Commercial Lifestyle Photographer

Cinque Terre, Italy

Added on by Melanie Mathieu.

It has been a little while since I last posted. I have been spending a lot of time going back and forth from the US and Italy. There are perks of having my boyfriend be based in Italy and now we are able to show friends around after scoping out the surrounding areas in Tuscany. Cinque Terre is one place we have really got the hang of bringing company too, you'll be able to see for yourself in the photos why we love it so much. This post is also only showing pictures of Villages 1,4 and 5. 

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The buildings go up so high and have such vibrant colors. The green shutters are a lovely compliment to the colorful buildings. The pictures above are from the first village Riomaggiore. The pictures right below are also but it's to show how much of a boating / fishing village it is. If you go between the months of June - September be sure to bring your bathing suit and a towel. The water as you can see is so clear and feels great! 

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I also just love how these boats photograph so well. Cinque Terre is also easily accessible via boat. There is a ferry that goes from La Spezia the town right before Riomaggiore. It allows you to not have to drive your car into the small roads to then have limited parking. I am attaching a link to the ferry. 

https://cinqueterreinsider.com/2018/03/22/cinque-terre-ferry-schedules-2018/

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Vernazza is the 4th Village which we accessed via the train. The train goes through each village and it gets you to each one fairly quickly. The first image of Vernazza plenty of people are swimming as well. It is more a sandy rocky beach than Riomaggiore (which is just rocks). You can easily go swimming at each of the villages! As you can see in the picture looking away from the village the green terrain, it's actually vineyards. Cinque Terre has very tasty wine which they seem to serve at most of the restaurants. The yellow umbrellas are a little bar and there are quite a few different bars/ restaurants to choose from. Whether you want to order a spritz or a local wine they are great spots to enjoy the Italian coast line. 

Onto the 5th village I only have a few photos to share this time, mainly to show what the village looks like and our favorite restaurant. 

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 Lobster Ravioli

Lobster Ravioli

 Tiramisu

Tiramisu

The restaurant we like to eat at is in the 5th village which looks like a castle. The pictures above are the dishes I ate and the view from one of the tables! Torre Aurora is one of my favorite restaurants in Italy this far. You can't beat the view and the staff are so nice as well as informative on the local wines and dishes to pair with them. They change up their menu seasonally so if you go you might not have these same dishes.

I hope this gives you a little idea of things to do in Cinque Terre and what to see! To be totally honest each time we go to Cinque Terre we only do two villages at a time. So if you do a day trip to really get a good idea of some villages do the first village and then finish in the 5th village for dinner. Watching the sunset, with good company and then delicious food, you can't go wrong. 

-MM

3 Days in Sydney, Australia

Added on by Melanie Mathieu.

Yes, you're reading that correctly. I went to Sydney, Australia with a friend for 3 days, then back to the states for work. Luckily with our jobs we have the ability to just hop on a plane and go. We happened to have the same amount of days off, so we said let's finally go to Australia. We did it where we had 6 days off planned for 2 travel days and left the last day to recover before returning to work. It worked out really well and got just enough of a taste of Australia with the hopes of going back to explore more.

We booked a hostel on Bondi Beach which happened to be right near that really cool pool you might have seen when you look up Bondi. If you haven't seen it look right below, It's pretty impressive.

 The Bondi Icebergs Pool

The Bondi Icebergs Pool

Day 1 was pretty much walking around the beaches. We had brunch near Bronte beach at Three Blue Ducks ( threeblueducks.com ) which was delicious. I was excited about having brunch nothing like having a little mimosa with breakfast! I had an Avocado Toast with poached eggs. Of course the one time I don't photograph my meal I talk about it. Check out their website if you can or want a fun place to eat if you're going to the area! Try and get the bar stools by the open window, perfect for people and dog watching with the fresh air! 

