San Marco Plaza; Nikon D850 720nm infrared; 30 sec exp to “remove” as many people as possible

I made time to head to Venice (Italy) in what I can only assume is the time of year with the least amount of foot traffic. And still, the crowds in mid-January were sometimes overwhelming for this space-loving, quiet desert kind of girl! Once you understand the flow of the crowds, it is quite easy to avoid them. Be out the door well before 6am (an hour before sunrise) and the streets and plazas are empty. Once the church bells ring at 7am, the day officially begins and the commuters are arriving and bustling off to their jobs in shops and hotels. Likewise at the end of the day, once the sun goes down, the crowds magically disappear and Venice at night is quiet and calm.

Long exposure of a working boat making a delivery on a canal

The weather was milder than I expected for January, with daytime temperatures in the mid-60s(F) and overnight in the low-40s(F). My arrival was mid-afternoon on a Tuesday, and the sun was shining with blue sky aplenty. That was the best of the next four full days that I was there. Broken clouds (more clouds than blue sky) was typical with a couple of rainy overnights. No fog. No snow. No flooding.

Nikon D850 Full-Spectrum+Hot Mirror converted to b+w; Tossing stars before sunrise in front of the Doge’s Palace

Venice is an amazing place to visit. No motorized vehicles of any type are allowed. The alleyways between the no more than five-story buildings can be narrow. It’s easy to get lost. I was glad I had signed up for $10/day telephone service whenever I am out of the US, so my iPhone GPS worked flawlessly.

From a technical photographic standpoint, infrared shooting was difficult, in spite of the high-dynamic range of the sensor in the Nikon D850 (converted to 720nm). The light at the top of the buildings was strong and the light at the canal level was very dark. Similar to shooting in an Arizona slot canyon! I was handholding most of the time during the day, due to the crowds of people, so bracketing was not possible.

My other camera body is a Nikon D850 recently converted to full-spectrum. I had a hot mirror lens filter with me (to be able to take “color” or visible light images). As I learned, Venice was not the place to figure out full-spectrum! But yet, shooting in IR was unfulfilling because there was very little vegetation and cloud cover was not always optimal. I also have a lot of flare when shooting IR in places with artificial light (for example, the city).

Apparently, full-spectrum cameras are meant to be used with a lens filter of choice (hot mirror/color or any nm of IR). Being ever curious, I was interested in experimenting with shooting full-spectrum not using any type of lens filter. The “full spectrum” of light is approximately 49% visible light, 49% infrared, and 2% ultra-violet. However, once I got back home to process no-filter images made with the full-spectrum body, I was disappointed that they seemed more visible light than IR. More experimenting is needed in locations that I have greater familiarity. The images here are all full-spectrum with hot mirror (color converted to b+w) except the long exposure in San Marco Plaza at the top of this post.

Nikon D850 full-spectrum + hot mirror lens filter created the street light flare; f8, 5 sec exp

You can find more images from this trip on my Instagram profile page