Venice is a photographers paradise, the colours, textures, light and details, the main island presenting the most amazing range of subtle hues of terracottas.
The light will, of course, depend on the time of year and the weather, but I'm sure that whatever the conditions you will find your own palette of colour and hues. Even if it rains, take advantage of portraits with umbrellas and water on the pavement.
For me it was undoubtedly, all about blush pink. I seemed to see it everywhere, the once orange tones of terracotta now decaying and fading into a paler shade, which produces this peachy tinted pink.
I haven't even touched on the history of Venice, so rich and elaborate for such a small place, you need to find your own interests here. Churches, architecture, printing, carnival, art, and food are here in abundance. For me though, it was all about exploring on foot and soaking up the exteriors. This place typifies the concept of beauty in decay, and so for photographers who revel in the details and seek the imperfections, this is right up your street, or should I say, canal.
While most people will look for the classic shot of the Grand Canal, a sweep of buildings painted by Canaletto, gondolas punting mid stream, a photographer will also be absorbed by the minute details of creaky doors, ramshackle balconies, crumbling plaster and chipped paint. Here is is quite overwhelming.
For portraits there are brick walls and shutters as your backdrop, these can be as unique as the classic photo on a bridge. In old Venice you will find all the subtle colours with the odd pops of rusty orange and yellow. If bright bright is your thing then next week I will be showing the island of Burano, a complete contrast.
You could make a study here of so many different aspects, most notably reflections. My eyes seem to be drawn to shutters as I have a complete obsession with them.
The earthy tones, so typical of Italy, are the perfect muse to the water, bringing the ying and yang into balance. On the side streets you will see so much of the brickwork exposed where the plaster is dropping off. You get the feeling that if you don't see it now then this place will soon just crumble into the water, there is little evidence of renovations.
The buildings are so huge that at times you will feel like you are in the land of the giants, particularly the facades of the churches, and as the streets are very narrow it is hard to get the right angle and distance from the subject without stepping back into a canal.
With sunset coming before 5pm in January, you can witness some amazing skies so it's worth checking and planning so that you can be near a good location to capture this, I found a good vantage point to be the big wooden bridge which takes you over the Grand Canal on the way to the Guggenheim (ponte dell Acadamia). So we planned to be at the Guggenheim for the afternoon so that we could catch the setting sun before we returned to our apartment.
Once the sun has disappeared it is then the time to hop on a water bus and capture the Grand Canal at night, the reflections in the water silhouetting the boats is just pure magic. If you visit during winter you will want to stand on the open deck and this is pretty cold once the sun has gone, so scarfs round the face and gloves are a must.
My camera (Canon 5D MKIV) can handle night time shots without a tripod so it's possible to photograph in the dark when you are moving. This won't be so easy for other cameras so if you are after night time shots, then you may want to take them when you are static and you can rest or support the camera on something so there is no shake during a longer exposure. As it's not very often that you find yourself in a situation where there are night scenes so breathtaking, then it's worth reading up on how to photograph at night for your equipment.
I hope my photos have helped you to soak up some of the atmosphere of Venice without focussing on the main attractions, and given you a small peak at some different elements.
Next week Burano ... it will be bright and most definitely for the colour lovers.
Love as always, thanks for stopping by, Janice Issitt.