The Habit

We have a bad habit. We find something we like and we just have to do it. It doesn’t matter the cost or inconvenience, we do it. Take pizza in Rome, for example. Some number of years ago we discovered a place that serves delicious gluten free pizza, an oxymoron of sorts. Jumbo shrimp, delicious GF pizza. You get the idea. So, every couple of years, like migratory birds, we head back to this pizza place in Rome, just so Kas can have some delicious GF pizza (I eat the normal pizza which is even better).  This habit makes for some very expensive pizza. Sometimes we have to take a cruise that stops in Rome for a day. Poor, poor, us. Mi Tocca.

The Photo

A couple of years ago, when we last visited Cambodia, I took one of my favorite photos at a temple called Ta’ Prohm in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I call it “Ta’ Prohm Raiders” because the scene reminds me of the opening moments of the movie, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” starring Harrison Ford. Standing in front of this doorway I kept expecting Indiana Jones to come flying through, Idol in hand. I really wanted to go back to this spot and shoot it again. Just like the pizza in Rome, we (I) made sure we would return.

Original shot from Feb 2016

A few months ago I showed this photo to Alessandro Vannucci (Ale’) and his response was, “we can do better.” Boy, that felt good. It fueled my desire to return and get the shot. On this visit, we made sure to get to the temple when it opens at 7:30. We were also lucky that it was quite cloudy with sprinkles of rain. Or was that our sweat? It was a near perfect morning for shooting.

Raiders Redux

After a little discussion with Ale’ about the composition, I was about ready to shoot. It really wasn’t much of a discussion – it was Ale’ talking a lot and me listening. I agreed with his input (how could I not) and set myself for the shot.

Think about shooting a bit wider, he said. Maybe shoot from a bit lower to give you a better perspective. Also you can have the door right in the middle of the photo for biggest impact.

I guess there really was a lot he didn’t like about my shot from last year. Ready, steady, click.

This is the new version shot Sep 2017. Do you think it’s better than the original? Why?

After my shot was complete, we had another discussion. This we talked about post-production. What to do with the photo once it was on my computer. I promised him I would not divulge any of the “secrets” he gave me. Now, I couldn’t wait to get back to our room to look at my creation. I absolutely love this temple with unique architecture and many interesting roots. Another bad habit has formed as I need to come back again and again.


At the end of this successful day, we celebrated by dining at a new Italian restaurant called Momma’s where the food is authentic Italian, prepared by an Italian from Bologna. We were told that it is frequented by mostly ex-Pats, our tour leader Alessandro being one of them. The food was delicious. I had Bolognaise over fresh pasta (bolognaise is excellent but not quite as good as mine) and sampled the pizza which was quite good.  Kas had fresh Pesto over GF pasta which we brought with us. They cooked it perfectly.  We are going to need to eat here again, feeding yet another bad habit. This will be an extremely costly dinner!

Cruise to Rome, flight to Siem Reap. Pizza, pasta, and a temple. Mi tocca!

Remember, it’s all about the light.


P.S. I learned something that was quite disturbing. Did you realize that meatballs are an American thing? I had mentioned to Ale’ that I make very good meatballs. And, if he visited us, I would make for him. He had no idea what I was talking about. After I explained what they were, he said that they do not exist in Italy (Jim, he also corroborated the chicken parm revelation). Not really believing him, I asked my new friend, the owner of Momma’s, about meatballs. He gave the same response. I still like mine and will continue to make them, even if they are an American invention.