Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Timeless Torcello

A picture almost a year in the making.... Perhaps it is my last picture to ever come out of my trip to Venice in April 2011. It is certainly a picture I have been obsessing about for almost the entire time I have been home from Venice. It is quite a long story but Torcello was one of the places I was keen to visit during my trip to the Venetian Lagoon. I had seen pictures of this place, which by the way is the Church of Santa Fosca, and this became high on my priority list of pictures I wanted to take. The day we visited Torcello was a typically glorious Venetian sunny day and though there were a fair few tourists arriving via the vaperettos, it was also a quiet and peaceful place. This gave me opportunities to take the picture of this beautiful church that I had been imagining, though the story of why the picture took so long to complete began that day as well.

You see if you look at many other pictures of this church (and maybe I will show the original RAW pictures soon to highlight my point) you will notice that there is a church spire behind the top left of this church. It is actually the spire to the cathedral that lies next to this little church (click this link). The day we visited, my old enemy in photography had covered the whole of the spire - scaffolding. I took the usual 3 bracketed shots with the intention of creating an HDR but when I was back home in England, nothing could make me nearly satisfied with the pictures I tried, as the scaffolding was hugely distracting and very ugly. I knew that for the picture to be any good, I had to get rid of it. This was an amazingly tough job, as it was not a simple spot heal / clone stamp job. The tone and colour gradient of the sky was different throughout the whole picture and the church spire complete with scaffolding was too large an object (and connected visually to the church in the picture) to easily displace. My photoshop skills have never been good, so I knew as well that I would just have to wait for a time I could easily remove (without being noticeable) the spire in the background.

Well it wasn't easy, but 3 hours working on this picture last week finally paid off and the blood & sweat that went into this picture, began to produce a result I was very happy with. In the end I blended the picture with a texture of sandstone I took from rocks in the Czech Republic, to give it it's final rustic look. I've called it 'Timeless Torcello' because this church alone dates back 1000 years. The cathedral next to it (Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta) was founded in 639AD. Torcello is an ancient place and in fact was the first colonised island in the Venetian lagoon. If you ever do visit Venice, I promise you will not regret visiting the very special island of Torcello.

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