Guided by the Light, Vatican City
St. Peter's Basilica was number one on my list of things to photograph in Rome. First and foremost, it's a holy place, but also one of spectacular beauty, history, and grandeur. Thankfully I made it despite a series of mis-steps as my first few hours in Rome were far from storybook type material.
It started well enough, as I successfully took the Metro from FCO airport to a stop just a few blocks from my hotel. As the saying goes, the best laid plans don't always work out, and I quickly realized I was lost and walking in circles. After a nine hour red eye flight, pulling the fifty pound suitcase and lugging all the camera gear on my back, I started to have a melt down. Had I made a mistake even coming I wondered. Maybe I was foolish to think I could navigate my way through a strange city in a different language. Sweaty and starving, I asked a few people "Scusi, Parla Inglese?" (excuse me, do you speak english?) Luckily, I also learned three important words; sinistra (left), destra (right), and dirrito (straight). With this, and a bit of luck, I finally reached my hotel feeling defeated and worn out.
Everything changed the moment I picked up my camera and headed into the streets. I no longer felt like a stranger, but walked with purpose and visualized this shot in my mind. I had come over 4,000 miles and could feel I was just minutes from something special. The tripod slung over my tired shoulders, no longer just part of my luggage, but now a welcome piece of gear. I arrived at the Ponte Umberto bridge and peered out at one of the most beautiful sights in all of Rome. Twinkling there in the pink evening sky, the Basilica glowed from within, while a golden cross on top reached towards the heavens. No longer did I feel road weary, scared, or uncertain of what the next 2 weeks would hold. I knew right then it was all going to work out, and captured this frame with a smile across my face.