In the Courtyard of the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute

Up Early

I got up early this day to walk across the Ponte dell’Accademia in Venice, Italy. I was hoping to catch the sunrise on the bridge and since I was so close I figured I would go to the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute. You probably recognize this church from photos shot from St Mark’s Square at sunset. The Basilica dominates the view in the West from the main square, but because you have to cross the Grand Canal, its out of the way nature makes it seem almost an after thought. I was lucky to be the only person at the Basilica that morning (another couple was leaving as I was entering) and I absolutely LOVE to catch birds in flight on a wet morning!

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 26 January, 2014
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/100s
  • Title: In the Courtyard of the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute

Equal Armed Cross in Venice, Italy

Keeping an Eye Out

I love the little things you find when traveling. Sure the guidebook provides some historical context and the highlights that are NOT to be missed, but often I most enjoy the serendipity that abounds when I am away from the familiar. All around, people have created beautiful things. We often fail to realize the beauty all around and maybe that is because of familiarity. This carved stone equal armed cross was on the side of a building in Venice as I walked one early morning to Santa Maria della Salute. I could have easily missed it or walked by, but instead I brought it back to share its beauty with all of you.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 26 January, 2014
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/40s
  • Title: Equal Armed Cross in Venice, Italy

Twilight Falls on Venice Italy

Twilight

If ever there were a place for the Vampire to roam, it would be Venice. I constantly think of returning here, but have held off this year in favor of Florence and Rome (I have not YET visited these two cities). The thing is, there is so much motion and tone in Venice. It can be a bit TOO easy to find something to photograph, but honestly that is nothing to complain about!

Photo Technical Info

Wrought Iron Window in an Ancient Brick Wall, Venice, Italy

Mundane Beauty in Venice

Here is the thing about Venice, Italy…even the most ordinary scenes take on some of the magic that is all around this city of the sea. Just take a look at this wrought iron window lodged in a brick wall in one of the many narrow walkways throughout the city. The bricks are interestingly worn down by time and touch. The iron is abused by the salt air. There is a beauty in the etching of time and sea and this is a part of the wonder of Venice.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 25 January, 2014
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Location: 45° 26.4187′ 0″ N 12° 19.4135′ 0″ E
  • Shutter speed: 1s
  • Title: Wrought Iron Windown in an Ancient Brick Wall, Venice, Italy

Gondolier at Sunset, Venice Italy

Dark Shadows

I recently talked about the feeling of a photo, and trying to capture how a place felt. I don’t say things like this often, but today’s photo might well be one of the best I have ever done. I am not speaking of the technical aspects of composition or even timing. This is how Venice FELT to me this last winter. Dark shadows, muted, cold. I long to go back. I can’t begin imagine the place in the summer. Winter in Venice seemed to fit me perfectly. Hopefully I can visit again this January or February, wandering, a bit lost in the icy cold air, with a copy or Watermark in hand. Feeling the city that is not separate from the sea.

Photo Technical Info

Man in a Hat, Venice Before the Tourists

Up Early

I took the earliest train I could find into Venice that morning. As I stepped off the train station steps, I felt the undulation of Venice. The city wasn’t awake yet, the sun with just coming up and Italians get a later start to the day. Crossing my first bridge, I luckily had my camera up because the man with the red bag came walking down by himself, destined for work no doubt. I caught this singular frame of his day, but one was all I needed to recall my first moments in Venice.

Photo Technical Info

Sepia Night on a Pier at St Mark’s Square, Venice, Italy

Night in Venice

Venice is a city of many sides, but the setting of the sun turns the city of Venice into another other-worldly place. It is almost a magical transformation. Sunset seems to linger, bidding those that do not wish to see the cities darker side, go home…return to your hotel. Once the night takes hold, it becomes deathly quiet. The narrow walkways and close buildings bring a sense of extreme claustrophobia. Every path is a darkened alley holding the unknown. By day you are surrounded by visages of death…masks of the plague. These are gone by night, but their specter haunts you … as do the dead from that time still buried beneath the cobblestone streets. I didn’t stay long in the evening, but what I did see, told me it would make the best of photo projects.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 25 January, 2014
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Location: 45° 26.0117′ 0″ N 12° 20.4957′ 0″ E
  • Shutter speed: 6s
  • Title: Sepia Night on a Pier at St Mark's Square, Venice, Italy

Servizio Gondole Venice Italy

Good Luck in Venice

I couldn’t believe my luck in Venice. Not only was the weather warm (for January) the sunset had been spectacular. Despite my worsening bronchial infection one I knew would require antibiotics, I didn’t want to leave St. Mark’s Square for the hotel. I continued to wander around as darkness overtook Venice the city began to show its other side. It’s a side of Venice I didn’t have time to find…one of dimly light, ancient cobblestone streets and masked figures.

Photo Technical Info

Early Morning View of the Bridge of Sighs, Venice, Italy

Sighs at the Bridge in Venice

One of the most recognizable symbols of Venice, Italy is the Bridge of Sighs. We have a black and white poster framed on our wall of this monument, and I have wanted to replace it with my own photo since I bought it. There is something about the light in that other artists rendition that is too harsh. Perhaps the severity is appropriate given that this “bridge” connects the Doge’s Palace to the prison across the canal. Lord Byron allegedly gave the passage its name suggesting, “that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice through the window before being taken down to their cells.” (wikipedia).

To me the architectural beauty of the bridge needs to be highlighted rather than its function. I’m not sure if this one will be “the one” to end up on my wall, but I really love the romantic morning view. Morning is also about the only time you can see the Bridge of Sighs without a mass of tourists in your shot!

Photo Technical Info

Sunrise on Ponte dell’Accademia, Venice, Italy

Venice

To encapsulate my feelings of Venice would be impossible. Perhaps this discription from one of the must read books before any trip to Venice, Watermark (by Joseph Brodsky), helps in one sense:

A reflection cannot possibly care for a reflection. The city is narcissistc enough to turn your mind into an amalgam, unburdening it of its depths. With their similar effect on your purse, hotels and pensiones therefore feel very congenial. After a two-week stay—even at off-season rates—you become both broke and selfless, like a Buddhist monk.

This quote from the same text, however, gives another glimpse of the more wonderful feel of the city:

You fling the window open and the room is instantly flooded with this outer, pearl-laden haze, which is part damp oxygen, part coffee and prayers.

Despite its flaws, Venice in two quick days became one of my favorite destinations in the world. There is something wonderfully artistic, dark and oppressive all at the same time. It is though you stand at a precipice to another world in Venice, one that perhaps you don’t want to enter, but it exciting just to be there.

Photo Technical Info