Tuesday, 30 August 2011


Due to difficulties in getting a passport for our little one this year, we decided to take our holiday in Switzerland.

I've travelled lots in this country due to my job but have rarely have I ventured into the Italian region known as Tessin. We booked a week's stay in a guest house in the village of Vellano. From here we had easy access to the major cities of Lugano, Locarno and Bellinzona.

Vellano is a tiny village of stone houses and bumpy streets. It is accessible by winding mountain roads and has stunning views of the mountains.

View from the hotel window

Typical street in Vellano

The big cities hold very little interest to me photographically except perhaps for Bellinzona which has three castles and a massive city wall that you can explore both inside and out.

In Lugano, I only took one small series of photos. These were of a typical (to me anyway) Italian style delicatessen.

Italian Deli in Lugano

More of interest to me personally were the old villages, churches and stunning scenery which abound in Tessin. I love old world / mediaeval scenery and buildings and in Tessin, I was amply rewarded.

Not really knowing what to expect, I took the following gear with me:

Eos 5d
Eos 7d
16mm fisheye
50mm f1.8
17 - 40 zoom
28 - 135 IS
70 - 200
420 EX II Speedlite
Benbo tripod
G-clamp mini tripod

This stuff weighed a ton and my back started hurting me.

At the end of the third day, I was looking at my images and realised that the vast majority were taken with the EOS 5d and the 17 - 40.

For the rest of the holiday I left all the other stuff out of sight in the boot of the car and only took this combination together with the Speedlite and the mini G-clamp tripod with me in a small
rucksack. My back feels normal again.

You've probably read this far and are wondering why this blog entry is titled "200@f13". The reason is this. The weather in Tessin was beautiful. Blue skies and lots of sun. When I have these conditions, I always set my camera to 200 ISO with the settings at... you've guessed it, 1/200 sec @ f13. Later when I am converting the RAW data I can select all images taken with this setting and apply the same small corrections to all of them. Normally the settings are a tweak of the highlight control to bring out any white puffy clouds and maybe a nudge of the shadow control to prevent the shadows going too black when I've been shooting in the midday overhead sun.

That's the technical bit done. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Tessin, I would heartily recommend the following places to visit or take pictures:




If you want to see any more of the images that I took, you can check out this link which shows the ones that will be included in Google Earth

There are of course many more places to see, explore and photograph and I know for certain that I'll be returning.

Thanks for reading.


  1. Lovely photos Tom! 'll have to pay those places a visit one of these days. Wendy x

  2. Beautiful pictures Tom. Next time I am in those conditions I will deffo try 200@f13. Sindhoor

  3. Wendy. thanks for the visit. Don't leave it too long to visit these "undiscovered gems" in Switzerland.

    Sindhoor. thanks for visiting. The 200 @ f13 is useful to know and means that all the images afterwards can be processed quickly and easily.