As a photographer, Venice has always been high on the list of places to visit; expectations were high and I wasn't disappointed! We arrived at Venezia Santa Lucia early one January morning and were instantly struck by the dynamic personality of the place - the locals seemed effortlessly glamorous in their fashionable clothes and sunglasses, navigating the cobbled streets in stilettos and rarely without a coffee in hand (probably black) or small dog trotting beside them.
Travelling light was a must as the lack of roads meant that we would be spending most of the day on our feet. It's always tempting to pack all the lenses, but I managed to restrain myself to only the 6d, the Samyang 14mm f2.8, 24-105 f4, and 70-200 f4, along with a GoPro and my trusty Manfrotto carbon-fibre travel tripod.
Maps in hand, we made our way to the Vaporetto stop which took us down the Canale Grande to our hotel. Luckily there weren't many people on board and we were able to stand at the front, lost in thought and truly savoring the magnificence of this romantic city at sunrise.
Even in January, the city buzzes with tourism and the inevitable myriad of selfie-stick selling shops that come with it, but through the throng of commercialism the authentic Venetian lifestyle prevails. It's not uncommon to turn a corner down a side street and look up from your map to find a group of elderly men engaged in passionate conversation over an afternoon ombre.
The opportunities for street photography are rife - from gondoliers in their traditional stripy tops, the people sipping on coffee in Piazza San Marco, to the hustle and bustle of the Rialto Market. If, however, the pace of it all gets a bit much, it's easy enough to take the vaporetto across to the tiny San Giorgio island for a view of the Venice skyline across the water.
Another way to extract yourself from the flurry of activity on the archipelago is to visit Burano - a quaint and colourful island only 40 minutes across the lagoon. The vaporetto ride in itself is something that is difficult to describe in words, the glassy azure waters are incredibly clear and the light is incredible. The island is a fishing village with a real feel of community. Restaurants are smaller and less pretentious than on Venice, and the mostly elderly inhabitants provide interesting subjects for photography when set against the vibrant houses and whimsical decor.
All in all, a pleasant visit with photography opportunities for interesting candid street photography and beautiful sunrises and landscapes, as well as interesting museums and galleries (the Peggy Guggenheim collection in particular). If you're planning on going, pick either your camera or your partner because, unless you're extremely lucky, you'll struggle to keep them both happy!