Gilberto Penzo: La gondola

This is the definitive book on the Venetian gondola, written by scholar Gilberto Penzo who also runs the website Venice Boats.

The first edition was published in 1999, but it has been out of print for ages, probably for more than ten years.  I have never been able to locate a copy for sale, and I’ve ask everywhere.  Non even Gilberto had a spare copy to sell.

Fortunately, Gilberto has finally managed to find an editor who’d reprint it, and it’s now available again directly from Gilberto’s site.

The book covers the construction of the gondola in minute detail, and it also tells of the people who’ve built and created the modern gondola, and historical notes on the how the gondola came about and related boat types.

Gilberto Penzo, La gondola, ed. “Leggio Editrice”, Chioggia, 2016. Ill., 205pp. ISBN 978-88-8320-135-6.

Black and white photography

The Salute church in Venice
The Salute church in Venice

Martina and I went and did another photography class with Marc de Tolenaere – this time on black and white photography.

Much of the focus was technical: correct exposure and post production.

We talked about Ansel Adamszone system, and the need to make sure that important areas of the composition aren’t too dark so details are lost, or too bright.

Since our digital cameras have colour sensors, we need to convert the photos to black and white. To make the photos work, Marc taught us to work on the histogram, and restrict it by reducing contrast globally, and then widening it by increasing contrast locally. This will make the photo sharper without having areas go too dark or too bright, so details are lost.

The Salute church in Venice
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The Salute church in Venice

Moto ondoso

One of the main environmental problems in Venice is the moto ondoso – wave movement.

It is mostly caused by taxis and tourist boats, to a lesser extent by vaporetti (water buses) and private boats.

The constant churning of the water causes erosion of walls, side walks and quays, slowly but surely demolishing the city. You just have to row around the city at low tide to see the damage.

This is how the city appeared on October 3rd, 2015. See if you can spot the gondola.

moto-ondoso-1moto-ondoso-2moto-ondoso-3moto-ondoso-5Who’d want a gondola in Venice anyway, if you can race down the Grand Canal causing waves of 2-3ft.