This is an image I took along the Grand Canal in front of Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. I was taking pictures like a madman at the time but the conditions for photography were not good. Normally, to take pictures at night you need a tripod and a stationary subject.
In this case, I was in a moving gondola and my subject was moving also. To get this I used an aperture of f1.8 and an ISO of 8000. That’s extreme but with a few adjustments in post-production, it’s a winner. So much for the old rules.
Because I don’t know what all the rules are I do things that another photographer might not. I make a lot of mistakes, but I also get some good shots under difficult situations. The tech is so good now you may as well push it and see what happens. One day we’ll have sensors in our eyes and cameras will be obsolete. But until then, it’s fun to keep breaking the rules and trying new things.
If you go to Venice take a gondola at night. It is an experience that reminds me of a ride at Disney World, only it’s the real thing. The sounds of the oars in the water and the lights streaming from the windows overhead combine in the most exquisite way.
This is the Church of the Santissimo Redentore. It’s on the island of Giudecca in the city of Venice. It was built in the 16th Century to commemorate the Black Death. At that time about a third of the population of Venice perished. Nevertheless, the architecture of this white marble cathedral is striking at night and this is a shot I took while passing by from a water taxi.
When I think of the plague I feel fortunate to live in an age with the advantages of medicine and hygiene. That’s not to say we are completely immune to pandemics, but the chances are much less.
If I think about it I feel bad for the reasons this was built, but then that was the whole point. The builders were sending a message through the centuries so that we would remember. I mean no disrespect but that’s the same thing photos do, connect us to an event across time. This photo reminds me of an amazing night in Venice, which in turn reminds me of the plague. So now I have a set of breadcrumbs that lead from one thing to another, bringing to mind different things that are each important to remember.
I took this while in a water Taxi on my first night in Venice. Sunsets like this don’t happen every day so I felt fortunate. This is one of those cases where just being there is fifty-percent of photography. I was ready with my camera so I was lucky to get the shot.
They say the best camera in the world is the one you have with you. In this case I was touring so I had my Sony. More often however I have only an iPhone. I see sunsets at home all the time and I wish I had the Sony but at least I can pull out an iPhone. It takes nice pictures but not as good as the Sony, at least for now. The way things are going that gap will continue to shrink and maybe cameras will become a thing of the past.
Every picture tells a story and as we take more the stories just keep piling up. Then, long afterwards we can go back and re-live the stories by looking at our pictures. The same for video but I prefer still images because I think they go deeper into our thoughts, imagination and memory. Regardless of the camera, it’s good to never be without one, you just never know what you’ll see.
Here is another scene that I rendered with Topaz Impression. It’s a photo I took of a random canal in Venice and later blended with an impressionistic rendering from Topaz. I’m experimenting with this technique and I am intrigued by the possibilities it presents.
When you visit Venice one of the first things you’ll notice are the artists everywhere. It’s easy to understand because of the abundance of inspiration. If I was a painter I could see myself on a random bridge of a canal painting a similar scene. As a photographer / technologist I use software to get the effect of a painting to create an impression of the place, which is sometimes more satisfying than documentation.
The way software and computers are going we will one day simply look through glasses and have any scene rendered the way we want to see it in real-time. It will be a form of advanced augmented reality and it’s probably not too far off. That, and who knows what else.
This is the Bridge of Sighs as it frames a crowd of people beyond. In this case I am focused on the crowds rather than attempting to obscure them. It’s a different perspective but something I’ve been exploring lately. Lets just say it’s a slightly different take on travel photography.
My idea is to have crowds of people juxtaposed to architecture or in iconic settings. If it’s done right there’s something that makes us want to look closer. Normally crowds are not that interesting but therein lies the challenge.
Also I write about it because it helps me make sense of new ideas like this. The more I integrate it the more I can repeat this idea in different settings; it’s a form of study.
Writing is an integral part of photography for me. I take a photo, work on it and then write about it. In the end I have a something more than just a photo. All the while I’m learning something new and having a little fun. And as they say, it’s all good.
