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For years, many vacationers stayed at the Portofino when visiting the Orlando amusement facilities. In particular Universal's Portofino, a photographers dream. We had been there a number of times visiting during late afternoon or early evening hours of which many were spend in one of the many fine quality restaurants. Most of the time I had no camera gear with me but I made a promise to myself to return for some interesting pictures. Then, on a nice day in January 2006, I took the 90 mile trip to the Portofino with the objective to do a shoot of the place.
P-0256 Left side of the harbor  
Portofino is constructed around a lake in a "horseshoe" fashion and patterned after a coastal village in eastern Italia. If you go on the web type "Porto Fino," you will see a number of URL's that go to the actual location in Italy and you be surprised that the real town(s) and the replica in Orlando look very much alike. To the left is an aerial picture taken from Vernazzo in Italy. You can see the shape of the harbor, the row houses and the round steeple of the church (arrow). Vernazzo shapes the harbor in Portofino fantasy however, the shape of the real estate is a mixture of Vernazzo and Portofino in Italy as you can see from the 
  Vernazzo - Italy (no enlargement)
picture to the left. The replication in Orlando is quit remarkable and very much worth a stay or a visit. Going back to my story, I took the Canon 20D, the Canon EF/IS 28-135mm zoom, the Canon EF/IS 75-300mm and the Canon EF 18-55mm wide-angle zoom. As it turned-out, the 28-135mm did all the work. Since most of the shoot was across the water, I set the depth-of-field to f-8 and worked the ISO @ 100/400 providing me with optimum flexibility for panoramic as well as detail shots around the portico's and covered passages of which there were many. It is worth mentioning here that the digital camera
Portofino Italy (no enlargement)  
has given us a new tool (changing ISO on the fly) allowing the photographer to set the camera for the optimum f-8 stop and changing the ISO setting
P-0267 Portofino - Orlando Fl   P-0265 Return of the sight-seeing boat
when the shutter speed becomes to slow. (This technique is only valid for digital cameras that have this ability as well as a high pixel number to maintain resolution at 400 ISO.) The Portofino Plaza and harbor are located on the lower level. The complex is shaped in a horse-shoe fashion with stone paved walking areas and a paved footpath going around the open end of the "horse-shoe") end. My shoot started halfway at the left side of the complex looking at (P-0256) then P-0265 the left side, P-0267 & P-0270 the center and P-0274 my starting point. Unfortunately, there was little to nothing
  P-0274 Moored Boats
around the water front to include in the pictures with exception of P-0270 where the foreground railing "framed" the image perfectly.. Detail however was plentiful starting with image P-0279 to the right showing the entrance to the Bice restaurant. The picture is pleasing however, the direction sign on the balustrade wall is disturbing but, they are everywhere. The blue windows are not a "sky-cast" but an interior hallway done in blue. The entrance of a covered portals or portico is visible to the right. For more detail we go to P-0280. The village (Portofino) has many portico's and the plum painted one right below is only one of many.
P-0270 Portofino hde   P-0279 Restorante Bice
To get this shot right, it was processed with DxO and some Photoshop editing was done. Although this image was shot at 1/30 @ F-8 and ISO 400, no extensive noise was evident. The resolution at 13x19 print was perfect. I could have cropped it to eliminate the chairs and the partial door but found the result to sanitary and left it as it originally was composed. The double doors in the center do the talking. The "Portal" P-283 is another example of patio's and portico's. To the left is an open doorway and an courtyard with gas-fired street lights behind it. The pattern in the pavement is used
P-0280 Portico HDC  
throughout the complex as well as the tri-color stucco creating a Mediterranean ambiance for the entire. There are a variety of shops, souvenir, parlors, bars and beer tap rooms and the like. P-0293 is just such a corner with an "upstairs" with other services and eateries. Again, notice the street double stripe pattern, the gas street light. P-0291 is a tighter shot of the Plaza. The Plaza has a number of cafe's and outside restaurants. Note the church steeple and compare it with the real one in the picture above. P-0295 is a close-up of the outside restaurant parasols. Even the napkin wrapped set-up's are color
  P-0283 The Atrium
coordinated! P-0299 is a pic- ture taken from underneath a portico. This picture was edited with Photoshop to retrieve the detail in the back-ground.  
P-0291 The Plaza   P-0293 The Corner
All the walls were painted in a similar earth tone  color except the inside of the arch and the right side wall of the stairway. The sun almost un-did the
P-0299 The Stairway    P-0300 Portico HDE
image due to the reflection of the white center wall panel causing overexposure and loss of detail. Thanks to Photoshop I managed to get most of it back making it a eye-catching image. Due indirect light conditions, I was able to keep the tone of this near 100 Ft long covered veranda pretty uniform. The open door to the left breaks the monotony of the perspective in P-300. The gas light and the parasol are the "props" in P-0295. Note the color matched napkins on the table. The left corner of the complex is accented by the church steeple. Altogether, this display of ingenuity and color is spectacular and I had a good time photographing it. 
P-0295 Parasol    P-0273 Steeple 
   Left: Portofino Harbor at the end of the day when the sun goes down and the light turns golden. 
P-0252 End of the Day HDE
 second place winner APS 9/09
 
  P-0275 Boats   P-0290 Alleyway

The above images are 72 DPI only. However, when ordered, they are custom printed @ 1440 DPI using Epson UltraChrome art inks guaranteeing an eighty year lightfast product on Epson luster photo stock.

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