A small canal  in Venice at high tide
A small canal in Venice at high tide

Backwaters of Venice

Backwaters of Venice.

There are many quiet places in Venice which draw me back again and again. I love to photograph these secret corners, particularly at high water when the ugly tide marks are covered up and water starts to spill into the doorways that have access to the canals. It’s best to leave the Grand Canal and seek out the many bridges and Sotoportegos (alleys under the buildings). Here you will find old facades reflected in calm emerald water. It’s a reprieve from the tourists and a reminder of real Venice.

Overcast days are ideal order to avoid strong contrast between the shadows and highlights. The images will look flat on the review screen on the camera, especially if you’re used to seeing the dazzling colours in full sunshine but there is in fact a lot of detail. I select the area of reflection in the water and increase the contrast in Curves on photoshop, which creates more balance in the image.

I prefer to see this type of image in colour as the subtle pastel shades are so beautiful. This is a matter of taste, of course, and depends on the chosen subject and light. It’s worth thinking about different formats too. Panoramic, square, landscape, portrait or maybe a filmic size such as 5×4 which is one of my favourite formats. Keep an open mind when processing and try different crops.

So next time you’re in Venice and it’s a dull overcast day and the water is high, take a walk and loose yourself in the backwaters. You won’t be disappointed.