Adding Photo Gallery

It took us considerable amount of time but I am finally happy to announce that we added photo gallery to our website. I believe it will be interesting and nice for our visitors to find all images that we decide to publish at one place. There are two parts of our collection there - Black & White is the selection of Ota's work, Land & Colors represents color portfolio of mine. I decided to organize it by country, at least until I get some of my projects finished so that I will be able to present photographs under some other headline.

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Lesnicke Sedlo, the Place of Infinite Inspiration

I certainly do not remember when exactly my fondness for this place evolved, but for more than 20 years I have been taking there everything I loved at a time. It started with my bike when I was a teenager, followed by couple of girlfriends that qualified worth showing them around. I then drove my first car there to see how well it can handle the steep curved road that leads up there. In recent years, I have spent endless hours wandering round the place with all my cameras I owned so far. And finally, few weeks ago I brought my kids there to witness a joy in their eyes that would help me recall my first visit thus the beginning of my passion. 

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15 Treasures of Slovakia by Lightharmony

It's been more than a year since we finished our project 15 Treasures of Slovakia with the book printed. Six members of the Lightharmony camera club based in Slovakia photographed 15 places to convey beauties of our country to public and customers of a financial institution we have done the work for, in couple of exhibitions. We are now left with less than 10 prints of the book yet for sale. The texts in there are in both, Slovak and English. Interestingly written, by the way. Wikipedia was not used, they rather talk stories that are unique and unknown about the 15 different spots

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Long Story Short

Yet another tree from our always-differently-amazing Horehronie (the region in mid Slovakia for those who might not know) garden. I am actually incredibly grateful to couple of friends from lightharmony who have been showing me around for years now and my fascination of the place is endless ever since I first time took my way through marvelous little hills high above villages. However, I can't say that I always connect to the subject I would wish to photograph for some reason, and this specific tree was not particularly chatty when it came to the communication between the two of us in the past. You sure know the feeling when you see something beautiful to shoot but somehow do not feel any way is the right way to do it.

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Tree Brothers

It's no surprise that the autumn is my favorite season to photograph Slovakia. I'm definitely not going to be the only one. Rich color palettes, foggy moods and (relatively) stable weather make chances of creating an interesting image higher. Every year I try my best to set apart couple of weekends for shooting in my home land and it was no different this autumn. I have been there two-three times and it's over now, processed films are scanned and I enjoy going through them before choosing which may be worth to finalize. Comparing results over last few years, I have to say that the past years' fall colors were much chunkier and richer probably for an extremely dry weather this year.

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Photo of the Week - November 27, 2011

I have been to Slovakia for couple of times, but I have not been lucky to take any photograph which would be worth keeping, and you have to believe me, that this little country in Central Europe is extremely photogenic, so the problem was always on my side not that there was nothing to photograph. I was very happy, when Marek invited my and my family to spent a long weekend in Slovakia, which was also great occasion to test extensively my new camera. So I packed Ebony RSW 45, couple of lenses, 50 sheets of 4x5” Kodak T-Max 100 film and with high photographic expectations arrived to Banska Bystrica. Unfortunately, the weather was mostly against us, with exception of one afternoon, when Marek and our good friend from Lightharmony Stefan Mestan, took me to see their favorite locations around their lovely town. All the places we visited during that afternoon were proving endless photographic opportunities.

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Film or Digital?

Film or digital? Both!

Whenever I'm out with my Hasselblad putting it up for a shot, I keep asking myself this particular question. The beauty of my setup is that I can switch between the two within seconds. No more I spend removing the film cassette and replacing it with Phase One digital back (and okay, placing a crop mask on the ground glass). I'm actually fortunate to have a choice, which is exactly why I designed my kit this way.

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Golden Times

As my adventure with Linhof Techno continues, I let myself enjoy few days back in my home land returning to places I know and love to photograph. Lesnica has always provided for endless inspiration. This view of High Tatras is by far my favorite and I can spend hours just watching the vista of spectacular mountain ridge with its two dominants - Havran and Zdiarska vidla. The evening did not seem too promising but few minutes before sunset, I was blessed with true golden light at its lowest angle, flashed straight onto Tatras. After few minutes, it all got gone with only some purple left in the sky... I soon will come back for more.

