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Big Ships and Venice – Iron Giant and Little Girl

Big ships in Venice
Big ships in Venice

Venice lagoon and big ships, a long story and an everlasting debate. But sometimes a story can be depicted in a split-second, and that is all photography is about!

Location: Island of Giudecca, Venice.

What to shot: Giudecca Island, with its typical shape of a long thorn, is located immediately south of the central islands of Venice. You can reach it in just a couple of minutes by water bus from the water bus station of Zattere. Besides a lot of nice alleys and small squares to photograph, Giudecca offers a vantage point towards Venice, including St. Mark’s Square, Punta della Dogana and Zattere from the north side, but also a very beautiful and uncommon view of the Venetian lagoon from the south.

Ideal time to shot: All day long. St. Mark’s square probably is at its best at morning, while the south part offers stunning sunset over the lagoon. During summer dozens of big ships cut through the waters between Giudecca island and St. Mark every day, so there are good chances you succeed in taking a picture of these iron giants moving clumsy and slowly through one of the most delicate and fragile city on earth.

Gear: Wide angles to standard zooms. Teles if you are going to focus on St. Mark’s Square or isolated buildings.

How to get there: Public transport water bus stations Palanca or Zitelle or Redentore (line 2).

Coordinates: 45°25′30″N 12°19′43″E

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Dawn at Punta della Dogana, Venice

 

Punta della Dogana - Venice
Punta della Dogana – Venice

When photographing Venice, I have my favorite places, and Punta della Dogana is for sure one of them. It used to lodge Charles Ray’s art workBoy with Frog”, but recently the sculpture has been replaced by the ancient lamp who used to be there since the XIX century. Whether with the sculpture or the lamp it remains an extraordinary place with a stunning 360° view.

Location: Punta della Dogana, Venice.

What to shot: Punta della Dogana is a triangular tiny plot of land jutting into the waters between the Giudecca and Grand Canals. It offers a great view towards St. Mark’s Square at North East, and San Giorgio Maggiore Island at South East. I love to keep the land of Punta della Dogana in the foreground with its lamp, leaving St. Mark or San Giorgio in the background.

Ideal time to shot: All day long. At dawn the sky offers often beautiful colors, while later on the day the lagoon get quite busy with all sort of boats. Foggy days offer equally good conditions for taking pictures.

Gear: Wide angles, tripod allowed.

How to get there: Public transport water bus station Salute (line 1).

Coordinates: 45° 25′ 52″ N 12° 20′ 10″ E

Venetian lagoon from Giudecca Island

The Venetian Lagoon from Giudecca Island
The Venetian Lagoon from Giudecca Island

Spring has arrived, it’s time to take out your gear and head for some gorgeous open air sessions!

Location: Island of Giudecca, Venice.

What to shot: Giudecca Island, with its typical shape of a long thorn, is located immediately south of the central islands of Venice. You can reach it in just a couple of minutes by water bus from the water bus station of Zattere. Besides a lot of nice alleys and small squares to photograph, Giudecca offers a vantage point towards Venice, including St. Mark’s Square, Punta della Dogana and Zattere from the north side, but also a very beautiful and uncommon view of the Venetian lagoon from the south.

Ideal time to shot: All day long, but consider that during summer the sun rises behind St. Mark’s Square, while in winter months the south part of the lagoon offers stunning sunsets.

Gear: Wide angles to standard zooms. Teles if you are going to focus on St. Mark’s Square or isolated buildings.

How to get there: Public transport water bus stations Palanca or Zitelle or Redentore (line 2).

Coordinates: 45°25′30″N 12°19′43″E

Fushimi Inari Taisha – Kyoto, Japan

Fushimi Inari Taisha - Kyoto
Fushimi Inari Taisha – Kyoto

Again from my recent trip to Japan. This time I was at the Fushimi-ku, in Kyoto, the small mountain where sits the head shrine of Inari.

Location: Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, Japan. Location of the Fushimi Inari Taisha.

What to shot: Inari is the god of rice, also seen as the patron of business. That’s why merchants and manufacturers have traditionally worshipped Inari. Each of the torii (traditional Japanese gate) at Fushimi Inari Taisha is inscribed with symbols, as they are a sort of advertising donated by a Japanese businesses. Walking up and down the mountain throughout the 4 kilometers of trails you will find thousands and thousands of torii and smaller shrines. It is up to you where to stop and photograph, but consider that as you walk up to the hill both torii and people became less frequent.

