The Allure of Venice at Night

Those of you who’ve been following my blog understand I have a love affair with Venice. And, it continues to deepen, particularly in regards to Venice at night.

On this particular March evening, we had just attended a book signing event at the Mont Blanc store near Piazza San Marco. I had brought my camera to capture the event. But, I hadn’t planned on doing any photography once the event concluded.

Then, a twenty-minute walk, to meet up with one of our dearest friends, yielded photos of Venice being claimed by nightfall.

I like challenging myself by adding improvisational assignments to my photo explorations. This stroll became a prime opportunity to go with the flow of the evening, and I challenged myself to see what I could capture in this short amount of time.


Venice at Night, ItalyWise

A Streep Lamp Comes to Life – Jed Smith © 2017

A single street lamp got me started.

Warm lights against a cooling evening sky and backdrop enticed me, and I began lagging behind our small group to start taking shots. I had nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by giving myself permission to experiment – and fail, if I wasn’t happy with the results.

Venice at Night, ItalyWise

Towards the Grand Canal – Jed Smith © 2017

The Grand Canal always beckons.

In telling my visual story of Venice at night, I would’ve been remiss if I didn’t capture the intimacy of the smaller canals that lead back to the grandeur of Venice’s main artery. On this particular evening, this felt especially magical.

Venice at Night, ItalyWise

The Vegetable Boat – Jed Smith © 2017

Even commerce by boat continues into the evening.

As we neared our meeting point, and the end of my twenty-minute window of opportunity, we came across a floating produce store doing a robust business. Venice at night is still full of life and activity.

Venice at Night, ItalyWise

Bar & Snack – Jed Smith © 2017

Bars and cafés become sanctuaries of meeting, eating, drinking and conversing.

I plan to do a follow-up series entirely on this subject matter. Believe me, there is ample opportunity. But, shortly after capturing this image, my brief window of opportunity came to an end, and I put my camera away and shifted to communing with our dear friend.

Only later would I have the opportunity to see if I had accomplished anything worthy of saving and sharing. For an impromptu assignment, I have to say I was pretty happy. Let me know what you think!




By |2020-03-14T19:43:47+01:00March 14th, 2020|A Romance with Venice, Color, Exploring the Veneto, Photography Posts|22 Comments

About the Author:

I’m an American expat living in Italy!


  1. Barb Curtice March 15, 2020 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    Hi Jed! Have thought of you many times since your departure from Sonoma Co. Wow times have sure changed and it took me searching your blog to find a way to connect as you left FB. (So did I temporarily last month and unsure if I will go back.) Glad to see your posts here and that you remain well and strong. Allergies suck! We are self quarantined here at home as the cruise ship and news from Italy has opened our eyes and hearts further knowing we are all part of the solution to mitigate spread. I have been in touch with a friend who is a high profile lawyer in Rome and sent him your article with knowledge the trains still run! That is craziness! My daughter’s friend returned 2 days ago from studying in Florence with no testing and thankfully self quarantined with her parents.
    My heart goes out to Mama Maria who is my GF’s mom in Rimini and is blind in her home with few visitors now. May the songs in the streets and from balconies reach her ears and heart.

    Stay well and strong Jed! I love the maze that is Venice and surprisingly finding bay area friends in its small ally ways and restaurants! What a treasure Italy is! I will keep checking here for your posts. Pls connect through Whatsapp for any personal conversation. I hope Massimiliano can get the powers that be to stop those trains!!

    • Jed March 16, 2020 at 12:06 pm - Reply

      Barb, it’s great to hear from you, especially now, while we’re in full lockdown mode. Our mayor just issued a strongly worded message that people out and about without a legitimate reason (food shopping, pharmacy, post office, bank) are subject to criminal prosecution. No strolls in the park (even if they’re empty) on a beautiful day.
      Good for you for being self quarantined. I hope more people, especially in states that are not yet in crisis mode, take it upon themselves to be so proactive, especially in the absence of wide-scale testing and full understanding of how this virus transmitted. As for your friend’s mom who is blind and in her home with few visitors, my heart aches.
      In Milan, the cemeteries and the crematoriums are working 24/7 to deal with the mass of deaths. Many people’s last views of their love ones have been in an ambulance or at hospital admitting. Funerals are not permitted. Think about that.
      I’ll do my best to stay strong and sane, and I’ll keep everyone posted as material updates become necessary.
      Stay in touch, xoxox Jed

      • Barb March 19, 2020 at 11:37 pm - Reply

        So tragic. Guy and I get the “one world” message and people here in the Bay Area cooperating for the most part staying mindful and at home, yet the news shows photos of masses frolicking on FL beaches. That is craziness! FL has no idea of what is coming to them if they disregard self distancing. Thanks for your updates and this blog as it connects our one world. Letting love trump fear is what will bring us through this as we know that only together this goes away. We will continue to get our info from the experts WHO and CDC and when Trump comes on we tune out for those very reasons you mentioned. Much love Jed and may these messages inspire your days. I will continue to check back in with you for updates.