We then walked along the beach up to Bondi! Once we got to the hostel we dropped our stuff off and changed. The beach was calling our names and I needed a nap! As we walked down to the beach we passed a tour agency. We went in and saw they booked tours to the blue mountains. We went in and wondered if we could do one of the blue mountain tours for the following day. They took a look and said their was actually just enough space for the both of us and we booked it immediately! We were excited, because we wanted to get out of Sydney a bit and explore, this was the perfect way to do it. We finished the day on the beach and then went out for dinner. Again I don't have photos go figure but I have the name. Very fun atmosphere perfect for cocktails and they have fun bar food. ( http://www.neighbourhoodbondi.com.au )

Day 2 we had to get up early to catch the bus for the tour but we were so jet lagged that we were actually up in time to have a quick coffee on the beach and watch the sunrise. 

 

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The tour was with Loka tours ( https://loka.travel ) It was a jam packed day but everything we were looking for. We stopped at 3 sights quickly the first was the 3 sisters lookout. 

 

 The rock formation of the 3 Sisters, Wilma, Meena and Gunnadoo 

The rock formation of the 3 Sisters, Wilma, Meena and Gunnadoo 

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Next stop was looking out at Govett's Leap and the Bridal Veil Falls. The falls were subtle but so pretty. At the end of the falls you could see a little rainbow. I happened to capture it in my photo so look out for it on the right side. 

 Can you spot the waterfall? 

Can you spot the waterfall? 

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The photo above it to the left of the Bridal Veil Falls. Here is a good example of why the blue mountains are called the blue mountains. The mountains and the distance you see a blue. That is because the trees are mainly Eucalyptus trees. The release their oil and the oil gives off that haze of blue into the air. I thought that was really cool. 

Now it was time for the hiking part of the day. We went to Wentworth Falls, for about an hour and a half hike. We learned about this large plant that actually has these pods that explode in the wildfires to reproduce. So it's actually a plant that needs to continue producing because of heat!  We then learned that the deadliest spider lives in the blue mountains. I didn't get any pictures of that thank goodness! I just took fun pictures along the way. We then reached a couple different views of the falls. After we also learned about tea trees and how the oils their leaves produce is good for skin treatments for acne. It has other good benefits but I was focused on that fun aspect and have since purchased tea tree oil and use it everyday! It really is a miracle worker. Here are the photos of that fun hike.

 

 Those are the pods that will explode in fires! 

Those are the pods that will explode in fires! 

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Finally the last part of the tour was going to see if we can find wild Kangaroos, followed by a swim in a near by river. Which was a little scary thinking about what critters were in the water but come on how often are going to go swimming in river in Australia. It was a good ending. 

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 Eastern Grey Kangaroos in the wild! So fun to see! 

Eastern Grey Kangaroos in the wild! So fun to see! 

 The river we went swimming in. 

The river we went swimming in. 

We then hopped on the bus to go back to downtown Sydney where we would get dropped off. My friend and I were wanting to see the opera house so we took a nice long stroll along the coast line to see it. We walked from Darling Harbor all the way until past the Sydney Harbor bridge. It was a good end to the day. The lights we so pretty in Darling Harbor, across the bridge and then the opera house. 

 Darling Harbor

Darling Harbor

 Artwork we saw along the way

Artwork we saw along the way

 Luna Park Sydney 

Luna Park Sydney 

 Sydney Harbor Bridge

Sydney Harbor Bridge

 Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Day 3 starts out again with another cup of coffee enjoying the sunrise at the beach. It's nice being able to enjoy the calm before the day fully gets started. We didn't have plans, besides doing the Coogee walk along the beaches. We ended up just taking our time walking along the Bondi beach, got some breakfast followed by souvenir shopping. Later we started on the Coogee walk, but I kept taking pictures so it was taking a bit to go far. When we made it to Bronte beach we kept seeing dogs in the water so we went to go find them. Once we found the dogs, we ended up basically just spending the whole afternoon playing with dogs in the water. Probably one of the big highlights of the trip. We weren't the only ones who just came to play with the dogs either. So much fun. We eventually went to get some food and made it to the Waverley Cemetery, but we had to turn back quickly to beat the storm that was approaching. Which we did end up beating back to Bondi but not by much. 

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 Tamarama Beach 

Tamarama Beach 

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 Waverley Cemetery 

Waverley Cemetery 

I hope you're able to get ideas on what to do in Sydney. It is pretty doable in a short amount of days, but it's probably better to stay for at least a week. If you're a beach person or a mountain person there is a little bit of everything in Sydney and its surrounding areas. We might have been crazy to do it in such a short time, but it was totally worth it.  Until next time on another wild adventure! 