Ideal time to shot: The shrine is alway open, but I strongly suggest to avoid rush hours, unless you are willing to fight with hundreds of people to take your pictures, and planning to use your tripod just to move through the crowd. Night hours are perfect to get the peace and quiet you need, and also some thrill since the location get quite gloomy.

Gear: Standard zooms.

How to get there: Fushimi Inari Shrine is located just outside JR Inari Station, the second station from Kyoto Station along the JR Nara Line (5 minutes, 140 yen one way from Kyoto Station). The shrine can also be reached in a short walk from Fushimi Inari Station along the Keihan Main Line.

Coordinates: 34°58′02″N 135°46′22″E

Glance of a Geisha at Gion in Kyoto – Japan

Glanco of a Geisha at Gion - Kyoto
Glance of a Geisha at Gion – Kyoto

Just till a few days ago I was in Japan for a beautiful holiday. Of course I had my trusted Canon 6d with me and enjoyed taking some hundreds pictures every day. Japan offers so many things worth a pic that it is easy to lose oneself  behind the viewfinder: futuristic cities, ancient districts, natural wonders and, on top of this, plenty of interesting people living their lives in a country so distant and so different from ours. I indulged in almost every kind of photography: architectural, landscape, street life, portraits and so on. And, of course, I will be sharing some of the results here in these weeks, together with tips about locations, hours and gears to take your pictures in Japan. As usual suggestions are welcome! Any of you lives or has been there and has some tips to share?

Location: Gion, Kyoto, Japan. Gion is well-known as the most exclusive geisha’s district of Kyoto. Geisha (or “geiko”, child of the art) still performs here entertaining businessmen with conversation and traditional Japanese art, music and dancing, as they did in old times.

What to shot: Large modern streets and narrow traditional ones live side by side in this area. Among traditional streets I suggest to go to Hanami Lane, one of the major preserved streets, where you will find lot of old-style Japanese houses (machiya) and tea houses (ochaya). Another good place to take pictures is the area alongside the Shirakawa river, near where it enters the Kamo river.

Ideal time to shot: This district is famous for its nightlife, when traditional houses and tea houses light up the streets with their lanterns. Be there before sunset and you will be able to spot geiko in their traditional costume as they move to the ochaya for their engagements.

An important annual public dance (the Miyako Odori) take place from April 1 through April 30, during the height of the cherry blossom season (sakura).

Gear: From standard zooms to teles allow to catch both the beauty of the traditional streets and riversides, or to isolate picturesque detail of the buildings and people.

How to get there: One minute walk from Shijo Station of the Keihan Underground Line.

Coordinates: 35°00′13″N 135°46′30″E

Sunrise over the Grand Canal – Venice

Madonna della Salute - Venice
Madonna della Salute – Venice

I took this picture this morning from the Accademia Bridge. I wanted to change the “perspective” of the shot erasing the time concept to make the picture somehow atemporal. To do this I overexposed the scene and edited it in black and white to eliminate any detail from the sky and any color.

Location: Accademia Bridge (Ponte dell’Accademia). Together with the Rialto Bridge, the Ponte degli Scalzi, and the new Ponte della Costituzione, by Santiago Calatrava, it is one of the four bridges that cross the Grand Canal, the major water-traffic corridor of Venice.

What to shot: From Ponte dell’Accademia you’ll have a vantage point toward part of the Grand Canal with its pompous buildings, the church of Santa Maria della Salute, and Punta della Dogana, where the water of the Canal Grande meets Saint Mark Basin’s ones.

Ideal time to shot: Sunrise of course, but don’t think to be there alone. This site has become one of the favorite spots by many local and foreigner photographers, and it get quite crowded on the weekends.

Gear: Wide angle lenses are ideal for creating very wide panoramas, while standard zooms (24-105mm) give you the widest range of possibilities, from panoramas to isolating the buildings or capturing the action on board of the gondolas.

How to get there: By foot is just a short walk (10 to 15 minutes) both from St. Mark Square and from the railway station. Public transport water bus station Accademia (line 1, 2).

Coordinates: 45°25′54″N 12°19′44″E

The Doge’s Palace – St Mark’s Square

The Doge's Palace - St Mark's Square
The Doge’s Palace – St Mark’s Square

While Venice is being abandoned by its local citizens, it still is a mecca for tourists and photographers.

Location: St Mark’s Square, Venice.

