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Street in Venice

CJ | Photography and Photographers | Published Sep 28, 2011

Here we are for some street photography in Venice. Today I've not been an early morning photographer and I arrived at the Venice train station about at 9:00am. Yes I know it's late for the good light. It's a matter of fact that some hour in the day are better than others for taking pictures. For example working at dawn has the advantage that you can find the city almost empty or with few people messing around.
Another key point is boviously the quality of light: at dawn the sun rays hits the atmosphere with a very low angle and light needs to flow a thicker layer of air as opposed to other moments during the day. That situation has at least three good points for the photographer: light is smoother, white balance is on the red and yellow range, and last, we have longer and softer shadows. All those good things can be said for the sunset time too. Yet it'sbetter to stop dreaming about light because today we're late and weather is really dull. Don't worry about it, a photographer needs to shoot also in not charming light condition and so today we can have a good practice day. This light condition, the one you're seeing in the video, means: no landscape or large city views for today. People, tight view scenes and wide lens. Let's start.

I'll go searching for some street and detail shots in Venice today starting from the alleys and internal streets avoiding wide spaces, seaside and other situations where the sky will rule the shoot. I have to work with people, situations, details and shadows. Using people, mixed with strong shadows, you can compensate the bad light. Many people choose a telephoto lens to achieve that task: they can take portraits, or candid, filling the frame with the subject while staying away form the scene, being sheltered and hidden from people. Yes, you can doo it too, but you'll likely come back home with a bunch of unchained and low quality pictures.

Obviously that's not the rule, I know great photographers that shoot like in heaven with a 100-400mm doing cadids in city centres, but that's a tutorial and we need a common and biased base to start with.
For the fist part of the day I choosed a wide lens the 17-40mm. It brings you closer the the subject and that will produce a more intimate picture keeping the link from the subject and the scene where it is. Once you spot a good situation prepare your camera and stand for some minutes, looking what people are doing, how light fill the scene and hanging around: the scene will flow in you and you'll be part in the scene and that will be the moment for a good shot.

When I shoot in streets and cities I usually set my camera in P (program) or A(aperture) mode. That keep my mind off about the exposure problem and let me catch the situations in a more relaxed way. On strong light contidion, like today in Venice, I'll set the ISO about at 100 or 200 due to the condition. I will find lots of contrast on many of the scenea so I'll keep my thumb on the exposure compensation wheel to balance the deepness of the shadows and avoiding the clipping on the high lights.