Photographic Process: From Snapshot To Snapshot

Iceland, widely known as the land of fire and ice, has recently became a buzz place that everybody and his brother with a camera visits. So here I was as well, with my bro Ota walking the picturesque and breathtaking black beach of Jokulsarlon. Just imagine - I could nourish my love for the outdoors only few meters from where we parked the car. We were experiencing the beauty of loads of magnificent icebergs, the greatest creations of the Mother Nature.

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Night Photography with Phase One IQ250 (Part II)

Do not get misled. I am not an expert in night photography. Not at all. There are plenty out there such as Ben Canales, just to name one. I have not taken more than a dozen night shots in my life. And at least ten of them with my iphone when drinking at a friend's stag night. Hence this is not a tutorial for shooting stars. Look at Alister Benn's articlesif you want to read a truly good one.

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Silver Gelatin Prints

Today I would like to announce start of this new product. Until now we have been offering inject prints only in our shop section, but from today I would like to offer you unique chance to buy newsilver gelatin prints. My objective is to print a new print in archival quality every month and present it here. I am also planning to share all details about the printing process and the photograph itself. I have found this inspiration in LensWork magazine and I strongly believe in systematic work, so I am willing to put this kind of pressure on me from now on.

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Prix de la Photographie Paris 2013

I just come back from my family vacation in south of France, so that is why our blog has been bit quiet recently. Today I would like to share one great news. My series of photographs of Northern Lights in Black and White was awarded First Price in this year's Prix de la Photographie Paris 2013 in category Fine Art. You can see the winning photographs here or in our gallery section. I am currently working very hard in darkroom to get them all printed on baryta paper. This unexpected success is huge motivation for my future work.

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Northern Lights in Black and White

Seeing Northern Lights is very exceptional and amazing experience. I hope that I never forget the feeling I had after the first magical show I saw last winter in Landmanalaugar. The explosion of colors and shapes was unbelievable and definitely not from this world. On the other hand, from pure photographer’s perspective it is not easy to capture those special moments. That time I really did not handle it well from technical perspective. For example I was using only ISO 800, but I could have used even higher and get much shorter times, without blurry stars, and there were many other little things I should have done differently. With this experience I was getting ready for this year’s trip. I tested my Canon 5D mark II and I was sure that I can use up to ISO 1600 without any obvious quality deterioration, that I can use the lowest aperture on my 17-40 lens and I really have to pay attention to focus properly, manual focusing recommended.

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Back from Iceland

It is hard to believe that this year’s trip to Iceland is already over, but in the same time it is great to be back home with my family. Now it’s time to develop all negatives, scan them and do the necessary post processing. I can already see, it is going to be quite long process, but I will do my best to share new photographs as soon as possible.

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Photographing Northern Lights in Iceland

This past winter provided some excellent opportunity to get photographing northern lights in Iceland as we could have witnessed strong solar activity capable to produce fantastic performance of green dances up in the sky. We believed Landmannalaugar to be one of the best locations to shoot it. Deserted and wild, very remote and hard to visit. Actually the only way to get there, with a little bit of luck, is to hire a guide with a special truck and naval GPS as roads are invisible - covered by thick plates of snow and ice. We agreed with Stefan from Icelandic Mountain Guides to drive us there. One video is better than 1000 words, so check out below how beautifully it all looked like. And yes, many thanks to Dead Can Dance for their Frontier (Demo) that plays out there instead of our small talks, car sounds and winds.

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Back from Iceland

It has been almost two weeks since I come back from trip to Iceland. As Marek showed is one of the previews posts Brief Report from Iceland we had experienced quite a lot of different weather events, such as very strong winds, snow storms, heavy rain and of course clear and cold nights during which we were extremely lucky and had a chance to witness the amazing Northern lights shows. Just before our trip started, the weather forecasts did not give us much hope to see the Northern lights, since very cloudy and stormy weather was expected for almost every day and night. So our expectations were very low.

