Venice is one of those incredibly special places. If I had a must visit list Venice would be on it.

BUT over tourism (pre COVID) has made it a bit more challenging to find the real Venice. Which can definitely take away some of its oozing charm. 

Our last visit to Venice,  it was really important to us to stay off the beaten path. We wanted to stay in a neighborhood that felt away from the thousands and thousands of tourists that descend daily on this gem. 

We rented an apartment in Santa Croce, adjacent to the Campo San Giacomo Dell’orio. We could not have chosen better. It was the center of the social life of the neighborhood.

Depending on what time of day you pass through the square, you will see Venetians of all ages. The Campo is filled with bustling cafes, family owned restaurants, the neighborhood grocery, friends chatting on benches, kids kicking soccer balls. Nothing touristy. Exactly what we wanted.

Each evening we would take a walk for dinner, wandering through the quiet streets. On our way back one Tuesday evening, the distinctive sounds of the Argentine Tango could be heard as we entered the square. (Apparently, from May to September, every Tuesday after 9pm, Campo San Giacomo dell’Orio transforms into an open air dance floor, dozens of people spending a summer evening dancing under the stars.)

The intimate scene was mesmerizing. 

Keith recollects “I don’t know what caught my attention first, the music or the dancing”. 

You take your first shot almost immediately when something like this scene attracts your attention. You never know if you get a second chance. Once you have your first shot (which may or may not be your best shot) you are looking to make it better. 

What is his approach when he stumbles upon something screaming to be photographed? 

There are two things you can do. 1. If you know you have a great perspective, you wait for the action to line itself up in the frame. 2.  You can look around for a better angle/perspective. 

For things that aren’t moving, you walk around and find your best angle, continuously looking for these different angles. If things are moving, like these dancers, then there’s two things to worry about, your perspective and the action itself. Since you can’t control the action, you have to wait for the action to appear in the right spot at the right moment. 

In one respect a shot like this becomes harder because there are a bunch of people moving around and you can’t control what they are doing. Photographs that depend on the movement of multiple objects can be a bit of a challenge (yet sometimes they can be surprisingly easier) but they always require patience and luck. 

The best shot is the best of what you got. 

A perfect shot is when everything lines up. Equal parts luck and skill.

Skill will get you a great shot. Luck will get you a perfect shot (when movement comes into play such as this photo). 

We always have a camera on us because you never know when a great photograph will just appear. 

A reminder to always be in tune with your surroundings. 

Street photography requires similar fundamentals to hunting (for the record, we don’t hunt, just watch movies). You are looking for something, you need to be patient.  

By waiting and watching, Keith was able to create a series of photos that have good balance with a sense of motion. There is a clear foreground (the out of focus couple on the far left, with a slightly less out of focus couple to the right), several dancing couples in focus and with motion blur (everyone is moving at different speeds) in the middle ground, and one of the oldest churches in Venice and a dozen or so more people in the background.

The best photographs have depth to them; a distinct foreground, middle ground and background. The technique coupled with the intimacy of watching a private moment within a crowd is why we love this photo so much.



Why is the Fuji X100S still one of our favorite travel cameras?


This camera is easy to handhold. It’s compact, lightweight and unobtrusive. No one ever notices.


The 3 things the Fuji might be missing to some photographers. 1. The brand allure, this isn’t a Leica. 2. The ability to change lenses. 3. The eye popping price tag (this camera is so affordable)

January 06, 2021 — Keith Pitts