Sunday, June 1, 2014

Venice; A Tale of Two Cities... Day 1

When Lena turned fifty in the middle of May we wanted to celebrate somewhere we had never been, but it had to be close since we could only take a few days off from work. I'm not sure why I thought of Venice, but Lena jumped at the idea. I on the other hand was worried about winding up in a tourist trap with thousands of visitors getting that "tick in the box",  while street vendors sell souvenirs of Venice made that are in China. Around 30,000,000 people visit Venice each year. Many of them are there for a single day as their cruise ship sails from port to port. The photographs I have seen made it clear that Venice is beautiful, so I wasn't going to let a few million tourists get in our way...

Using TripAdvisor I found that two of the top ten activities in Venice were photo-walks. This seemed like a good way to kill two birds with one stone; see and photograph Venice with the help of a local expert, and get some inside tips on where to go to avoid the tourists... Of the two photographers on TripAdvisor, only Arved Gintenreiter mentioned early morning/late night photography during that magic blue hour that I love so much. So it was an easy decision to book a tour with Arved. That fact that he was not Italian concerned me a bit initially, but as a true world citizen who has lived in Venice for a number of years, Arved offered both the Venitian and outsider perspective. We agreed to meet on May 14th at 4:45AM on Piazza San Marco for a three hour morning session and again at 17:45 for another three hour evening session. By meeting at the beginning of our trip we had plenty of time to take advantage of Arved's suggestions on restaurants, outings and destinations.

The flight to Venice was 1:45 and the boat from the airport to Piazza San Marco took another hour. Even from the boat I could see that Venice was beautiful but filled with tourists. Every view was like a postcard, even in the harsh midday light. The contrast between the light buildings, the blue sky and green waters is striking; Venice is brilliant.

Museo di Palazzo Ducale - Canon 6D + 24-105L 32mm/f5,6 1/500, iso 200
From the boat landing on the Piazza San Marco to our apartment was about a five minute walk, although we did manage to get lost a couple of times in the narrow alleys with no GPS reception. After checking in we spent the afternoon wandering along the canals, bridges and alleys, and it became clear that just a few streets from the main square there were few tourists and every canal was like a postcard.

Boat Bow near Campo de Sant'Angelo - Canon 6D+24-105L @ 55mm/f5,6 iso400

Despite the harsh light midday, shooting in Venice can be down all day, since the tall buildings prevent the sun from reaching the ground in most of the small alleys and canals. Clouds are preferable because they provide a more diffused light, but no matter what the conditions are, there are shots to be had everywhere.

Girl sketching - Taken with Canon 100-400L 95mm/f8
After enjoying a nice dinner Lena I returned to the Ponte dell'Academia in hopes that maybe I could getting a shot with the rising full moon. Well it's on the shot, but in using a wide angle lens the full moon has little impact.

Basilica Santa Maria at moonrise - Taken with Canon 6D+24-105L 50mm/f5.6
My plans to get to bed early were sabotaged by a full moon and fantastic light, I'll take a nap at lunch tomorrow I told myself, and I continued to wander the alleys of Venice looking for other photo opps.
Laser Hawker at the Chiesa di San Moisè - Taken with 6D+24-105 @24mm/5.6 iso1600

I finally wound up directly across from the Basilca Santa Maria where I took my final shots for the day

Moonrise behind Basilica Santa Maria - Canon 6D + 24-105L 24mm/f4, 1/5thsec, iso 1600
I made it to bed by 11:00PM which gave me about 5 hours of sleep before having to get up in time to meet Arved...

1 comment:

  1. Tycker mycket om bilden på den skissande kvinnan där hon sitter i den rödfärgade gatumiljön. Tufft att ha med teleoptik i dessa sammanhang. Vet inte om jag skulle palla för undrande blickar... Du verkar ha kreativiteten i full gång även ute ensam(?) på kvällen med kamera i främmande stad. Kommer ihåg dina Dublinbilder.
    / Deerhunter