A Morning in Siena

Hello World

Aidan, Colby, and I have been very busy since we arrived in Florence three weeks ago. After finishing up the term in Lexington, the three of us met Professor Bent here in Florence. We hit the ground running and began photographing the Bargello the very next morning.

Professor Bent worked with our drone pilot Fabrizio Pacetti with assistance from Francesca Pacetti to capture the upper stories of the building, while Aidan, Colby, and I worked on the south and east sides. We struggled to align our settings on our cameras to get similar picture color. As we moved up the building and the sun got higher, the light changed, altering the white balance of the photo. The stone façade of the Bargello also poses a major problem to us. The building has massive walls comprised entirely of brick-sized stones of the same color. PhotoScan, our photogrammetry software, will struggle to recognize the sequence of these photos because there are not enough distinguishing features on the façade. Later in the morning (around 8:15), the three of us returned to the Bargello to photograph the Cappella del Podestà for a model. After struggling with the camera on areas of loss in the fresco, the three of us really found our rhythm. Once we finished the chapel, we shot Verrocchio’s Ginevra de’ Benci, or Lady of the Primroses.

A few day later, the three of us put our practice with the Cappella del Podestà to the test. Armed with our cameras and the BLK laser scanner, the FLAW team headed to Siena to attempt to model four rooms in the Palazzo Pubblico. Colby, Aidan, and I began with the Sala de Nove. While we struggled with the light at first, the room went relatively well. The Capella and Anticapella posed new problems. It seemed almost every inch of both rooms was covered with frescos by Taddeo di Bartolo. The ceilings were vaulted, and frescos adorn archways leading to other rooms. The level of detail in this space makes it a wonderful subject for photogrammetry. With a digital model, viewers will be able to view closely view the details works on the ceiling or behind ropes. However, it was an incredible challenge to model the space accurately. While the Sala de Mappemonde was more regular, it poses new lighting issues as an entire wall is covered with large, open windows. These prevent accurate photos from being taken of the wall. We completed the job after four hours of photographing and called it a day.

Looking at the models, some of the potential issues that we identified proved to be problematic while other aspects modeled quite well. The Capella ceiling turned out excellently, but the lower portion and the floor were too dark for the camera to pick up accurately. This resulted in a lava-like runoff on some of the lower edges of the model. The Sala de Mappemonde also had areas of issue of the major window wall. This portion of the room will have to be photographed earlier, and on a cloudier day. We will happily make a return trip to Siena to attempt to resolve these issues in our model. For now, we will continue to work on the Bargello, Orsanmichele, and the Baptistery in Florence, and I will continue to work on Paatz.