Posts in Category: Architecture

Venice 2021 – Black and White

Hi everyone!

We visited Venice for a couple of days. It was extremely hot and sunny, but that didn’t keep us from doing some extensive exploration walks. Venice is such a historic city where every corner exudes the charm and atmosphere of an old Italian port town. We tried to capture this historic feeling by a black and white set of photos, as if they had been shot with an old monochrome film camera from 1900.

Finally, here are some interesting facts about Venice:

  • The city itself is composed of more than 100 islands
  • There are 177 canals that surround these islands
  • The S-shaped Canale Grande is the biggest canal and splits the city in two
  • The islands are connected by over 400 bridges, but there are only four four bridges that cross the Canale Grande (Ponte dell’Accademia, Ponte degli Scalzi, Ponte di Calatrava a Venezia, Ponte di Rialto)
  • The Saint Mark’s Campagnile (bell tower) was built in the 12th century and collapsed in 1902
  • In the following year, the tower was rebuilt to be exactly the same as the original
  • With its height of almost 99 meters, the Saint Mark’s Campagnile is the tallest structure in Venice, and the fifth tallest bell tower in Italy
  • Venice is sinking at the rate of 1-2 millimeters a year

Dubai 2020

Again I spent a week in Dubai to escape the cold weather in Germany. The Emirates are heavily preparing for the EXPO that is due to commence this year. There are still numerous construction sites all over the city, and over the last year many new hotels and resorts have opened. Among these new places, the BVLGARI Hotel and Resort Dubai is one of the most incredible and unforgettable locations I have ever seen. Check out my gallery below for some insights.

New York City 2019

A few weeks ago, I spent two weeks in New York City (again). Using the time for some extensive photo walks, I focused on some of the beautiful art deco elements that can be found all around the city.

Singapore 2017

Hi again!

Right on time when the cold season begins in Germany, I spent a week in Singapore. Although having expected hot weather, both temperature and humidity were beyond compare with anything I have experienced before. In fact, it was so hot and humid that walking through the streets for an hour at noon felt like a hard workout. Due to Singapore’s geographic location, temperatures don’t really change over the year. For that reason, life in Singapore mostly takes place inside the numerous dining halls, malls, hotels, residential buildings and offices. Despite the heat, I spent a lot of time outside to create a new photo collection of that impressive, modern and clean city.

Marina Bay Sands at Night

Venice 2017

Greetings!

I spent a few days in Venice, Italy.

Venice and its neighboring islands are located in the Venetian Lagoon in the northeast of Italy. The city itself is situated across 100+ islands that are separated by canals and linked by 420+ bridges. Venice is famous for the beauty of its setting, its cuisine, the gondolas, and especially for its architecture which is pretty unique across the world.

The entire city is built on closely spaced wooden piles. These piles had been driven deep into the marshy soil (a softer layer of sand and mud) until they reached a much harder layer of compressed clay. Plates of Istrian limestone was placed on top of these piles, and this layer served as the footing to construct buildings of brick and stone on it. Submerged by water and isolated from oxygen, the wooden piles did not decay as rapidly as on the surface, and therefore most of the piles are still intact after centuries of submersion. Most of these stakes were made from trunks of alder trees, a wood noted for its water resistance.

Rainwater cisterns were the only source of fresh water. The cisterns were built underneath the squares where several manholes collected rainwater. The underground cavity was filled with sand filtering the rain to prevent the valuable waterfrom being contaminated. Draw wells were used to access the water reservoir. Today, the cisterns are sealed at the top but are still decorating the numerous squares and open spaces.

The origins of Venice date back until 421 A.D. where refugees from Roman cities near Venice such as Padua, Aquileia, Treviso, Altino and Concordia and from the undefended mainland were fleeing successive waves of Germanic and Hun invasions. The Venetian Lagoon was a swamp, and therefore difficult to access, which helped the original polulation of Venice to protect themselves from the invadors.

Its beautiful palazzi, churches, bridges, restaurants, squares, art galleries, and more, make Venice a UNESCO World Heritage Site today. Of course, I brought my camera, and here are a few impressions:

Tilt Shift

Yes – I finally got one! It is the Canon TS-E 17mm f/4 L ultra wide angle lens. Here are some technical specifications and unboxing photos:

  • Focal Length: 17mm
  • Diagonal Angle of View: 104º
  • Lenses / Groups: 18/12
  • Shift Range: ±12mm
  • Tilt Range: ±6,5°
  • Aperture Range: f/4.0-22
  • Rounded Aperture
  • Manual Focus Only
  • Internal Focusing

After evaluating the pros and cons of investing in such a specialized piece of equipment, I decided to take the step and see how it can improve my architectural and urban photography. What kept me from acquiring the Canon TS-E 17mm for a long time was obviously the price – Amazon currently sells this lens for USD 2.100. However, a tilt shift lens offers some really unique features that I would like to mention:

  • Probably the most interesting feature is that a Tilt Shift lens can help avoid parallel lines to converge on an image
  • The lens provides an incredibly high resolution and sharpness even in the corners due to the large image circle
  • An asperical lens reduces image distortions
  • Four ultra-low dispersion lens elements reduce chromatic aberrations in the corners
  • Sub-wavelength structure coatings minimize ghosting and flare
  • Independent Tilt and Shift Sliders
  • The entire lens can rotate ±90° to switch between landscape format and upright format
  • Locking screws prevent accidental shifts and tilts
  • L-Series – the lens is extremely well made and durable due to metal structure and weather sealing
  • Includes Canon LP1219 soft lens case

With these features, the Canon TS-E 17mm is predestined for architectural and real estate photography. When holding the lens in my hands for the first time, I wasn’t expecting so much weight – but this is totally fine as it will be set up on a tripod 90% of the time. Due to the L-qualification, the build quality is top of the line. I am fascinated by the precision how every moving part slides when moving the tilt or shift units. There is even a protective rubber-like surface between the tilt and shift parts that prevents dust or spray water from entering the gaps – although I am not planning to use it in the rain. The focus ring has a convenient size and rotates very smoothly. Manual Focus is certainly something to get used to, but it still works pretty good when keeping the shutter button on the camera half-pressed while focusing and waiting for the camera to indicate an in-focus situation with a short beeping sound. Altogether, I am looking forward to taking it on my next journey!!