Thinning Out the Crowds (Venezia 244)

If you want to photograph St Mark’s square with the sun lighting up the campanile and basilica then you have to wait until the afternoon for the sun to get into position.  Trouble is that by then there are hundreds of others getting into position then too; setting up their selfies with the same background, chasing the pigeons, comparing the prices at Florian and Quadri, and just generally milling around.

In an attempt to ameliorate this problem I decided to try shooting with a “stopper” filter, effectively placing a piece of glass so dark as to be virtually opaque between the lens and scene before me.  This has the effect of necessitating long exposures to get enough light into the camera to make a decent image, long exposures in which moving objects fail to register but buildings and fixtures do.

That’s the theory anyway.  Some people are more mobile than others and those who stop to chat or just to stand and stare will remain, or blur slightly reflecting their eventual departure.  Photographically they become ghostlike.

I shot a number of exposures from the corner of the Piazza as the random effects of the people couldn’t be predicted, and the environment is changing (clouds move, shadows shift) from shot to shot when each exposure takes 30 seconds or so.

Some inevitably worked better than others; this was my favourite.Venezia-4