The Bridge of Sighs, in Venice, connects the Doge’s Palace to the old Prisons. The bridge owes its name to Lord Byron, and it comes from the suggestion that prisoners would sigh crossing the bridge toward their dungeon. It represents of course a big change in one man’s condition, going from freedom to confinement. Today you can easily take pictures of this world famous monument from the other two bridges that cross the same canal, next to St. Mark’s Square. I suggest to go there during daytime as the light get between the buildings and enhances their rough facades. At night it is illuminated artificially in a really patchy way, making it a true challenge to expose the scene properly.
Two images embedded at 28 mm, f/5.6, morning light.
Rialto Bridge and Grand Canal, Venice, colored by the soft light and faint colors of dawn.
As well as democracy is the worst form of government except all the others, black and white photography is the best form of photography except color one. Or at least this is the opinion of all those photographers ready to do almost everything in order to catch the most amazing colors nature will show. This usually implies looking for wild locations, extreme weather conditions, or just waking up early in the morning. That is what I did to capture this picture of Rialto Bridge and Grand Canal illuminated by the first light of the day, with dawn painting the sky over Venice, wrapping the city in a faint glow.
Waking up earlier in the morning could not be the most original new year resolution, but surely is a special thing for anyone who loves photography. I was there with my trusty tripod at 6 o’clock in the morning to catch San Giorgio Maggiore Island’s silhouette backlit by the first light of dawn, when the sky begins to brighten. I wasn’t alone as you can see by the blurred shape of the man in the lower left corner. He was enjoying his morning workout routine, and I kept him within the frame to make the shot more dynamic. Finally, I composed with the pier in the foreground to add some depth to the picture.
Being in Berlin in May I took advantage of the good weather to have a bike ride to Ferropolis, “the city of iron”. It is an open air museum located on the site of a former strip mining operation, near Dessau, which contains huge industrial machines from the mid-twentieth century. They can measure to 30 meters high, 120 meters long and weigh up to 1980 tons. The location is used also to host several events, concerts and festivals like the Melt! festival or the popular “Ferropolis in Flammen”.
These big, odd, rusted monsters seemed to be just perfect for an HDR session with a wide angle lens.
Punta della Dogana is one of my favourite locations to take photos in Venice. This time I was there to have some shots in the nearby before dawn. I was going to leave when the sight of the solitary “Boy with Frog” standing out against San Giorgio Maggiore island took my attention once again.
A great location for a photographer looking for that special kind of gloomy, creepy atmosphere that belongs only to derelict places, including old operating rooms, X-Ray department, canteen, wards and also a colourful theatre. The place is always open, the acces is easy and it is common to find other photographers; so, if you are in the nearby I really suggest to give it a try (best with your wide-angle and a good tripod).
We are in the middle of summertime, time to take out our camera and look for one of those fleeting moments that fills the streets in these days. It’s also time to buy a travel guide book to go and discover new places as the “tourist” in this picture did (actually, it wasn’t summer yet, but a rainy early spring day in Venice, as the puddle suggests).
The picture for this week’s Photo Challenge: Hands. It represents a particular of the East Side Gallery and exactly a painting by Christine Kühn, called “Touch the Wall”. Touching the wall at any time between 13th August 1961 and 9th November 1989 would have been fatal since the Wall was part of the “Death Zone”. The artist herself had been so delighted to be able to touch the Wall after its fall that she wanted to let other people feel the same; so she invited passers-by to leave a colored handprint on the Wall by touching it with their own hands. And someone just keep touching it.
Here it is another Tempelhofer Park shot. I like this one because it’s a very simple composition, written with shadows more than with light, and shows an unusual relation between nature and urbanization, with the built-up area barely visible in the background that seems to be overwhelmed by the big, strong tree to the fore.
A picture I took a while ago came in to my mind as soon as I read this weekly photo challenge. I love to photograph old people but that sunday morning I was just looking for something suggesting loneliness and neglect (don’t ask me why), so I found myself courting a solitary bench; but something better got into the frame. This old woman walking through the maze of venetian streets fits perfectly with what I was looking for and she added some meaning to the shot: “you have to travel light to go as far as I did”. And she certainly seems to have gone quite a long way through the journey of her life.
