Wednesday, October 24, 2012

This blog is moving ...

I have transitioned my blog to the WordPress platform, which will now be hosted directly on my primary hosting service.  This blog has been on Google's Blogger for the past few years, and I thought it was time to take more control over how it operates.  WordPress is one of the most widely used blogging platforms out there, and it is very stable and feature-rich.

Here is the new site:  Words and Photographs

The posts on this blog will remain indefinitely, so any old links and web searches will continue to work.

Thanks for reading.
- Matt

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Gondolas

The first word that comes to mind when you hear Venice is "gondola".  Yes, Venice is known for it's canals and certainly not to mention St. Mark's Square and Cathedral, but almost nowhere else on earth will you find gondolas.  A few hundred years back there were over 10,000 gondolas in this small city.  The aristocrats used these watercraft as their primary means of transportation.  Now there are only about 500 gondolas, and most are used for tourist "joyrides" and the remainder are used for quick rides across the Grand Canal and other purposes.

We did not get a chance to ride in a gondola during our short stay in Venice, and if we had I'm not exactly sure where we would have embarked or how much we would have paid.  Many tourists start their rides from the lagoon area near St. Mark's Square.  These gondolas begin their journey by steering into one of the canals that lead from the lagoon in towards the city, under the heavily traveled arching pedestrian bridges.

There are also a few places within the maze of streets and canals where you can begin your ride.  The photo below shows one of these crowded canal "intersections".  It was an amazing location bustling with activity, with regular tourists competing against a few hotel guests that were trying to get a short boat ride to their hotel.

As far as pricing we have read that prices can be high, but are flexible depending on your negotiating skills, also taking into account the demand level at the time (e.g. crowd size, time of year, time of day, etc.)  If you want to add a romantic singing accordion player to your trip then it will cost your dearly - up to $100 extra.

Hopefully on our next visit (if there is one) we'll be sure to make time for a gondola ride, but we'll probably skip the accordion player.

See more Venice images on my Etsy site:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ah Venice!

I am fortunate that I sometimes get to travel to (or near to) interesting destinations through my day-job as an engineer.  My most recent trip took me to Basel, Switzerland, and I was able to combine this business trip with a personal family trip to Italy.  We spent about a day in Verona, followed by a day and a half in Venice.  This is much too short a time to experience all that Venice has to offer.  I would say for a photographer you need about 2 days to see all of the attractions such as museums and churches, if you are so inclined, as well as 2-3 days of walking and photographing the city.

The weather worked in our favor.  The first evening we were there provided some very nice light as well as clouds (cloudless skies are so boring).  In contrast the second day was rainy, so I feel lucky that we had even that short amount of good weather to work with.

I will follow with more detailed posts about our experiences in Venice, and how they relate to the photographs we made. Here is a representative photo from the walkway near St. Mark's Square, looking across the lagoon towards the San Giorgio Maggiore church.