Mar 102014

I’m not sure If I focused solely on the Pantheon’s giant doors intentionally or if it was a mistake. I like the kind of surreal feel it’s created in this image though. It seems to add to the feeling that the building is looming over you.

Extra points for anyone who translates the inscription for me.

Pantheon rome front on soft focus

Apr 202012

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.

Grandeur of St. Vitus Cathedral's original doors in Prague


Apr 112012

Iceland Planning

My upcoming trip to Iceland is starting to come together. I’m going for the solstice so that I can take pictures during the extended sunsets/sunrises. The sun only dips under the horizon at this time of year so it’s going to be light 24 hours a day. To take advantage of the golden hours I’m going to have to be shooting from about 10:00pm until 4:00am. My original plan was to stay up all night taking photos and sleeping during the day. I was trying to plot a route that would allow me to arrive at a new hotel every morning. The next step was going to be convincing hotels to let me stay for just the daytime.

This got frustrating because, assuming I’d managed to book hotels, it was very difficult to make these jumps from hotel to hotel on the back roads I want to photograph and manage to make it all the way around the island in a week. It also made it impossible to schedule in a few activities I’d like to do that take place during the day – snorkeling the rift, whale watching, and a somewhat odd museum.

I’ve come up with the solution. I’ll be sleeping twice a day. So, I’ll drive from hotel to hotel in the middle of the day, sleep for the evenings and then head out all night for the best light. Then, I’ll go to sleep again from about 4am until about 5 minutes before the hotel forces me to check out.

This route actually means that I can spend a couple of nights in two locations, allowing me to dedicate a day to whale watching as well as a day for snorkeling the rift. The only thing I need to fit in now to make me perfectly happy is a visit to the ice caves of Kverkfjöll. They’re in the interior so I’m not sure I want to drive there on my own. Apparently, there’s also a chance of cave-ins so a guide is pretty essential. Unfortunately, the only tours I’ve found so far last 12 hours! That’s not going to do the trick.

Spare Doors for Sale

I found these taxi garages in New York really interesting. They were really long and narrow, this one particularly so. It must be a real pain getting cars in and out, having to empty the shop every time. I took this photo with a wide angle lens in order to emphasize the depth. As i mentioned in a prior post I didn’t have my tripod with me as checking in at the Yotel was proving complicated and I’d let them store my bag without removing my tripod. As a result, I had to shoot handheld so I had to use a smaller depth of field than I would have liked.

Long skinny yellow taxi garage with a row of spare doors on the wall in New York City.

Mar 272012

Elora Gorge, located just West of Toronto is a really cool little place. It’s got a real small town, friendly vibe with a good bit of quirkiness stirred in. Everyone there seems really happy and friendly. I wound up chatting to a lot of people while I was setting up for photos. There’s a lot of interesting buildings scattered about through town. Color is applied liberally and odd nick-knacks hang from the facades. I thought this one was particularly interesting. It’s the exterior wall of a locksmiths, made entirely of doors.

Wall of different color and style doors found at an Elora, Ontario locksmith's.