I was walking around Tempelhofer park one day, looking for some photographic inspiration, when my eyes got caught up by this familiar silhouette. And familiar it was indeed: the silhouette in this picture belongs to the valiant mate of my photographic trips around Berlin, an ever-lasting, ever-faithful, wonderful bicycle signed Peugeot. I just had to take a picture. Besides, I really like silhouettes and backlight situations and a big park like the one at Tempelhof, with its huge open spaces, is the ideal location to get some practice.
San Giorgio Maggiore is a small island located in front of St. Mark’s square. It is often one of my photographic subject while strolling around Venice. San Giorgio’s church and bell tower give the island its characteristic profile. I like to take pictures of it in different conditions of light since it is illuminated by the early morning light almost frontally and backlighted at sunset. If you are going to shoot from St. Mark’s square you can also play with the many poles and docks you will find there to create a more dynamic foreground and to lead the observer’s eye through the picture.
I took this picture from St. Mark’s square, Venice, just before dawn, f/18, 30 sec.
Tempelhofer Freiheit is one of the most evocative location in Berlin. This exciting park is strictly connected to many important events of the recent history of Europe: chapters of aviation history has been written here since its designation as an airport, and it eventually turned into a symbol for the defence of freedom with its leading role in the Berlin Airlift, during the Cold War. Now that it has been turned into a public park I really love to take pictures here as it is still brimful of charm and suggestion. I love to think that people can still regain possession of part of its own history by living this park in different ways.
I took this picture a little before sunset with my 70-300 mm, at f/5, 1/640 sec.
I usually think about “contrast” like something that concern colors, or lights and shadows. This time I tried to think about it in a different way.. so here it is. In this picture the contrast is between what stands still and what flows by. Peoples seem to flow just like water does and their traces are soon to be lost. What stands still here is a sculpture by Charles Ray called “Boy with Frog” that depicts a boy holding a goliath frog above St. Mark’s square. So, that’s it! Now you try and give a meaning to this! 😉
I took this picture from Punta della Dogana, Venice, soon after dawn. ND filter on, 17 mm, f/14, 4 sec.
Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s square) is the principal square of Venice and it has been its social, religious and political centre for centuries. Nowadays it has become one of the most visited and photographed tourist attraction of the world. Being original will be a hard task while taking pictures of this site, but the results will make worth the effort. In this picture I tried to give emphasis to the modular structure of the old procuracies along the north side of the Piazza and to the geometrical disposition of the “masegni“, the time-worn volcanic stones that form the pavement.
The East Side Gallery is the longest section of the Berlin Wall remaining and it is also the largest open air gallery in the world. So you will probably take pictures of it. A lot of pictures. But if you want to add dynamism and originality to your shots of one of the most photographed monument in Berlin you know you have to do something more than just look at its pantings and shoot. Here it is a possibility you may like: a good panning. The East Side Gallery is a perfect place to exercise this photographic technique: it is 1.3 km long and it runs along a well-travelled road so you can choose the section you prefer and wait until the most characteristic, colourful, eye-catching cyclist, biker or anything else runs in front of you.
“Man sieht nur was man weiss” (One sees only what one knows). This Goethe’s thought applies perfectly when it comes to take pictures of a town. The more you know about culture, lifestyle, social structure, but also about architecture, environment and any other peculiarity of places you are visiting, the more your pictures will be able to communicate the essence of towns and people you are looking at, gaining in interest, smartness and paying you back for any effort you put in expanding your knowledge.
So here it is this fantastic video, produced by Insula Spa, revealing how does Venice work. Enjoy it!
Walking around Berlin with your camera in the hand and no inspiration? Don’t forget the underground stations! They have many advantages: there are plenty, so you can choose your preferred, they are always there, so you don’t risk to miss the moment, they are often crowded with all sort of people coming and going, so they are easily a must for a street photographer and they offer many cues for a nice architectonic shot too.
The Berlin U-Bahn is one of the most extensive underground network in Europe with more than 170 stations spread across ten lines, so you really can choose your preferred one to take some nice pictures. Have fun!