Roll of film 004 – Livigno, Bergamo and mountains 2021

Time for another instalment of “Roll of film”. This time again with digital images. I actually shot some analog as well, but those have not yet been processed, so they will have to wait for another instalment.

This instalment will resolve around a trip I took in my summer vacation of 2021. My girlfriend and I drove from Denmark to Italy with Bergamo as the final destination. We also spent some time in Livigno, which normally is a skying-area but impressed us a lot during summer as well.

Analog vs. Digital

This trip gave me a realization with regards to the analog vs. digital decision that I always seems to bump into after having dipped my toes in the analog World again.

I have been shooting analog for under a year so far. I have had some good results with it and learned a lot along the way. It is almost perfect for “creative” work and catching a certain mood. But is also has its limitations, both inherent but also due to the equipment I have currently.

For one, it is a lot more costly per picture than digital and this may impact me not taking a picture I would on digital. I do not want that for holiday pictures. I want to come home with all the pictures, also the ones that from a photographic standpoint is not all that good – they still remind me of that moment I took it and adds to the full story of the entire vacation.

Second point not only relates to analog but actually more gear in general. I have been shooting almost exclusively prime lenses for the past couple of years. All my analog cameras has primes and my Fuji X-T2 has been almost exclusively outfitted with prime lenses. But here came my second realization.

I could put on my 23mm prime lens and have the best image quality, use my creativity to frame the right shots and come home with some creative shots. But there is a time and place for that and vacation pictures is not one of them. I want to be able to capture as many scenes, scenarios and moments as possible. There will be times where 23mm will be too narrow or too wide, meaning I would not get the shot. I do not want that constraint for vacation photos. Yes I will still be limited by my zoom-lens’ range, but I have a wider range of possibilities.

Hence all the shots in this post is taken with my Fujifilm X-T2 and the 18-55 kit lens. And what a lens! I sometimes lust after the 16-55 2.8 for image quality. But bang for buck and not the least “weight for buck” this kit lens is amazing. The image quality is more than enough for almost any use-case as will hopefully be apparent from the images.

Drive to Livigno

So lets get started with the actual images. First ones will be from Passo del Bernina on the way to Italy from Denmark.

As will become apparent a lot of the images will appear in both color and black & white. For a lot of them I could not really decide – so just took one of each. My father came with a good observation. He noticed how calm the color images looked in contrast with the black & white ones that looked a lot more dramatic.

Giving myself some critique on the ones above, I would have wished that I found a way to have the stream exit all the way in the lower left corner and hence running the full length of the image. I could of course crop it, but then the “length” of the mountains and stream become to short and I lose some of the vastness of the landscape. From these to I prefer the black & white and I really like the contrast and deep blacks.

Sunlight on small city in the mountains

This one is lucky in terms of lighting. The sunlight just fall on the city and highlights the houses. The next second the light was gone, so I did not even get a comparable black & white image.

Top of Passo del Bernina

Not much to say of this one. Just documenting we passed the top of Passo del Bernina. If I should add a comment, then it should be that I on purpose dialled up the ISO to produce some grain as the grain produced at higher ISO of the Fuji actually is quite pleasant for some scenarios.

Livigno

Livigno is certainly a destination I can recommend for an active summer vacation. I will surely be coming back and staying for longer next time. It is situated in a nice valley surrounded by mountains and even the city itself is situated somewhere around 1800 meters above sea-level.

I loved the fresh air and surrounding mountains. If only I was living in such environments year round – but Denmark is flat as a pancake by any comparison unfortunately.

We had a short walk around Livigno and went a few hundred meters up one of the mountains following a stream. Even that short walk underlined the fact that it is situated in almost 2 kilometers height as we were could feel the effect on our breathing. But the landscape is just captivating like nothing else.

Again giving a bit of critique to my own images. Picture 5-7 above never really succeeded in producing the look I was after. I am somewhat satisfied with picture 7, but it still has blown out highlights. But perhaps there was nothing to do unless I had a graded filter I could have used for the skies to calm the light down.

Drive to Bergamo

These 4 are from the drive to Bergamo. I feel somewhat confident in saying that they are taken somewhere in Switzerland. I can remember that there was a perfect image of a guy in a kayak a few hundred meters back, but unfortunately nowhere to park to get that shot.

It is difficult for me to decide between the first two images. The mountain looks more mystifying in the first, but the second gives a better sense of its scale.

Bergamo

Finally we have arrived in Bergamo. I must admit that it was quite the change from Livigno to Bergamo. We came from fresh thin air with lots of space around to the narrow streets of City Alta in Bergamo. But what a historic and beautiful place.

As it can be seen from the last picture the old town (City alta) towers up above the newer part of Bergamo. It is quite the sight.

What is to be noted though is a very famous bell-tower that plays every half hour from 7.30 to 22 in the evening. If you live inside City alta, then you will know what I am talking about. The last ring at 22 consists of a 100 rings of the bells to signal the closure of the city-ports from old times. But 100 rings….

Milano

We had a few hours in Milan and saw the awe-inspiring cathedral. You can spend hours looking at all the details. From memory it took around 6 centuries from the construction started till it was completed. Just think about some of the people who spent their entire life laying bricks and even at their death did not see more than perhaps a meter high wall. Generations upon generations working their entire life without seeing it completed.

Today it seems like we cannot even agree to anything 10-20 years ahead in time.

Passo di San Marco

From Bergamo we drove straight north through the mountains. On the way from Livigno to Bergamo we had taken the route along lake como, but that was full of tunnels, so not scenic at all. Hence the decision to just drive straight north through the mountains was an easy one. And what a route. First pass we had to cross was Passo di San Marco.

It was such a beautiful and serene pass. Almost no cars, bikes or any traffic at all. As you can see from all the pictures I one again had quite a hard time deciding between color or black & white. But it really does give of totally different appearances of the landscape whether in color or not. I do not know which I prefer – perhaps a slight edge towards black & white – but it is a very close call.

Spluga Pass

As a final note we also crossed the Spluga Pass. The main reason for me writing that is for myself to remember as it was a very good driving road that I want to explore in the future again. There was not many places you could pull over and take pictures hence I do not think I have even a single one. Unless the last ones from the batch above actually are from there.

But if you are looking for nice well-paved twisty roads, then absolutely give the Spluga Pass a try. Highly recommended!

This also concludes my longest and most photo-rich post yet. But now I have it forever and can look back on a great roadtrip and vacation.

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