Venice at Carnival 2015 Trip Report

By Darrell Gulin on Mar 02, 2015

I have just returned from my third year of leading the Joseph Van Os Venice at Carnival photo safari and it just gets better and better each year! Try to imagine it—the old iconic city, surrounded by water and laced with canals. No cars or bicycles allowed, everyone moving on foot in the bustling piazzas and lanes or by watercraft in the canals. Now add to this setting the fanciful flavor of Carnival with its extravagantly masked revelers—and the magical photographic moments are endless!

During our five full days of photography, we shot thousands of images—each day was, as I often heard, “soooo fun.” I took over 5,000 images and the accompanying slide show represents fewer than 200 of those captured moments. A number of our photo shoots, such as the sessions with our models posing in a gondola and at a palazzo, were private, exclusive shoots that I had lined up in advance for our group.

Photographing this endless array of fantastically-masked merrymakers is a learning experience. My group learned the importance of using fill flash—the key to our success in lighting the masked revelers correctly. Extra batteries sets—lots!—for the flash were vital for both our morning and afternoon sessions. The workhorse lens for me was my Canon 24–105mm supplemented by my 70–200mm f/4 lens for portraits—keeping the photography simple and allowing me to concentrate on creating images. No tripod needed! When photographing the revelers all photography was hand held because everyone else around you is competing for those same images. Shooting hand held and carrying only necessary photo gear gives you the needed flexibility for movement when photographing in crowded conditions and makes it easier to work on composition.

Tour planner Deborah Richmond and I are already working on next year’s tour, fine tuning this already well-tuned trip and organizing the highly-productive private photography sessions with our fabulous models. Come along in 2016 and let this fascinating Venetian city weave its charismatic Carnival spell.

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