Here is another vision of Venice that I took from a boat. A vision is what best describes this place; it seems not entirely real. When you’re in Venice the real world seems to fade away and become distant. Venice holds its own kind of reality, like the fabled Brigadoon. And then the opposite happens, you leave and the magic dissipates and you feel that Venice was like a vision.
Anyway, like some other photos I’ve produced, this was taken hand held at night from a boat. I’d normally use a tripod to get a better exposure with a lower ISO, but using a high ISO my camera’s sensor is able to recover most of the details of the night scene.
Do you ever notice that when you go to an amazing place you feel like you want to live there? Or maybe you feel like you’ve been there before. The excitement of seeing new places and the feelings it produces are why we travel in the first place.
This is travel photography with a twist. It’s from a place that doesn’t seem real until you go there. It seems to have a reality slightly removed from the real world. Maybe I should call it vision photography, …or maybe not.
I took this while walking aimlessly around Venice one afternoon. It’s easy to get lost among the narrow ways and canals, but at the same time it’s easy to find your way back. Every building has a sign on the corner pointing to St Marks Square. In this manner I headed out, got lost, and found my way back with little trouble. Along the way there were dozens of scenes like this.
I walked far enough out from the central square that the streets were quite and life returned to the normal sights and sounds of an old world village. Shopkeepers leaned against doors, people lingered in cafés, and an old woman carried groceries. It was in contrast to the crowded tourist center where I started.
This is my first time in Venice. It’s one of those places that immediately struck the photographer in me with endless possibilities. I have seen many images from here, yet the experience of being here is beyond the clichés.
Like other iconic locations, the beauty of it inspires artists, and has done so for centuries. I was here only briefly but captured many images that I can go back and enjoy for a long time. I will share some of my favorite, but for now this is my first. And I have no idea exactly where I was when I took it.
This is a long exposure I took while walking under a bridge in Central Amsterdam. The hanging vertical lights and their reflections created an eerie effect. It’s a public space that’s transformed into a surreal display of light, reflection and color by night. Just one of many surprises I found while walking around the city of Amsterdam.
I spent a lot of time along the canals at night. It seemed perfectly safe, save for the odd solicitations in a certain quarter not to be mentioned; but that’s another story for another day. No matter where I turned there were lights reflected on the water. If you’ve followed me you know that’s too much for me to resists; the lights that is.
I stood at this spot for a while taking pictures. Every now and then this space was filled with the rumble of trains passing overhead. I passed this same spot in a canal boat tour earlier in the day and it didn’t look anything like this. I would never have guessed it could be transformed like this at night.
The reason I came to Amsterdam is that I had some photos being shown in a Museum in Harderwijk at an event sponsored by BTP and Rinus Bakker. My plan is to come back for the next showing and spend a little more time exploring places like this. Until then I’ll have to be content with my memories and photos.
To took this picture as I stood over a canal to the intercostal waterway. I was in the village of Cortez where there are many little outdoor restaurants by the water. Its one of my favorite places to come for an authentic Florida experience.
This bridge is one of two that cross over to Anna Maria Island. Both are draw bridges and each time I cross I secretly hope to get stuck. The draw bridge takes five or ten minutes to operate and during that time you turn off the engine and watch the sailboats, dolphins and fishermen.
As I write this we are in peak tourist season. Its spring break and people are here to enjoy the weather and beaches. Because I’m a resident I don’t always keep track of these things. But as soon as I walk into a restaurant or try to drive somewhere it becomes apparent.
As well it is also spring training season for baseball. We have a perfect storm of sun seekers and sports fans. It’s fun to see and good for the local economy. Merchants look forward to this all year. I’m pretty relaxed about it all and as I said, even look forward to getting stuck on one of the many bridges.
Not that I should need an excuse, but traffic over a bridge is one way to slow down, enjoy the sights and imagine what its like to be a visitor on spring break.