Thursday, March 2, 2017

Early to Rise

I first went to Italy 10 years ago; it was one of my first trips when I retired from
teaching Art and Art History.  I was anxious to get to paint there, and  take photos
of all the iconic locations.  Venice was my favorite destination during the trip.  I always
knew I would return.  While there again this past summer, I was eager to take more
photos, especially of the famous Piazzo San Marco.  I knew this time that the square is
usually FULL of tourists during the day, so if I wanted some great shots, I would have to
get there early.  So, I rose before the sun, and made the 1 mile walk to the square from my hotel.
In the early morning light, this cat and I were on a mission.

The alley ways were mostly empty.  Most of the activity involved men making deliveries
to restaurants and stores, restocking the items that the tourists wiped out the day
before.  This woman was an employee on her way to work.  I love the various architectural elements in the shot.  I like her dark figure silhouetted against the white church, and the pigeons perched on the street lamp.

I arrived at the square, and just as I was empty.  There had been a little shower the night before, so there were a few puddles, reflecting the buildings.  The sun was already up, and the sky had a hint of pink among the clouds.  

When looking at images of Venice, I had seen similar shots as this many times.  The gondolas are parked here overnight, and some of the gondoliers where just arriving, and uncovering their boats.  You can barely see one far to the left.  The water is calm, and the bay is not yet full of activity.  The water taxis and other boats are not stirring yet.  I love the gondola reflections in the water, and the pink and blue sky, echoing the blue of the gondola covers.  The poles and the church campanile add some nice vertical elements to the composition.

Taken a little later...the sun is out a little more now..shining on the church
across the water.

This is the famous, Bridge of Sighs.  It connects the courthouse with
the jail, and the prisoners were said to "sigh" as they crossed over to their
confinement.  I like it in black and white...makes it appear timeless.  I like the
single occupant in the boat, getting ready for the day, contrasted with the light on
the water.

Another view of the whole square...with only two tourists in red shirts.  I
waited until they were under the arch, and I love the way they mimic the two
red poles in the square.  The reflection in the puddle is great and really
adds to the composition.  

As I lingered in the square, more activity began to take place.  There were
several street sweepers that showed up.  The brooms looked hand made...very crude.
I tried to position him under the awning..but it was just ok.  

This angle was much better.  I used a shorter depth of field, so that just
the closest chairs and table are in focus.  The sweeper is now in a good
position.  I like the red, yellow, and blue colors and the repetition of the
curved arches and the curved arms of the chairs.  The lighting was
still soft and there is a nice effect of the wet pavement...and NO TOURISTS!
This was my favorite vantage point of the day.

It was such a delight to be at one of my favorite places in the world, early in
the morning.  To see it begin to wake up...smell the coffee beginning to brew..
hear the flap of the pigeons' wings as they began to stir.  I will never forget the
feeling of being there, and the experience of these photos.
It was a great morning.

I own a Canon EOS Rebel T5i, and shoot mostly with 24-105mm
Canon lens.  It does the job for me, since most of my photography
serves as references for my paintings and drawings. I recently heard
about the Vantage Point project, sponsored by the Light camera
company, so I wanted to share one of my favorite vantage points and
resulting photos.  They make a new camera, the Light L16 compact camera, that
is smaller and would be easier to tote around all day.  I'm going to
check it out, and it may become part of my equipment and
help make new memories and images around the world.
                                                              Light L16 compact camera,
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