Venice is a great city to visit at any time of year. But in February it has the Venice Carnival, which can provide some wonderful opportunities for travel photography.
With 100's of people in masks and elaborate costumes – it also brings the crowds. Summer is probably best avoided as it’s peak tourist season, and even more crowded! But spring or autumn are lovely.
And winter – particularly January - has some unexpected bonuses too:
One: it’s the least crowded time of the year.
Two: sunrise is late – so you can get out of bed at a civilized time, and still get great dawn shots!
Three: the cold weather will give you the perfect excuse to pop into a bar every now and then for one of those famous Venice hot chocolates to warm you up.
Venice is full of photography possibilities . The architecture, the buildings and bridges reflected in the canals, people dressed in furs strolling in St Mark’s Square… and of course, the gondolas.
There are so many different ways to photograph the gondolas! The first photo here (above top) is a fairly classic view of gondolas and San Salute at dawn. The sun is rising just behind my left shoulder, and is highlighting the golden gondola prows, as well as giving a lovely light on the building.
Only a few days later, I took the second photo, in the same place, but in very different weather conditions. On this morning it was foggy – no chance of a dawn shot towards San Salute, I could barely even see the building! So instead I composed a picture with just a few of the gondolas, and used a long exposure with my camera on a tripod to allow some motion blur.
At the end of a winter’s afternoon, if you stand on the Rialto Bridge, you may be able to get a photograph of a gondola just catching the last rays of the sun – giving you a silhouetted, black and gold image, as in the third photo here.
This last photo was taken on a very dull day, so I played with it in Photoshop when I got home, saturating the colours and blending layers to achieve a watercolour effect.
Travel photography, Venice Carnival, gondolas, and hot chocolate – what’s not to like?!
Venice Carnival starts around two weeks before Ash Wednesday and ends on Shrove Tuesday (Fat Tuesday or Martedì Grasso), the day before Ash Wednesday.
See http://www.venice-carnival-italy.com/index.php for further details
If you would like to learn more about travel photography, consider taking Keith Wilson's course on Travel and City Break Photography or Nigel Hicks’s course on Capturing The Essence of Faraway Places