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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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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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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Isle of Harris with Phase One IQ250 (Part I)

I have been using Phase One backs since 2009 when I got lucky with a reasonable price on refurbished P30. Back then, I intended to get rid of the digital SLR that I carried as a back up for my film medium format camera so that I can entertain one system only. I ended up with Hasselblad H1, on which I could switch the Phase One with a film cassette. It is a very handy set up that contains one medium format body and three lenses only, but allows shooting film or digital as desired. With some alterations, I enjoy using it until now.

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Isle of Eigg - Blessed With Light

It was a pretty dull early morning there on Isle of Eigg, but we decided to go explore the place despite, as we just arrived. It took a few hundred meters to get from the lodge we slept in to the Bay of Laig, the beautiful sandy beach with the amazingly photogenic silhouette of Isle of Rum in view right on the horizon. We found the beach fully naked, with the lowest tide revealing lovely sandy mosaics and structures. They were constantly on the move, as small streams of the water played with the dark and light sands mixing them nicely together. Fascinated I walked carefully on the moving sand looking for some strong schemas for the foreground. The lighting looked awful (to no surprise for me - I'm used), but we have had the entire week for this place so I remained calm and actually enjoyed a lot that I don't need to be in a rush here whatsoever.

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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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Photographic Process: From Snapshot To Artwork

Okay, I'm perhaps exaggerating on both ends here but all I am trying to show in this post is my photographic process of getting from the first brief snapshot of subjects that grabbed my attention to the final image I am very satisfied with. I explain working with the composition and other considerations, out in the field. Ota and I attended the workshop with Bruce Percy couple of weeks ago. We spent couple of mornings and evenings photographing Bay of Laig on the Isle of Eigg. I packed my stuff and slowly headed for breakfast when I noticed interesting sand waves created by the low tide water. Also, some nice heavy clouds started to group above Rum on the horizon.

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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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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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Lofoten Reminiscence - Rocks and Cabins

As it happens to happen every summer, I did not manage to do much photography related stuff over the last two months. Way too many things have been going on in my other lives that kept me very busy but eventually also let my eyes rest from looking at images, my mind from creating them and my legs from walking for getting them. So I guess I'm checking in fresh and with a long to-do list. To start with, I have been browsing through some older photographs from Lofoten made last winter. I got attracted by the below two that I thought the comparison might have been interesting. Both were shot from the bridge over the bay near Hamnoy, with the difference of few hours, couple of hundered meters and the media used (here, because I process digital files other way and time than film, I only now realized the two were created one after the other).

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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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Where Water Falls From Heaven

It takes 500 kilometers to get from Reykjavik to the Lake Myvatn, which is about 6 hours of non-stop driving. It's actually a very interesting route for the most of time, passing through couple of mountain ridges and valleys with some spectacular views. We had dropped Ota at the airport on Friday morning and decided to drive over to Myvatn for the weekend, sort of fed up with the southern sceneries. The plan came out quite well despite the tight schedule - we aimed to stop at Godafoss for sunset shooting. One more hour of drive to Myvatn. We would definitely used some more time to explore the location but what actually helped was that we have been there before 2 years ago. Unlucky though then, leaving with few documentary shots only. I now happened to have a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do there. And that was to get off the official parking place to the other side of the river. The short walk to the waterfall allowed for a little bit of time to absorb the surroundings while the lighting that was turning to get quite dramatic and beautiful.

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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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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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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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Photo of the Week - August 28, 2011

This is probably my favorite photograph from both trips to Iceland. I took it last year in the northern part of Iceland in area called Krafla. There were definitely much more interesting subjects to photograph, but I was quite impressed with this view, where the last remaining snow splotches created a great contrast against green grass and dark cloudy sky. It was also one of my first experiences with medium format analog camera. I had had my Contax 645 for just few weeks before this trip. Unfortunately, I do still do not have a long lens, so I had to use standard 80 mm lens instead. I was little bit worried that the sky will be little bit to big for such small motive like that, so I decided to use long exposure, and was hoping that the moving clouds will get the very much needed third dimension to this relatively flat scene, and I was also hoping that the photograph would get the kind of feeling of “unstoppable time”.

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