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Workshop B&W on the Mysterious Island of Poveglia

“There’s an island in the Venetian Lagoon in Northern Italy, which is so haunted,  people actually aren’t allowed to go there. I’m not even kidding. The island of Poveglia, with its incredibly long and dark history, has been cordoned off from public access by the Italian Government since the late 1960s.”

This was the chosen location for my September B&W and Film Venetian Workshop! Obviously most of the above is not fully true or even correct.

More about Poveglia from a previous visit

More about my Workshops





Scotland Photography Workshop

Scotland Photography Workshop

Tour Highlights: Edinburgh,  Stirling Castle, Doune, Loch Lubnaig, Glen Ogle, Crianlarich, Tyndrum, Glen Lochy, Dalmally, Loch Awe, Kilchurn Castle, Inveraray, Loch Lomond and Luss.

Surrounded by seven hills, Scotland’s capital is one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Winding cobbled streets, breathtaking architecture and historic landmarks sit alongside a thriving bar, restaurant and cultural scene. The UNESCO World Heritage Site at the heart of the city combines the medieval Old Town, the Georgian New Town and award winning modern architecture.

Mostar and Sarajevo Photography Workshop

Mostar and Sarajevo Photography Workshop

Sarajevo is magic for the camera. The capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina offers an array of unique photographic opportunities combined with a fascinating history.

Kujundžiluk or Stari bazar (the old market) is the oldest part of the city of Mostar which did not change its look since the mid of the 16th century. In the pass times it was the pulsing heart of the trade, for all region of Mostar, and had more then 500 workshops. This short road has maintained its ancient appearance characterized by small restaurants (aš?inica) and most characteristic crafts, such as working of copper (kujundžija) and traditional weaving of carpets. Even today the Kujundžiluk represents the traditional daily life of Mostar, men  sitting in the cafes and chat and women passing by in a hurry.

Capture bustling street scenes, modern and ancient graveyards and mosques as well as the vibrant Turkish market place,. Experiment with long exposures at ‘blue hour’ as locals gather at the Sebilj fountain or at the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque for evening prayers. Document the city’s past wounds and remnants of the Yugoslavia war 20 years ago as well as its many efforts to move forward as an emerging European city of the 21st Century. Leave the city and explore the remote surrounding hill villages where life and traditions have changed little in the last 100 years. Frame stunning landscapes and capture candid portraits of the resilient and welcoming villagers living and working the land at 1500m.

This week long  Mostar and Sarajevo Photography Workshop is designed for photographers of any ability looking to build on their landscape and travel photography skills.

Ljubljana and Bled – Slovenia Workshop

Ljubljana and Bled – Slovenia Workshop

Slovenia is a land of unspoiled beauty, with a rich history and fascinating culture.  The only country in Europe that combines the Alps, the Mediterranean, the Pannonian Plain and the Karst, it is a land of soaring vistas, Alpine peaks, and sparkling lakes and rivers.

Explore Lake Bled and its iconic church on Bled island starting with sunrise at the shore and ending with sunset from a stunning vantage point. Contrast this with the more tranquil but equally inspiring Lake Bohinj in the heart of the Julian Alps. We’ll shoot creative long exposures to capture fast-flowing rivers and waterfalls at Vintgar Gorge, and travel through many picturesque villages to shoot traditional hayracks and agricultural details and document a slower pace of life. We’ll photograph the vineyards and stone-built villages of Karst, and the salt pans and seacoast as well. Finally, we discover the warmth and charm of Ljubljana with its contrasting styles of architecture, café culture and bustling riverbank and markets, each day capturing amazing sunrises, sunsets, and night sky as well.

Slovenia covers just 20,000 square kilometers, yet it boasts over 10,000 kilometers of sign-posted hiking trails and over a third of the countryside is protected, which allows us uninhibited access to the best Alpine scenery without the need for long drives. During mid-October the lush vegetation of summer transforms to a riot of Autumn colour, all against a backdrop of majestic mountains, lakes and waterfalls. We will dedicate the daylight hours to exploring the very best that this little known country has to offer, at all times making the most of the prevailing weather conditions and time of day.


DAY 1: Arrive at Lake Bled

Arrive in Ljubljana and transfer to Bled. The adventure starts with an afternoon shoot to capture ‘golden light’ at iconic lake Bled. Evening get-together for a welcome dinner and to discuss plans for the tour.

Day 2 & 3: Lakes Bled and Bohinj

We’ll take 2 full days to explore the beautiful Gorenjska region starting with a sunrise shoot at the shore of Lake Bled. From Bled Castle perched up on the cliff top we’ll capture superb panoramas of the lake with its island and Baroque church. Visit the spectacular Vintgar Gorge the perfect location to experiment with capturing fast-flowing water and try out some long exposures. Our second glacial lake is Bohinj and has a very different feel. Here we’ll take time to hone our composition skills at the lake shore and capture creative reflections. A short drive takes us to the surrounding picturesque villages where you’ll have the opportunity to capture traditional agricultural architecture including the landmark hayracks of Slovenia, as well as scenes of rural village life. Cap off the evenings with a sunset shoot at the lakeside.

DAY 4 & 5: Soca River Valley and Triglav National Park

Our route takes us over the Vrsic pass, the highest pass in the Julian Alps with incredible views across the Slovenian Alps. We travel down to the Soca River Valley to explore more of the Triglav National Park. Capture the incredible emerald waters of the Soca and discover gorges and waterfalls as we hike along the riverbanks. As well as capturing stunning landscapes, we may be lucky with some wildlife photography and will also take the opportunity to photograph the historical World War I remnants along the trail. Our route will take us on an exciting tour of some of highest mountains in Slovenia offering incredible views across Slovenia and into Italy.

DAY 6-7: Ljubljana

We leave the Alps and head to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia and a gem of a city. During the next 2 days we’ll wander the charming streets of the old city camera in hand and capture the highlights of Ljubljana including baroque churches, diverse architectural details and the castle as well as trying our hand at some street photography and candid portraits in Ljubljana’s bustling marketplace and along the café-strewn riverbanks. We’ll also make a half-day trip from the city to capture one of Slovenia’s many scenic locations.

DAY 7: Departure from Ljubljana

Transfer to departure airport.

Leica M (Typ 240)

My favorite camera is obviously the Leica, the latest addition to my collection is the M or 240 Type. I shoot most of my portraits, features and reportage using this camera with either the 35 1.4 Summilux or the 50mm 1.5



The Leica M 240 is a digital rangefinder camera with a full-format 24 x 36 mm sensor. As the world’s most compact full-format system camera, the Leica M 240 extends the legendary heritage of the Leica rangefinder M System and unites over 50 years of continuous technical improvements to the system with the best in cutting-edge digital technology.

The Leica M is a digital full-frame 35 mm rangefinder camera. It was introduced by Leica Camera AG in September 2012, and is the successor to the Leica M9 range of cameras. The M uses a 24-megapixel image sensor. The camera is the first M model to feature movie recording, and the first to have Live View—which allows the scene, as seen through the lens, to be composed.The M is compatible with almost all M mount lenses and most R mount lenses (via an adapter). All Leica M cameras are handmade in Portugal and Germany.

The M uses a CMOS 24-megapixel image sensor designed exclusively for Leica by the Belgian company CMOSIS. The sensor contains 6,000 by 4,000 pixels on a 6 x 6 µm² grid, and is made by STMicroelectronics in Grenoble.

The M supports most M-mount lenses, and with an optional R-Adapter, the camera can use almost all Leica R-mount lenses.Live View allows owners of R-lenses to use an optional electronic viewfinder.

The camera uses a MAESTRO image/video processor which is based on the Fujitsu Milbeaut. It has specifically-designed rubber seals (to protect against dust and water spray).


Venice Real Osterie

A selection of Venice Osterie where you can get wonderful food for 30Euro or less!

La Frasca

This is a small restaurant with just the owner and his chef. Pleasant, no-frills trattoria on a quiet residential square.
For a taste of tagliata di calimaro (sliced grilled squid) with arugula or pomodorini tomatoes with strawberries and violet artichokes, wend your way up quintessential calli to La Frasca. Far from the maddening San Marco crowds, this tiny eatery nestled on a remote campiello charms before you even taste the seafood sampler of grilled seppie cuttlefish, canoce mantis shrimp, excellent baccalà mantecato, or sarde in saor. Wines are an important part of the meal here; ask for a recommendation from the ample list of predominantly regional selections. With limited indoor seating, La Frasca encloses and heats their outdoor terrace to accommodate winter diners.

