Venice Italy Photo Tour: Winter Light

Tour Intro

What could be better than photographing the most fascinating and romantic city on Earth?   Good photographs of Venice are not in short supply. This legendary city of islands and canals is perhaps the most photographed in the world. Of course, we will visit all of the popular locations, but we designed this tour to be different. We want to introduce you to new sights, imaginative ideas, and unique vantage points. We want to help you create distinctive images.

Please contact Strabo Tours if you would like to have additional evenings at the hotel to explore the many museums or other attractions of Venice. Brenda and Jed will have you concentrating your time on photography during the tour program.

Why travel to Venice in January?   In the middle of winter, tourists are at their lowest, and there’s great potential for moody weather, and dramatic sunrises. So many memorable photographs of Venice can be made when it is moody, with wet cobblestones or reflections of the lampposts, capturing the spirit of the city.

Brenda Tharp and Jed Manwaring will assist you with making creative, expressive images of Venice and the surrounding islands. They will encourage you to go beyond the typical 'row houses along a canal’. You will be working the edges of the canals at day break and twilight. At this time of year there will be many opportunities to catch the low-angle of light, as the light is good almost all day. With their guidance, you will focus on creating pictures that show the essence and heart of Venice, beyond the tourist veil. Some will be from the camera, some from computer software with applying special effects. There will be at least one image review and one processing session. Brenda and Jed welcome any kind of camera, from smartphone to pro level. But the emphasis will be on creating meaningful, different photographs.

It’s all about the light!   You will not miss any great light on this tour – you will be out early and out again late to photograph in the golden light of sunrise, sunset, and in the magic twilight of dusk and dawn. Everywhere there is water, shaping and reflecting the life of the city, its compelling beauty, curiosity, and interest. Cathedrals, gondolas, and the daily life provide continuity between past and present. Dark passageways end in sunlit squares, gondolas moor under tiny stone bridges, elderly women haul baskets to their balconies, cats dart in and out of streets marked with ancient signs and stone relief.

You will have time to explore, in-depth, the tiny island of Burano, scarcely more than a half mile wide and one of the most colorful and photogenic places anywhere. You can explore the island with others or wander on your own to photograph brightly painted houses of blue, red, green, and yellow, lining the narrow canals crossed by stone and wooden bridges. There are several other islands we may have time to explore depending on the proper weather and light conditions.

Your Tour Leaders ~ What you'll learn from Brenda & Jed   With a minimum of 6 participants, you have the advantage of having two photo instructors on this trip with the expertise of Jed Manwaring and Brenda Tharp. If there is smaller group size of 4 or 5 participants the tour will be led by Brenda Tharp as the one instructor.

Travel with Brenda Tharp and Jed Manwaring and explore the unforgettable city of Venice by night and day. They are both accomplished professional photographers, that will share ideas and tips for creating interpretive and personal travel photographs.

Your day will begin with sunrise photography and ending with sunset and night photography, all at varying locations across the city. Venice is small and our hotel is rarely more than a short walk or quick ferry ride from our photographic locations, so you will always have the option of skipping any planned activities. There will be mid-day breaks to rest or take time to review your images before the next photo session.  

Brenda and Jed will share a variety of techniques for artistic photography, offering in the field guidance for creative seeing, selective focus, panorama, and abstracts. They will also offer discussions on various other topics, including visual design, advanced composition/visual tension, and post-processing, during the mid-day breaks or after dinner, when time permits.

Tour Highlights

  • Departure limited to 12 participants, optimizing your photographic experience.
  • The exquisite city of Venice, bound and crisscrossed by canals with their arching bridges, and the magnificent Piazza San Marco with its Basilica and Campanile.
  • The Rialto Bridge and the Grand Canal plied by boats of every description, and the incomparable wealth of art and architecture.
  • The Island of Burano, a charming fishing village far removed in spirit from the grandeur of Venice.
  • Other islands may include Lido, Murano, San Michele or Torcello.

Tour Itinerary

January 17: Home - Venice
Burano Reflections

Photo By: Brenda Tharp

Photo Location: Venice, Italy

Board your overnight flight to Marco Polo Airport in Venice.

January 18: Venice Arrival - St. Mark's Square
St. Marks Square

Photo By: Jed Manwaring

Photo Location: Venice, Italy

Take the Alilaguna, public transport, to your hotel (instructions will be sent in your final packet). After checking into the hotel, you will have time to relax and settle in after your flight. Brenda and Jed will meet you this evening for an orientation meeting and then you will go out and photograph twilight around St. Mark's Square. St. Mark’s Basilica is on one end, flanked by arcades of shops and open-air cafes, and the Campanile soars above it all. Built in the eleventh century, the nearby basilica is an intriguing mix of eastern mystery and western opulence. After the photo session enjoy your welcome dinner. Overnight Venice (D).