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Northern Lights

I'm not a great believer in luck but we've spent some significant amount of time trying to collide with it. Except for exploring various spots and photographing for the most of our days here in Iceland, we have been checking out forecasts (weather and aurora forecasts) and moving around so that we maximized our chances to see northern lights.

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Iceland Calling

"The one who has seen the light has seen the true Iceland and will never lose sight of it again." Pall Asgeir Asgeirsson in the foreword to the book of Daniel Bergmann Iceland Landscapes. It was back in 2009  when I first travelled to Iceland, with two particular interests in mind. I looked for much simplified landscape from what I used to know in the Central Europe. And I hoped to photograph when the nordic sun stays shallow below the horizon and the bright nights still provide enough lighting to do so. But I found much more.

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From Dusk Till Dawn

This is the enriched re-draft of my older text that celebrated the passion for shooting when the sun stays below the horizon. As it largely influenced my approach to photography, I wanted to post it here and now as well. There are many forms of light but generally a “golden hour” is widely considered as the very best time to take photos. No matter how cliche-ish this sounds. Whoever (landscape photographer or not) gets to any attractive place on  Earth during the “golden hour”, which is something totally different from a common daylight must always be amazed. You just can’t escape, unless your feelings are as dull as a rock on the bottom of a lake. Lighting conditions that are unusual for our eyes change any subject matter to a previously unrecognized quality. The landscape is gaining some extra hues and the real feel of three-dimensional space thanks to a long trip the sun needs to take through the atmosphere and a low angle it is illuminating the ground.

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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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Shooting After Dusk

Many landscape photographers love shooting in times of the day between the dusk and dawn. Lighting conditions that are unusual for our eyes can change any subject to an unrecognized quality. Depending on a medium used, sceneries may be gaining hues and tones that we can't see by us. The element of a surprise is the source of endless excitement for me anytime I have the opportunity to photograph after dusk, especially when using Velvia.

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...Let It Snow (Continued).

I took this image on our first trip to Lofoten in January. It was well after sunset and some 100+ kilometers ahead of us to Svolaer. We were returning from the place called Å, the tiny village situated endmost in the Lofoten islands. We scouted for locations to return to on our next trip as we had already decided to stay in Reine next time. I admit I have not paid too much attention to where we were when shooting this photograph because we were late and in a hurry. Moreover, Ota left me with my two and a half minutes exposure all alone. Despite the dull sky, I tried it at least for seeing how this rather unorthodox compositions would look like. Did not have too many other options as there was an ugly little quay on the left from houses.

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Shooting Northern Lights

Some of you might have seen this picture already on lightharmony or facebook but I can find no better to kick off the Photo of the Week category than this one. It's the result of the most exciting photographic adventures I have gone through this year and perhaps ever. I've been dreaming to witness the Northern Lights for the last few years but only this March all elements came in alignment and I got lucky. Originally, I just wished to watch and photograph it. Then, let it happily rest in my archive and pursue other little projects. But the magic of aurora can't be described with words and I only know now that the night I saw it was just the beginning of our long-term dating.

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Notes from Iceland I.

If you’re flying to Iceland one day, it’s likely you’ll take Icelandair because there’s not too many services that connect Reykjavik with the continental Europe. In such case, don’t miss your chances to browse though the on-board entertainment options and listen to the Icelandic music (not talking about folk, which I avoided by miles). Apart from the usual suspects as Sigur Ros and Bjork (remember Sugarcubes? :-)), you can get to hear less known bands and musicians that are often nothing short of pure reflections of a meditative remoteness of the island. There’s no better preparation for ambient mood of the place than giving ear to Ampop or Blindfold in your headphones and watching icy toppings of volcanos, wrinkled faces of glaciers, black sand beaches framed by white lines of crashing waves or countless veins of rivers deltas as the plane have reached Iceland. And yes, if tired by the melancholy, play Emiliana Torrini.

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