in its mountain cradle.

And now the windsurfers and even cat racers from the ferry. It’s one of my rare uses of servo focus mode. They move so fast you could never nail focus and press the shutter in time. My 70-300 lens was useful here. It would have been difficult to bring them in close otherwise, except those who broke the rules and leaped the ferry’s wake.



What a setting to play in for watersports, surrounded by these peaks, rising from sea level, they have such fearsome summits. The rather ugly car ferry provides a sense of scale.

And back in Limone, a view from the ferry showing the backdrop to an amazing town.

Julie, relaxing after a chilled week.

Oh, I know, I can’t help it, look at those textures…

This was Gerry, great company as a fellow resident of the hotel. I enjoyed some of the “Gonzalier” wine with him on the hotel balcony, and exacted my photographic price for the drink; poor Gerry. I love the picture in particular because of the background wall and T-shirt blending nicely. So much of portraiture is about using colours for contrast or complement.

Later I took one of Gerry and his wife Anne. A lovely couple and we enjoyed their company hugely, particularly during our regular dinnertime chats.

The obligatory holiday caricaturist. This guy has one hand missing, but it slows his art not one bit. He had a great nature and a really brilliant smile. Yes we did in case you are wondering. If you’re very good I might post them in an imminent update?

Kenny again. Amazingly it turns out we did the same course in Electronics in Cardonald college at around the same time; small world.

Jean again, complete with megawatt smile, worked in a call centre with Julie, all discovered over drinks. I’m glad I once read Duncan Watt’s “six degrees” or else I might start believing in coincidences and supernatural forces.

Last image before bed on our last night. A vespa scooter seems to me to be quintessentially italian. If only they could add some shutters to them?


Thats all from me. Regular readers of my blog might be interested to see some pictures Julie took of me annoying Italy and it’s denizens with my 7D. She has kindly given me permission to include these in my blog. Here they are with no comment from me. Thanks for reading such a long posting.







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