09.05.2015

With Manfrotto Off road on the Costa dei Trabocchi

09.05.2015

With Manfrotto Off road on the Costa dei Trabocchi

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I had been wanting to organise a trip along the famous Costa dei Trabocchi in the Abruzzo region for a while, and, seeing as my new Manfrotto Off road kit had arrived – consisting of an ultralight tripod and multi-purpose trekking poles – I started planning my solitary photography excursion straight away.

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Abruzzo is especially famous for its National Parks and for its mountain peaks, the highest in all of the Apennines; but it is also a beautiful coastal region, with many miles of coastline rich with very varied and breathtaking landscapes.
The province of Chieti boasts beautiful coves, headlands and tall cliffs, making it a unique landscape.

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This piece of coastline, stretching from Ortona to Vasto, is known as the ‘Costa dei Trabocchi’, named after the countless ‘trabocchi’ dotted along the shore.
A ‘trabocco’ is an age-old fishing construction, built mainly in Aleppo pine wood, from which extend two or more long arms, a few metres above the water, which form the support for a huge fishing net, known as a ‘trabocchetto’ (snare or trap).
Its origins are undocumented, though some academics claim that the invention was imported by the Phoenicians.
Gabriele d’Annunzio, who bought a villa between San Vito and Fossacesia in 1899, thus described the Trabocchi:
“The machine seemed to live of its own harmony, to have an air and an effigy of body and soul.”

I arrive in San Vito, in the Chieti region, when the sun is still high in the sky. Looking out over the sea, I realise immediately that the area is both vast and very beautiful. With my rucksack on my back and my Manfrotto trekking poles in my hands, I set off to explore.

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I’m really curious and can’t wait to try out the trekking pole monopod system, which will allow me to explore the area with my Reflex always ready to take a shot.

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I have to say, it is an ingenious system, and really practical, especially for those who like to combine outdoor excursions with their passion for photography.

Once I get to the first trabocco, I take the opportunity to try out my new ultralight tripod too…

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…and I take my first photo…

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I take lots more pictures but the clear sky is certainly not ideal for producing a great image. I hope that I’ll see a few clouds before sundown.

In the meantime, I come across a stream flowing into the sea; the crystal-clear water and the gurgling coming from within the woodland arouse my curiosity and so I decide to venture into the scrub, following the stream inland.
Whilst I’m exploring the area, at a certain point, a blackcap lands on a branch just a few feet away, unaware of my presence. And it is thanks to my Reflex mounted on the trekking pole that I am able to capture this splendid creature.

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Fortunately, when dusk finally arrives, a few clouds have gathered.

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By the time evening falls, I haven’t really got the results I hoped for but there you go… unfortunately, you can’t programme the weather.
However, I decide to spend the night here, in the hope of having a bit more luck at dawn and maybe trying a few night-time shots…

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…dawn is coming…

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When day breaks, there’s nothing left to do but head home, taking with me some wonderful memories of this amazing place; only by visiting this piece of coastline can you understand why a poet such as d’Annunzio chose to spend his most intimate and romantic moments here….

Once again, I am very happy with the Manfrotto equipment: the Off Road tripod, which is truly incredibly lightweight, practical and very stable, and the trekking poles that can be transformed into a monopod and without which I could never have captured the blackcap!

Francesco Russo

I was born in Grugliasco, in the province of Turin, in 1963. I love to photograph landscapes and unspoilt places and I prefer night-time photography. I work in partnership with various photo agencies, both in Italy and abroad, and I organise photography trips in Northern Europe. Please visit my Gallery on the website www.frpix.com.
Some of my work has been published by National Geographic and other similar magazines.

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