Summer's Day Photographing Peterhof Palace
Peterhof Summer Palace was the summer home of Tzar Peter the Great. Situated an hour or so drive out of St. Petersburg on the Gulf of Finland, Peterhof is a delightful place to spend a summer’s day exploring the extensive gardens and marveling at the many water fountains throughout the grounds.
From memory I spent around 3 hours at Peterhof. It was a warm, sunny day and I really enjoyed exploring the extensive grounds, making photos all the way.
There are fountains of all shapes and styles throughout the grounds at Peterhof. This one caught my eye. I loved its shape and how the ornate gold and pink decorations set it off against the predominantly green surroundings.
The Grand Cascade at Peterhof, An Alternate View
The Grand Cascade is a huge series of fountains that cascade downwards to a large pool below. This photo was made from behind the cascade looking towards a pavilion.
The bright gold colored statues are spectacular when lit by the sun. However, the gold color can be overpowering in a photo so, for this particular image, I decided upon a black and white rendering as a way of bringing out the shapes and textures in the scene.
The Beautiful Church At Peterhof Summer Palace
This ornately decorated building stands proudly against a beautiful sky. The golden domes provide a great contrast with the blue sky, while the soft green hue of the building's roof contrasts nicely with its yellow/orange outer walls.
Make Better Photos By Studying The Human Form
Of all the fountains and statues I photographed at Peterhof this large cascade was the only one I can remember being in a state of disrepair. Nonetheless, I liked the way the gentle light caressed the statues shapes and curves.
Closely observing statues is a great way to study the human form and the Human Condition. Such observations can only help you identify the expressions and gestures needed to convey meaning in the stories you tell through your people based photography.
How I Photographed the Delightful Marly Palace
Marly Palace was a very pleasant surprise. Surrounded by water I guess it was originally designed as some sort of retreat. But it’s the setting of the building, on this man made pond, that draws the eye towards it. It’s a really great example of architectural landscape design.
In addition to the peaceful setting I was immediately struck by the symmetry of the scene around Marly Palace. I tried to emphasize that symmetry in this photo.
I only had a few days in St. Petersburg, towards the end of an extensive and exhaustive trip. I was worn out, though exhilarated when I arrived. Being kept up most of the night, two nights in a row, by biting mites was a trial. But, one thing I’ve discovered about myself over the years is that, when it really matters, I do have pretty amazing levels of stamina.
Fortunately the days were wonderful and the relatively warm summer evenings allowed me to make a number of photographs of this spectacular canal city. I most certainly expect to return, probably again in summer, and would hope to have a week to photograph in and around St. Petersburg next time. It’s one of my favorite cities.