Comacchio & Venice Workshops Report
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FIRST COMACCHIO & VENICE WORKSHOP
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COMACCHIO & VENICE WORKSHOPS
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COMACCHIO & VENICE WORKSHOPS REPORT

I have been exploring and photographing Comacchio & Venice since 2012, returning almost every year and often many times a year. The melancholy, moody and deeply touching landscapes of Comacchio, together with Venice’s most iconic locations and more secret spots, are a never-ending source of inspiration and are both very close to my heart. We started running landscapes in Comacchio & Venice in 2016.

DESIGNING THE WORKSHOP | Designing our Comacchio & Venice Workshop, I focussed on the contrast between the melancholy, foggy and moody lagoons of Comacchio and the majestic beauty of Venice, to offer you a wide range of very different and inspiring shooting situations. In Comacchio & Venice, as I always do, I chose locations that are both unique, touching and beautiful, while presenting different artistic and technical photographic challenges. I believe that helping you to face and solve together as many photographic problems as possible during our time with us will, in turn, help you to develop your vision both during and, most importantly, after the Workshop, when you are back working without a tutor.

THE LOCATIONS | This is a list of the locations we photographed during our three Workshops in Comacchio & Venice, among others and in no particular order, out of all our 20+ available locations. In Comacchio: 4 different spots in Sacca di Scardovari, 7 different spots in Valli di Comacchio, 2 different spots in Comacchio. In Venice: San Marco, San Giorgio Maggiore, Santa Maria della Salute, Riva degli Schiavoni, 2 different spots at Punta della Dogana, 4 different spots in Rialto, 4 different spots in Giudecca and more.

Every time we go to Comacchio & Venice for our Workshops there, or when we just pass through on our way to the Dolomites and back, we try and add some extra days to our schedule to keep exploring Comacchio & Venice, always adding new spectacular locations to our list. Having as many extra locations as possible gives me maximum flexibility in my choice of locations for any given Workshop day, plus it allows Alumni wanting to come back for a second tour with us to know that they’ll be able to see different locations as well, besides taking another shot at the locations they loved on their first trip.

IN THE FIELD | During our Comacchio & Venice Workshops, our trademark limited attendance of maximum three people allowed me to dedicate every participant plenty of personal time in the field. Before each session, as I do during all my Workshops, I briefed the group with the location’s challenges, offering my advice on how to best solve them. I then followed participants during their work, quietly offering my suggestions to each of them, both respecting their individual approach to landscape photography and without imposing my views.

Besides answering any questions they might have had, when I thought it might have helped I shared my ideas and my own approach to the locations with them, sometimes showing them images on my camera’s LCD screen. When the occasion arose, during the three Workshops I led in Comacchio & Venice we enjoyed revisiting some of the locations as well, something I always find very useful.

IMAGE REVIEW & POST-PROCESSING | In Comacchio & Venice, thanks to our limited attendance and to keeping hotel changes down to a maximum of one during the Workshop, we had the opportunity to do in-depth image review and post-processing sessions at leisure. These sessions allowed participants to go home with ideas about which images were stronger than others, and with post-processing pointers helping them to make the most out of their photographs. As well, thanks to our image review sessions our participants had the opportunity to try out in the field the new ideas gathered during these sessions, either in new locations or revisiting old ones, applying novel solutions to whatever problems they might have faced the first time there.

NO CROWDS | As customary for all our Workshops, during three Comacchio & Venice Workshops we never had to work in locations crowded by other photographers. The lagoons around Comacchio offer great solitude, and it’s rare to see other people, let alone other photographers. Venice on the other hand is always busy, but I carefully selected dates, locations and vantage points to make sure that even in the most popular spots there we either were alone, or we had enough room and distance from other photographers to make working easy and pleasant. Not having to deal with crowds definitely made a great experience even better!

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AFTER THE WORKSHOP | Our Workshops never end on the last day! As we always do, once every Comacchio & Venice Workshop ended, we kept working on post-processing and image selection with those participants interested in that, either on our private Facebook groups or via the email.

Let’s see now how our Comacchio & Venice Workshops went, starting from the most recent one and going back to 2016!

VENICE JULY 2019 WORKSHOP REPORT

In July 2019, I returned to Venice for our third Workshop there, this time a short 2-day Workshop One-on-One.

I enjoyed very much meeting our participant and working with him during these two days in Venice, and the fact that he was also a Hasselblad X1D user allowed me to share with him my tips and tricks to make the most out of his camera. Despite the short time, we covered a lot of ground, photographing various locations and facing some interesting compositional challenges.

