Last summer, at short notice, we decided to stop in Venice, Italy on the way back from Greece. This would be my first visit to Italy and I was super excited to explore personally and photographically this beautiful part of Europe.
Earlier in the year, for all my travel photography I had switched to the Fuji X mirrorless system. This would be my first summer trip without a DSLR in hand and using the new Fuji mirrorless camera and lenses. In a separate post, I will discuss that transition and my take on the Fuji equipment.
If one had the time, it would be logical to research the usual places everything you would want to know about Venice and the places you must see. Many would look up on Flickr or 500PX images that others have made and think about how they could take those pictures at least as well or in a different or unique way.
On this trip I didn’t have or couldn’t make the time to research the things I wanted to see and I definitely didn’t look at any images. In fact, before every trip, I never look at others’ images for a specific location. Why? The more important reason is, I don’t want to start with a bias of what my images should look like. I want to figure that out for what works best at that moment in time. I might find a location that is worth spending the time on and working from different angles and perspectives. In fact, even when shooting fast, it is almost better to observe first and shoot second. The second reason I don’t look at other work first is I don’t want to get depressed if I didn’t get that perfect Venice sunset image. My job is to take the best picture I can with the cards I am dealt with. Doing that pushes my creativity to think outside the box.
Six districts, called “sestieri”, make up Venice’s historic center. We were staying in the less touristy area district of Cannaregio. After taking the water taxi from the airport, and getting settled in, we really didn’t have a good idea of where we were in relation to anything.
I had trouble sleeping and got up right before sunrise. Sunrise is one of the two Golden Hours during the day and one of the nicest times to shoot. With sunrise, the later in the day it gets the worse the light gets. At sunset, however until a certain point the later it gets the more magnificent the light gets. I am also more of a night person than the super early riser.
My camera bag was ready and I just started walking with no map or anything. The canals and streets were quite empty. I would stop, look around, absorb where I was, without the pressure of being on anyone else’s schedule. I didn’t have to worry about too many people on the streets, selfie sticks or anything else. I was up with the locals as they were moving about. The street cleaners, the delivery boats, the shop owners and coffee bars.
I had no idea how to use the vaporetto (boat bus system) or the water taxis, and preferred to explore by foot. I didn’t at the time check out if Uber had infiltrated the Venice taxi scene, though. Venice has no cars, so it is your feet or a boat. I walked and walked and got these types of photographs.
I ended up later at the famous Rialto Bridge and sat near the foot of the Rialto Bridge. At this point, in the heart of the tourist areas, everyone was coming out and the great light was disappearing. Rather than calling it a day, photographically, I just saw and watched in awe as the delivery boats brought goods and unloaded them. All day, in any light, is still a great time to capture people and detail shots and that’s what I did.
The experience was exhilarating. I was in a one of a kind magical environment, and had no idea what I would see next.