I gained interest in photography after seeing a lot of night shots of city-scapes. I find it fascinating how playing with the lighting and a bunch of camera settings can result in awesome-looking images. Venice was the perfect place for me to experiment and gain experience in night photography. In this fourth post. I’ll tell you a bit about my night walks around the main island.
I went walking at night several times during my trip until about 11pm, when I thought that it may be a good idea to return to the hotel and retire for the night. I have more or less ordered the pictures in terms of time of the day and by landmark.
During the summer time it seems that catching a good sunset (especially when the day has been hot and humid) seems to be difficult. San Marco Square at dusk with a tinge of orange/purple in the sky was the best I could do.
Though it only gets dark at around 9pm, a lot of the lights around the island are switched on early. Makes for interesting lighting effects. This row of souvenir stalls are just around San Marco Square. They sell pretty much what every other tourist shop in Venice sells: glass, masks, t-shirts and the list of generic souvenirs for all age groups.
I decided to walk along the canal from San Marco to the Accademia Bridge (my favourite photography spot). You can get beautiful sunset pictures at around 7 or 8pm-ish when there is still some daylight left.
Love the colours in this picture. I’ve taken an HDR set of this scene, will need to put them together at some point! I’ve started experimenting a bit with HDR (High Dynamic Range) Photography. It is heaps of fun and if you’re interested in knowing more about the kind of pictures you can create with it, here’s a pretty good tutorial. Will post something on what I’ve done as well once I get to sorting out my sets.
Once again, the most famous poster picture, but this time at night I actually took a series of it and scrolling through them, I found that they animate the gondolas floating in the water pretty well.
The Doge’s palace at night. Make sure you have a tripod with you if you do want to try out night photography. The camera needs a while to take the shot and unless you have super steady and static hands (which I highly doubt), you will not be able to capture a sharp image.
Even at night, the colour difference on the houses in the alleys are noticeable. Streets are still quite busy even after dark…
…but I did find an empty street, which made a good opportunity for experimentation. As usual, in trying to find the Accademia bridge, I just simply headed in the general direction, not knowing where I was going most of the time.
Another water-front picture, this time including the Peggy Guggenheim Collection museum. It has notable history to it. I did not get down to visiting it though.
Still on my way to the bridge, I came across open spaces every now and then: photo opportunity, it’s not every day you find the streets this empty.
Tourists usually hang around the main attractions, while residents probably stay indoors unless they need to do something outside. That’s the impression I get from Venice. It’s also understandable, as a tourist you’d want to make sure you don’t get lost at night, where everything looks different from the day time and consulting a map may be difficult in the dark.
On the Accademia bridge overlooking the grand canal to the south. Hopefully you can see why this was my favourite photography spot (not forgetting my comment in the second post about how I found the Rialto bridge too crowded).
The obligatory zoom shot.
Overlooking the grand canal on the north side from the Accademia bridge.
Red and yellow are definitely the favourite colours of choice here in Venice. I don’t blame them, the green of the tree goes very well with them, especially at night.
If you walk and get lost, you’ll get to explore a whole lot more bridges in many different shapes and sizes crossing numerous canals, not one to disturb your photo-taking either.
For fast-food enthusiasts, if you’re feeling hungry, even Burger King is still open at night (not sure if it is 24-hour operational though).
My next stop was the Rialto and from the experience I have had with night shots, I decided that I wanted a shot from far away first. Got off two Vaporetto stops early to setup the tripod and camera. While the night is still young, the dark blue sky gives the photo a nice touch.
Up close later in the night, the white colour of the Rialto tends to come out more. You can probably see what I mean by busy. Vaporetto passing under in both directions, people on top and many tourists walking around in the area.
The busy-ness of the grand canal at the Rialto bridge can however make for some very nice shots of a brightly lit and bustling part of Venice.
Decided to reward myself (for all the walking and calories I lost on the way) by having a small supper snack. The coffee is decaffeinated, so not to worry, I slept well that night.
Sat in the cafe of Hotel Rialto with the Tiramisu and coffee you just saw and watched the crowd go by. You also have the option to sit right beside the canal edge, but the place was packed and so I decided to stay indoors.
By the way, remember my example of bridges that lead to nowhere, here’s a night shot at the same location.
The time is 11pm and I headed back to San Marco Square (the easiest way to find my hotel is to look for it from San Marco Square). Lights galore as you can see.
Streets start clearing up at around 11pm as everyone decides to head back to their hotels/homes. Even the busiest of places become empty.
At 11pm I stood in the square and watched as the mechanical guards chimed the bell eleven times. Shortly after I retired for the night. Although my walks lasted for ages, I felt no signs of fatigue ever hit me. You become engrossed in your journey around the island that you won’t notice any reponses your body gives you (the Tiramisu and coffee that one night probably helped too). I hope that I was able to show you the beauty of Venice at night. The next chapter will take place at the edge of the lagoon! A “refreshing” chapter, look forward to it!