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The Virtual Tourist: Venice - Travel Photography

Last March I contributed an article at PL titled “Venice in Black & White“. I ended it by saying that I was hoping to return to Venice that year. Despite my wife reminding me that I already have tons of photos, I still wanted to go back and get better images, as well as have a chance to use the Nikon 19mm PC on the Z7…



I did return. Early last June. But little did I know that within less than 9 months Venice would be in lockdown. So now seems to be the perfect time for a virtual visit.

My real visit lasted less than 36 hours and this essay mostly follows my wanderings over 24 hours from my first morning to sunrise the next day.

A simple study of beautifully designed and executed architectural detail, set off against ever varied brick work, a visually interesting blue door, much weed and the typical murky green water of a tranquil canal.

A simple study of beautifully designed and executed architectural detail, set off against ever-varied brickwork, a visually interesting blue door, much weed and the typical murky green water of a tranquil canal. NIKON Z 7 + NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S @ 33.5mm, ISO 64, 1/100, f/8.0

Planning

With a short trip in particular, some planning is essential. Venice is a city of photogenic narrow canals and lanes, but for this trip I was particularly interested in the open spaces and wider views.

A bit cliched perhaps, but I couldn’t resist the stillness of the canal and the way, but for the bridge at the far end, the sky and water dissolve together.

A bit cliched perhaps, but I couldn’t resist the stillness of the canal and the way, but for the bridge at the far end, the sky and water dissolve together. NIKON Z 7 + 19mm f/4 @ 19mm, ISO 64, 1/200, f/8.0

First, I printed a detailed map and identified a number of possible locations: quiet squares, quaysides, Grand Canal access points and bridges. I then explored each location using the Venice Street View facility in Google Maps to refine my choice.

8:20 in the morning. A normal city coming to life except deliveries are by boat then trolley…

8:20 in the morning. A normal city coming to life except deliveries are by boat then trolley… NIKON Z 7 + NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S @ 45mm, ISO 64, 1/250, f/8.0

Last but not least, I explored each location with the Photographer’s Ephemeris app, identifying the best times of day for lighting. Assuming, of course, it would be sunny which is the one thing I couldn’t plan!

The final result, and my constant companion, was an A3 hardcopy map annotated with possible locations and rough morning, afternoon and evening walking routes.


The Gear

Images of Venice #5

NIKON Z 7 + 19mm f/4 @ 19mm, ISO 64, 1/100, f/8.0

Everything had to fit in a carry on the rucksack that wouldn’t be too heavy for a long day on my feet. This was my first trip with my Nikon Z7, and I really noticed the weight difference from my previous D850 based trips. My kit was –

  1. Nikon Z7

  2. Nikkor 19mm f/4E PC