Last week I retuned form leading a wonderful workshop to The Golden City or The City of a Hundred Spires or….just plain old Prague! But plain it most definitely isn’t! A, virtually, untouched city for hundreds of years and with architectural styles ranging from Baroque to Art Nouveau and Romanesque to Gothic, there are picture opportunities around, quite literally, every corner.
I have been visiting Prague for many, MANY years but it’s always a good idea to reacquaint yourself with those familiar places and to, generally, get a feel for the city prior to the workshop so I arrived 3 days before. I had met all, bar one, before and, indeed, 5 had accompanied me on other photo-tours to Lapland and Poland so strangers they were not and, if those trips were anything to go by, I knew we were going to have a lot of laughs. I wasn’t to be disappointed!
Here’s a few images I took before everyone arrived.
Prague Castle during the day is, unsurprisingly, teeming with tourists. Go there at night and there’s hardly a soul to be seen! I really had no option, here, but make do with the converging verticals as the widest lens I had with me was a 12-24mm and my back was up against a wall! Sure, I could correct it, to a degree, in CS or LR but then in doing so you crop quite a lot of the image and I like the curve of the building on the right and the inclusion of the Czech flag. A 6 stop ND filter was used to give added interest to the clouds by accentuating movement.
Once the group arrived, I hardly took a picture as my focus was to assist with their photography, keep a handle on catching the metro and trams and doing a head count! I did, however, manage to sneak the camera out for the following images.
With a clear sky forecast and everyone eager to “bag” a sunrise, I arranged for us all to meet 45 minutes before sunrise, being 4.45! Everyone was there, albeit a little bleary eyed, and so we made our way onto the bridge and waited for the inevitable.
Thank you to Elaine, Bea and Mike, Chris, Denise, Sarah and James for making my job an absolute breeze (apart from when one or two decided to wander! ), for allowing me to “show off” a city I have grown to consider my second home and for, generally, being jolly good sports!
If, by reading this, you are tempted to join me next year to this magical city and you rather like the idea of hopping on and off trams, venturing into “secret” gardens and exploring Prague by day (and night), then please register your interest with me at email@example.com
I am very pleased that my image of a bluebell wood at sunrise was chosen for the current issue of Nikon’s N-Photo magazine. As well as this, it is also displayed (almost) double page in the same issue as well as featuring in Country Living and Wild Britain.
And, as Nikon N-Photo’s cover photo on their Facebook page.
Wednesday May 8th – Friday 10th 2013
Group size: 6
Those of you that are on my mailing list will, already, know of this workshop. I decided not to waste any time in preparing it for the website as I had interested parties priorr to me making it official. Well, I have just 1 place remaining! So, if you are interested in joining me on this short break to The Golden City then contact me on 07939 117570 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Full details can be found here at Prague Photo Break
An extract from the itinerary.
I would hazard a guess that there are few photographers, residing in the UK, more acquainted with Prague and Czech traditions than myself. Over a period of 5 years, I visited Prague on no fewer than 50 occasions photographing for my agents and my own library, as well as providing articles for magazines, one of which was featured in Outdoor Photography. Oh yes, and visiting my girlfriend, Martina, of 8 years who now lives here!
Although Prague is not a big city, it is incredibly easy to get lost due to the myriad of cobbled, medieval lanes and alleyways. Why struggle to get your bearings and seek out that perfect vantage point at sunset when you can have someone take you straight there!
To say I am overwhelmed by the popularity of this image would be somewhat of an understatement! I put it up on 500px yesterday and already it has been viewed by 1600 people and counting! Thank you for all the nice comments and to the 111 that have added it to their favourites. Surprisingly, I hadn’t put it on my website within the galleries but, I have now where you have the opportunity of purchasing it as a fine art print.
To purchase one, please click on the image below which will take you to website gallery page.
Here’s a little background information. It was taken on Elmley Marshes National Nature Reserve in North Kent, an area I have been documenting for the last 15 years. Conditions such as this are not all that uncommon over there where, with the combination of freezing winter temperatures and fog, rime frost is formed and produces spectacular conditions in which to photograph. Having spotted the image I had to work quickly as the sun was rapidly rising and burning through the mist. With the camera secured to a tripod and set to its maximum height, I had to stand on tip-toe to prevent the fence posts from merging with the land.
Nikon D2x, 12-24mm @ 16mm, 1/15 sec. f16, iso 200, 0.9 ND grad filter, Manfrotto 055 tripod, mirror lock-up, cable release.
The image was used full page in an extensive article I wrote for Practical Photography magazine on Discover Winter Wetlands. The article can be viewed here.
With the weather looking decidedly dubious over the next few days, I thought I should make the most of the last two mornings which were forecast as being fine.
So yesterday I headed for Hothfield Heathlands (as it is now called, not Hothfield Common as I said in a previous post), to (hopefully) catch a misty landscape with the heather in full bloom. It was a beautiful morning but as is so often the case, I found myself frantically searching for a decent composition, seeking out young bracken to act as my anchor point. Eventually I found what I was looking for then just stood and watched the day unfold.
In the distance, I could make out the huge shapes of highland cattle that are currently grazing the heath to keep the scrub under control. Once the sun had burned through the mist the light was too harsh for shooting landscapes, so the next 30 minutes was spent photographing the cattle.
As yesterday, I awoke at silly-o-clock and arrived well before sunrise at my hide on the marshes. It was a great sunrise with a spattering of clouds and the avocets came just within camera reach. They have to be our finest bird for silhouettes, no question. With its upturned bill, head sweeping from one side to another and the graceful way in which it moves, they are instantly recognisable.
It’s no wonder they are the symbol for the RSPB though it is not just for their appearance why it was chosen. About 160 years ago they were wiped out due to fen drainage and man using it’s feathers and collecting it’s eggs. Then, after the second world war it is thought they were dislodged from their breeding grounds in the Netherlands by the flooding of the polders and they began to nest on Minsmere and Havergate Island in Suffolk. Recently, on the Southend RSPB website, I read that their preferred breeding conditions of shallow pools and low islands which are uncommon in this country, was artificially created by a wayward bomb from a nearby firing range at Havergate , blowing a hole in the seawall which allowed the tidal river to flood in. At Minsmere, the marshes were deliberately flooded to halt invading troops and when the water drained away, shallow pools remained creating ideal nesting conditions. The RSPB bought both as reserves and today over 100 pairs breed on both with a national population of around 400. A real success story.
About Robert Canis
Robert Canis is a professional photographer specialising in the natural world.
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