Venice to Hokkaido via Vancouver

In Postcards From..., Travel by David16 Comments


Saying goodbye is hard. When the person from whom you part ways is a city like Venice, it’s even harder. This trip more than any other has been amazing. With my surgery in February, and an uncertain recovery time, I didn’t think I’d get to Italy this year, so to be able to spend Christmas here, in a stunning little rented apartment on a canal, just out of reach of the tourist crowds, was an unexpected delight.


I wrestled this time, as I always do, but it’s usually my muse with whom I wrestle, and this time she showed up most days, full of ideas and the warm flame of inspiration. No, this time I wrestled with jet-lag. After  10 nights I’m still fighting it, and when you read this I’ll probably be on a plane home to Vancouver to do laundry, pick up some gear, and head to Hokkaido, Japan. So the struggle with jet-lag is only just gaining momentum. The short days and absence of any real sunlight probably didn’t help. But while it drove me to bed way too early every day, it made sure I was up early, and walking the streets, if not in search of photographs, then for a cappuccino and brioche.  And on the way I found, as I seem to do more often when I’m not looking so desperately for them, some photographs I’m really excited to print.


Venice, 2014. I’ve edited these on my 11″ Macbook Air, so there’s some colour/brightness tweaks needed, and Lord knows there’s probably a dust spot or two. As always, they look pretty small as thumbnails, but click on one and you should be able to scroll through all of them a little larger.

I went light this time. A Leica M (240) for digital and a Leica M6 for film. 21mm, 35mm, 50mm, and 90mm lenses. A bag of black and white film, of which I shot precisely no rolls, so taken was I by the colours. The Leica M continues to amaze me. It’s got its quirks for sure, but for this kind of work I set it to f/11 or so, zone-focus it, and expose manually and photograph to my heart’s content. The images are sharp and need almost nothing done to them, though I colour-grade most of them, or warm them up a little. It doesn’t do well in very low light (at high ISO), but then neither do I, preferring to put the camera away when it gets too dark and head off in search of wine. If I were shooting in the dark I’d prefer my Fuji X-T1 or X-E1, both camera I also love. But there’s something about the Leica that feels so much a part of me in my hands. Hard to explain, but if you’ve ever had a tool you loved with an illogical kind of devotion, and despite it’s quirks, then you know what I’m talking about.


And now to Hokkaido. I’ll bring the same gear, but add my filters, a beefy tripod, and my Fuji X-T1 and a few lenses as a back up. Can’t wait. I hope you had a beautiful holiday, and wish you big adventures in beautiful light, with the ones you love, in the coming year.



  1. Hi David,

    Wow, am loving these latest photos from Venice. Interesting to see how your style has evolved through the years and yet how much of the characteristics remain the same (you sure like shooting into the light!).

    Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year.

  2. Hi David…your images from Venice make my heart melt. Thank you. Just wanted to share that I’ve followed your blog for a while now, and though I rarely if ever comment, I just wanted to thank you for such excellent content. One of my New Year “acts” is to eliminate so much of the busyness of photography blogs that enter my mailbox. Yours is one of the few that will continue to be received and inspired by! Have a wonderful New Year and may 2015 bring you everything you desire in your life!

    1. Author

      Thanks for this, Robin. I’m grateful for the encouragement. My best wishes to you for a wonderful 2015.

  3. I got to try an X-T1 over the holiday and am now on that tipping point of being ready to make the switch to a smaller/lighter camera. Fuji or Sony may be in my 2015 future to reduce the bulk.

  4. I was fortunate enough to visit Venice this year. There’s something about this city that just draws you to want to come back as soon as you leave it! Love these images. I’m always awed by your work, but Venice suits you. 🙂 Love that last one- what a love! Glad you were able to enjoy some time in Italy after all. Looks like a lovely trip.

  5. Wonderful images. Too bad you will land in a rainy Vancouver after a few nice days but you are used to that! Best in 2015

  6. Sr. David, además de ser inspiración, sus fotografías resultan un aliciente en estos días fríos de neblina, después de contemplar sus imágenes, uno sólo tiene que asomarse a la ventana para encontrar una mejor perspectiva para emprender el día. Gracias.

  7. I love the mood! I experienced the fog(and well it started snowing today) and dim days as well but it also helped calm me. Have a good one in Japan, and all the best for 2014!

  8. A very happy New Year, David.

    These images are just incredibly beautiful, full of life and mood.

    I hope the images in Japan turn out just as wonderful!

  9. Pingback: Venice to Hokkaido via Vancouver – news.iNthacity

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