Pictures of Venice: Stillness at Rialto

Stillness on the Grand Canal
Stillness on the Grand Canal

A classic picture of Venice, almost a postcard of the city: the view from the Rialto Bridge. I just took advantage of two simple technical choices to give the picture a different look. Following the motto “less is more”, I went for a simple, minimalist composition, as in my previous post Stillness. To do that I just used a long exposure, that wiped out all the traffic on the Grand Canal and the people on the streets. The second trick is overexposing the scene, so to blank out any color and definition from the sky. At the end only the buildings are left, with their simple, pure profiles.

Next week colors, movements and lights will be back in a big way, with a busy night picture of the same view.

Location: The Rialto Bridge, over the Grand Canal (Canal Grande).

What to shot: The Grand Canal, its buildings, the traffic of the water buses, boats and gondolas.

Ideal time to shot: Sunrise for an almost desert view of Venice. Sunset and the blue hour for a more busy atmosphere, but consider that at this time there will be a lot of people sharing the bridge with you and placing a tripod could be difficult.

Gear: Wide angle to standard zooms.

How to get there: Public water bus station Rialto (line 1, 2).

Coordinates: 45°26′16″N 12°20′09″E

WPC: Serenity

23 thoughts on “Pictures of Venice: Stillness at Rialto

    1. Hi Andrew! Yes, I had a big stopper on and a circular polarizer. Moreover I wanted to overexpose the scene a bit, this way it took 20 minutes to take this picture. Luckly enough I had my mp3 player with me! 🙂

      1. Wow. 20 minutes is a long time to have the shutter open for this type of shot. You must be very good at calculating the exact time needed. Kudos.

  1. I “get” minimalist, as in my uncluttered house. Minimalist in photography, however, sometimes leaves bones and no life. Life does go on 24/7 in Venice. I prefer life before bones… just a point of view

  2. This scene is so familiar for us. We visited Venice in 2010. You’ve managed to make the canal look like a frozen lake. And you say you took 20 minutes! 🙂 Wonderful shots; whatever you capture!

  3. Thanks for your ‘like’! Your shot of the Rialto is especially amazing… what are you tips for actually waking/getting up at sunrise, which is the difficult bit for me!

    1. Thank you Caroline!! Getting up before sunrise is always the difficult part of the shooting, also for me! I’m happy when I can take advantage of a favorable jet lag, but that doesn’t happen everyday. To get up early, in addition to going to bed soon the night before, I try to be as motivated as possible. That can be achieved in different ways.. you could to meet someone at sunrise (another photographer, of course, no-one else would be up at that time otherwise!), moreover, what really works with me is planning everything the day before, it’s a lot easier to get up if I already know what I am going to be shooting at.. the subject, how to get there, which lens, which light.. if I have to be up with the birds I prefer to know it would be worth it! 😉 Try it and let me know.. 😉

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