Slowing Down With a Camera in Venice

Grand Canal at Sunset.

Grand Canal at Sunset.

Venice, Italy… a great place to unwind from the normal tourist trail of planes, trains and automobiles.

I am amazed at how many folks visit this magical city and only spend a night or two or no nights at all. And then I hear many complaints. Crowded, smelly, un-kept, rude people, expensive, crumbly and on and on. Yes, at times this is all true but if you have the time this is a great city to spend a few days or more in. It is one of the most photogenic cities in the world.

Old house, Burano, Italy

Old house, Burano, Italy

Getting lost in Venice is one of our favorite pass-times, especially with a camera in hand. My wife Magrit and I have been to Venice numerous times and have rented apartments in various parts of the city — visiting our favorite cafe every day, shopping where the locals shop and feeling like we belong after the tourists have left for the day. We now conduct 5 day photography tours in this beautiful city.

Venice is easy to move around in, either on foot or via the public water buses, called vaporettos. On our Venetian photo tours we walk a lot but we also take advantage of the vaporettos. With a three or seven day pass, one can hop on and off at any time. The pass also includes the route to the over the top colorful island of Burano. When we visit Venice we usually make the journey to Burano at least twice. It is so incredible for photography and we always find some new angle or new paint job that grabs our attention.

Casa Bepi, Burano, Italy

Casa Bepi, Burano, Italy

Slowing down and photography go hand in hand. Venice is the perfect place to do both. It allows us as photographers the time and leisure to scout for photographic possibilities. There are so many opportunities for great photographs in Venice but the light or weather may not always cooperate. On our tours we do a lot of scouting to check out the composition, light, weather, etc. If the conditions are all in line we get the goods, but if not, we can come back later and try again. Making good photographs is a combination of skill, luck and perseverance. Just because a place like Venice is so photogenic it does not mean that it is easy to capture great images.

The Grand Canal from the Accademia Bridge, Venice

The Grand Canal from the Accademia Bridge, Venice

We like to photograph the sunsets and evening blue hours in Venice. In my October 2013 Blog Post, I discussed “Photographing the Blue Hour”.

Thirty minutes past sunset, Burano, Italy

Thirty minutes past sunset, Burano, Italy

Venice is perfect for blue hour photography because it has so many areas that are lit by artificial light sources. These lights come on after sunset at around the time that the sky starts to really get blue. So at the optimal time, usually about 30 minutes after sunset or 30 minutes before sunrise, you get this perfect complimentary balance between the warm, artificial lights and the cool, blue light in the sky. It is quite magical.

It can be challenging photographing the evening blue hour because of the tourist crowds. To remedy this, we like to photograph at least one early morning blue hour session on our tours which has us in getting up before 5 am. Hard to do sometimes but the photo results are worth it as the only people you have to worry about are a few other photographers.

Sunrise from the Accademia Bridge, Venice

Sunrise from the Accademia Bridge, Venice

Whether you are a photographer or not, I encourage you to spend more than a night or two if you are considering a trip to Venice. There really is no other place like it in the world.

Our next photography workshop/tour to Venice will be May 24-28, 2015.  This is a perfect photo tour to include a non photographer friend or spouse for an extra cost of only $325.


J_M_150x150(1)Jim and Magrit have been photographing professionally and traveling in Europe for the past 20 years.

They started Photography Travel Tours in 2011 with the goal of educating and guiding photographers to some of the most beautiful and iconic scenes in Europe.

The tours are not just about getting great photographs but also have the side benefits of doing so in wonderful environments. Great food, wine, people, and ambiance.

Read more about Jim & Magrit and their wonderful photo tours here: (http://photographytraveltours.com/about/).

Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France and other European countries.

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