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.

Read More

Busy days

I have been quite busy with my work, which is why I have not been active much here recently. To be honest it was not only work, which kept me away from writing blogs and sharing photos. I also spent very nice time with my parents who came to visit us to Geneva. Regarding photography, I have been mainly thinking about my current and future projects and of course I have spent some time in darkroom. I have almost finished my next silver print offer for November. This time it takes me bit longer than I expected, since I have to do some spotting in the final picture, nothing major just few small dots, but I have to say spotting is art on its own and I have already wasted few prints.

Read More

Latest Thoughts

I know that I have been talking about the photo festival in Gex quite a lot already. But I would like to share one more thought, or I should rather say the result of my presence there. The really great thing about the festival was the opportunity to talk to other photographers and visitors. I was very much surprised how all the attending photographers were willing to talk about their work, share their experiences and ideas. It was really special.

Read More

Twenty Four Trees and More

Near Rostock, that day I have been looking for a perfect shoreline that I could spend a good time with, but I happened to discover an amazing forest to photograph instead. I walked through it, stubbornly hoping that the coastal views my map would suggest are going to be worth it. Only at the cliff, enjoying the visual range of few kilometers, I found out that it looked the same way as those I shot this morning, previous evening, previous morning, pre-previous evening... Turning back though, this is what I saw:

Read More

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. 

Read More

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.

Read More

Copyright Infringement in Landscape Photography?

Last week, the interesting ruling of a court in the UK came to my attention. Actually, it caused quite a lot of buzz within landscape photographers community in social as well as serious media. In a nutshell, and very simply put, the judge looked at the two images linked here and decided that the second photograph was a copy of the first one. Looking at it from the landscape photography perspective and with no further details (as many people shared the news this way), it's scary. Bloody scary (do I really need to know each and every photo made from a specific location to be on a safe side??). Here, even the compositions significantly differ (not to mention the ugly effect of partial desaturation that however, as I learnt later, might have had some 'artistic' intention to support sales of souvenirs but this is a different story). I got genuinely interested hence I read the copy of judge's justification.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

View Point

It has been few months since I bought the Ebony 4x5 camera  and I have been quiet busy learning how to use it since then. For my personal education I borrowed the famous Jack Dykinga’s “Large Format Nature Photography” book from Marek, and I bought “View Camera Technique” by Leslie Stroebel on Amazon. Both of these books are proving great introduction to large format camera system, but the latter gives more technical details, to which I personally begun to understand just after I started to use my camera and be able to test all the tricks in real life. I am still quite far away from mastering the large format camera technique, but I am slowly discovering the amazing potential, which such camera can provide to landscape photographer.  I am especially impressed by the possibility to get the ultimate control of the “Depth of Field” even with wide angle lenses, which is quiet difficult to achieve with any other camera system I have used yet. What I actually mean is that I am now able to get just very small area in focus, while the rest is remaining blurred or out of focus, something like the lonely bench in this photograph.

Read More

Sony NEX-5n - More Than a Scrapbook

As I slowly climb my learning curve with the technical camera, I'm being introduced to its stumbling blocks of various kind. One of them, and quite major, is that I find difficult to compose and eventually focus with a wide angle lens in low light conditions. The converted reflection of a scene on the ground glass is simply too dark to work with it. Also, when I want to preview how the image might look like, there is no viewfinder for almost an instant feedback. It obviously takes considerable amount of time to set the system up, put a dark cloth over my head and see what the final result could look like. If I don't like what I see, I need some 5 minutes to pack it back. For these reasons, I decided to look for a small camera to use for sketching designs and previewing scenes.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Czech-in Time

I have been living in the Czech Republic for the past three years. I was also here between 2003 and 2006, which makes the total period spent in Prague 6 long years. All this time mostly working and enjoying free time with my kids and wife. When I recently browsed through my archive, I realized that I had very few images of Czech landscapes that I am happy with. It's perhaps because I actually did expose just a few rolls of Velvia in here. The very most of my photography happens on the trips out of the country, be it photo expeditions to the north of Europe that I started to travel to couple of years back, or journeys home to Slovakia where I do not need to work and can leave my family behind with their family and go shooting. :-) But that's not the end of the shame, I have to admit that I have not tried to photograph anywhere else than in the Bohemian Switzerland, which I urge myself to change no later than within the next 2-3 months when testing my new Linhof Techno kit. The learning curve seems to be steep enough to look for any opportunity to get out of home not just wait for the next trip.

Read More