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Photographer's Note

VIVALDI, THE OSPEDALE, AND THE LEANING STEEPLE

In our “enlightened age” we are happy about the existence of institutions that care for the mentally and physically infirm. In the past, such indidividuals were often the discards of society, doomed to live on the streets in squalid conditions, and survive by begging. The tradition of “ospedale” (literally “hospital”) in Italy, however, was even more humane than the institutions of modern times. They could indeed be hospitals, sanitariums, hospices, in the modern sense, but they could also be much more — producing productive and self-respecting citizens of them. Orphanages and music schools could also be ospedales. One of my favorite composers, Antonio Vivaldi, the “Red Priest,” (so named because of his flaming red hair) spent his adult life teaching and composing in the Ospedale di Santa Maria di Pieta, the white church with four columns seen in the photograph. Also seen (in the background on the left) is the leaning steeple of the Greek church of San Giorgio dei Greci. The magnificent series of four violin concerti, "The Four Seasons," was composed in the Santa Maria di Pieta by its legendary music director. I attended a concert and heard my favorite of all
Vivaldi's "La Follia."


Venice is built on a swamp. Millions of pylons, comprised of tree trunks, logs, were driven into the ground to stabilize foundations, but this cannot always been done successfully. As you sail through the area (e.g. take a vaporetta) around the island, you see a number of towers, leaning to and fro. This one is among the most dramatic of leaning towers. But this all adds to the charm of Venice.

Venice is inarguably one of the most beautiful and interesting of cities in the world, a city where the streets are canals, and the crosswalks bridges. Myriad domes and steeples dot the city, where the Late Renaissance blossomed. Last year I posted another shot of the magical city, Santa Maria dela Salute.

I shot the photo on July 3, 2007 from the cruise ship Crystal Serenity — on the first day of a cruise in which I was scheduled to give a series of five lectures during the next 3-4 weeks. The ship was just sailing out of Venice, and the time was about 5:30 pm. Along with her sister ship, the Crystal Symphony, this 13-story ship is the most elegant in the cruise business. I took the photo from the Promenade Deck on the 7th floor, avoiding a bird's eye view from the top deck.

Just before I left on the cruise, I had acquired an extremely lightweight Quantaray OSX-Digi Pro 100 tripod that I have since kept permanently connected to my Nikon D70. Indeed, I cannot stress how much improvement one can achieve in the quality of one’s photographs with this scheme. Learning from admired TE-friends John Maenhout (jhm), Izzet Keribar (keribar) and Jaap Polak (carper), I have made the tripod an indispensable apparatus in my photography. It can be used as a monopod or a tripod, and it extends from only 14 inches (35 cm) collapsed to 51 inches (130 cm) fully extended. It serves as a carrying handle for the camera itself.

Regards to my good friends at TrekeEarth. I will gradually submit some of the photos I took on the cruise.

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Additional Photos by Bulent Atalay (batalay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6781 W: 471 N: 12170] (41261)
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