-MM

Restaurant Review

Added on by Melanie Mathieu.
 L'Huitrière, Etretat 

L'Huitrière, Etretat 

 Inside Views 

Inside Views 

If you find yourself going to Normandy, specifically Etretat, you must stop and have either lunch or dinner at L'Huitrière. It has a wonderful 180 degree view of the town and of the cliffs. Seafood is their specialty, and they have enormous seafood platters which are perfect for a group. We didn't order a seafood platter, being just two of us, but the table next to us did (a table of 3). They really seemed to enjoy it and took fun photos.  

 

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Our first courses were paté and a pumpkin soup. Very delicious with lots of flavors. The Dill on with my soup was a nice added touch of flavor. 

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Second course my partner had Veal and I had a white fish from the region. The sauce to pour on my fish was a horseradish base which added a nice subtle kick. It was so good I even poured it on our veggies. (mmm!)

 

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Finally time for dessert. We attempted to share, but I only ended up getting a taste of my partner's Profiteroles they were so heavenly the one bite I tried. It was very similar to Ferrero Rocher chocolates and those are one of my favorite chocolates. I was having a little moment with my bite full of goodness! My Crème Brûlée was subtly lavender flavored which was quite tasty as well, but if we go back I will be ordering my own Profiteroles! 

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Lastly you can see how cute the table set ups are with a beautiful view. If you want to make sure you get a table by the window make a reservation! The staff was well versed in the wines, food and we accepted their recommendations. They also speak English and French. It was an overall wonderful experience and we had great weather to enjoy the Panoramic views outside. Feel free to check out the website http://www.lhuitriere.fr . 

-MM

Girona under the snow!

Added on by Melanie Mathieu.

I recently spent a couple days back in Girona, Spain. I was hoping for some warmer weather but little did I know a cold front was about to happen throughout all of Europe. It's still winter so it wasn't a surprise I just was a little ambitious thinking sneakers would be fine instead of boots. The cold weather and snow didn't stop us from going out and exploring though. I knew the pictures were going to be pretty cool since it almost never snows in Girona. See for yourself! 

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I also got to experience having the car get stuck in the snow, on a hill. Pictured below is right before I got out to push the car. I was laughing so hard, we finally got free and turned around. There had to be another way to get to where we wanted to be. Luckily there was and of course that road was perfectly clear!  

 (I'm noticing you can't see my watermark very well. )

(I'm noticing you can't see my watermark very well. )

 This is where we turned around. The sun was out and no ice under the snow. 

This is where we turned around. The sun was out and no ice under the snow. 

The place we wanted to go to is the Press De Susqueda. It's a smaller version of the Hoover Damm in Nevada. It was beautiful when we finally arrived. Apparently there is a hidden village submerged in the man made lake. 

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 Presa de Susqueda 

Presa de Susqueda 

Just wanted to share a little bit of the adventure that was had the other day trying to find this. It was well worth the struggle. I'm pleased with how the images turned out, and I hope you enjoy them as well. 

 

-MM

The Bell Towers of Venice

Added on by Melanie Mathieu.

I keep noticing themes with my photos and in my Venice collection I noticed quite a few images with bell towers in them. 

 Traffic jam in Venice! 

Traffic jam in Venice! 

 Four towers in on photo! So many towers in Italy! 

Four towers in on photo! So many towers in Italy! 

One thing I have learned to appreciate are the bell towers found in the cities of Italy. They are great for figuring out where you are and what monuments are near by. In Venice it was super helpful having so many around the city as location points. It also helped that we were staying down the street from one so it wasn't hard to get lost. With all the crazy streets that sometimes have dead ends it's very helpful to have them to look up too. If you're ever going to Venice, figure out if where you are staying is near one and go from there. 

