I’ve moved onto a new, larger external hard drive for storing my photographs. So, I went through all the photos I had left to process and moved them over to the new one prior to flying out to Africa. I was sure I’d processed all the Prague photos I was going to process but decided to take a look anyway. Then, I found this one. It won’t have made the cut originally because I was focused on trying to capture Prague with minimal people. Upon looking at this photo again, I decided I kind of liked it. The sky is beautiful and it doesn’t look so crowded as to be uncomfortable (which it can be sometimes). So, I thought it might be nice to show just how lively Prague actually is.
Every time I went out to take photos in Prague I seemed to end up on the Charles Bridge. I’d take off down a random alleyway but always wind myself back to the river and pop out near the bridge. I kept trying to get across it to photograph the other side but always took ages to cross the bridge as I kept getting tempted into photos of the various statues in front of the surrounding landmarks. Maybe next time I’ll have to stay on the other side of the river. That way at least I’ll start out there before spending my whole time on the bridge.
This is the last of my photos from Prague, for now, anyway. It’s a great city and I’ll certainly be heading back at some point. This is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Prague, Charles Bridge. It’s pretty difficult to get a shot with no tourists crossing the bridge. I’ve talked about other methods I’ve used involving combining multiple images to mask out any people or just getting there really early. With this shot, it all came down to patience. I set up and waited until there was no one in the way.
As I mentioned yesterday I’ve been doing a lot of photo processing this weekend. As a side effect I’ve found photos that needed processing I’d forgotten about. I started by going through my Prague file, even though I was sure I’d exhausted that supply. As a result I found today’s photo, and I’m glad I did. I spend a lot of time while I’m wandering about with my camera looking for a good foreground for something interesting I’ve found. The breakwater, with its ducks and seagulls lent itself very well to this purpose.
The first time I was in Prague I wandered down an interesting looking street and stumbled upon what is probably the strangest fountain I’ve ever seen. The last time I was there, I went through a similar process and happened upon it again. This time I decided to get a photo of it. It’s in the courtyard of the Franz Kafka Museum. It’s animated too. Their hips swivel and their “gentleman parts” move up and down. It really is odd.
After climbing up the stairs at the rear of Prague castle, you are confronted by two armed guards flanking the entrance to the citadel. Their stern expression making it unclear whether it’s accessible so long after dark. As you move closer, they don’t react so you stroll casually past. Suddenly, you realize you’re inside the normally crowded castle, surrounded by silence. As you approach the back of the St. Vitus Cathedral it looms ominously, in Gothic glory. As you take it in, a couple breaks the silence strolling through the courtyard and out the other side.
Progressing around the cathedral you find a small, late night tour group of 4 or 5 people. The guide speaks quietly with no need to strain to be heard over the bustle of the daytime crowds. Soon, you’re at the intricately sculpted doors of the building, now closed to visitors. The lack of tourists allows you pause to soak in the scene. Snowflakes begin to fall around you, appearing from the dark sky and disappearing as they contact the paving stones. The silence is broken once more. This time, by the rhythmic sounds of four soldiers, stepping in time, as they exit through the archway behind you.
After making your exit, you enter a smaller courtyard. In here a lone soldier patrols. Marching in a tight square, right in your path. You carefully time your walk so you don’t interfere with his. As you exit the compound the city opens up in front of you and you make your decent.
Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral were not where I planned on ending up this night. I set out for a panorama of the city. In my search, this is where I arrived. It was well worth the trip. Having it to yourself, as opposed to surrounded by the tourist hordes really is a great experience. The absence of people also allowed me to attempt to capture the grandeur of the church’s original doors, below.
This is a canal that runs underneath the Charles Bridge. As I came across this view I liked the shadow of the house falling on the other houses. Before long a boat passed through. I decided that this as just what I needed for a picture so I set up my tripod, got the camera ready and waited. As I’ve mentioned, in just about every post from Prague, it was cold. This was a particularly long wait. I enjoyed the funny looks I got and watching people walk up to snap a photo in the general direction of where my camera was facing before moving on. After a wait a boat passed through, but it was a little tiny thing that I didn’t think did the trick. So, I continued to wait. I think I’d been there for about half an hour when the boat I’d seen originally returned and this is the result.
This is a combination of 3 exposures. I used the selective anti-ghosting tool in Photomatix to select one exposure of the boat and the surrounding water.
I wish I could tell you what this rather incredible building is called. Unfortunately, I have no idea and I’m in a bit of a rush as it’s my birthday and I’m on my way out for a beer – so don’t have time to google map it (Flanagan’s if anyone’s interested).
This photo was taken with my back to the East entrance of the Charles Bridge. I’ve got a bit of a fascination with figuring out how to include moving subjects in HDR photos at the moment. I know it’s possible to create HDR images from one RAW photo. However, the results are never as good as when you use multiple exposures. On top of that, I wanted everything to be sharp in this image. In order to do that a small aperture was required. So small that all the vehicles and people in the photo disappeared. So, how to get the moving cable car?
I shot the scene as I would normally, with a small aperture, and then switched it up, increase the aperture and bumping my ISO up considerably to freeze the tram as it barreled through the tunnel. I waited for one to come through and just used it to set the focus correctly. Then waited for the next one and fired away. Following this, I created an HDR image with the multiple exposures as usual, and then masked in the moving cable car. As a result, I’ve captured a moving object in true HDR while maintaining a nice wide depth of field.