November 20, 2011


A short drive through the country landed us in Siena. Arriving hungry, we immediately checked in and headed to Piazza del Campo. Lined with numerous restaurants, this was a perfect place to observe the locals as we enjoyed fantastic pizza and cold beers. While we sat, we read about the Palio horse race that's held twice a year around the perimeter of the piazza. It is crazy to imagine 60,000 people crammed into this small area to watch 10 horses circle the piazza 3 times in a race that only lasts roughly 90 seconds.

After we had our fill of pizza and beer, we headed to the Duomo. Generally, these types of tourist destinations are not my favorite, but I really enjoyed the gothic architecture and art of Siena's cathedral.

The rest of the day was spent sampling local fare as we wandered the streets and eventually ending up back where we started the day at Piazza del Campo.

November 5, 2011

San Gimignano to Montalcino

Once we left Volterra we had a short drive through wine country and arrived at small, medieval San Gimignano. This walled town, known for its towers, was a bustling tourist stop. We got the gist of it in just under 2 hours and then were back on the road.

Our drive to our next stop, Montalcino, was definitely our longest. It wasn't long before we were questioning our decision to take the roundabout route through the country instead of sticking to the main highways. Eventually we were highly rewarded as we passed through small towns on our way down a scenic winding road through wooded hills.

Although we didn't have time for any formal winery tours we passed through a couple and did a tasting of the regions famous Brunello and others at Argiano. Montalcino itself is a hilltop town surrounded by larger wineries such as Banfi. They say that if you do not like wine, you may not appreciate Montalcino. Needless to say we had a fantastic time enjoying the frequent stops for tastings as we wandered through this quaint medieval town.

October 12, 2011

Volterra And The Tuscan Countryside

Just like that we were back on the train being whisked away as we headed south to Pisa. Trying to make the most of our time we lugged our gear to the leaning tower for the quintessential "prop-up" photo opportunity. Unfortunately this blog is not about quintessential photos, so you'll have to use your imagination.

Hertz was our next destination as we bravely took a seat behind the wheel on the roads of Italy. With the lack of signs, narrow roads, hairpin turns and lead-foot drivers, driving in Italy is like a video game. Except you only get one quarter. But we knew exactly where were going. At least for the first 10 minutes. Then we were lost. Eventually we righted ourselves and made our way to Agriturismo Santa Vittoria, situated just north of the small town of Volterra.

The quiet streets of Volterra were vastly different than the towns we had experienced so far. During the afternoon we explored small shops and laughed with the locals as we shared their wine and cheese. When we arrived back at the Agriturismo (a rustic farm with guest lodging) to watch the sunset, we discovered we were all alone and that the workers did not spend the night there. As night fell, we enjoyed the peacefulness of the country with the occasional crow-sized bat flying overhead. Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration... but seriously not by much.

October 3, 2011

Cinque Terre: Vernazza

Two plane rides, a taxi, three trains and then a short walk landed us in Vernazza. Smack dab in the heart of the Cinque Terre on the north west coast of Italy. Between the hiking trail with spectacular views that led to each of "The Five Lands," to a dip in the sea, this was the perfect place to begin our adventure. These hillside villages are cramped against the shore and are amazing places with fantastic food and wonderful people. It was great to finally visit this place after passing by it 10 years ago.

August 1, 2011

Don't Stop Believing! Journey, Foreigner and Night Ranger rock Xcel


On July 28th, the Xcel Energy Center became a time machine set for the 80's with Journey, Foreigner and Night Ranger making a stop in St. Paul. I was lucky enough to have this be my first experience shooting for Jam Magazine. Hopefully I will be able to shoot many more shows for them in the future.

Night Ranger was up first and they definitely did not mind us photographers leaning against the stage as they shredded their guitars and gave us their best rock star pose. Next up was Foreigner followed by the headliner, Journey. It really was amazing to hear how great these bands sound after all of these years. They played all the hits you would expect to hear and no one left disappointed. Being there to capture it all was a real treat.

You can see the full set of photos of JourneyForeigner and Night Ranger by visiting these links. If you "Like" Jam Magazine on Facebook you will get continuous updates on all shows Jam Mag covers.