When I visit special places, the challenge is to make a picture I haven’t seen or one that expresses how I feel. I had visited Rome before, but in spring. This was a dark, rainy November day. Because it had rained nonstop for days, I brought only an older D700 body and two lenses as I ventured through the wet streets.
I crossed over the Tiber River on the Ponte Sisto Bridge after sunset, and was struck by a moving, twisting swarm of starlings above Vatican City. I watched as the aerial display of birds looked for a roosting spot, twisting like baitfish in an ocean sky.
I braced my camera and lens against the bridge walkway and waited, hoping the birds would make a pass close to the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. Finally, the diving ball of birds dipped, like flying black ants, over the famous ornate structure—then were gone. The warm glow of lights from the dome provided a comforting contrast to the cold blue evening, and the accent of both birds and light gave life give to the ancient, spiritless structures.
I would have liked to use a faster shutter speed, but I didn’t want to push the ISO any higher.
Make a photograph of a monument, adding your signature. Find a fresh view—an angle, look or feel seldom seen. Photograph before daylight or after sunset. The introduction of light or movement—a person, the rising moon or the setting sun—can magically awaken an otherwise lifeless scene.
Consider changing elements such as rain or snow as welcome accents.
To respond to this challenge and share your work, email your best image to firstname.lastname@example.org with a caption and photo credit. We will share the best submissions on our website or social media channels.