The journey to home
05 November 2013
After a week of proper summer it was time to come back home, in Italy. Unfortunately between Crete and "home sweet home" there were two airports, one of the worst airport in Europe, which is Rome Fiumicino, and its cousin, Athens Airport, which in only one hour, that was the time I had to transfer from one flight to another, made me reconsider if Fiumicino was actually the worst.
Why that bad? Well, for start, put a ticket control JUST AFTER THE ESCALATORS, and when I mean just after I'm not talking about 20 meters, I'm talking about 3 meters, 3 very short meters full of people insanely compressed while the people coming from the escalators scream "don't stop there!", but there's no space, where you can go?
Then you think you are sorted, right? Wrong. After 20 meters, they'll check again your ticket. What's the point of checking twice the ticket? And why just after an escalator?
Then, after a lot of swearing because you nearly died on that feckin escalator, there are the security controls. Obviously the queue was totally disorganized and way too long. If you are in rush, risking to miss your flight, well there are no priority lane, you are just going to miss it, that's it.
Then the security control space is extremely tight, I really don't understand who planned this place, plenty of room for shops, but no fucking space for the security control?
Day 6: Heraklion\'s old market & Matala
03 November 2013
Last full day in Crete, so we spent the early morning by doing some silly shopping for my girlfriend, while I was taking some photos in the old market of Heraklion. I'm not really a big street photographer, I kinda like it, but not really into it, but I have to say that I took some interesting shots in that place.
So after my girlfriend fed the black market of counterfeit shoes and bags with good money, we headed to another famous beach in this island: Matala.
According to my girlfriend's cousin, who is living here for a few months, Matala used to be a famous place for hippies in the 60s and 70s, and they used the caves surrounding the beach as a perfect place to sleep after a long day of continuos copulations and song writing about flowers and other nice things.
Anyway, after Elafonisi, my standards regarding beaches suddenly became pretty high, and anything less than that reference would be "meh". Sirolo, one of my favourite place in Italy, once was cool, now it's boring.
To be fair Matala is really nice, but it's like a candy with a very nice package, but with a strange taste that you could like it or not.
The sand was full of of cigarette butts, and in my list of things I hate I can definitely say that cigarette butts are in the top 10. Also the sand has the same colour of an ash tray, and that didn't help, at all. I sincerely felt like I was walking on a big ash tray, and the other tourist treat it as a big ash tray, especially the british couple beside us.
Then the sea: the water was extremely clear, not like Elafonisi, but very very clear, but, it's very deep after a few meters from the beach, which is great if love to swim, but not so much if you can't, and that's my case. I never learnt how to swim and I will probably never do.
Day 5: Knossos and Phaistos
02 November 2013
I have to apologize: after the fourth day in Crete, I couldn't keep up with the blog, I just had zero time and less than zero of energy to write anything on the laptop. And the week after in Italy didn't help, essentially I spent a week eating, and I didn't turn my laptop on for more than 10 minutes.
Then I came back to Dublin, but again too many things to do, I went to some other gigs (which I'll talk about the next few days), and again no energy to do anything else...
But I don't like to leave unfinished jobs, so lets start from where I left.
The good thing of writing this post after 3 weeks is that now at least I have some more photos to show you, even if from the my 5th day in Crete I've nothing really exciting, unless you get excited with rocks and history.
Anyway, the fifth day was totally dedicated to the culture, and to goats. We started the morning in the Archeological Museum of Heraklion, nice museum, but that's the only thing I could actually say about it.
After that we headed to the ruins of the ancient palace of Knossos, probably the only well kept place for tourists.
It is an interesting place, especially if you are into history like my girlfriend, but even if you are not, unfortunately it's packed of tourists, especially the kind of tourists that do not understand that they cannot do whatever they want, and if the guides say don't climb the ruins, don't feckin do it.
I've also have to say that the tourists guides are like hookers here, like piranas when they see meat, they'll surround you with depliants and with their offer to guide you through the palace for a very good price (for them obviusly).
I generally don't like pushy people, actually they make me a bit nervous and they awake the "rude Alessio" in me, but apparently being pushy in this island is the standard.
