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Grand Canal Sunrise

Grand Canal Sunrise - 5D3, 17 TS-E, f/11, ISO 100

On the morning of my last day in Venice, I went out with our group to photograph the Grand Canal and the hopes of a beautiful sunrise.  There was a fair amount of cloud cover and to me it was increasingly looking like a busy.  However when we got to out vantage point, I saw some hues of pink and red in the distance and it looked like we might get some color after all.  I initially started doing some long exposure work, tweaking composition to find the image I wanted.  As the minutes ticked by the color started to spread, it became more clear that we would be blessed with a spectacular sunrise.  There are three things I knew I wanted in my image from even before I went out there.  First was a beautifully lit pink and red sky, second was a reflection of those colors on the water and third the unique and striking buildings of the Grand Canal.  Tilting my lens up to get more of the sky would introduce perspective distortion (the buildings closer would no longer have straight lines going up) and hence comes the usefulness of a tilt/shift lens.  A few millimeters of rise with the lens gives me more sky and keeps the buildings straight.

I had to resort to HDR for this image due to the very high dynamic range in the scene.  It was a challenge to process the HDR and still retain contrast in places where contrast is needed as well as to keep it looking natural and closer to my own memory of that sunrise.


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