Street musician

Milan Revisited

I mentioned in a previous post that I have been using Lightroom to organize and process my digital images.  My catalog currently stores over 37,000 digital images. I have not looked at most photographs for years.  When I last checked many were processed with earlier versions of Lightroom. Adobe has been publicizing program improvements in each new version of Lightroom and I appreciate some of the new options that they have added. But, I also wonder if the basic image development engine has improved over the years.  Will I get a “better” result if I reprocess my older files with a new version of Lightroom?  (Moreover, what does “better” mean when what makes a good photograph is so very subjective.).

I have started reprocessing old photographs taken on business trips with the current version of Lightroom.  Those in this post came from a business trip to Milan in 2007.  That trip was unusual as it was to a major city in Europe and Jennifer came with me.  I had meetings for several days so she used the occasion to catch the train from Milan and visit friends in Switzerland.  While she was away, I wandered around Milan during the long midsummer evenings with my Pentax K10D.  When she returned, we explored Milan together. We also caught the train to Como to wander along the lakefront and take the funicular up the surrounding hill to the village of Brunate.

Including camera gear for business trips was always a hassle.  Work required a laptop and charger to be included with carry-on luggage.  Then there were business papers to support meetings, and perhaps a book to while away the hours on a long fight.  That carry-on bag was already starting to get heavy without any camera.  For most trips, I included the camera body the 18-35mm lens and a spare battery or the charger.  I left any additional lenses at home or if I was feeling energetic, sometimes wrapped them with socks and packed them in a roll-on.  This was either checked baggage or lugged onto the plane if it was an international flight with large overhead storage bins.  Those who check the EXIF data for the photos on this site will find many taken in far-away places used that 18-55mm kit lens.

I previously visited Milan back in the 70s when I was working for BP.  On that trip, I stayed somewhere close to the main rail station.  Almost thirty years later, memories of the city had faded. Everything was new, especially as the hotel this time was close to the cathedral district.  Sadly, I cannot recall where I took many of these photos or why.  I wonder if that is a general problem with “no-cost” digital images.  It is too easy just to press the button on the camera or phone. I admit I don’t take time to experience and enjoy the occasion.  When there were only 24 or 36 exposures on a roll of film, I wonder if we thought more about what was in the viewfinder before we pressed the shutter button.  I know I took more interest in the subject, especially when I was using slide film.  Slides might be projected onto a screen to an audience rather than remaining hidden on a computer drive – and a photo without a story is almost useless. However, not all is lost.  With the help of Google Maps and Street-view, I have been able to find the scenes and note the location on the images in the Gallery.

I print very, very few of the photos I capture – except perhaps those taken on visits to projects which might end up in progress reports for banks or other financiers.  The exception to that rule is the image of the musician above.  I have printed this photo several times and I have it on the wall.  This saxophone player was panhandling near the cathedral in Milan.  Google translate suggests his sign says, “Life is a wheel that can change our destiny”.  I cannot argue with the sentiment as I’ve recently experienced the effect of that wheel turning in my life.  I often wonder what happened to the musician.  Did something happen to his wife?  She appears in the photo with the message.  As for the remainder of the gallery, they are scenes who caught my eye in Milan and a couple from Brunate.  I hope you like them.

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