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Blue Essence of Carpathians

I was walking down the hill in Carpathian mountains, disappointed. There was a promising amount of mist all the way up few hours ago, which unfortunately turned to lie higher than expected and I had made no single exposure from the viewpoint on Vysoka hill. The sunrise had not helped so I decided to leave the spot shotless and get back to the car. On the way, I was trying to look around in search for a cleaner piece of ground in the woodland to try to photograph misty young beech forest. With not much luck as I found everything too dirty for was I had in mind. I could have removed some of the mess off my composition but there were way too many relics of trees all over while sceneries did not seem to justify an extra effort. Soon I gave up searching and took an easy fix - decided to exclude the ground from the frame. I used a longer lens attempting to create a rhythm with lines of tree trunks, and in hopes for some interesting interpretation of mist by unfiltered Velvia.

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Matter of Luck?

I was not particularly blessed with a luck with lighting in my recent photographic trips and attempts. Actually, I had no luck whatsoever. To be factually correct, I would call it an absolute misfortune. Being a little more on an unsettled side as a person, I would have full right to talk about a huge frustration as I can't remember when I last time witnessed an epic landscape lit by a bold and spectacular light. This is what I was grown on and have been always looking for. I planned this autumn to be much more active than anytime before. And I really was, spending the most of recent weekends out exploring new places near my place, the old spots in High Tatras as well as my new linhof.

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Expect the Unexpected

I just returned from long expected and looked forward to journey to High Tatras, my home land. Spending 4 days with one of my best photography buddies, Stefan Mestan (see his gallery), walking long hours below cloudless skies and familiarizing with my linhof techno was both, exciting and refreshing. As it always is when I get out there to do nothing but shoot. I'm now looking at processed slides and I have to confess that I never returned back from any trip with such pathetic results. The autumn has not come and likely won't this year - instead of rich yellows of birch trees and reds of rowans, we only saw leafs that were drying up alive. We saw far too much grey and perhaps two-three clouds, not more.

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Ice Cave Patterns

We usually shoot our Earth in its various forms and fashions from the ground. Those happier of us get up in the air and photograph from there. But there's an incredible beauty below its surface, too. In Slovakia, we're lucky to have as many as 2,400 caves (wikipedia) of which about 400 have been explored. One tenth of them is open for public. I rather believe that these are the most picturesque and fascinating. Because five are included in UNESCO World Heritage. :-)

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From a Distance

Sometimes I like to look back at my work that I created few years ago. Except for studying places I witnessed and might go to again one day, I'm also trying to see if and how I developed as a photographer. The results vary. In many cases, I would not show a photograph to public for either mistakes in exposure, composition or post-process, or because I changed my tastes and simply stopped being confident about an image. Some other shots, I would not even push the trigger as I got my eye better trained for seeing a potential of a scene. On the other hand, there are couple of photographs that I doubt I will ever be able to beat. This is where the weather conditions were right, I used the right equipment and focal length, I somehow managed to build a nice composition and even measure the light precisely.

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Countless Reasons to Love High Tatras

I perhaps do not know of any single photographer of landscape who would not nourish a special bias for a place or two and I'm of course no exception. I was grown below magnificent High Tatras so one can easily guess what my favorite spot is. The truth is that I have far less good Tatras images worth sharing than what the place deserves. One of the reason is that I enjoy just being out there much more than anywhere else and I do not feel distracted when I sometimes return home without even pulling a camera out of the bag.

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Unspoiled Nature of Poloniny

The photograph for this week was created about a year ago when we were shooting our book 15 Treasures of Slovakia (you can browse through it online here: http://www.lightharmony.com/treasures). Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians were added on the UNESCO World Natural Heritages list on long ago, in 2007. You can find them in the very eastern part of Slovakia, on the border with Ukraine and Poland. Some of them are part of the youngest and least known national park called Poloniny. The forests are absolutely unique for being preserved in their original conditions and untouched for several thousand years. Not too many people know that they contain the world's tallest beech trees.

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