January 19-23: Venice
Gondola - Venice

Photo By: Brenda Tharp

Photo Location: Venice, Italy

Venice was Europe’s reigning trading republic in the Adriatic region. As a result of the wealth present then, some of Europe’s finest architecture exists here in the buildings - Renaissance, Gothic, Barouq, Byzantine. Venice stirs the imagination. As you walk the cobbled streets, the architecture, the light reflecting off canals, the prows of gondolas slipping silently under bridges — all of it feels like a walk back in time. Gondolas bob on waves in the grand canal, lamp posts glow at twilight, a lone figure walks beneath the colonnades. Bridges lead over small and large canals, leading us into winding alleys and quiet piazzas; there will be an abundance of opportunities for your photographic eyes.

Winter light creates low, warm angles, light/shadow, and rich colors at sunset and sunrise. Days are short, allowing for easy sunrise/sunset in the same day, with plenty of photo exploration in between. You will photograph both as a group and individually, during these six days. Brenda and Jed have planned visits to their favorite locations, including the Rialto Market and the Accademia bridge, each with their distinct neighborhood; as well as the home of the Jewish Ghetto, Cannaregio. Take a trip up a campanile to view Venice from above, and seek out other spots within the city that are beyond the usual tourist path, finding niches and tunnels that will delight the eye. Work the edges of day and night, the blue hour, when the magic of the city unfolds in twinkling lights set against a twilight blue sky. One day the group will take a day trip to the colorful island of Burano, and other islands that peak your interest. One example is the little island of San Michele, which hosts a renaissance church and cemetery, where the famous are buried alongside the Venetian common folk. The cemetery offers intriguing opportunities for photography.

During these five days you will have an image review session and a session on post-processing with creative intent. (B each day)

January 24: Venice

Photo By: Brenda Tharp

Photo Location: Venice, Italy

Your last full day in Venice can be exploring with Brenda and Jed, seeking out the less frequented small squares that cover the island, or take time on your own to visit one of the many museums of Venice. Another option is to escape the tourists of St. Mark’s Square and cross the canal to photograph Giudecca. Giudecca has interesting residential neighborhoods amidst the many mansions you have been photographing along the grand canal. Enjoy your last blue hour photo shoot with your leaders this evening, followed by a farewell dinner. (B, D)

January 25: Venice - Home

Photo By: Jed Manwaring

Photo Location: Venice, Italy

Depart Venice having filled your memory cards and your minds with wonderful images and experiences. Board your flight home or on to other exotic destinations. (B)

 

Photo Leader

Brenda Tharp and Jed Manwaring
read more
Brenda Tharp and Jed Manwaring

You have the advantage of having two photo intructors on this trip with the expertise of Jed Manwaring and Brenda Tharp, and the tour size still remains at 12 participants. Brenda is a professional photographer, speaker and educator with a life-long wanderlust for exploring the world and photographing it. The travel bug bit when she was young, reading the pages of National Geographic and Life magazines. Today, she loves to escort people to a variety of wonder-filled places to share in the adventure of the place and to help in the making of memorable images. Brenda believes that in the process of exploring and photographing the world around you, wherever you are, you gain so much more than just photographs - you bring back the experiences from those places that remain with you forever. She advocates photographing with a sense of purpose, keeping your eyes and your soul open to what's going on around you. Brenda's sensitive approach to photographing people has her often trying to blend in with the 'background' to capture special moments of daily life. Even her portraits are approached with sensitivity and respect for the person and the culture. Brenda has an untiring desire to help participants with their photography. She challenges you to see in new ways. Topics of discussion on each trip are tailored to the groups' needs, yet typically include: how to photograph people/strangers, paying attention to the light, using elements of design in a scene to help create more impact, creating visual depth, and storytelling with your images. Additional discussions often include processing and workflow, which Brenda often covers while on the bus on longer drives, or in the hotel lobby. There or in the field, she is always available for technical or visual help, offering tips and suggestions to help you to refine their own vision of the place.

Jed Manwaring specializes in travel and outdoor photography. His photographs have appeared in a variety of magazines including Alaska Airlines, International Wildlife Conservation, Navigator, Outdoor Photographer, Outside, PC Photo, Sierra, Sunset, Via, and Wilderness Society magazines. His images have also been used in books, calendars and cards, most recently in Golden Gate National Parks: A Photographic Journey and Guardians of the Gate. He has worked in a variety of challenging situations, including running the Colorado River in a dory, sea kayaking in Costa Rica, llama trekking, and exploring in Italy, Mexico, Hawaii, and throughout the west. Jed’s passion for photography and teaching make him an amazing instructor and leader. You can view Jed's photo tours at www.brendatharp.com.