Yes, I took a lot of pictures here, but I took them with the idea of showing them to my mother, so don't expect amazing photos, they are grand for my mum, not for me.
After Knossos we did our lunch break to the Cretaquarium, a nice acquarium in a not so nice area (it was build on an old military base), and after plenty of insanely big fishes and a cheap but good lunch, we drove to Phaistos, or at least that's what I thought I was doing.
In fact, the Phaistos my GPS was pretty sure about, it wasn't the Phaistos I was looking for. If you use a free GPS software, and you use OpenStreetMap's maps, it's grand most of the times, but sometimes it could lead you to a different place. After a quite confy road, it told us to turn to a small road, I wasn't sure about this detour, but I don't know the road, how he could be wrong, right????
He was waaaaay wrong, he led us (I know I should use "it", but I like to humanize objects, so I can offend them more easly) to a feckin place in the middle of nowhere, after 10 very, very, very long kilometers on roads made out of rocks and goat shit. I don't know how the tyres survived to that road, but I'm glad they did it somehow. After a few swearing, and a few stops due to flocks of goats, I stopped using that damn thing and I used my brain. After another 40 kilometers, and many changes of directions, we finally arrived to the actual Phaistos, which is NOT ABOVE A FUCKIN LAKE as previously shown on the bleeding map.
Honestly I was hoping that, after that insane road to get there, Phaistos was a place that would blew my mind. In fact, while Knossos is quite well preserved, Phaistos is more like the poor brother of it, it's ok if you are passing on the way to Matala, but otherwise you can skip it.
Obviously on the way back we found the road we supposed to take do in first place, and obviously it took an hour to get back to Heraklion, not two.
Down here some of the most decent photos I took that day. I hope my mum likes them.
Day 3 & 4: Elafonisi
10 October 2013
In theory we supposed to spend day 3 going to Balos and the following day at Elafonisi, but at the end we went first to Elafonisi, and the day after to Elafonisi again, as we really, really like the place.
It is possibly the most beautiful place I ever been to. It turned all the cool beaches I've been in the past to puddles. Crystal clear sea, amazing panorama, chea prices, and a reasonable number of tourists. I'm sorry Sirolo, I'm sorry Bondi Beach, I'm sorry any other beaches, but this one rules. The only downside is that you need to drive almost two hours from Chania on insane and extremely dangerous roads, which are fun for me as I love to drive, but not that fun to who doesn't.
To be honest I didn't take to many photos, and so far I wasn't really prolific as usual, but hopefully I'll publish them next week if I have some spare time :-)
Day 2: Heraklion, Rethymno & Chania
09 October 2013
The only good things I can say about this city is the cheap food, and some cool bars in city centre. That's it. I know, I saw the city only a few hours, but what I saw was just chaos. No urban plan, it's just a mess of bad roads and a mix of modern buildings in between ruins of old buildings. This city it also introduced me to how cretan drive, which is bad, really really bad. It's essentially the far west of driving. To get to the airport to get the car I rent, we went to the Bus station, we got the ticket, and then they told us that the bus for the airport doesn't leave from there, but we had to walk half km on a not very safe road with insane sidewalks, and then get the bus there.
Why one of the main bus lines, that supposedly should serve to all the tourist coming to this city, is hidden in an industrial area, it's mystery, and a non-sense.
Day 1: flying to Heraklion
08 October 2013
Rule number one when you have to do at least one stop when you fly somewhere. Always give you plenty of time in between two flights, I would say at least three hours. Probably a couple of friends of mine would say I'm exaggerating, but if today I didn't give me enough time, this post it would be probably different, like raging against Aerlingus or the airport or some sort of unknown divinity who has something to with fog, as my flight was delayed by a hour. Thankfully I had almost four hours in between the flights, so even with the delay we still had plenty of time.
