Sunday, September 29, 2013

Should the Krakow Bubble Burst

Been too long again since my last photograph, but hoping to post a few times this week in anticipation of the Worldwide PhotoWalk next weekend, of which I shall be participating in from the city of Oxford, led by Glyn Dewis.

There is no tedious link I can state from Oxford to Krakow, but never mind, here is a photo I tried hard to get while I was in Krakow last month. The city square is indeed a beautiful place, and amongst the many musicians and artists to be enjoyed, there were a couple of people blowing these enormous bubbles, which inevitably led to many children chasing after them to put them out. I was chasing after them too, but that was so I could capture a picture like this, with the city in the backdrop to a picture of these great bubbles.

This was created from a single RAW image, and indeed I put quite a lot of work into retaining the colour and detail of the bubble, without going too far.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Wroclaw Saxophonist

Taking a mini break from the southern most part of Poland (and HDR processing) to the south-western city of Wroclaw. It was near this city that I was based for most of the recent 2 weeks I was in Poland, as it is the nearest city to my Wife's family in Poland.

I have visited Wroclaw several times now and thoroughly enjoy it each time. I have written about it plenty of times on my photographic blogs, but it always springs up new sights for me to photograph.

This wonderful scene presented itself as we were walking towards the Wroclaw Cathedral, a saxophonist playing his heart out to the numerous tourists visiting Wroclaw. It was a great place to ply his trade, against the back drop of the cathedral, and it was only right that I gave him some (well deserved) money, for the opportunity to take some pictures.

I always envisioned this picture as a sepia/black & white image, as I feel it gives an authentic and historical feel to it.

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Going back to the theme of mountain climbing from one of my previous blogs 'The Mountain Hut', today's picture was taken on the same day, not too long after that picture. I had already been and walked around these lakes and by this time I was heading for the next lake, some 2 hours walk away.

As I spoke about in that previous blog, the visibility was not great when we got to these lakes, so high up in the mountains, but there were moments when it just drifted off (or drifted 'around' would be more appropriate) and gave glimpses of the magnificence of the surrounding landscape. I had no time to set up a tripod for this shot, so this is a hand held HDR taken from 4 exposures.

I may try this as a non-HDR as well, as 1 or 2 of the shots were able to capture the dynamic range of the scene within the exposure, but I wanted to make an HDR out of this first and foremost, to bring out the texture of the clouds. Plus of course I always like that arty look, that HDR brings.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Old Krakow Town

Having visited Zakopane at the very edge of southern Poland, I was also given the opportunity to visit one of Poland's most famous cities, Krakow. Krakow is indeed a stunning city and was once the capital of Poland (up until the 16th Century). With so much culture and history there, it is also a wonderful place to capture some photographs.

This part of Krakow is what the locals call 'Stary Miasto' which literally translates as Old Town. Krakow has many historic churches but aside from them, the Old Town is the place to find some authentic architecture. The second building on the left (the yellow one) was the home of Karol Wojtyła later known as Pope John Paul II, between the years of 1951 and 1967.

On a photographic note, I deliberately did not 'de-ghost' the crowd outside the the Pope's home, because I felt like it lost its 'feel', it just became to static an image. Therefore, to give the impression of movement and life, I left the slight ghost movements within the picture.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Mountain Hut

The 2nd offering from my trip to Poland and today's picture remains in Zakopane. I am by no means a mountain climber, but as you climb these high mountains there is a feeling you get which asks yourself if it will be worth it when you reach the top? This was taken on my first day in Zakopane and generally the weather was ok, but as we got near to the top of our planned destination, the visibility got less and less.

Having dodged Brown Bears, Wolves and Lynx's, we got to these lakes we wanted to see near the top of the mountains in this region, to see nothing much but the clouds right in front of us. However, rather magically, the mist began to clear after a short while at the top and suddenly we could see many spectacular sights all around us. One of my favourite 'revelations' was this little mountain hut, which I'm not sure what purpose it had (there was a visitor cafe hut just a little further away). It gave me all those wonderful mountain images in my mind though and was an obvious choice for an HDR photo.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Zakopane - A Photographer's Dream

There are not many places that can be called 'a photographer's dream'. Certainly Paris and Venice would be obvious examples, but normally the photographer has to work hard in any location to produce a worthwhile result. Certain locations though, give you plenty of 'raw material' to help you produce those great shots.

Zakopane is a well known beauty spot in southern Poland, and I was very lucky to get an opportunity to visit this special place, having spent the last 2 weeks in Poland. I have been interested in photographing Zakopane (officially called the 'Tatra National Park') since I watched a video of Charlie Waite, one of my favourite photographers teaching a class of Polish photographers. Here is a link to that video. In particular, after watching his video, I wanted to get close to the fast flowing streams that flow down the mountains of Zakopane, of which the picture above is the result.

It is an HDR taken from 3 images, and luckily I had the 'blurred stream' effect on all 3 RAW images. This was achieved by shooting at F/22 and ISO 100, but was helped by the misty and cloudy weather, keeping the light level low.

I returned from Poland very early this morning and have had my most enjoyable and (I believe) rewarding photographic trip of the year. Lots of photos to come...