Dragon Rock and the Rest

One of the reasons I keep returning to Baikal is that you have plenty of photographically creative options even if you avoid local icons and typical views. Two years ago, I was so amazed with the frozen lake that I forgot about everything I pre-visualised having seen images of the iconic spots on internet. Now, with heavily increased tourist traffic, it became actually impossible to be alone in such place at the best time of a day. That is why I did not make a single image of Ogoy island or Shamanka viewpoint despite of 3 trips to Baikal.

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Lake Baikal Photo Gallery

I like to sit on images for some time after I come from trips, absorb them and work on them at a rather slow pace. I do so as I learnt over years that I need some emotional distance if I want to process more 'objectively', without panting of impressions from places. This time, it took even longer to finalise imagery from my two travels to Baikal. I think it is because I got disappointed on my second trip earlier this year, for a lot of snow on ice that destroyed all my plans...

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Baikal Reflections

I'm blown away.

By the Lake Baikal, by its immensity and liveliness; its subtletness and tranquility. You get it all - monumental vistas with shorelines, islands and rocks, and tiny little details sculpted in the ice under your feet. Loud cracks of the ice plates and absolute silence, occasionally broken by blasts of the freezy wind forcing tears in to your eyes.

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Frozen Tree

Last week I mentioned my plans to do a first test of my large format camera system in extreme cold weather conditions, which are currently dominating to most parts of Europe. Last Sunday I went to Lake Geneva shore close to small town called Anthy-sur-Leman in France. I got there just before sunrise and thermometer in my car was showing -12 degree Celsius, which would not be that bad, if there was not strong cold wind blowing from North-East. These two factors combined together created real feel temperature well below -20 degree Celsius. As every landscape photographer can tell you it’s not so much fun to be out there if you feel cold, so to protect myself in those conditions I recently purchased special winter jacket from Sirjoseph and I have to say that it did exceed all my expectation. I did not feel the cold at all and I was able to easily wait for my long exposures to finish and in total I spent couple of hours outside without feeling cold.

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Time

It has been more than four years since I moved to Geneva. I still remember my excitement from the fact that I had not been so closed to the mountains before and I was so convinced that I would spent all my free time hiking and photographing in the mountains. So that was the plan, however the reality was quite different. There was always something that stopped me from going up there or I was just so lazy and tired from my daily job that I was finding excuses why I should stay home. At the end I have not taken as many photographs in the mountains as I wished four years ago, but I still have a lot of great “mental” photographs in my mind, which I will have a chance to take next year or year after that or...

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Souvenir from Iceland

Having started to plan my third visit to Iceland for March next year, I am closely watching news on signs of an increased seismic activity of Katla volcano with hopes nothing serious will happen that would stop us from going there. On the other hand, some 'peaceful drama' that would not hurt nothing can be of a desire. But of course, just to add sceneries to our trip rather than cause a massive disruption in air traffic as Eyjafjallajokull did last year. Well, I cannot influence anything hence staying tuned in case I will have to replace an airplane with a car. In the meantime, I look forward to photographing this wonderful place on Earth during winter. I also keep myself busy thinking whether to take my Linhof Techno kit to enjoy more and shoot less, or Hasselblad to be on a faster and safer side. The latter is winning by a nose right now because of my previous experience with the weather. It changes so quickly that I would face a huge risk with my Techno to become just a passive beholder rather than doing an action packed photography. It reminds me one of my most favorite image from my first trip to Iceland in 2009.

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Photo of the Week - September 12, 2011

Today I would like to share with you one of my recent photographs, which I took at the end of August close to Anthy Sur Leman in France. It is part of my ongoing project “Lac Leman”  and I have been photographing this exact place for couple of times already and I have never been really happy with results. So this is my first attempt I am willing to show to others, I guess it is not perfect, but at least it gets some of the things I was hopping for. The weather turned out to be almost perfect, it was little bit chilly in the morning and stormy clouds were quite quickly approaching the lake. I was on location some time before sunrise trying to observe it before setting up tripod and camera, but most importantly I was enjoying the quiet morning with only few ducks and some other wild births wondering around. I really like the time at the end of vacation season, when mornings by the lake get nicely quiet again and one can really relax. I am planning to travel more around the lake this upcoming winter. First of all, I want to discover some new places, but I want to keep returning to already know locations like this one. I have quite a few photographs in my mind, so lets hope that I will have a chance to take them.

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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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My Linhof Techno Challenge

Unlike the last two years when I traveled to Iceland, I did not do much photography this July and August. My preferences changed lately more towards winters and scarce time resources allow me to accommodate just one serious trip a year. As I do not like the summer lighting in Central Europe that is too fast and too early too harsh, I did not really go out at all. Not mentioning crazy times of having to get up when set for any short trip outside Prague if I want to catch the first light. Apart from spending great deal of time with kids on few trips (they are just big enough to start appreciate nature and hiking), I kept myself busy building my new kit and trying to understand how my new Linhof Techno works in real life and what else I will need before I actually can start making images.

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Going Larger

"The best camera is the one that you have with you." Don't know who said it but I like it a lot. Hence I always carry my best camera. So I did this past weekend when I went to Geneva to see Ota and his lovely family. The side purpose was to test my new Linhof Techno kit that I put together after struggling two months. Yes, even in today's internet times (or perhaps because of them) I had troubles to learn what bits and pieces of equipment I need to make the Techno work. And I'm yet to be delivered with cables to connect it to my Phase One. For some time already, I wished to go larger (6x9 or better 6x8) to open up fresh horizons by using the potential of controlling the perspective via moving standards. I take this as an entry ticket to a completely different world. A world that is bigger, slower and more intimate and detailed than everything I tried so far. From what I was doing with my camera for the past few years, I found out that I liked the process somewhat more than a result. I had a feeling I could not do anything else than move to this format to significantly increase the joy from a process.

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