Venice 02

Venice, Italy - The Grand Canal at Night

The Grand Canal and Light Trails of a Vaporetto Vessel

Light trails are a great subject for photography. Sometimes photographing them is easy – when you can easily predict the movement, as e.g. in the case of cars speeding on a highway. But sometimes photographing light trails can be tricky – when you have to anticipate the movement and you don’t know exactly what will appear in your frame within the exposure time of 30 seconds or more. Sometimes you just need a little bit of luck.

The Grand Canal in Venice is a very busy waterway. The vapporetti vessels, known as water buses, are a form of public transportation in Venice, used by locals and by tourists. Apart from the vapporetti and private boats, the Grand Canal is used also, of course, by gondolas transporting all those tourists mesmerized by the beauty of Venice and spending their hard-earned money in that rather pricey city. During “normal” hours the Grand Canal is a very busy place and it is not easy capture a quiet moment, especially in the evenings when the exposure time must be long.

However, if you’re patient enough, you will get your chance. I captured a quiet moment with no traffic in this photo. As I stood there on the famous Rialto Bridge with my camera mounted on a tripod, I noticed a vaporetto approaching from the other side of bridge. There was still no sign of traffic on my side of the canal and I hoped it would stay this way for a bit longer. I waited patiently and pressed the remote shutter release shortly before the vaporetto entered the frame. Not too late, because my plan was to capture the full light trail, and not too soon, because I hoped that within those 30 seconds the vessel would go all the way and vanish where the canal bends. I must admit that everything went according to the plan, there was no random boat to spoil the frame, and this is the picture that I had envisioned. Nevertheless, a little bit of luck was involved.

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