Italy in September

Posted by on Oct 11, 2013 in Projects | 28 Comments
Italy in September

After my wife Rebecca and I went to Provence, France in spring to celebrate our wedding anniversary, we were very lucky to be able to travel again in late summer this year. The last months have been busy and we were both grateful for a longer break.

We took the ferry from Ireland to France, drove a scenic route through the Alps and then stopped at Lake Como for a few days on the way down. Words and pictures don’t do this part of the world justice. It almost felt as if we were driving into a movie scene from the 1950’s and were able to spend the day in it. My favorite town was Varenna, but the whole area still radiates the elegance and class from past times.

We spent three weeks in Tuscany afterwards, first in Poppi and then in the beautiful Val d’Orcia valley near Siena. During our stay we visited many places, one of my favorite ones being Montepulciano. Since we went to Poppi for the first time, we go to the same little cafe to enjoy a Latte Macchiato almost every morning. We were both very excited to go back. Not only for the best coffee in town but also for the time spent there.

While we enjoyed breakfast we often saw the most interesting and storytelling characters and situations. Old men meeting there presumably for their entire lifetime, cracking jokes and picking on each other. Young children being lost in thoughts while enjoying a treat and a beautiful and endearing temperament of a culture so different from our own and yet so sincere and easy to relate to. I like it so much when life is simple and good.

I brought my Fuji X-Pro1, Leica MP and Hasselblad on this trip, but I shot a lot more film this time with the Hasselblad and the Leica. I had my X-Pro1 with me everywhere when I didn’t bring any of the other cameras and therefore I can already share a few digital images while I am waiting on the film scans. It was interesting to see how different the flavor of these photographs turned out, especially compared to the pictures from France.

All images below were taken with the Fuji X-Pro1 and the Fujinon 35mm 1.4 lens:






















  1. Robert-Paul Jansen
    11. October 2013

    Love these, especially no 7, 8 & 9 from the last up. And great to see the photos of your trip, been following it on Twitter and couldn’t wait for them.

  2. Johnny
    11. October 2013

    Thank you, Robert-Paul! I’m happy you like the pictures.

  3. Wim
    11. October 2013

    Oh Johnny, I love your style and we really have to meet as soon as possible!

  4. Johnny
    11. October 2013

    Wim, thanks so much!

    I’m sure we will be able to meet up soon. It was really unfortunate that it didn’t work out during this trip. I would have loved that.

  5. Zach Davis
    12. October 2013

    Truly awesome stuff! You always find a way to create images that, to me at least, convey simple beauty and calm.

  6. Johnny
    12. October 2013

    Thank you, Zack. I appreciate it!

  7. Heather
    12. October 2013

    I love how every image in this set seems to make up an ongoing stream of consciousness, like the most important snippets from a full-length film. One of the most difficult things to do (for me at least) is to choose a set of images that truly belong together, or depend on one another for the final compilation to work. I really feel you’ve achieved that here. Great work and hopefully see you both sometime in Italy in the future!

  8. Johnny
    12. October 2013

    Thanks so much, Heather!

    That’s a very nice compliment. You’re right, choosing the pictures that tell a story and carry the right feel isn’t always easy. I wouldn’t have been able to sum up the whole trip in one post, though. The locations were simply too different.

    We definitely would like to meet up with you guys the next time we’re there!

  9. Ashlee
    12. October 2013

    These are so beautiful. Honest and true photographs that have captured your trip amazingly. I love looking through your work Johnny, it’s always like a tonic for me!

  10. Johnny
    12. October 2013

    Thank you, Ashlee! I’m very happy you enjoyed my work.

  11. Paul Joyce
    12. October 2013

    Fantastic photos Johnny! I really love the style of these and your work in general.

    It’s a cold autumn day here in Munich and looking at these give me warm feeling again and makes me wish summer even more.

    Great work!

  12. Johnny
    12. October 2013

    Paul, thank you very much.

    A cold autumn day sounds fantastic to me! You know the only seasons we have in Ireland are spring and fall. ;)

  13. Fabio
    12. October 2013

    Thanks for your words and your beautiful pictures of my country. If you ever come back there’ll be a bottle of Nobile di Montepulciano to share with Italian friends.


  14. Johnny
    12. October 2013

    Grazie mille, Fabio!

    See, you just proved my point. I really appreciate your kind feedback. :)
    I’m very much looking forward to going back to Italy!

    Thank you.

  15. Bilal
    13. October 2013

    Hey Johnny!

    I love your pictures and your website. :)
    I’ve been following the site for quite some time and finally decided to ask you a question. What kind of edits did you use for the ‘Italy in September’ pictures?


  16. Johnny
    14. October 2013

    Thank you for your feedback, Bilal.

    I work with Lightroom, and I created two presets for my Fuji X-Pro1 when I first got the camera that I still consistently use. The color version is inspired by Portra 400 and the BW is inspired by Tri-X, as these are the films that I usually shoot.

    You can find a lot of information on my color work if you use the search or browse back trough the blog.

  17. Thomas
    14. October 2013

    Cannot wait to see the film scans of this trip!

  18. Johnny
    14. October 2013

    Thank you, Thomas! I’m really excited to get them back too. :)

  19. Urban Hafner
    14. October 2013

    Beautiful shots Johnny!

    When our kids are older we have to start going on vacation again. ;)
    And Italy is high on the list, especially as it’s rather close from Munich, Germany. And as I was on vacation in Italy every year as a kid myself that’s something I’d like to do with my kids, too. However, France is high on our list, too. After all we lived almost two years in Grenoble.

  20. Johnny
    15. October 2013

    Thanks very much for your feedback, Urban.

    Italy and France are both really beautiful in my view. I like the different flavor of both countries and even though I loved spending time in Tuscany, France is amazing too.

    You’re really close to Italy! From Munich to Siena is only a day trip. I hope you and your wife can take advantage of that soon! :)

  21. Rita Moreno
    19. October 2013

    Always good to come back to your blog. Lovely post!

  22. Johnny
    20. October 2013

    Thank you, Rita! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  23. Robert
    20. October 2013

    Excellent photos Johnny, as always!

    My wife and I used to spend at least one week each year in Tuscany, mainly in the Crete Senesi area, Val d’Orcia. People are beautiful and light is so special! The landscape… oh, for sure I do not need to tell you about it!


    P.S. The Fiat 500 photo is really great and brings me a lot of memories, when I was 18 this was a dream!

  24. Johnny
    20. October 2013

    You’re exactly right, Robert – Tuscany is a wonderful place. One of our favorites. My wife and I got married there and were looking forward to this trip for a long time.

    Thank you for your kind feedback!

  25. Rebecca Lily
    2. November 2013

    Wonderful shots, Mr. Patience!

    I think my favorites are the Val D’Orcia landscape, and the square black and white with the motorcycle. But they are all amazing, really. I’m blown away by how you manage to capture such a range of situations and moods and yet make that all feel so cohesive. From Hasselblad to Leica to X-Pro, from color to black and white, your style shines in everything you shoot. That’s really a gift.

  26. Johnny
    2. November 2013

    Thank you so much for your kind feedback. It’s means so much to me how you feel about my pictures, Rebecca – I can’t even put that in words.

    You’re really a gift.

  27. Mike Freeman
    26. March 2014

    Great feel in these, as always. Do you think the 27mm lens could be used for similar perspectives?

  28. Johnny
    26. March 2014

    Mike, thank you very much!

    I’m sure you could get similar results with the 27mm lens. The only problem would be the aperture (2.8 vs. 1.4 on the 35mm), so you wouldn’t be able to get the same depth of field.

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