Welcome back to you! Chris and I just returned from our own extension to Venice you planned for us.  Wonderful!!!
Attached is my evaluation of the tour with Brenda and Jed!
Loved every minute…! Many thanks to everyone who took part in the planning…and to Brenda and Jed for the expert  execution of the plan!

The tour was perfect, I would highly recommend it. Both Brenda and Jed were knowledgeable about each location, and knew the very best places for photo shoots. They were not rigid, in fact, they were flexible and were able to 'read' the interests of the participants very well and make any changes to our schedule to fit the desires of the individual wishes. So well done.... so difficult to do. I would travel anywhere with Brenda & Jed.
 

Gretchen Taylor

Photo Leader

Brenda Tharp
read more
Brenda Tharp

Brenda is a professional photographer, speaker and educator with a life-long wanderlust for exploring the world and photographing it. The travel bug bit when she was young, reading the pages of National Geographic and Life magazines. Today, she loves to escort people to a variety of wonder-filled places to share in the adventure of the place and to help in the making of memorable images. Brenda believes that in the process of exploring and photographing the world around you, wherever you are, you gain so much more than just photographs - you bring back the experiences from those places that remain with you forever. She advocates photographing with a sense of purpose, keeping your eyes and your soul open to what's going on around you. Brenda's sensitive approach to photographing people has her often trying to blend in with the 'background' to capture special moments of daily life. Even her portraits are approached with sensitivity and respect for the person and the culture. Brenda has an untiring desire to help participants with their photography. She challenges you to see in new ways. Topics of discussion on each trip are tailored to the groups' needs, yet typically include: how to photograph people/strangers, paying attention to the light, using elements of design in a scene to help create more impact, creating visual depth, and storytelling with your images. Additional discussions often include processing and workflow, which Brenda often covers while on the bus on longer drives, or in the hotel lobby. There or in the field, she is always available for technical or visual help, offering tips and suggestions to help you to refine their own vision of the place.

I really enjoyed Brenda's style of talking as we were on the bus. Very informative without being too formal. Lots of chances to learn as we took photos as well - in early morning or in evening. Got some great tips from Jed as I was photographing on various occasions. Very responsive to our questions with NO judgement about our skill levels. I have told many people that this was the best or one of the two best trips I have ever been on. The leaders great, group jelled fabulously and for me, traveling with all photographers was amazing.

 

Nancy Hauserman

Pricing and Details

US Dollars based upon minimum of 9 paying participants. There is a small group surcharge of $300 if 6-8 paying participants. All our program prices are based on double occupancy unless noted in exceptions.

Single rooms are subject to availability. We try to accommodate travelers who request single accommodations, as well as travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested, or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, you will be required to pay the supplement.

Testimonials

I really enjoyed Brenda's style of talking as we were on the bus. Very informative without being too formal. Lots of chances to learn as we took photos as well - in early morning or in evening. Got some great tips from Jed as I was photographing on various occasions. Very responsive to our questions with NO judgement about our skill levels. I have told many people that this was the best or one of the two best trips I have ever been on. The leaders great, group jelled fabulously and for me, traveling with all photographers was amazing.

 

Nancy Hauserman

Welcome back to you! Chris and I just returned from our own extension to Venice you planned for us.  Wonderful!!!
Attached is my evaluation of the tour with Brenda and Jed!
Loved every minute…! Many thanks to everyone who took part in the planning…and to Brenda and Jed for the expert  execution of the plan!

The tour was perfect, I would highly recommend it. Both Brenda and Jed were knowledgeable about each location, and knew the very best places for photo shoots. They were not rigid, in fact, they were flexible and were able to 'read' the interests of the participants very well and make any changes to our schedule to fit the desires of the individual wishes. So well done.... so difficult to do. I would travel anywhere with Brenda & Jed.
 

Gretchen Taylor

Many thanks and kudos to you for your photo tips and sharing your "secret" places: to Jacque for organizing and putting the trip together so professionally: to Ursula and Laura for being such wonderful guides. Their expertise made everything so much more interesting and enlightening. I really feel like I came away with more than beautiful photographs, but with some new friends as well.

R. Tinsley

What was the highlight of your trip? Brenda - she was great. Efficient, knowledgeable, friendly, continually involved with all of us.

