Last May we were at the Mille Miglia in Brescia and we had a lot of fun photographing the event and generally soaking up the wonderful atmosphere in the weekend. This week I revisited the photos and found a few that I had not touched, so decided to do the post processing and see what came out. While in Venice back in February of this year we stumbled upon an art shop that specialised in car photography. The artist liked to get up close to the car and make it almost burst out of the photograph by saturating, sharpening and ramping up the dynamic contrast. I loved the resultant photos. In the above picture I was recreating this modus operandi from a post process viewpoint, although not being close enough to the car I wasn’t going to ever achieve the full effect. However, I like the larger than life look of the car and I love the background rammed full of people, giving a real feel of how Brescia is on Mille Miglia weekend. Cars are just littered all over the streets and you can see this here by spotting the number 34 on the front grille of a wonderful Alfa Romeo. For me this photo typifies the event – larger than life cars surrounded by crowds of admirers! Continue reading
We have been fortunate enough to be able to watch the famous Mille Miglia Road race in Italy back in May of this year. You can see more of this adventure by looking back through the blogs from our Mille Miglia and Dolomites Adventure category. You can also see more of our photos from the event on our sister website AutoBeast. This event from a photographic viewpoint though, is a street event and a wonderful opportunity to get some great street photography and to capture some of the characters that make up this wonderful and somewhat surreal event.
The Drivers were real characters, ranging from the wonderful Gallic caricature driving a Bugatti, through the suave Goodwood drivers in their well tested overalls, to the glorious goggle attired lady we see below.
It is not just the drivers though that make this event the occasion it is. There are people there promoting cars and goods or making a living having their photo taken with you, such as this pretty girl with her wooden car cut out.
And finally it is the characters in the crowd that also make the event so wonderful, such as the chap here keenly watching the rally cars drive by, or the young budding photographer here, who is almost as cute as the car she is leaning on.
There is no better weekend to be out on the streets of Brescia!
After a lazy morning we opened our blinds to another beautiful day and today we wanted to get back into town for 11.45 for when the Mille Miglia Piloti returned. As we got into Piazza Duomo the tables we had seen last night were now all laid out for lunch and the tented kitchens were busy cooking. We were trying to make out from which direction they would come back in but as all the stewards were wandering about in vague Italian style it was almost impossible to guess.
A visit to the Chopard stand, with a few overt checks of the time on my Chopard watch blagged me a Chopard cap, but the aftershave I really wanted was reserved for race participants and they just would not sell them at any price. I think Chopard missed an opportunity there as I think they would have sold loads of them.
Eventually, we decided the race drivers couldn’t come through this piazza as it was full of tents and with nowhere to go, they couldn’t parade through the town like they did when they began the race, as that bit was all set out with tables and chairs again just as it usually is. So the only place left was Piazza Vittorio and there did seem to be a few more stewards there than anywhere else. It was strangely quiet for quite a while after 11.45 but eventually we heard that familiar rumble of vintage cars through old narrow streets and the first drivers arrived to a cheer.
We found out later when we followed their trail, that of course the finishing line was on the same raised plinth they had set off from, right on the other side of town, and then when they had finished they stopped all over the place to meet friends and relatives, drink champagne, phone their mates and do all the other essentials of life. We mixed in amongst them as we did at the start of the race and let the jolly atmosphere rub off on us. It really was fun and hopefully when we get back home we will have snapped one or two good photographs to remember this by. When they had calmed down the drivers jumped back in their cars and paraded through the town again, often with mates perched in odd places on the backs of cars all waving wildly as they were cheered past every bar and restaurant. We also had lunch in a restaurant by the roadside and joined in the cheering as the cars tooted and roared by, in between mouthfuls of pizza! Finally the cars ended up back in said Piazza where in the end they were all parked up. It made me smile that they were all given a metre square piece of card to catch the oil leaks so the Piazza didn’t get spoilt and indeed there were many leaks in many places, and the Piazza will still need cleaning!
We picked up a few more souvenirs including a MM race book which would be fantastic if we understood Italian, maps, t-shirts and scarves but stopped short of nicking the MM banner that was attached all round the barriers, although many richer than us didn’t demonstrate such scruples.
As the afternoon passed the cars and drivers slowly disappeared and by 7pm Brescia was back to it’s normal self, it’s four days of glory over for another year. After changing and freshening up at our hotel we had a meal in town and it seemed impossible that only the night before the town was heaving with people, bustling with an atmosphere the like of which I don’t think I have seen before, with all the restaurants full to busting, and tonight it was deadly quiet.
So that was it, the wonderful spectacle that is The Mille Miglia was over for another year. If you ever get the opportunity go and watch it, it really does amaze you. We were sad that it was over but luckily we had a cunning plan to cheer us up – tomorrow we were heading off for Venice for three days of relaxing in that beautiful city. Hate me don’t ya just!