DIANA'S BLOG




Sacra di San Michele (St. Michael’s Abbey) in Piedmont Region of Northwestern Italy

View of St. Michael’s Abbey (Sacra di San Michele) the symbol of Piedmont Region of Italy, built between 983 and 987 on top of Mount Pirchiriano. The abbey is said to have inspired Umberto Eco’s 1980 novel “The Name of the Rose.” This photo was taken from the ancient Sentiero dei Franchi trail that traces the route of Charlemagne and his troops in 773 and is also featured in Eco’s book.

This shot was taken with my new Nikon Z 7 mirrorless camera. I came to rely heavily on this camera while hiking on some pretty rugged Alpine trails on the border between France and Northwestern Italy. I tried to travel light on these trails and carried only a backpack, a titanium Gitzo tripod and the Nikon Z 7 with the Z 24-70mm lens. This setup made it much easier for me to hike the miles needed to get these photos. I really appreciated the lighter weight through my entire Italy trip. In Cinque Terre the Nikon Z 7 became the only camera other than my iPhone X that I could make it up and down the steep steps and hillsides with for extended periods of time. Thank goodness the Nikon Z 7 arrived a few days before my trip.

Here are a few of my first impressions of the Nikon Z 7. The dynamic range of the Nikon Z 7 seems equivalent to my Nikon D850 which is outstanding. The basic settings are the same so setting up the Z 7 was easy and very simple to use in the field. It’s just like my other Nikon bodies in terms of ease of use. Because I didn’t have a remote trigger for the Nikon Z 7 body having left so quickly after the camera arrived, I found myself using the 2-second self-timer shutter release setting for tripod landscape shots such as the one above at St. Michael’s Abbey. My only criticism of the Nikon Z 7 is that the self-timer setting did not stay when the camera was turned off. It reverted to Single shot shutter release mode. I found this a bit annoying having to change it back each time but I got used to it. When I shot in Continuous H (extended) shutter release mode the setting remained even when I turned off the camera. I assume this may be a bug that will be fixed with an update in the future. The only other problem I had was that the automatic switching between viewfinder and monitor mode stopped working even though it had worked correctly for the first few days. One day in Italy the shutter got stuck while I changed batteries and the date and time setting was lost. I reset it but never understood exactly why that had happened. That was when the automatic switching stopped working also. I will send it back to Nikon to have them take a look at it. But in general the camera was robust, did very well in extremely rainy weather and made taking photographs much easier because of its weight. I was very happy to have had it on this trip. More photos to come as I get them edited.

Leave a comment

Sardinia, Italy


Sunrise in Alghero, Sardinia, Italy

This was my first trip to the island of Sardinia! We flew from Turin to Rome and then flew Blue Air (the only airlines) to Alghero in Sardinia. Alghero is a coastal city in the northwest of Sardinia, Italy. An ancient city with a quaint cobblestoned old center and an old city wall, its Catalan inspired buildings include the Cattedrale di Santa Maria, with a wonderful bell tower, Palazzo Guillot and Chiesa di San Francesco, a 14th-century church.


The pre-dawn streets of the town of Alghero in Sardinia, Italy (taken with the Nikon Z 7 mirrorless camera). The Nikon Z 7 did a fabulous job with low noise in long exposures at night.


Waiting his turn to kite board on Spiaggia della Pelosetta, Sardinia, Italy


My photographer friend Chris Tucker taking timelapse videos on the beach at Spiaggia della Pelosetta near Stintino, with the 16th century Torre della Pelosa tower in the background, Sardinia, Italy


Sunset along the rocky shoreline on the west coast of Sardinia in Alghero, Italy

More photos to come…

Leave a comment

La Morra and Barolo Vineyards in the Piedmont Region, Northern Italy

La Morra is a Roman-era village in the Province of Cuneo in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy. We drove over for the day and spent a lot of time wandering the old streets. La Morra is located in the Langhe Hills, a hilly area known for its wines, cheeses and truffles. The vineyards surrounding the old village were some of the nicest I have seen in Italy. The famous Barolo wine comes from this region. We were able to walk through tasting Nebbiolo grapes right from the vine! Although some of the grapes had already been harvested there were still lots of grapes available to us. The Nebbiolo grape has to be the sweetest grape I have ever tasted. We visited the local church Chiesa di San Martino (Church of St. Martin) and had a wonderful lunch al fresco. The 12th Century Serralunga d’Alba Castle can be seen overlooking the vineyards. For some reason I wanted to take this photo in black and white, to represent the age of the castle and town.


Vineyards near the 13th Century town of La Morra in the Langhe Hills, Piedmont Region, Northern Italy


Vineyards outside the village of La Morra in the Province of Cuneo, Piedmont Region, Northern Italy


A cluster of Nebbiolo grapes used to make Barolo wine ready for harvest outside of La Morra in the Province of Cuneo, Piedmont Region, Northern Italy


Stone street in the Roman Era village of La Morra in the Province of Cuneo, Piedmont Region, Italy


Door knocker in the Roman Era village of La Morra in the Province of Cuneo, Piedmont Region, Italy


Lion wall adornment in La Morra a village built in the Roman era in the Province of Cuneo, Piedmont Region, Northern Italy


Chiesa di San Martino in the Roman era village of La Morra in the Province of Cuneo, Piedmont Region, Italy


Ceiling mural of St. Martin in the Chiesa di San Martino in the Roman era village of La Morra in the Province of Cuneo, Piedmont Region, Italy. St. Martin is giving half of his cloak to a beggar in the scene for which he as granted sainthood.


Wall mural in the Roman era village of La Morra in the Province of Cuneo, a famous wine growing region, Piedmont, Italy


Grapevines in the Roman era village of La Morra in the Province of Cuneo, a famous wine growing region, Piedmont, Italy


Blue shutters and old balcony in La Morra, a village built in the Roman era , in the Province of Cuneo, Piedmont Region, Northern Italy


Lamp post and roof tiles in the old village of La Morra in the Province of Cuneo, Piedmont Region, Northern Italy


Decoration above a doorway in the old winemaking village of La Morra in the Province of Cuneo, Piedmont Region, Northwest Italy


Roof tiles in the village of La Morra in the Province of Cuneo, Piedmont Region, Northern Italy

Just about everybody who goes to Italy becomes a huge Nutella fan. We passed many large stands of hazelnut trees growing throughout Northern Italy.


Grove of hazelnut trees near Turin, Italy

The first few days in Northern Italy I stayed at the Tenuta La Cascinetta outside of Pinerolo. This is a beautiful bed and breakfast with a large stand of Kiwi trees growing next to it. The property has been in the same family for over four hundred years. It is one of the nicest places I have ever stayed in Italy. I can’t wait to go back. Here is their website if you’d like to add it to your list of places to visit while in Italy on your next trip!


Kiwi growing at Tenuta La Cascinetta, Pinerolo in the Piedmont Region of Northern Italy

Leave a comment