Address: Corte de la Carità, Cannaregio 5176, Venice, 30121
Phone: 041/2412585
Vaporetto: Fondamente Nove
No lunch Mon. and Wed.

Dalla Marisa

Signora Marisa is a culinary legend in Venice, with locals calling up days in advance to ask her to prepare ancient recipes such as risotto con le secoe (risotto made with a cut of beef from around the spine). Pasta dishes include the excellent tagliatelle con sugo di masaro (in duck sauce), while secondi range from tripe to roast stuffed pheasant. In summer, tables spill out from the tiny interior on to the fondamenta. Book well ahead – and remember, serving times are rigid: turn up late and you’ll go hungry. There’s a €15 lunch menu..

Cannaregio 652B,
fondamenta San Giobbe
Vaporetto Crea or Tre Archi
Telephone 041 720 211
Meals served noon-2.30pm Mon, Wed, Sun; noon-2.30pm, 8-9.15pm Tue, Thur-Sat. Closed Aug

Trattoria Ca’ D’Oro

“This picturesque osteria [informal restaurant or tavern] has a well-stocked cicchetti [small plate] counter plus small tables in the back if you order from the menu.”—Michela Scibilia, author, Venice Osterie. One of the oldest wine bars in the city and also known as Alla Vedova; popular with locals and travelers barhopping along Strada Nova; serves Venetian classics and is famous for its polpette (meatballs).

Cannaregio 3912; tel. 39 041 528 5324.

Osteria al Garanghelo

“One of the ever decreasing number of old-time Venetian osterie.”—Ruth Edenbaum, author, Chow Venice: Savoring the Food and Wine of La Serenissima. This simple, casual restaurant is low-key and local; cicchetti (small plates) up front and tables in back; wines by the glass; menu includes a vegetable antipasta platter, seafood starters like sarde in saor (Venetian-style marinated sardines), and pastas.

Close to Rialto market. San Polo 1570; tel. 39 041 721 721.

Dai Tosi (37)

If you’re stuck for somewhere to eat after a visit to the Art or Architecture Biennale and are in the mood for cheap and cheerful refuelling, this neighbourhood trattoria-pizzeria, in a residential street that always seems to be festooned with laundry, should fit the bill perfectly. In summer, when they put tables outside in the street, there are few more picturesque dining backdrops in Venice. The pizzas are fine and filling (try the gorgonzola, radicchio and walnut topping), and they also do a good range of Venetian and pan-Italian pasta dishes. This is a good place to come with kids, who can work up an appetite in the play area near the Giardini vaporetto stop. Beware of mixing this up with another nearby namesake restaurant; if you’re in any doubt, ask for ‘Dai Tosi Piccoli’ (Little Dai Tosi).

Venice city break guide
In summer, when they put tables outside in the street, there are few more picturesque dining backdrops in Venice.


Address: Castello 738, Secco Marina, 30122
Getting there: Vaporetto stop Giardini
Contact: 00 39 041 523 7102; trattoriadaitosi.com
Opening times: Mon, Tue, Thu, midday-2pm; Fri-Sun, midday-2pm, 7pm-9.30pm
Prices: pizzas from €5, pasta dishes around €12
Payment type: credit cards accepted
Cuisine: Italian, pizza
Reservations: not necessary



L‘osteria Ai Assassini


The Toscano Cigars

The Toscano cigar is the original Italian cigar, manufactured in Lucca and founded in 1818 by the Grand Duke of Tuscany.

The cigar is made with top fermented Kentucky tobacco with some of the top types are still rolled by hand.