What to shot: St. Mark’s offers plenty of photographic icons, such as the Doge’s Palace, like in the picture above, the old procuracies, the bridge of sighs and lot of Gondolas waiting for tourists to come. Tip of the day: be there at sunrise to take pictures of the Doge’s Palace with the sun rising just behind it.

Ideal time to shot: All day long.

Gear: Bring everything you own with you.

How to get there: Public transport water bus station San Marco Vallaresso (line 1, 2) and San Marco San Zaccaria (line 1, 2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2).

Coordinates: 45°26’00.5″N 12°20’25.0″E

Bench in Ludwig Erhard Ufer – Berlin

Bench in Ludwig Erhard Bank - Berlin 2
Bench in Ludwig Erhard Bank – Berlin 2

Here it is a tip for a good photographic location in Berlin. I went for some “abandoned things” session this time, but there are really many worthy things to photograph there, so it depends on your preferences if you are going to focus on landscape, architecture or street photography.

Location: Ludwig Erhard Ufer (Ludwig Erhard shore), next to the river Spree, in Berlin.

What to shot: Many things to shot here. The Spree itself and the surrounding riverbank offer many photographic hints. If you want to try some architecture photography you can focus on the nearby Parliament buildings (the Bundestag and the Reichstag), or the ultra modern train and subway central station (the Hauptbahnhof).

Ideal time to shot: It really depends on you. This place offers good condition almost at any time. My personal preference still go to the twilight and night hours

Gear: Wide angle, standard zooms in the 24-105 range.

How to get there: U-bahn stop Bundestag (U55), S-bahn Haupbahnhof (S5, S9, S75).

Coordinates: 52°31’20.1″N 13°22’27.7″E

Gondolas and Poles 2 – St Mark’s Square

Gondolas and Poles - St Mark's Square
Gondolas and Poles – St Mark’s Square

The third picture of the triplet about Gondolas and Poles (first, second).

Location: St Mark’s Square, Venice.

What to shot: From St. Mark’s square you can play with the many poles, docks and gondolas you will find there to create interesting foregrounds and lead the observer’s eye through the picture towards the small island of San Giorgio Maggiore, located just in front of St. Mark’s square.

Ideal time to shot: Sunrise.

Gear: Wide angle or standard zooms.

How to get there: Public transport water bus station San Marco Vallaresso (line 1, 2) and San Marco San Zaccaria (line 1, 2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2).

Coordinates: 45°26’00.5″N 12°20’25.0″E

Gondolas and Poles – St Mark’s Square

Gondolas - St Mark
Gondolas – St Mark’s Square

The second picture of a triplet about Gondolas and Poles (first here).

Location: St Mark’s Square, Venice.

What to shot: From St. Mark’s square you can play with the many poles, docks and gondolas you will find there to create interesting foregrounds and lead the observer’s eye through the picture towards the small island of San Giorgio Maggiore, located just in front of St. Mark’s square.

Ideal time to shot: Sunrise.

Gear: Wide angle or standard zooms.

How to get there: Public transport water bus station San Marco Vallaresso (line 1, 2) and San Marco San Zaccaria (line 1, 2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2).

Coordinates: 45°26’00.5″N 12°20’25.0″E

Capo d’Otranto Lighthouse – Apulia

Capo d'Otranto Lighthouse - Punta Palascìa
Capo d’Otranto Lighthouse – Punta Palascìa

Location: Capo d’Otranto, or Cape Palascia, just 5 km south of Otranto, near Lecce, Apulia.

What to shot: Capo d’Otranto lighthouse is well-known for its particular location. Cape Palascia is the most easterly point of Italy. From there you can have a good point of view over the beacon, and in the most clear days you will be able to see albanian shore, across Adriatic sea.

Ideal time to shot: Being located in Italy’s most easterly point you could want to be there at dawn to capture the sun rising behind the lighthouse. I love to be there at night too, when the light of the beacon and the light of the moon plays together over the sea.

Gear: Wide angle or standard zooms to get panoramic shots. A good tele if you are planning to focus on the lighthouse tower and the lantern room.

How to get there: By car driving south from Otranto on the SP 87 for 5 minutes, or you can choose to go for the beautiful 2 hours trekking along the coast.

Coordinates: +40° 6′ 26.99″, +18° 31′ 11.45″

Venice photography – Squero of San Trovaso

Squero - Venice
Squero of San Trovaso – Venice

Location: The Squero of San Trovaso, Venice. This peculiar and tiny sort of boatyard is one of the few places where gondolas are still built and repaired. It was established in the 17th century, when the canals of Venice were crowded with thousands of Gondolas, crafted here or in one of the many other existing Squero.