 

 Leaning bell towers in Venice 

Leaning bell towers in Venice 

 The most famous tower in Venice, St. Marks Campanile and also in this photo, Doges Palace

The most famous tower in Venice, St. Marks Campanile and also in this photo, Doges Palace

An iconic photo of Venice Saint Marks Campanile and Doges Palace. The bridge to the right is where you can have a view of the Bridge of Sighs. 

-MM

A little taste of Florence

Added on by Melanie Mathieu.

I have been going through my photos and wanting to get them out in the world more. I went to school for photography and one of my concentrations was food photography. The one great thing about Europe is the fresh markets and how easily accessible local produce is. One of my favorite vegetables to photograph is Artichokes. The purple and green colors are so vibrant. 

 

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Walking around Florence there were quite a few of the open air markets which was where the artichoke photos were taken. Florence is also known for its Mercato Centrale (Central Market) which is the an indoor market. Downstairs is where the local produce is and upstairs is where restaurants a using the produce to create the food. The food is delicious and I highly recommend eating up there. 

 

 One of the stands

One of the stands

 Steak Tomatoes

Steak Tomatoes

 Ravioli with Spinach and Ricotta

Ravioli with Spinach and Ricotta

 Steak, Provolone and Spinach perfectly wrapped. 

Steak, Provolone and Spinach perfectly wrapped. 

There is so much to see and capture at this market. It is worth the visit when you're visiting Florence. Hope you add it to the list of places you need to stop at!

-MM

Ciao!

Added on by Melanie Mathieu.

Ciao from Italy, The New Year has started and I'm taking the first three months off to be in Europe. Taking advantage of being by the beach and exploring since it's so empty here. I love how quiet it is here this time of year. Comparing the summer months that are so hot, and crammed with people this time is idyllic. It's actually pretty warm here for January too, taking advantage of that! :) 

 

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(Scroll option on the pictures above, just click and you'll see more! )

 Does anyone know what these balls are? I think its roots but they were all over the beach.

Does anyone know what these balls are? I think its roots but they were all over the beach.

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The image just above really shows how deserted the beach is in the winter. It's pretty crazy the changing rooms are all closed up and rotting away. I'll have to take a picture this summer at the same spot and see how much it's changed! Had fun playing with my macro lens. Hope you enjoy the photos. I'm over here in Europe doing photo projects so keep an eye out for more of these posts! 

Happy New Year! 

-MM

Edinburgh, Scotland

Added on by Melanie Mathieu.

I went on another adventure with friends and this time we went to Edinburgh, Scotland. We wanted to go to another place we had never been before, before the new year. Being that we went in December it was Christmas Market season. One of my friends had never been to one so we made sure to check it out. They are really fun to go, have mulled wine and look at / purchase local crafts. The markets are all over Europe and each one different from the next. This one had some carnival rides and different levels to walk up and down. All the way at the bottom was Santa's wonderland for the kids. Music was playing through the speakers and it was just magical! 

 

The Last day we went to the Edinburgh castle, because you can't go to Edinburgh and not experience a castle! There was a man playing bag pipes in a kilt at the bottom of the street where the castle was. It was everything you expected of Scotland and more. If you want some good views of the city head on up to the Castle and you might even run into the bag piper on the way!  On the way to the city centre we stopped by the National Monument of Scotland and took some fun photos.

 You can maybe spot people taking selfies! 

You can maybe spot people taking selfies! 

 While standing on the monument facing towards the city was this tower! 

While standing on the monument facing towards the city was this tower! 

 One more stop before town centre was this cool looking graveyard. 

One more stop before town centre was this cool looking graveyard. 

The architecture is really neat in Scotland and I enjoyed photographing it. (If you haven't noticed from my posts by now I really like taking architecture photos.) You can tell there is a lot of history in this city and the locals seem very proud! Everywhere we went the locals were very welcoming and interested in chatting. 

 This sunset was beautiful at the castle! 

This sunset was beautiful at the castle! 

 We then ended up being the last ones to leave the castle just after 5pm! We spent a good 2 hours there! 

We then ended up being the last ones to leave the castle just after 5pm! We spent a good 2 hours there! 