My Gallery at Getty Images is here

20 Things to do in Venice – 15/20 Acqua Alta Bookshop

As you walk in the Acqua Alta bookshop you will be greeted by Luigi and one of his cats

Luigi and one of his Cats at Libreria Acqua Alta in Venice (Marco Secchi)

Walk in the labyrinth of interconnected rooms, and you will see the full-sized gondola in the middle of the shop, overflowing with books then along to bathtubs filled with books and sleeping cats you will find a doorway leading straight out onto a canal where the water level seems a precarious few centimeters away from spilling into the room. It happened to us to get there in a rainy day and the owner was moving all the books from the floor to bathtubs and shelves because of the danger of high water level!

Keep searching (for books and memorable shots) and you’ll find yourself in a tiny quiet courtyard which hosts a staircase made entirely from books. Climb up to the top for a lovely view onto the Venice canals.

You may feel literally overwhelmed by books. New and old, romance and science fiction, best sellers and b-series novels, you can find anything here if you are patient enough to search. It’s possible that you won’t be able to find any specific books given the bizarre nature of the piles, or you may don’t like the smell of humidity or second hand books, but you should include a visit to Acqua Alta into your Venice tour anyway.

Libreria Acqua Alta Calle Longa Santa Maria Formosa (Campiello Del Tintor) | 5176 – Castello, 30122 Venice, Italy


If you are looking for unusual, rare, incredibly interesting books about Venice a REAL must is 
Libreria Editrice Franco Filippi
Castello, Casselleria 5284
Venezia 30122

S Daniele Prosciutto

In the pre-Roman era, San Daniele del Friuli was an important Celtic settlement, thanks to its special position en route to Northeast Europe. The surrounding area contains the remains of various “castellieri”, the typical Celtic constructions used as watchtowers.
The Celts, a relatively non-migratory people, devoted to agriculture and with minimal warlike tendencies, were the first to use salt to preserve pork, of which they were major consumers. They built the foundations of the extraordinary rural culture which the Romans put to expert use later on.
In the era following that of the Celts, the oldest San Daniele settlement is Roman, from the 1st century AC: a villa positioned right on the summit of the hill.
The Romans were very familiar with ham: evidence of this can be found in the ancient merchants’ road to Rome, the present Via Panisperna, named after “panis” (bread) and “perna” (“perna sicca”: ham), and in a butcher’s memorial stone found in Aquileia (UD), which boasts a Prosciutto di San Daniele complete with trotter.

Fast forwards to the 1920 the first ham factories were established: the domestic cellar was transformed into the centre of a true autonomous production activity. At the end of the 40s, the ham factory had become an industry, and from the 60s its development resulted in some of the production companies contributing to the formation of the national and international prosciutto crudo market.

How to Rescue a Wet Camera

It has happened to me a couple of times covering bad weather in Scotland, to friends and colleagues, even a couple of days ago to one of my Venetian colleague.

Scotland, Saltcoats 23rd November 2006 Extreme weather condition with strong gales and rain are battering the West Coast of Scotland

NUJ recommended terms & conditions apply. Moral rights asserted under
Copyright Designs & Patents Act 1988. Credit is required. No part of this
photo to be stored, reproduced, manipulated or transmitted by any means
without permission.

Sithean Photography
100 A High Street 
East Lothian
EH32 0DQ
Email studio@sitheanphoto.com
Tel 0845 0506211
Fax 0845 2803228
 (Marco Secchi)

Your precious camera meets the water…either in the form of a big splash or heavy torrential rain.

I have managed to recovered my cameras at least 2 times and I have strictly used the following method

  • As soon as it happen switch off the camera, remove the battery, remove memory card, I would say this is the most important action.
  • Do NOT turn the camera on  ever….you may risk to short circuit important parts
  • As soon as you can, make sure there are no traces of moisture visible on the camera.
  • Find a container big enough to hold the camera and a couple of bags or more of rice (Yes RICE)
  • can be a Tupperware container, half fill it with  rice  and then place the dead camera body on top of the rice with the mirror facing down.
  • pour more rice on top of the camera until it is completely covered with about 1 inch of rice above the top of the camera body
  • placed a tightly fitted lid on the container and place it a dry cupboard for at least  one week.

After about a week of drying out in the hermetically sealed rice box you should be able to switch on the camera and scroll through all the menus..,.. if this is the case I would place the camera again in the rice for 4 or 5 days  or leave it near but not too close to a radiator.