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Street in Venice

Walking down the street in Venice and catching a glimpse of a colourful laundry day.

Walking down the street in Venice and catching a glimpse of a colourful laundry day.
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Walking Down The Street Photo ContestTop 20 class week 1
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marzenego PRO+
marzenego January 01, 2018
Eye catching. You have transformed this part of my hometown into a “Opera d’ Arte”. Bravo!

Behind The Lens

This picture was taken from a boat at the waterfront of this quieter quarter of Venice, Italy. We were on our way back from a tour of the lagoon, and decided to moor here briefly to capture water reflections and look for abstract images, or whatever we could see of the scenery. The colours and the streams of light from crossing alleyways caught my eyes and i made a quick move to shoot 8 to 9 frames before the boat had to leave.
It was around mid afternoon in early fall, and the afternoon sunlight was brightly lighting the buildings' walls facing the water while the alleys were looking cool yet colourful.
Even as the alley was dark and cool, the sunlight hitting the walls on the side lent a soft light to the colourful laundry lines. The streams of cross-alley lights and the sunlight on the upper parts of the walls, and sky lights in the background also added light and contrast. For street photography without actions I like to use Aperture Priority as in this image, so that the camera chooses the shutter speed (1/250 sec) while I make sure I get enough exposure with f5.6 at 112-150mm mm focal length.
I used Nikon D800 and NIkkor lens 28-300mm, hand-held, no flash. There was no place for tripod in a boat with three other photographers and a boatman. Cameras today are equipped with VR and Normal/Active features for moving vehicles, which must be put to use. With practice, one can develop steady hands and arms, and, with good breathing - no kidding - achieve some interesting results without setting up a tripod.
The whole alleyway, half lit and half shadowed and the colourful laundry gently fluttering in the breeze were an attractive happenstance. There was a slightly cool blue glow to the scene. My eyes were drawn to it when I looked up from shooting on the water reflections. What I had learned earlier and marvelled over, was that Venetians have no need for a dryer in the house. Breeze and sunlight, and shared space are all free agents. I wished I could see this scene everyday where I live, above 45N - of course my imagination was running away. Inspiration aside, I was challenged in that few seconds by a remark that we needed a tripod on steady ground for that image. I had to rise to the moment knowing it could be done.
Yes, but only as much or as little as the image requires. In this image I needed to bring up the shaded part and tone down the bright sunlight on the sides. I use Lightroom for this part and Photoshop for the Levels to harmonize the contrasts.
In my camera bag
I always have two camera bodies for long photography trips, a favourite for main, and a back up. I bring two lenses as I don't like to change lenses unless situations demand. The 28-300 mm is for street photography, and either 80-400 mm or 200-500 mm (new) for nature and birds. I do bring a tripod but use it only when the shooting is focused on landscape. Plus: cleaning equipment, dusting cloth, extra batteries and cards, extra lens cap backup, and recently added a small flash light, and a camera rain cover. I don't need the flash, and I find cumbersome the Polarizer or ND lens, so they stay home.
In many cases, lingering a little longer in one place would allow you to slow down and look twice over and see the many other possibilities in one scene. Often when leaving a scene, look back and discover fresh perspectives and different lighting, angles and focus, and heights. Or even make a return to the same place another day for even more surprises or - I like the word - possibilities. On the other hand, In the situation when I shot this image, the boat could not linger. I had to content myself with only one possibility. In that case, act fast and shoot as many variations of setting as time allowed. I have done the same on a bus moving through slow traffic and see an image coming up. Being alert, 'calculative' and prepared, and being aware of the place and its culture too, is essential to capturing some interesting images.

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