I've been intrigued by photography since the age of 8 when, on the occasion of a school trip to the local Zoo, my mother bought me an Instamatic camera and a roll of film.
I don't remember if it was color or black and white but the shots of those ducks and pigs (it was not much of a Zoo) were like little masterpieces to me.
Since then I have often dabbled with cameras, film, slides, dark rooms and so on.
I've even religiously read the Ansel Adams trilogy - The Camera, The Negative, The Print - trying to apply (with little success) the Zone System to 35mm B&W film.
The big problem with dark rooms was that by the time the water was at 20 degrees and everything was perfect it was time to go to sleep, so production was very scarce.
Hence I mostly used slide film... and here is problem number two: prints and negatives may fade with time but slides get moldy and covered with unerasable spots.
Back in 2008 I decided to pull out my slides to scan the best of them for conservation and, to my dismay, I found that a lot of them were unrecoverable.
I moved a few times, so did the slides, and I remember some humid storage places here and there.
As for the early prints... they got burnt in a fire in 1979!
Another drawback of photography as a hobby was that most prints and slides, no matter how good, ended up in a drawer to never be seen again.
Which raises the problem of how to archive thousands of prints and slides for easy retrieval.
And, even if they end up on a wall, give them 50 years and they'll be faded into white!
Summing it up: I was losing interest in photography and almost stopped shooting until...
DIGITAL CAMERAS CAME ALONG!!!
The first digital backs and cameras were actually way too expensive and of very little quality but they quickly improved and now I dare anybody to say that film is better.
Maybe very large format film is still better than digital but a year 2015 400$ digital camera beats ISO 100 film 10 to 1, in my opinion.
The latest 14-bit sensors (APS-C or full frame) are amazing and, if you shooot RAW, you can pull details out of the black areas of the file that you can completely forget with film.
So.... so much for the Zone System and for spot meters: a quick look at the histogram or apply some bracketing for HDR and you are done.
The rest is done with Photoshop, which doesn't have to be at 20 degrees Celsius to work!
And, above all, digital photos don't fade, don't get eaten by mold and don't burn: as long as Jpeg and Tiff readers will be around, so will the photos.
As for retrieval, just tag them with the right words and the trick is done.
No more showing them once and then store them in a closet: with the Internet, instead, you can show your pictures to the whole world... forever!
Well, actually, "forever" as long as Flickr, Wikimedia, Instagram and so on will be around!
Again: I was kind of losing interest in photography but digital SLR, HDR, Panorama software, Photoshop and the Internet made it all come back!
Back to the goal of this About page, i.e. how this web site came about and why all photos are licensed CC BY-NC 4.0.
In 2008 I started with PiCasa and a Blog to showcase my old slides and negatives plus my latest digital pictures.
Then I realized I could georeferentiate the pictures and put them on Panoramio, so they ended up in Google Earth and Google Maps as well.
Then I felt the need to have my own website, this one, even though it started out as FotoDiSpalle.com.
Finally, since most of my photos portray landscapes, cityscapes and other subjects that could have some encyclopedic use, I joined Wikimedia Commons, making all licenses Creative Commons (see below)
Panoramio was closed, PiCasa was transfered to Google Photo and Google Maps does not allow to position photos outside of known spots (has this changed?).
My daughter has better things to do than updating my Instagram profile.
All other photo web sites were starting to require too much time to look after.
In the beginning I used to apply an All Rights Reserved license to photos, until I realized a few things... in random order:
So... yeah... might as well make them free with attribution: if you use them, follow the few simple rules of CC BY-NC 4.0, mention the author, link to this web site and... that's it!
All titles follow the same scheme: Title - Location - Date Shot
Location is where the photo was taken from, i.e. not the portrayed location!
For example: a telephoto shot of Toronto taken from Niagara on the Lake (on a very clear day) will say "Toronto Skyline" as the title and "Niagara on the Lake" as the location.
Most location names are derived from a combination of not always accurate GPS fixes and
Panoramio/Google Maps/Google Earth/Street View/Flickr...
Hence locations may not always be perfect, especially near regional borders.
I mean: Italy has more than 8000 "Comuni" and a little error in the GPS fix will make you end up in the wrong Comune, especially in the mountains!
Furthermore, a lot of small Comuni are joining into larger ones with sometimes different names...
Therefore, location names are what I find on Google Earth/Google Maps/Flickr on the day I edit/publish the photo.
If the photo was taken a year ago and the name of the place changed in the meanwhile, the location will be the current name.
GPS fixes in EXIF data, if any, are what was recorded at the time of shooting.
For the corrected locations, or for GPS data when not present in the EXIF, you should see if the same photo is present in Panoramio.
Panoramio Closed on November 4, 2016 and now I have a real hard time correcting the GPS position of photos!
No, wait! Thanks to a great free program, Geosetter, the job of correcting GPS fixes is easy again!
All my monitors are calibrated and all photos are saved in a sRGB color space.
In the course of the years I have used the following cameras:
Canon: A1, Powershot S20, Powershot G11
Kodak: Easyshare Sport Camera C123
Nikon: FA, FM2, F801S, D90, D600, D610, D800E
Panasonic: Lumix DMC-LZ10
Samsung Galaxy: S2, Note 3, S7
Caterpillar: CAT S41
In RED are the cameras I still use now.
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