Last but not least, the social aspect and the human side of the Workshop, always very important for me. In Venice, despite our very short time together, we truly enjoyed our conversations about photography and, of course, photo equipment, for a very pleasant social side of the Workshop!

THE PARTICIPANT’S IMAGES AND COMMENTS | The participant in our Venice July 2019 Workshop kindly sent me a few images to share here with you, together with his testimonial about our Workshop. Enjoy the work he did in Venice and see what he had to say about our Workshop together!

BRIAN LEWIS

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I attended a private one-day workshop with Vieri Bottazzini in Venice at the end of July 2019.

Vieri knew his way around Venice and showed me some of the best photographic locations that I would not have known about without his guidance. The result was that I left Venice with some high-quality images as well as memorable experiences working with an established world-renown landscape photographer.

  I had just taken delivery of a new Hasselblad X1D which Vieri also uses and he was able to assist me working with the camera which he has mastered very well. We were even able to swap lenses when necessary.  Apart from sourcing excellent locations Vieri introduced me to the Formatt-Hitech Firecrest Filter system.

Vieri is easy to get along with and is very professional in his conduct.

COMACCHIO & VENICE OCTOBER 2018 WORKSHOP REPORT

In October 2018, we returned to Comacchio & Venice for our second Workshop there. This time, we run a private Workshop One-on-One for three participants, all returning Alumni, two of whom joined us with their wives. The Workshop lasted two weeks, between Cinque Terre & Tuscany and Comacchio & Venice (see CINQUE TERRE & TUSCANY WORKSHOP REPORT for that part of the Workshop), out of which we spent 6 days in Comacchio & Venice.

Comacchio & Venice 2018

Doing a Workshop One-on-One with returning participants made it easier for me to fully customize the Workshop on my Alumni’s level and requirements, choosing the best locations both for great photography and to continue along our educational path together. As always, I have been very pleased to see my Alumni coming back for more, one on his second, one on his third and one on his fourth Workshop with us. Working together again was a fun, inspiring and rewarding experience, and after nine days of intense work everyone’s skills improved greatly.

Last but not least, the social aspect and the human side of the Workshop, always very important for us. First of all, both Zeynep and I were really happy to see our Alumni again, two of them after just a few months, the third one after one and a half year. We truly enjoyed our social times with the group, and during our transfers, lunches and dinners we had conversations on the most varied topics, from photography to lifestyle & food, from equipment to politics, but most importantly we had really a lot of fun, for a great Workshop together!

MAGNUS JONASSEN

As always it was great to meet my inspirational teacher! Vieri and his wife picked me up as planned and we took the road to the first place for the first shoot! It was 1.5 year since last time, and I was thrilled to get out and learn more from the master! As always, and one of my main reasons for going the third time with Vieri, was that everything was well prepared. Travel, hotels, and of course the different scenes. As the weather change very often on the coast, we discussed where to go and what to shoot to get the most out the four days together. Vieri is a great teacher in combination of being a great photographer, from the way you are able to discuss the different settings on your gear to the way you’ll work on composition and processing when back in the hotel. To join Vieri on a photographic adventure will never disappoint you. And to join him in such a beautiful place as the Northern Coast of Spain, will just inspire you even more! Thank you for all the good experience!

COMACCHIO DECEMBER 2016 WORKSHOP REPORT

In December 2016, we went to Comacchio for our first Workshop there, a 3-day Leica Akademie Italy Workshop with nine participants.

Comacchio 2016

In Comacchio, we really enjoyed meeting our participants and working with a group of people sharing a common passion for photography and for the melancholy landscapes of the lagoon, and all showing great enthusiasm towards trying new things, be it landscape photography or be it the Leica SL equipment available for them to try during the Workshop. I truly appreciated their positive attitude in going out of their comfort zone, and the good results they got in such a short time are a testament to that. I was very proud to see how some participants in this Workshop got passionate about landscape photography following their experience in Comacchio with us and deciding to dedicate themselves to it, something that really meant a lot to me.

Last but not least, the social aspect and the human side of the Workshop, always very important for me. In Comacchio we had a great group, for a very friendly and relaxed atmosphere both in and out of the field which made for a great, fun and productive Workshop!

THE PARTICIPANTS’ IMAGES AND COMMENTS | Some participants in our Comacchio 2016 Workshop kindly sent me a few images each to share here with you, together with their testimonials about our Workshop. Enjoy the work they did in Italy and see what they had to say about our Workshop together!

