Waiting for photos
Russell Degnan

Sometimes a city or a place throws its full beauty at you the moment you stand before it; other times it never shows itself at all. But it is most satisfying when you see that moment coming but have to wait for it, sitting quietly while the sun slowly pokes its way from behind the clouds to light up a scene.

On my last trip, in Avignon, as I came back over the bridge from Villeneuve; an otherwise largely miserable day produced a rainbow perfectly behind the city from across the Rhone. It would have been the perfect shot, but the walls were a dull grey instead of brilliant yellow, so I sat and waited. And waited. The sun washed the rainbow out a little, but it is one of my favourite photos anyway.

In Venice this time it was as wet and cold as you could make it. Books ruined, maps stuck together, keys rusting. Late in the afternoon I stood in the Bieannale Gardens in the soft rain. A guy walked past, twice, staring and wondering what sort of madness could possess someone to stand in the rain merely watching.

But I had my reasons, three in fact. The first, because it wasn't raining so hard, and in its own strange way on a day when I was already so wet, it was quite pleasant. Second, because to the south the campanile on San Lazarro Degli Armeni was perfectly silhouetted against the breaking clouds and the perfect stillness of it all was inspiring. And third, because those breaking clouds were shortly going to light up the face of every building along the waterfront, and I wanted to see it.

It took a while, but the hour between the sun breaking out and sunset was as beautiful a display of rainbows, Michelangelo-esque clouds and silhouetted churches and campaniles as you could see. I have great sunset pictures of Venice from last time, but this time was slightly different. This time, except for a few fellow die-hards who scurried around each other getting that perfect photo, I had it all to myself.


Days Spent Away 5th December, 2004 02:34:48   [#] 

Comments

Photography is about patience...
While superficially, action photography is the antithesis of the ultracool approach to landscapes you like to take, the key is pretty much the same; patience. To take one good action shot, you need to watch the activity for some time, explore the best angles, try to plan the composition as best you can (so look at what your background is before you take the shots) and take approximately a squillion shots to get one good one.

Of course, with action shots it also helps if you have several thousand dollars worth of equipment, but anyway...
Rob  5th December, 2004 22:02:37  

I know...
Of course this method is constrained by two things:
1. The fact that I am mostly wandering around and taking photos as an adjunct to seeing museums and squares and stuff.
2. The fact that when you are taking ultra-cool landscape shots you have good days and bad days - mostly, nay all, light related.

On good days it matters not what you take, everything comes out great. On bad days it doesn't much matter what you get, it is all crap.

The most important consideration is being somewhere useful when the light is good - as opposed to inside, or on a train, or in San Marco's Piazza for what, the 20th time now... nice photos of it though, I'll show you when I get back.
Russ  8th December, 2004 04:53:46  

A city of gold
The rainbow shows the way to a city of gold. I love the reflection in the water.
BridgeGirl  6th January, 2005 17:36:49