        • Jed March 20, 2020 at 4:13 pm - Reply

          Yes, “one world” can be an important learning. Love is always a powerful choice, as is moving forward and learning together vs stopping to cast blame. We’ve all made mistakes. The key, I believe, is learning from the mistakes and altering our behaviors. What a time in the history of mankind to see how nationalism doesn’t end up serving the good of the whole human race. Thanks for staying in touch, Barb! Stay safe!

  2. Robin March 15, 2020 at 1:16 pm - Reply

    Breathtaking photos Jed. So happy you have captured them for all of us!!

    • Jed March 15, 2020 at 4:59 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Robin. I have to start placing my attention more in my creative endeavors with the big block of time being homebound.

  3. Michelle April 12, 2017 at 3:00 am - Reply

    I also left my heart in Venice! There is nowhere else in the world that I would rather be… ????????

    • Jed April 12, 2017 at 9:07 am - Reply

      So, Michelle, you understand how Venice can claim one’s heart! It’s a mysterious city that seems to keep unfolding.

  4. Nancy March 30, 2017 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    Jed, love your story of even-fall in Venezia. Beautiful. I just got a new DSLR camera so am very interested in the mechanics of it all too. I’d love to hear how you shot these.

    • Jed March 31, 2017 at 8:19 pm - Reply

      Ciao Nancy, I’m so glad you like the story and the photos. I’d love to talk to you about how I went about shooting these, and perhaps give you some ideas of how to approach photography at night. It’s a subject of endless fascination for me, and I plan to do a lot more of it. Can you let me know what your make and model is? Mine is a Canon 5D Mark III, which excels at higher ISO’s. I’m pretty sure these images were around up around 6400 ISO. This is where the Canon 5D starts kicking butt. Technology is developing at breakneck speed, so perhaps your new camera can be stretched to shoot at a similar ISO. An understanding of your processing workflow can also have an impact on how you capture the image. When I’m in Umbria for a few days maybe we can have a creative brainstorming session!

  5. royane March 29, 2017 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    Love these photos! Have no idea how you do that and I guess I will leave it to you and stick to my own goals in other areas. Look forward to your posts. Also, am finally into Manu’s classes and so glad I signed up…very challenging for me but he reminds me to take my time.

    • Jed March 31, 2017 at 8:12 pm - Reply

      Hi Royane, I’m so glad you like these photos. Frankly, I wasn’t sure how the would turn out. I guess it pays to experiment. I’m about to launch into Manu’s classes as well. We’ll have to compare notes!

  6. Kathryn Smith March 29, 2017 at 9:03 pm - Reply

    How lovely! Your pictures are breathtaking and intimate at the same time. Bravo!

    • Jed March 29, 2017 at 9:17 pm - Reply

      Grazie mille dear friend!

  7. Anne Giombetti March 29, 2017 at 6:08 pm - Reply

    Dear Jed, I follow all of your postings and enjoy them all! Ah, Venezia, our most favorite place in Italia. It is such a magical place and it just grabs at your heat, doesn’t it? Your pictures are just wonderful. These photos bring to mind the night about ten years ago, in March. We had a last minute change of plans and drove from Torino to Venice. That first evening we had just come out of a sweet little restaurant over in back of the fish market, it even had its own little bridge to their door. We were seated right next to the fireplace and it was so warm and cozy. The food was perfect. The evening was perfect. Can you imagine our shock when we we left to see that the “aqua alta” had arrived while we were having dinner! We had no boots and could not make our way back to our hotel by vaporetto. So we walked a very long route avoiding the water and ended up walking on “the planks” and finally back to our hotel. We made more friends along the way back which was good as Venice in the dark and flooded can get you all confused. Such a lovely memory!

    • Jed March 29, 2017 at 8:42 pm - Reply

      Dear Anne, Thanks for writing and for sharing your story about the aqua alta in Venice. We have a dear friend who lives in Venice and has a store there. The stories we hear about dealing with the high waters are incredible, but, exhausting as it may be, residents learn to accept it as part of Venetian life! Thanks for following my blog! Jed

  8. Linda Dini Jenkins March 29, 2017 at 6:00 pm - Reply

    Beautiful, Jed! I’m taking a small group there in October and I am so excited. I’ll look forward to getting your suggestions about bars, caffes and ristoranti since I’m a total novice here. Starting to pack for the May trip — hope we get to see you some time between May 12 – 21.


    • Jed March 29, 2017 at 8:37 pm - Reply

      Linda, I’m happy to provide suggestions. October will be an ideal time to be there!

  9. Nicole March 29, 2017 at 5:57 pm - Reply

    Love the photo’s and the spontaneity of your assignment… always capture the magical. xoxo

    • Jed March 29, 2017 at 8:36 pm - Reply

      Thanks, my dear friend!

  10. Joee Balestrieri March 29, 2017 at 5:03 pm - Reply

    I was in Venice in March of last year and my heart is still there.

    • Jed March 29, 2017 at 8:35 pm - Reply

      Joee, yes, once Venice claims your heart, you keep being drawn back!

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