Ethereal Venice

Photo of the Day

Walking in Venice sometimes feels like a dream. It’s such an otherworldly place it often doesn’t quite feel real. Today’s photo of the day was an experiment to try to capture some of that dreamy mood.

The strange blurring in this photo is the result of doing a long exposure in the middle of the day with the gondolas moving slightly in the foreground. Thanks to a brand new 10-stop neutral density filter, I was able to make a 60-second exposure in the bright sunlight.

If you don’t know how a neutral density filter works, here’s the idea: essentially, you’re just putting some dark glass in front of your lens. That means that less light is reaching the sensor, so in order to get a properly-exposed image, more light will somehow have to be let into the camera. Usually, with an ND filter in place, that is achieved by lengthening the exposure time. So, with a 10-stop filter, you have to let in a lot more light and you get get exposures of one minute or more like this one.

What I like about this result is the mix of sharp subjects with the blurred. The long exposures turns the gondolas into ghost ships on top of a silky-smooth sea with clouds appearing to dart past in the sky, but the poles and buildings all remain completely sharp and solid.

Click to see a larger image:

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