A photo of gondolas near Piazza San Marco (Saint Marco Square) in Venice, Italy

The Gondola’s of Piazza San Marco

You can’t go to Venice and not make a photo of the Gondolas parked near Saint Marco’s square.

I had this photograph in my head before I arrived in Venice, and I’m glad with how it has turned out. These gondola’s are parked on the south side of the square, just outside of it, in a long row, one after the other (to the right and to the left in the photo above). For a different perspective, and taken at a different time of the day (early morning), see David’s photo of this area.

One of the best things about the Venice Carnival Photo Tour with David and Bobbi, were the critiques of our images at the end of a day of shooting. I’ve never had my work critiqued before, so I was nervous about it. As well, they were going to be critiques of photos without any processing! But only because I simply did not have time to do any. But regardless, I think not having done any processing was actually beneficial in hindsight. The critiques were very insightful, not only of my own work, but also from the other students. Each day after a critique, I would find myself thinking about what was said and I started to become much more acute to what i was doing while shooting, which I think is something that I’ll keep with me for a very long time to come.

As for the image, I shot this one using a Lee 0.9 hard grad, hand held. I was actually attempting to do some test shots to come back later and shoot this again, but didn’t really get a chance to repeat it (lesson learned there too..). Not a lot of processing in this one. Cropped to 16×9, contrast increased near around the bottom of the water, and that was about it. Thanks for David here as well for setting the processing on this one in the right direction.

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  • Hey John … awesome blog … I enjoy photos and specially words you’re putting along.

    Question: What motivated you to put this small piece of the sun in the frame … since kinda distracts me a bit when enjoying the scene … or maybe I am just too rigid and need to loosen up a bit πŸ™‚

    Is direction of gradient (I assume grad means that) a bit angled from left top toward right bottom?

    Do you proffer mixing 2 different exposures or actually using hard gradients with single exposure when lot of dynamic range out there?

    • Hey Marko,

      Thanks! I aim to keep at it πŸ™‚

      Funny you say that about the the small piece of the sun. It was the first thing I though that I had to correct about this image. However, this image is one of the ones that was critiqued during the workshop, and hearing David and Bobbi speak about it, and work through the elements that work, it then started to make sense.

      It indicates the time of the day. The sun is high in the sky and it is bright. The specular highlights on the lower right compliment it which brings it some balance. As well the dark left side of the frame, is really light fall off. It’s a combination of the the height of the sun on the right side and the wide angle of the lens (17mm on full frame). The gradient was actually straight and flush against the horizon (well almost, it looks actually to be a little lower on the right side if you look closely) not rotated toward the left. It also enhanced that dark side, because it became 3 stops darker, hence bringing it into more prominence.

      I have a couple of shots of this without the grad, and the dark left is still there, just not as pronounced. As well using the grad, allowed me to bring up the exposure in the water, which in my opinion gives it more impact.

  • I’m glad you posted this one, it’s a great shot. I’m also glad you enjoyed the critique sessions. It can be a bit weird, especially if you haven’t had the experience before, but it can be very useful. By the way, I hope you’ll send me this one for the gallery (as well as your shot down the Grand Canal) πŸ™‚

    • Thanks David. Weird, but so useful! Thanks for doing it. And yep, I’ll include this one for sure. I’ll be taking care of those shots and the others for the group during the weekend.