What to shot: The typical ramp, to put up and down the Gondolas, the wooden structures in Tyrolean style, since workers came originally from this part of the Alps, are all distinctive features of the Squero of San Trovaso. But the main charm of the Squero consists right in the work of its skilled Gondolas builder.

Ideal time to shot: Operating hours are ideal to shoot at workers absorbed in crafting and repairing boats, and on site tour are possible with reservation. Otherwise, the bank facing the boatyard is an ideal place to photograph the Squero in both daytime and nighttime.

Gear: Standard zooms and bright prime lenses are preferable if you are going for an on-site visit. If you choose to stay on the in front bank both standard zooms will be useful to capture the Squero in its interity, while tele lenses will allow you to focus on details.

How to get there: It sits beside the Church of San Trovaso, a short walk from the Accademia Bridge. Public transport water bus station Zattere (line 2, 5.1, 5.2) and Accademia (line 1, 2).

Coordinates: +45° 25′ 48.90″, +12° 19′ 33.41″

Weekly Photo Challenge: Joy – Kiss in Times Square

Eduardo Kobra’s Mural of Alfred Eisenstaedt’s Photo "VJ Day, The Kiss"
Eduardo Kobra’s Mural of Alfred Eisenstaedt’s Photo “VJ Day, The Kiss”

This week I go with a tribute to New York. The famous kiss in Times Square, photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt, has been “re-edited” in this big mural by street artist Eduardo Kobra. He added a perfectly fitting explosion of colors to the joy of one of the most famous, liberating and passionate kisses of our history.

LocationThe High Line of New York City.

What to shot: There are plenty of occasions from this vantage point of view: a 1-mile section of the elevated former New York Central Railroad.

Ideal time to shot: You will not be allowed to be on the High Line at any time. Check the official site for seasonal operating ours.

Gear: Standard zooms to tele lenses are ideal to photograph the city from 10 meters above and capture her street life always on the go.

How to get there: Access to the High Line is possible via the many access points from Gansevoort Street to West 30th Street.

Coordinates: 40.749291°N 74.003671°W.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Grand

servizio fotografico senza titolo - 11 ottobre 2013 - 21802013-1 1024 blog low

Location: The Grand Canal (Canal Grande) is the major water-traffic corridor of Venice. With its large reverse-S shape, it divides the central districts of the city. Leading at one end into the lagoon near the Santa Lucia railway station and at the other end into Saint Mark Basin, it is crowded with water buses, taxis and gondolas. Its banks are lined with almost 200 buildings, ranging from the 13th to the 18th century, showing the richness of noble Venetian families, and still representing the pride and the uniqueness of Venice. Four bridges cross the canal: the Rialto Bridge, the Ponte degli Scalzi, the Ponte dell’Accademia (from wich I took this picture), and the new Ponte della Costituzione, by Santiago Calatrava.

What to shot: From Ponte dell’Accademia you’ll have a vantage point toward part of the Grand Canal with its pompous buildings, the church of Santa Maria della Salute, and Punta della Dogana, where the water of the Canal Grande meets Saint Mark Basin’s ones.

Ideal time to shot: Be prepared to get up early in the morning to capture your best shots of this view, since the sun will rise just behind the church of Santa Maria della Salute. Being there at dawn is an unforgettable experience, beyond the best way to catch the misty atmosphere of the city and the finest colors of the sky.

If you are aiming at the crowded Canal and at its peculiar traffic, made out of water buses, gondolas and work boats, any time of the day will do for you.

Gear: Wide angle lenses are ideal for creating very wide panoramas, while standard zooms (24-105mm) give you the widest range of possibilities, from panoramas to isolating the buildings or capturing the action on board of the gondolas.

How to get there: By foot is just a short walk (10 to 15 minutes) both from St. Mark Square and from the railway station.

Coordinates: 45°25′54″N 12°19′44″E

Weekly Photo Challenge: Let There Be Light! – at the Armenian Monastery

Venetian Lagoon at Sunset from San Lazzaro Island
Venetian Lagoon at Sunset from San Lazzaro Island

Location: San Lazzaro degli Armeni is a small island in the Venetian Lagoon, lying between Venice and the Lido of Venice. Formerly a leprosarium, it received its name from St. Lazarus, the patron saint of lepers. Now it is one of the world’s foremost centers of Armenian culture, it hosts an Armenian Catholic monastery that is the headquarters of the Mechitarist Order since 1717.