It was a wonderful time wandering around Edinburgh and I can't wait to go back to venture out into the countryside! Maybe even take the Hogwarts Express (The Jacobite), which takes you through the Highlands. We lucked out with no rain and had two really pretty sunsets. December might be chilly but it was a great time to visit and fairly cheap too, being that it was the off season! We did visit Victoria Street which is where Diagon Alley was based off of. It was pretty magical ;) but I only took those photos on my phone. Check my instagram page and it will have some posts about it!  

-MM

This time Venice

Added on by Melanie Mathieu.

The last blog post I focused on Murano and Burano, two islands near Venice. It is now time for a post about Venice itself. Back in the end of July my two friends and I had a few days off so we decided to go to Venice. We had ideas of what we wanted to see but didn't have it totally all planned out. As we tend to do when we go to Europe we just kind of wing it and explore. Which is exactly what ended up happening. The first day when we arrived we decided to stay up all day without a nap since we didn't have much time there, figured we would make the most out of our trip and just wander.

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Those images were just a few of images of just wandering around and getting lost. I don't like saying I'm lost... I like saying I'm on an adventure, because you can't really be lost if you don't know where you're going in the first place! :) 

The rest of the wandering around through Venice I just kept focusing on the architecture as you can see above! There were the essentials to photograph like the Rialto bridge, Bridge of Sighs and then St. Marks Basilica. We didn't go into any of the buildings because we didn't feel we had enough time so we just looked at everything from the outside. Realistically you won't just go to Venice for 3 days like we did. There is just way to much to see, but we had a great time exploring a new city and look forward to going back one day, (at least I can't wait!)

Here are some tips:

Plan to be there for at least a week and for the water taxis to take forever so don't be in a rush.

It will most likely be Very crowded.

It's hot in the summer so dress appropriately but remember you can't have your shoulders showing if you go in the churches so pack a light sweater or shall. 

Go with a plan if you'd like or just wander, you will find things to keep you occupied either way.

Last but not least, have fun and eat well, it's Italy so the food is amazing! 

 

 

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Ciao! 

-MM

Murano and Burano Italy

Added on by Melanie Mathieu.

I recently went to Venice Italy but I am focusing this post on the nearby Islands of Murano and Burano. Murano is an island about a 20 minute boat ride from Piazza San Marco in Venice. The island is known for their glass blowing work. My friends and I went there right around 1 pm the prime hot time. Luckily some of the shops had air conditioning so we just wandered from store to store looking at all the beautiful pieces, even getting to see some of the glass being blown in front of us! I was respectful and didn't take any pictures of the works of art but heres one of around the island. 

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We hopped on another boat to Burano which again was about 20 minutes away, this time from Murano. We learned you can't be in a rush when in Venice. Burano is where the fishermans houses are and they are each a different color! We were told you can't miss it and we really couldn't the houses speak for themselves. 

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 Each house really was a different color! 

Each house really was a different color! 

 Laundry that matches the house color! 

Laundry that matches the house color! 

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These are just a few of the images that I had a blast photographing. Once we got off the boat onto Burano we also didn't follow the way everyone else went we just went our own way. We did finally wander towards where the crowds were but it was fun being just with the locals.

 It's as if he was posing.

It's as if he was posing.

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These islands were the highlight of the 3 days we spent in Venice! I am incredibly happy we went even if it was 40 degrees outside. I'll have to do another post about Venice next! 

-MM

Small villages in Girona, Spain

Added on by Melanie Mathieu.

I had the pleasure of visiting Girona, Spain which is located about an hour and a half north of Barcelona. I visited a couple of times this past spring and had the best time taking pictures. My boyfriend and I would explore the little villages where you could walk around it within 30 minutes.  The flowers were in bloom and it was just wonderful, very much like a postcard in every picture. 

 House #11 

House #11 

 House # 16

House # 16

 Alleyways 

Alleyways 

 Beautifully hidden 

Beautifully hidden 

Just these few images show how beautiful spring is in Northern Spain. I highly recommend going, renting a car and just wandering around the villages. Yes, it's Spain so you would think they speak Spanish, but they speak Catalan which is similar to Spanish and French. We managed to get around and ordered lots of Sangria and Cerveza. It helps if you know the basics, but they are still patient and extremely nice. Hope you have just as much fun as we had!

-MM