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Rialto © Lewis Tolputt 2013

Rialto Venice has to be one of my very favourite European cities. Having explored much of Italy, Venice’s charm, architecture and sheer distinctiveness makes it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Steeped in culture, history and wonder it is understandable why over 60,000 people visit the city each day.

I spent four beautiful days in the Venetian city exploring narrow alleys and searching for hidden treasures. Along the way I had fallen in love with the colours of Burano, enjoyed the peace of Murano, absorbed the soul warming music played at St. Marks Square and eaten almost my body weight in gelato ice cream! But hey, life is a journey best traveled with an open mind and a hunger for adventure.

I had been looking to capture a number of iconic shots of Venice. The weather, swarms of tourists and some frustrating scaffolding had hampered my efforts to find what I was looking for but I was not going to give in that easily. Those that know me best will know that when I am away from home my camera bag is my only permanent companion. As you never know when a truly memorable shot may present itself, my trusted bag never leaves my side. This shot was taken on my last night in Venice before jetting off down to Rome. Fuelled from just capturing the rare scene in I made my way back to my hotel. The forty-minute stroll through the tight winding Venetian alleys made a great window into the hidden lives of the local population. As the city of Venice is located in a lagoon getting from A to B will often incorporate at least one bridge crossing, and tonight’s would be over the Rialto Bridge.

As I made my way towards the truly iconic local landmark I stopped to soak up the atmosphere. The air was warm, the pavements were beginning to quieten and the over populated waters were starting to calm. Light began to paint the world, shades and textures were becoming the only occupiers of the worn cobble sidewalks as restaurants began to close and people drifted off into the night. Stopping at this exact spot I realised this would be my opportunity to capture a shot of the 400 year old structure. I waited for the last gondola to punt its way down the Grand Canal before setting up my tripod. With only the sound of the water lapping against the granite quayside and some late night tourists on the bridge I got to work. One of my major concerns for this shot was carefully balancing the light. Street lamps, reflections and tones would all have to be considered to make this shot appealing, believe it or not the brightest part of this image was the water in the lower left-hand corner. I quickly grabbed a subtle grad filter and inverted it so the darker part of the filter was at the bottom of the lens. This worked well and with a little rotation the brightness at the bottom of the scene began to balance with the softer tones kissing the bridge. As the light was fairly consistent I could now concentrate on planning my timing. I wanted just enough movement in the water to additionally dull the reflections and sure enough the wake from a late night water taxi was the perfect solution. The light on the taxi’s cabin also brought a contrasting horizontal line of light to the underneath of the bridge; this complements the vertical mooring pillars and adds hidden depth to the scene. With eight exposures in the bag I had got what I was looking for. As Venice was just one of my stops on this European trip I had not packed a laptop or tablet so I would have to wait until I flown home to review my shots properly.

Sure enough, a week or so later and I was back at my mac armed with a cup of coffee. With all my memory cards backed up and archived I reviewed my shots from that night. This image was my favourite of the Rialto Bridge and is the latest addition to my horizontal gallery . You can see the behind the scenes pictures from this trip here on my .

If you have never visited Venice but wanted to I would urge you to do so as soon as possible. The dynamics of the lagoon are always changing and the surrounding tides are only rising. I know one-day Venice will no longer be the place it is today.