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Venice in Black and White



I find the city to be inspirational for photography, especially architectural work. Moreover, I enjoy photographing Venice in black and white, which I find captures certain elements of the city with more emotion – the atmosphere, the light, the texture, and the patterns. That is my purpose with the photo essay below.


Venice in Black and White #1

Canon EOS 5D Mark II + TS-E24mm f/3.5L II @ 24mm, ISO 250, 5 sec, f/5.6


An Early Morning Stroll

For me, there’s nothing pleasant about a 4 AM alarm. At first. But then there is a special magic to walking through Venice’s deserted alleys, over empty bridges, water lapping gently against worn marble quaysides, when it’s still dark. Almost no-one out and about, just the occasional all night water bus and polished wooden taxi launches heading across the black lagoon to catch an early flight.

Venice in Black and White #2

Canon EOS 5D Mark II + TS-E24mm f/3.5L II @ 24mm, ISO 200, 5 sec, f/5.6


That is how this photographic journey through a Venice day begins.

Although I enjoy photographing Venice in color, there are a few reasons why I chose this photo essay to be entirely in black and white. Partly this is to complement the color images in Alan Mosley’s post, but it is also for the creative reasons I mentioned in the introduction: black and white emphasizes composition, lighting, tonal gradations, patterns, and textures in a way that just seems made for Venice. Below, I have also tried to present the sheer range of photographic interest Venice offers, from iconic architectural masterpieces and classic views to the atmospheric and the less frequented corners.

Venice in Black and White #3

Canon EOS 5D Mark II + TS-E24mm f/3.5L II @ 24mm, ISO 200, 30 sec, f/11.0


But I have to admit to slight cheating: although presented as a day from before the dawn to late at night, these images were actually taken over a number of years, with a range of cameras.


Around St Mark’s Square Before the Crowds

St Mark’s square is less busy than usual at 5am. In fact, there’s no one there at all. Just a few pigeons. And me with a tripod and the wonderful Canon 24mm tilt-shift lens. Below is St Mark’s Basilica, the floodlights illuminating the extraordinarily detailed facade, with an iconic Venetian street lamp thrown in for good measure…

Venice in Black and White #4

Canon EOS 5D Mark II + TS-E24mm f/3.5L II @ 24mm, ISO 800, 5 sec, f/13.0


Just a few steps away is the Doge’s Palace, taken up close and low to emphasize the perspective.

Venice in Black and White #5