MARIEKE FEENSTRA

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After seeing Vieri’s images I wanted to learn from the master himself. The workshop in Comacchio was an amazing experience, waking up the landscape photographer in me. I had never used filters and Vieri took away the fear. I came back knowing so much more about landscape photography and the use of my gear. Vieri is very responsive and helpful before, during and even now after the workshop. Back home the learning resonated and I am able to apply what I have learned.  Vieri and Zeynep are a great team always attentive to your experience, I highly recommend you take one of his workshops, it will improve your work with big leaps!

GUIDO BASEVI

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The Valli di Comacchio, the Po’s Delta, always fascinated me, I love the plains and the big spaces, and if there is a marriage of sea and skies such as in this case the photographic attraction becomes irresistible.

Three days of intense work from sunrise to sunset, three days shared with a group made of nine apprentices, one great master photographer, a representative of Leica Italy also a photographer and a loving and caring assistant who provided us with hot beverages in the cold and windy mornings of a dark and rainy December.

Vieri Bottazzini, whom I admired as a photographer for his wonderful landscape work, turned out to be a great person as well, kind, friendly, always smiling and, as only a wise man can be, never arrogant, on the contrary! His suggestions, always offered with tact, never made me feel like a student, but like a colleague. What could sound like just an exchange of observation at first, in retrospect revealed itself to be priceless teachings.

Vieri’s previously chosen locations were landscape wonders, in all cases representing the interaction between man and nature, giving us the possibility of expressing our visions either keeping this element in mind or not. Let’s not forget our base camp, Comacchio, also a wonderful little city with beautiful canals and bridges, a “small medieval Venice”.

Leica Akademie’s Workshop’s organization was perfect, we have been cuddled with comfortable transfers in a bus rented just for us and every participant has been given a wonderful Leica SL with the 24-90mm zoom to try for the three days of Workshop. The hotel was comfortable, and the adjacent bar where we had our discussions and meetings warmed us with their delicious cocktails.

I have been very happy to have met in person Vieri, his wonderful and very kind wife Zeynep and our Leica representative Maurizio Beucci who didn’t tell anyone to be a (great) photographer as well until we found him out on the Internet and admired his work.

I hope to be lucky and privileged to participate in more wonderful Workshops with you guys, thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Guido Basevi

MATTIA ZALDINI

I took part in many Workshops. Some were dedicated to post-production, some to street photography and others to landscape photography. Leica Akademie Workshops are different. At the organisation level, I can certify the great professionality and work behind the preparation of a Workshop such as this. Whether we are in Comacchio, in a hot Milanese square or between Venice’s canals, Leica Akademie is always guarantee of professionality, harmony and a lot, a lot of patience. On the other side, I can say that I knew this Workshop’s tutor, Vieri Bottazzini, only from what my dear friend Ryuichi told me. Even without having ever met, I could see we had many characteristics in common with Vieri when it comes to approaching landscape photography. An approach made of many small steps, tiptoeing to find that necessary connection that a photograph needs to share with the surrounding environment. A connection made of respect, admiration and sensations.

Arriving to Comacchio, my impression has been fully confirmed. Vieri is a really wonderful person, a true professional but with a humility that is rare to find nowadays. During the Workshop, I learned a lot simply by watching Vieri moving around, by looking where he looked, and from the way he interacted with us and with the environment. I particularly appreciated how he was always present, but also how he understood when and how to intervene. Something definitely fundamental in the Workshop’s success has been the presence of Zeynep Paftali Bottazzini, Vieri’s wife, that constantly lavished us with care, both providing us with hot beverages and helping with the group’s management. Overall, a Workshop with a capital W, great organization and a fantastic tutor. We’ll meet again... without a doubt!

UBALDO BARICORDI

I participated with curiosity and high expectations in the Workshop that just ended in Comacchio. Organisation was precise, accurate and overall perfect.

Our tutor Vieri Bottazzini’s teaching is technically perfect, clear in his explanations and always available to answer questions and clarification requests coming from a harmonious group of people with different expectations and levels. Personally, I am very satisfied by this experience, certainly something I’d love to do again; I am particularly satisfied with the suggestions and especially by the “photographic” inspiration that all the Leica Akademie team transmitted me. My expectations have been fully met!
Ubaldo Baricordi

ANTONINO ESPOSITO

Vieri’s great helpfulness and professionalism in supporting us with the use of filters and of the amazing Leica SL, together with the beauty of the locations, made the days in Comacchio intense and extremely beneficial.

An experience that gave me new motivation and the will to keep going!
Antonino Esposito

CAMILLA BIELLA

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I went to a Leica Akademie Workshop with Vieri Bottazzini full of my own insecurities, but I have been given invaluable incentives to take more risks. Thank you!
Camilla Biella

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