What to shot: The Monastery itself offers plenty of photographic opportunities, both outside and inside its walls. You may wander through the Monastery’s garden for as long as you want, with almost no one getting in your way, and that is a great opportunity to practice taking photos from different angles. Tripod is allowed outside. Internal areas are accessible buying a ticket that include a guided tour of the monastery, through the monks’ rooms, a 150,000 ancient volumes library, as well as a museum with thousands of Armenian, Arab, Indian and Egyptian artifacts, collected by the monks.Moreover, being on this small island will offer you one of the most spectacular and original view of the Venetian Lagoon.

Ideal time to shot: Sunset and the blue hour (just after the sun goes beyond the horizon). If you are planning to take the guided tour of the Monastery refer to the Venice Tourist Board’s website.

Gear: Prime and bright zoom lenses will be good for internal shots; wide angle and a tripod would be a perfect option for the outside.

How to get there: With the local public transport, waterbus n.20 from san Zaccaria, next to St. Mark square.

Coordinates: 45.411979°N 12.361422°E

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Let There Be Light!

Gondolas - Venice at dawn
Gondolas – Venice at dawn

Gondolas in Venice – St. Mark Square.

Usually we take advantage of some sort of light to take our pictures, it could be the light of a built in flash, a lamp, daylight or even the moon, but it is not so frequent to put the source of that light in the frame while composing. It may be very challenging sometimes, but it could add interest to the whole picture, especially when the lighting of the scene is peculiar. In that case it may be appropriate to show the source of the light, may it be a flickering candle, a trembling fire, or the first light of the day from a rising sun.

ISO 100, f/22, 3″.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Eerie

Fusine
Fusine

Abandoned places can be both eerie and fascinating.

This week I suggest a great site for “Urban Exploration” photography lovers. Man-made structures abandoned, ruining, usually forbidden have always attracted the most brave photographers, artists and film-makers since it’s not common to see what they can offer. It may be an abandoned hospital, an unused jail, or an old factory, as in the picture above. Urban exploration means getting absorbed into the recent past of those structures, reviving what they represented through the myriad of details still present in site.

You can see in the picture an ex-aluminum factory located just at the gates of Venice, at Fusina – Marghera.

ISO 100, f/40, 5″.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon of Venice

The Island of Burano - Venice Lagoon
The Island of Burano – Venice Lagoon

The challenge of this week is Horizon, so let’s expand our horizons!

I’ve been posting a lot about Venice, since the aim of this blog is to collect  tips to take good pictures of this enthralling city, but what about expanding our horizons just a bit. I went to Burano this summer with my camera and I had been fascinated by this small island. With no more than 2500 inhabitants it retain all of its authentic charm. Its old, tiny, and brightly painted houses stand out next to the canals crammed with boats. Almost everywhere there are shining colours, extraordinary views and picturesque scenes of everyday life. This little island of the lagoon of Venice is just plentiful of photographic occasions. Bring your brighter zooms if you are going for some street photography, or place your tripod and wait for the sun to set to have the best from the colours of the houses.

For a better quality image click here.

ISO 100, f/8, 15″.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon

Skyline of Manhattan
Skyline of Manhattan

An homage to New York. For this week I have decided to set aside hints and tips about photographyc spots in Venice or Berlin and to honor another magnificient city with its famous and astonishing skyline. The Brooklyn Bridge Promenade offers a beautiful vista of the Manhattan skyline and the majestic Brooklyn Bridge. Between trees, benches and playgrounds, the promenade is a great destination for tourists, joggers, strollers and, of course, photographers.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Up

Venice borough - Dorsoduro
Venice borough – Dorsoduro

There is something about strolling around Venice with the challenge to take some pictures that represent the beauty that you see. But it is even more important not to forget to change your point of view sometime. This week’s photo challenge is just perfect to train and look at things with a different perspective. So I took out my camera and tried to shoot following these simple rules: low the ISO, use a tripod, keep a good depth of field, look for an interesting foreground, find some lines to lead the eye of the observer, and don’t forget to look up at the sky. My subject has been this venetian house in the borough of Dorsoduro, with her typical bricks, drainpipe, and a less typical ivy mantle.

Three images embedded at 17 mm, f/11, sunset after a rainfall.

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