White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Amazing at Every Turn, Part 4 of 5, Venice, Veneto, Italy

There seems to be more musically sophisticated buskers in Venice - classical music to enrich the soul.

Here's another form of busking. Put some coins in the box to take a picture, or, pose with them for a picture. Either way, put money in the box.

A warm sunny wharf near the Rialto Bridge is just perfect for a pair of tourists to rest and recharge their batteries.

Gondolas at dock, the Rialto Bridge in the background.

Ready for passengers.

We had a great lunch along this wharf just below the Rialto Bridge. Even though most/all customers were tourists, the standards for food quality were high. Protecting the Italian reputation for quality food was evident everywhere.

Blue and green pilings and color coordinated clothing.

Along the Grand Canal.


This "grocery store" is on a boat docked along a side canal. Customers stand beside it on the sidewalk and the greengrocer passes over what the shopper can't reach from the bins.

A department store just north of the Rialto Bridge, Fondaco dei Tedeschi, has a rooftop deck that visitors are sometimes permitted to access. This view is looking northward up the Grand Canal......

.....and this one looking southward at the Venice skyline (with some post-processing enhancements added).

Saturday, April 22, 2017

A City Unlike Any Other, Part 3 of 5, Venice, Veneto, Italy

I removed the color in this image to create sort of a timeless feel.

One of only four bridges that span the Grand Canal, the Ponte dell'Accademia was near our house and I must have crossed it dozens of times in addition to taking night photos from it.

A touch gaudy perhaps but, part of the gondola charm.

I noticed many gondolas have mats for the gondolier to stand on the raised rear surface.  Perhaps to protect the finish and perhaps for better traction. It looks like quite a balancing act to stand and row.

I never did figure out the coloring system for the dock pilings - if there is one.

The waters are much calmer in the smaller side canals.....

...but the boat traffic can get busy and congested sometimes which can lead to minor disagreements.

I'll let you imagine what is being said between two gondoliers by this gesture and expression.

It is busy on the water with all the boat traffic. Everything - goods and people - move by water. The large vessel at above left is part of what amounts to the Venice bus transportation system - vaporettos.

But on land, photos rule the day. Selfie sticks are still popular here and for sale by roving hawkers.

This is a remarkable sight for one reason - it is the only street I encountered where I was the only human on it - a dark back alley apparently where the tourists do not normally go.

Where else but Venice would you enjoy live music of this style at an outdoor cafe?

So, I did it again. As in Part 1, I dragged my tired body out of the house after 10pm to see how tonight's full moon over the Grand Canal looked. I'm glad I did. It was much better than the last one - a sharper image, fewer clouds obscuring the moon, shutter speed 1/10 second, f1.8, ISO 5000 and less foot traffic tonight on the bridge to shake my camera.

Friday, April 21, 2017

A City of Gondolas and More! Part 2 of 5, Venice, Veneto, Italy

If I have learned nothing else during this visit to Venice it is this: neither photos nor videos do justice to this city - they do not capture the feel of the air, the smell of the ocean, the light, the energy, the sounds, the frenzy.

I don't know if this man is just out exercising or what but, he sure caught my eye.

A gondolier waiting for a customer. I will never look at a black/white horizontal striped shirt the same again.

It was a slow moment for these gondolas and a good time for this pooch to enjoy the warm sunshine while he waited with his human friend.

The water is choppy with the wind and the power boat wakes on the Grand Canal but the gondolas cruise right along anyway.

This gondola and others at set locations criss-cross the Grand Canal ferrying passengers for a small fee. Very small fee if you are a resident.

This view is in front of the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute looking across the Grand Canal towards the bell tower of San Marco in the distance.

Looking up the Grand Canal from the same location. And yes, all those buildings are standing on millions of wood pilings sunk into the sea floor hundreds of years ago.

The Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute is in the background but, the artwork at left is what captured my attention.

The white marble sculpture had that Michaelangelo kind of quality that just stunned me in its beauty and detail.

This busker sat down in an echoing pedestrian tunnel to sing for his tips - at this moment, a James Taylor song - go figure - not quite what I expected in Venice but, James Taylor tunes are known and loved the world over. And speaking of love........

......it is in the air everywhere in Venice!........

....as the blooming wisteria reaches it's springtime climax.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Journey to Venice, Part 1 of 5, Venice, Veneto, Italy

With the G7 Summit taking place in Lucca and closing off much of the city, we decided to make a trip to Venice.  I have never been before.  And Venice is like nowhere else I've ever been.

I don't quite know what to make of it.  I was attracted to it's storied past of world leadership and riches and glory but, equally dismayed by its current state of decline, crowds even in the off season, selfie sticks, and the generally overpriced adult amusement park feel.

It is odd to be in a location where transport by gondola is so common. Although most of the trade is tourists, local residents also use the gondolas  (called traghettos) to cross directly to the other side of the Grand Canal when they want the direct route.

One advantage of Venice over Lucca is that because the streets/alleyways are narrower, and there are hundreds of pedestrian bridges also, it makes bicycles and other vehicles not viable transport. There are no cars, buses, trucks, bicycles - just the legs of humans to propel the masses forward at sometimes a snail's pace.  Boats are the only mechanized transport - and muscular folk pushing handtrucks laden with all manner of goods for delivery.

We made the 180 mile/300 km journey from Lucca to Venice in about 3 1/2 hours.  This view is from atop the Ponte dell' Accademia near where we stayed ("ponte" translates as bridge in Italian).

These two folks are either looking at a ring box or a smartphone - could be either.

It's quite a skill for the gondoliers to navigate through these narrow canals.

And sometimes it gets mighty crowded.

Over in Piazza San Marco, not many diners are out just yet as the afternoon light fades on the Basilica di San Marco.

I did get to hear the live outside restaurant band play that stereotype tune, "Volare."

Kids of all ages enjoyed feeding the pigeons.

Or posing with them in the foreground and the Basilica in the background.

Sunset light reflecting off part of the Basilica.

A gondola parking lot on the Grand Canal just off San Marco Piazza. They were bobbing on the the waves while tethered and they looked a little bit like pigeons, too.

Peeking in this church as I walked by, I caught a glimpse of this group rehearsing for a Vivaldi concert in a few nights hence.

The last golden glow of sunset on the Grand Canal.

Hours later, as the moon rose, I dragged myself out of the house again for a night image from atop the Ponte dell' Accademia.  I used the railing as my tripod with a shutter speed of 1/20 second and I still picked up some vibration and blurring from the pedestrian footfalls across the bridge. Maybe I'll have better luck tomorrow night.