R. Pool

Terms and Conditions

Unless otherwise noted, this information applies to all tours.

Airfare

Contact Strabo Tours if you would like rates on International Airfare. Please note on your trip application form if you would like us to assist you with your airfare needs, a charge is added for this service. If making your own arrangements, it is important to discuss flight times with Strabo Tours before booking any airline tickets. This will avoid you having to pay airline cancellation penalties. Please contact Strabo Tours for destination airfare estimates, specific flight time arrivals, and departures.

The land cost includes:
  • Group transportation for tour events in the tour van.
  • Accommodations based on two people sharing a room, singles are assigned on a first come, first served basis.
  • Services of driver, English speaking cultural guide (if applicable) and photographic leader, during the tour.
  • Meals as listed in itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner).
  • Park entrance fees, day tours and excursions as shown in the itinerary.
  • Extensive pre-departure information and services.
The land cost does not include:

Domestic or International air fare; other airfare if noted in exceptions; air fare tax; airport departure tax; airport transfers; additional transfers or accommodations that may be required by those not traveling with the group; excess baggage charges; meals not included in itinerary; activities taken on your own; passport/visa expenses; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature, such as room service, laundry, beverages not included with meals, medical expenses, photographic equipment, any activities not specified in tour itinerary or listed as optional, or any items not listed in what is included; fuel surcharges; exchange rate surcharges; upon the completion of your trip, modest gratuities to the local guides and the drivers are customary; tips for meals not included in itinerary.

Fitness and Health

The majority of trips are not strenuous (see exceptions below for particular destinations) and anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to take part in most of the activities. You may experience general fatigue due to the long flights and the change in time zones. You will need to be sufficiently agile to climb in and out of the tour van and be able to carry and manage your own equipment. We will frequently hike trails ranging from easy to moderate. Some hotels do not have elevators or air conditioners.

If you have any special needs or any physical condition that you feel might prevent you from fully participating, please contact Strabo Tours with your concerns (607-756-8676).

You should also be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your trip. This could include emergency medical care, presence of physicians, or adequate medication.

Exceptions:

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

Deposits, Cancellations AND Refunds

A deposit of $750 ($500 on domestic tours) per person is required. Specific tours may require an additional deposit due to accommodation bookings or transportation requirements. If applicable these will be noted on your invoice. Payment in full is required when bookings are made less than 120 days before the departure date. Space is subject to cancellation by Strabo if payment is not received when due.

If a passenger wishes to cancel they must send notification in writing to: Strabo International Tour, Co., P.O. Box 580, Dryden, NY 13053; fax 208-545-4119. At the time we receive your notification, the following per person charges apply:

  • 91 days or more before departure: $300 cancellation fee ($150 fee on domestic tours), plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation.
  • 61-90 days before departure: $500 ($250 on domestic tours) minimum cancellation fee, plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation. Fees may range from 25% to 100% of tour costs.
  • 60 days or less before departure or anytime after departure: NO REFUND.

Refunds for services that are voluntarily not used by you cannot be made.

Insurance

Each participant must be covered by medical insurance that is valid overseas.

We strongly urge you to evaluate your risk and to take out insurance on your trip. It is vital for you to realize that if you experience a delay or find it necessary to cancel or cut short your trip for any reason, you will lose part or the entire sum you’ve invested in it (see the section “Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds” in the trip brochure).

Travel insurance helps to minimize the risk of monetary losses you would incur in the event of a delay of your departure due to weather, airline strike, missed connection, etc., your inability to travel for reasons such as illness, injury, unforeseen financial complications and other personal circumstances, or if you were required to cut your trip short for medical or any other reasons.

There are restrictions and limitations on any insurance program. For this reason, please read carefully the enclosed pamphlet, which outlines their program of trip cancellation, baggage, and medical insurance. Trained agents are available to answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to call the toll free number in their brochure. It is to your advantage to apply for insurance at the earliest possible time, so don’t delay in making a decision.

Subject to Change

Itineraries have been carefully constructed to assure participants the best each destination has to offer; however, should events arise that are beyond our control, activities and hotel arrangements are subject to change without notice. The itineraries summarize typical areas you will explore. Since there is no possible way to visit all of them, your guides will plan each day considering the interests of the group and the weather at hand. Be assured that we will make substitutions that are as similar in quality and interest as possible.

Photo Release

Strabo International Tour Company, Inc. reserves the right and permission to use photographs of individuals on tour for use in promotional and publicity purposes. We also reserve the right to use clients photographs for promotional and publicity purposes, when submitted to Strabo International Tour Company, Inc.

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