FotoDiSpalle by Giorgio Galeotti
(Ode to digital photography)

I've been intrigued by photography since the age of 8 when, on the occasion of a school trip to the local Zoo, my mother bought me an Instamatic camera and a roll of film.

I don't remember if it was color or black and white but the shots of those ducks and pigs (it was not much of a Zoo) were like little masterpieces to me.

Since then I have often dabbled with photography books, cameras, film, slides, dark rooms and so on.

I've even religiously read the Ansel Adams trilogy - The Camera, The Negative, The Print - trying to apply (with little success) the Zone System to 35mm B&W film.

The big problem with dark rooms is that, when you get home from work, by the time the water is at 20 degrees and everything is perfect, it's time to go to sleep, so production was very scarce.

Hence I mostly used slide film... and here is problem number two: prints and negatives may fade with time but slides get moldy and covered with unerasable spots.

Back in 2008 I decided to pull out my slides to scan the best of them for conservation and, to my dismay, I found that a lot of them were unrecoverable.

I moved a few times, so did the slides, and I remember some humid storage places here and there.

As for the early prints... they got burnt in a fire in 1979!

Another drawback of photography as a hobby is that most prints and slides, no matter how good, will end up in a drawer to never be seen again.

Which raises the problem of how to archive thousands of prints and slides for easy retrieval.

And, even if they end up on a wall, give them 50 years and they'll be faded into white!

Briefly: I was losing interest in photography and almost stopped shooting until...


The first digital backs and cameras were actually way too expensive and of very little quality but they quicly improved and now I dare anybody to say that film is better.

Maybe very large format film is still better than digital but a year 2015 400$ digital camera beats ISO 100 film 10 to 1, in my opinion.

The latest 14-bit sensors (APS-C or full frame) are amazing and, if you shooot RAW, you can pull details out of the black areas of the file that you can completely forget with film.

So.... so much for the Zone System and for spot meters: a quick look at the histogram or apply some bracketing for HDR and you are done.

The rest is done with Photoshop, which doesn't have to be at 20 degrees Celsius to work!

And, above all, digital photos don't fade, don't get eaten by mold and don't burn: as long as Jpeg and Tiff readers will be around, so will the photos.

As for retrieval, just tag them with the right words and the trick is done.

No more showing them once and then store them in a closet: with the Internet, instead, you can show your pictures to the whole world... forever!

Well, actually, "forever" as long as Panoramio, Flickr, Instagram and so on will be around!

Again: I was kind of losing interest in photography but digital SLR, HDR, Panorama software, Photoshop and the Internet made it all come back!


Back to the goal of this About page, i.e. why I made this web site and why all photos are licensed CC BY 4.0.


When I started uploading my digitized slides and latest digital photos on PiCasa and on my Blog, I soon realized that you can georeferentiate them and put them on Panoramio as well, so they end up in Google Earth.

In the meanwhile I started uploading the photos on Flickr too, being it one of the largest photo communities on the Web.

Then on Instagram (actually my daughter does it for me), Pinterest, Facebook and some other, including some microstocks...

all of this in such a random order that finding specific photos was very hard, afterall.

So I decided to make this web site in order to collect all work in a single place, subdiveded by regions of the Earth.

This makes some sense, since most photos portray places, monuments and landscapes.

And, with a more rational tagging system, I can easily find photos by subject... more or less.


In the beginning I used to apply an All Rights Reserved license to photos, until I realized a few things... in random order:

  1. The Web is full of billions and billions of hi-res photos and, if only 1% of them are any good and 0.1% are great, that makes billions of good photos and millions of great ones;
  2. Some great (IMHO) shots of mine got sold by microstocks for a few dollars, if not pennies;
  3. Why bother: I already have a good job!
  4. Most of my photos are landscapes or city corners and they could be of some use to others, like Wikipedia and the Commons.
  5. Why print photos when anybody with a good printer and a hi-res version of the file can do it.
  6. Amongst billions of photos on the web and prints at exibitions, what are the chances that anybody will ever buy one of my "foggy sunrises"?
  7. Prints fade...
  8. I fade... and eventually, one day, I'll die! If I keep the hi-res versions of the photos on my hard disk, they'll be gone forever!
  9. I've seen better pictures on the Web made by unknown amateurs than in exibitions made by "famous" artists;
  10. But, above all: Ansel Adams, Salgado, McCurry and many others are way out of reach!

So... yeah... might as well make them free with attribution: if you use them, follow the few simple rules of CC BY 4.0, mention the author, link to this web site and... that's it!



The name "Foto di Spalle" means "A photo shot from behind" in Italian.

In the beginning it was because I don't like to publish photos with recognizable people when they are (or could be) the subject without their permission.

Hence, I always try to avoid people or wait for them to be turned around before shooting, unless it's a crowd or they are not the subject, of course.

But then I noticed that I kind of like these anonymous, fuzzy, or far away figures in the pictures...

Less philosophically: it's really hard to find an original domain with a .com extension availabe... came to mind and it was available!



All titles follow the same scheme: Title - Location - Date Shot

Location is where the photo was taken from, i.e. not the portrayed location!

For example: a telephoto shot of Toronto taken from Niagara on the Lake (on a very clear day) will say "Toronto Skyline" as the title and "Niagara on the Lake" as the location.


Most location names are derived from a combination of not always accurate GPS fixes and Panoramio/Google Maps/Google Earth/GeoSetter/Street View/Flickr...

Hence locations may not always be perfect, especially near regional borders.

I mean: Italy has more than 8000 "Comuni" and a little error in the GPS fix will make you end up in the wrong Comune, especially in the mountains!

Furthermore, a lot of small Comuni are joining into larger ones with sometimes different names...

Therefore, location names are what I find on Google Earth/Google Maps/Flickr on the day I edit/publish the photo.

If the photo was taken a year ago and the name of the place changed in the meanwhile, the location will be the current name.

GPS fixes in EXIF data, if any, are what was recorded at the time of shooting.

For the corrected locations, or for GPS data when not present in the EXIF, you should see if the same photo is present in Panoramio.

(Panoramio Closed on November 4, 2016 and now I have a real hard time correcting the GPS position of photos!)

Update - I discovered GeoSetter, a fantastic freeware tool, and now correcting GPS positions has become easy again!



All my monitors are calibrated and all photos are saved in a sRGB color space.



In the course of the years I have used the following cameras:

Canon: A1, Powershot S20, Powershot G11

Fujifilm: X100T

Kodak: Easyshare Sport Camera C123

Nikon: FA, FM2, F801S, D90, D600, D610, D800E

Olympus: SP-560UZ

Panasonic: Lumix DMC-LZ10

Rollei: 35S

Samsung Galaxy: S2, Note 3, S7

Sony: DSC-V1

In RED are the cameras I still use now.






Foto Di Spalle

Google Maps


Internet Archive




Reggio Emilia Daily Photo

Wikimedia Commons


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Copyright © Giorgio Galeotti
For Attribution please use: Photo by Giorgio Galeotti
e m a i l : f o t o d i s p a l l e @ g m a i l . c o m
Note: I will not answer any questions regarding copyright, either mine or third parties'.
The CC BY 4.0 License should be clear enough!