Photographing Peterhof Palace, Russia

Statue on the edge of the fountain at Peterhof Palace near St. Petersburg, Russia

Peterhof palace is a short drive from St. Petersburg, Russia. Situated on the shores of the Gulf of Finland the complex's extensive grounds abound with fountains, statues and pavilions. The array of 140 fountains, the largest such system in existance, are considered amongst the most beautiful in the world. I visited Peterhof on a hot, sunny afternoon in August.

After initial processing in Lightroom I moved the image into Photoshop for some more localized treatment.

This was actually a highly detailed scene, which isn't always a good thing. It can become too confusing for the viewer. To make the statue stand out against its surroundings I explored the following:

  • Critical focus and a shallow depth of field to render the subject sharp against an out of focus background
  • Emphasized shape and texture in the statue by deemphasizing the same elements of design in the background
  • Amplified color contrast (i.e., warm versus cool) through aggressive processing as a way of further separating the subject from the predominantly cooler background.

Peterhof is often referred to as the Russian Versailles. Interesting as nearby St. Petersburg is referred to as the Venice of the North a term that is also used to describe the beautiful medieval city of Bruges (i.e., Brugge) in Belgium.

Peterhof commemorates the expansion and modernization of imperial Russia under Peter the Great as he stretched his hand out across the Baltic. It's a lovely place. You'll enjoy the walk around the gardens and the opportunity to photograph the variety of architectural elements on display.

I'd certainly recommend a visit to Peterhof be included into the itinerary for those planning to travel to the beautiful city of St. Petersburg, Russia. Just be sure to set aside the best part of the day to make the trip in and out of the city and to wander this extensive complex. On a summer's evening there'll be plenty of time for a long walk or a cruise along the canal once you're back in St. Petersburg. 

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru