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Davide Elias is a regular contributor to Your View and in the following blog recounts his experience covering the devastating earthquake in L’Aquila.
Early on April 6, the town of L’Aquila, central Italy, was struck by a strong earthquake. My home town, Brescia, is about 600km (375 miles) from L’Aquila. I wanted to travel to the quake zone to take some pictures. I headed to the area the next evening, taking with me two cameras and two lenses (a 10-20 mm and a 70-200mm). I left my 400mm lens at home.
I arrived in L’Aquila at 6am and discovered a brutal catastrophe. A small town, Onna, was completely destroyed. During my stay I discovered how difficult it is to take candid photos as each situation can overwhelm you emotionally. There were so many emotional moments — when I found a dog alone, when I saw a woman crying, when I watched a mother kiss her son in a tent camp.
There were also tense moments, like when Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi visited the area. There was a strong police presence and often they made covering the event difficult. Taking pictures in L’Aquila was dangerous (as the town suffered so much damage) that just walking in the streets you run the risk of something falling on you.