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Venice Dawn

Posted by
Darkelf Photography (Perth, Australia) on 7 January 2022 in Cityscape & Urban and Portfolio.

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Hello in 2022! First up a classic sight from Venice on a beautiful morning with the view from the harbour near Piazza San Marco towards the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore. I loved the combination of morning light and colours mixed with the still present glow of lanterns. We wanted to visit this beautiful city for a long time and we managed to get there in late 2019, not long before the borders closed the following year. Sure, this is (or used to be) a touristy places with thousands of people meandering through alleys and small streets everywhere we went but it we did not mind one bit. It was still a fantastic place to see and totally worth it. It is such a unique location and there are so many interesting things to see. I did feel sorry for its residents though, who probably got very little peace and quiet throughout the entire year.

The bonus of being there later in the year was that it was a little bit cooler and also sunrise was at a manageable time and we were able to get out of bed early to photograph a couple of them. This was the more colourful dawn and one of the very few vivid ones that we encountered during the entire trip in 2019. Another bonus of being out there before sunrise was that it was still very quiet around the place and we could move around freely to find a good spot for photos. It got busier just before sunrise with many other photographers arriving, including local wedding and other photo shoots taking place. Once they started to arrive, I guarantee you that every single one of the lantern spots was taken up by a married couple in their full wedding regalia.

I had a similar photo in mind since just about forever when thinking of Venice. Yes, it is a tried and tested composition but nonetheless I was still more than happy to take a photo here. There was a certain magic about the gentle rocking of the gondolas, beautiful morning colours and the view across the canal. It was a very calm morning and I was able to experiment with shutter speeds to photograph the movement of gondolas that matched my vision. I started from short exposure times of one to five seconds but found that the motion looked rough and jagged, while I was looking for a smoother and gentler effect. At around twenty seconds I was starting to see a much better result and in the end this thirty second exposure had the best effect, at least in my own mind. The gondolas still retained enough shape and form for viewers to know what they are, while blurring the motion enough to reduce the clutter in the scene and allowing the eyes to drift past the foreground to focus on the church visible in the distance.

I really liked the light in this scene. The ambient morning light and colours were just becoming pronounced enough while there was still a lovely glow from the lanterns dotted around the harbour. That allowed me to start using lower ISO settings and it was very much the best time for photography. I considered a few different compositions as well, checking out different angles and positioning of the gondolas. I feel that I found the right the balance in this composition with the two lanterns framing the main view nicely and the entire scene pivoting well around the church on the other side. It was originally a standard 3:2 crop but I decided that it looked much better as a panoramic format and cropped in post processing.

It was a fantastic morning to witness as this old city woke up for another day and even better for being able to photograph this magical moment as well.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV 30 seconds F/8.0 ISO 100 16 mm

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This image has been featured in 2 Remix collections.

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