Time to travel and what\'s in my backpack
06 October 2013
Finally, after months of hard work, it's time for some holidays, and I'll spend next week in Crete, Greece, and the following one back at home in Italy. I'll try to make a post with a photo per day while I'm down there, obviously if the wi-fi of the hotels we book will work. For now I can only show what's in my backpack:
- Lee Big Stopper
- Lee ND Hard Grad 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9ND
- Canon 6D
- Canon 135mm f/2 L USM
- Canon 17-40mm f/4 L USM
- Canon 35mm f/1.4 L USM
- Hoya Circular PL Pro1 Digital
- Hahnel Giga T Pro II Wireless Timer Remote
- Battery Charger
- Western Digital Passport 500GB
- A pair of socks (you never know)
- A couple of USB Cables (for tablet and phones)
- 2 additional batteries
- Various SD cards
- 2 Manfrotto quick release plate
- Macbook Pro
Plus in my luggage I've my Manfrotto BeFree tripod, which hopefully I'll do a detailed review when I'll come back from my holidays.
So hopefully I'll post tomorrow night, or at least I'll do my best.
The 1975 @ The Academy
05 October 2013
Some bands sometimes they sound a bit too perfect to be real, especially if they come out of nowhere, and when you go to their gig you feel like you have rotten vegetables on your backpack ready to be thrown to the stage, as part of your brain is already saying "don't worry, they are going to be another crap band", and when you discover you and your brain were wrong, you feel a bit confused. You start to look around the stage to see if someone is playing a cd, but it's not, and they are actually good. Well, the 1975, they sound really good in studio, and they sound even better on stage. I was actually surprised by their performance, and thankfully, I was really glad to find out they brought their lights, a lot of lights, for their show. They have a frame made by neon lights in the center of the stage, and an insane amounts of lights on the back of the stage, or at least insane for the venue, which from the past two years has been quite dark, and for me was a pure pleausure to shoot this band, especially if you consider that I was expecting a not that good show with not that good lights, but as I said, I was extremely wrong!
So, the 1975 are a great band to see live and to photograph. Anyway, I hope you like these pictures and as usual you can find the full set on my flickr page.
How to upgrade your old MacBook Pro
28 September 2013
I'm always been a Nerd, I've been working with computers since the 90s, and as probably some of you already know, not very surprisingly I work in IT, and to be more accurate my 9-to-5 job is to build websites. But in my first job in Italy I used to work in a small company where, apart the web & software stuff, we also were a computer shop, and it wasn't unusual for me to help my collegue to fix computers, and since then I'm not afraid to take apart computers (apart my old and now dead iMac, as I've no idea how to feckin remove the front glass), and to fix a laptop is not a big deal for me, or at least for the very basic stuff like the RAM, Hard Drive, etc.. But what for me it's pretty easy, it could be quite scary for someone else to even to think to open their very expensive MacBook Pro. But as the good Gary Martin from FStoppers is going to show us in the video above, replace the ram or the hard drive is way simpler tha you can think, it just takes a few minutes a few screwdrivers.
The only think Gary forgot to mention for me, is that you need to create a bootable USB key with the Mac OS X installer first, before open any chassis or screw anything, as the hard drive you just bought it doesn't come with Mac OS X, actually it doesn't come with anything, as it's completely empty. So the very first step is to get an USB key with at least 8GB of capacity, and then download this software from Apple's website, and create the bootable USB key, and you are ready to go.
Obviously if this still sound scary to you, there's nothing wrong to pay a professional to do it for you.
28 September 2013
Tomorrow I'll have to take some promo shots for a local band, and as the band thought it was a great idea to take some photos on the Dublin Docklands, even if I already know that area quite well, I decided to go for a walk and to scout for some interesting places for tomorrow, as it's always a good idea to decide in advance where to shoot rather than wonder around until you find something. The place is quite interesting, and thankfully one of my favourite buildings, with related graffiti, is still there, and I'm talking about this one:
I love that wall. I know, it's a very simple graffiti, but the I love the mix of colours with the red of the wall, and hopefully I'll use it tomorrow as well!
Here some of the pictures I took today, for the long exposure ones I spent some time, while for the other ones not that much, it was just for me to photograph the places I'm going to use tomorrow, but at the end they are not bad shots.