15 Dec 2015

Impressionism and Other Adventures in Venice 

Handheld ICM photos from a trip to Venice in February 2015 and very few pics from a second trip in December plus the story why you should always carry your photo equipment yourself and how I made friends with the Venetian fire brigade…

Actually I had gone to Venice for a long weekend in December 

 1. to experience a quiet peaceful pre-Christmas winter Venice - I’m quoting a newspaper article from the week before which a photo buddy had just sent to me: „in the advent season Venice still completely belongs to the Venetians“…haha that’s a good one 😂 and

 2. to practice the new ICM techniques I had learnt during the workshop on the Island of Rügen and apply them to Venetian motives. 

@1. just forget it - Venice was crowded, full of people from Asia, from Europe but also full of Italians. 

@2. before I was able to start practicing any freshly acquired ICM techniques my husband radically finished my project by going for a swim in a Venetian canal and by dumping my new tripod into the water. 


It was sheer good luck that I heard him screaming as I was taking pictures around the corner when he slipped on a mossy step and slided right into the canal. Fortunately I managed to pull him out of the water more or less unharmed - soaked to the skin with a couple of (harmless) scratches but my tripod had gone to the unfathomable grounds of the canal and I didn’t quite feel like diving for it.  So I ended up without a tripod (which is essential for the ICM technique I wanted to practice) after having walked all over Venice to call on 5 different photo shops without success. None of the shops had a solid tripod in store let alone a three-way-head. 

This meant: no sunrises, no sunsets, no available light photography and of course no ICM techniques. 

Instead sleep-in and what else??? At first I felt totally lost and without inspiration: sleep-in, go for a sightseeing walk, go to fancy restaurants? How boring!! Over the years I have obviously totally forgotten how to spend a "normal" holiday. My photographic self was in a very bad mood and it didn’t help that the Sunday was grey without any light - perfect conditions for ICM….I had to remind myself time and again that my husband had been really lucky that nothing worse had happened to him.


By Sunday night everybody in the hotel knew about my husband’s Venetian Baptism - after all he had arrived at the hotel the day before soaked to the skin, covered with mud and creating puddles on the expensive marble floor, a real sight to behold….At 20.30 o‘clock the friendly receptionist who had eagerly tried to help us called to tell me that he had heard about a service by the Venetian fire brigade to rescue „important objects“ out of the Venetian waters. After consulting the captain of the fire brigade my tripod was judged worthy enough to be rescued and we were immediately ordered to the site right behind San Toma. 


Shortly after our arrival a fireboat with a crew of 6 including a fully equipped diver actually landed at the site at 22.10. The diver went into the water to reappear 2 minutes later waving with my tripod in his hand. „That was easy“, was all he  said…Usually these guys have to search the channels for engagement or wedding rings that an fiery Italian angry wife or fiancée has dumped into a canal in a tantrum. To top it all this service was - hard to believe - free of charge. We just filled up the tip box and returned to the hotel - speechless 😶 and happy😊. After taking a long nice hot shower the tripod looked and functioned perfectly again. 

The following day was also our last day and a holiday in Italy and since it seemed that half of Italy had had the idea of spending the long weekend in Venice there was hardly a spot left to put up a tripod on  Venetian ground. We spent the day drifting along, enjoying an “ombra” at the “Bacareto da Lele” and a couple of those tasty tramezzini at our favorite “Bar alla Toletta” until it was time to head to the airport and go home. But before I go back to Venice next time I’ll definitely take care of my tennis elbow so that I’ll be able to carry my photo equipment again myself! Somehow my former photo trips to Venice had been less stressing and as far as photographic output is concerned much more productive…

One more thing: just in case you or a photo buddy of yours is going to drop some photo stuff into one of the many canals of Venice  - here is the telephone number of the Venetian fire brigade:

Vigili del Fuoco 115


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