Venice was a city that we almost gave a miss due to its immense popularity and the fact that it verges on being completely overrun. Ultimately we made the trip and found ourselves not hating Venice as we were warned we would.
However, stepping off the train at mid-day we thought to ourselves ‘oh no, what have we gotten ourselves into’. We dragged our bags through the packed streets to our Venice hotel for the night beginning to regret making the trip.
We came to learn that the thing about Venice it’s that during the day there are many cruise ships and day visitors. Most come to spend a few hours in Venice and then leave around dinner time. When the sunsets Venice becomes a very different place. You can find empty streets and sparsely crowded piazzas. The city is calmer, and in my opinion more beautiful.
After dinner, I ran back to the hotel to get my tripod and begin our tour of Venice at night. We started in St. Marks Square where the afternoon the crowds can make it tough to walk through. By night, crowds have thinned and the square looked peaceful.
The other great thing about long exposure photography is that it’s a great way to remove people from your photos. Even if there are people in the picture they are often blurred or simply don’t show up due to the nature of the technique. During the day it is almost impossible to get a photo of the square with these few people, but it happens almost every night.
After the square, we wound our way through narrow streets and stone bridges of the city looking for peaceful scenes of the city. Many of my favorite shots came from the bridges looking down the waterways filled with small boats and still water. The old buildings with their foundations in the water made for interesting night shots.
All the buildings of the city take on a different feel at night. Most are softly lit and makes me think of what Venice must have been like centuries ago. The peacefully, candlelit Venice. Without the cruise ships, baby strollers, flag-carrying tour leaders, and hoards of people. Venice at night still holds some of the mystery and intrigue that brings most to the city in the first place.
If you are planning on going to Venice make sure to stay at least a night and experience the other side of Venice. Venice at night is much different than the daytime version. If you want to take your own night time photos of Venice check out my guide to Nighttime Travel Photography. For even more tips on Travel Photography, check out all my tutorials before you jump on the plane next.
Thursday 25th of June 2015
Really beautiful photos. Visited Venice many years ago on a big trip to Europe and would love to go back to see more of it. I prefer exploring at night as there are less people out and the weather is more pleasant in the summer.
Friday 22nd of May 2015
You discovered the most magical side of Venice. My wife and I lived in the city centre for 3 years. By night Venice is completely different from the day. It is amazing! We love Venice although sometimes living there is very uncomfortable. :D
John @ TravelerLife
Sunday 17th of May 2015
Enjoyed this post. You have some very nice photos in there as well. I've always been a huge fan of night photography and long exposures. It always gives the pictures a lot of character and if there are moving lights, it portrays the feeling of action and movement in a beautiful manner! I'll be visiting Venice in about a month and a half and although I've heard is is entirely over crowded and swarmed by the typical tourist I'm still excited. I look forward t exploring more of it by night while things have calmed down some and can't wait to see what sort of photo opportunities I can find. I'll take a look at your travel photography tutorial as well. Cheers!
Steph of Big World Small Pockets
Saturday 16th of May 2015
Hi there, we also found that Venice was a lot more pleasant at night when all the day-trippers have gone home - i think this is probably true of a lot of those really famous places and landmarks. If you're around that area and have time, Verona is certainly worth checking out - we really enjoyed it :)
Saturday 16th of May 2015
Beautiful photos! I especially like the use of blur in the one of Piazza San Marco. I also love exploring cities at night, after the rush of the day is gone.