Summer's Day Photographing Peterhof Palace

A lovely fountain, surrounded by trees in the grounds of Peterhof Summer Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia

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. Here’s a few photos from my time exploring the grounds.

There are fountains, of all shapes and styles, throughout the grounds. This one caught my eye. I loved its shape and the ornate gold and pink decorations set it off against the predominantly green surroundings.

A black and white image showing a rear view of the Grand Cascade at Peterhof Palace near St. Petersburg, Russia.

The Cascade, An Alternate View

The Cascade is a huge series of fountains that cascade downwards to a large, huge 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, for this image I decided upon a black and white rendering as a way of bringing out the shapes and textures in the scene.

Spectacular domes, gleaming on a summer's day, set off a magnificent Russian building at Peterhof Summer Palace near St. Petersburg, Russia.

The 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 and the soft green hue of the buildings roof contrasts nicely with its yellow/orange outer walls.

Statues situated in soft light on a cascade at Peterhof Summer Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia

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 shapes and curves within the statues body. Studying statues is a great way to study the human form as a guide to learning how to photograph it.

A lovely, quiet retreat for the former Tzar at Peterhof Summer Palace near St. Petersburg, Russia.

Photographing Marly Palace

Marly Palace was a surprise. Surrounded by water I would guess it was some sort of retreat. It really just looks like a two bedroom house, albeit a beautiful one. But it’s the setting of the house, on this man made pond, that’s draws the eye towards it. It’s a really great example of landscape design.

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. One thing I’ve discovered about myself over the years is that 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.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru