Posts Tagged ‘Poland’

Summing up my trip and some ideas for the new year

December 28, 2009

Hutor

My Eastern Europe trip’s over. For the first time in a long while I am actually happy that a trip has ended. Perhaps it’s because I am still not completely home, but in Belarus, and in some way the journey is still continuing.

My incredible bad luck continued on the Poland to Belarus road. I had my first ever car crash of a sort when I went over a pile of snow, slightly lost control of the car and then totally lost control when I pushed the brakes (not the best idea to push the brakes). Luckily there was one of those barriers along the highway that separates lanes from each other, that’s what the car hit, first with the front bumper then after sliding and doing a 180° turn, with the back.

We weren’t going too fast and there was almost no traffic, so we ended up unscathed and didn’t collide with anyone else. The car looked…interesting, I regret not taking photos of it now, but Tanya and I were too busy gaffer-taping the front bumper on, in – 13 C weather.

We somehow made it over the border the next day. After seeing the gaffer-taped bumper, the Belarusian border patrol jokingly asked “Is that a bumper from a BMW or yours?”. The customs people felt so sorry for us they didn’t even bother going through the trunk (which doesn’t open anymore anyway).

The important thing is that we made it back in one piece. I guess there is the argument that we were really unlucky, because of all the things that happened along the way, but on the other hand no one even thought it was possible to go to Romania and back in our little 25-year-old Volkswagen Golf. Go figure.

After spending a few days in Minsk, one of my least favorite cities in the world, we decided to go visit some friends in another city. That’s when the car died again on us. I didn’t bother fixing it this time, simply got a hire-car and drove off to Braslav, the region I passionately spoke about numerous times on my blog.

Driving in winter, especially when there are sudden weather changes is a nightmare. From the icy roads to giant puddles, it’s tough and dangerous. I’d be happy to lie low for a few days and that’s exactly what I’m doing in a friend’s countryside house (that’s a picture of it at the top of the post and those are his “pets” below). Just me Tanya, nature and my computer. 🙂 In reality I have a lot of work to catch up on and I hope that’s what I can do, while getting some peace and quiet that was missing during the constant movement around Eastern Europe.

Ivanycha-Kozel

New year is approaching and I already have plenty of exciting plans. Coming back to Braslav in the summer is one idea. It is an amazing region and perhaps my journey around the rest of Eastern Europe made me realize just how special it is.  In many ways it’s still virgin, unspoilt, a little wild even. To wander around the villages here is absolutely fascinating and often heartwarming and the natural beauty is unlike anywhere else.

I’m thinking that it may be worth doing a workshop in Braslav or perhaps even trying something new with the good friend I’ve made here (the one whose house I’m staying in) – a guided photo tour of a sort. It’ll be for those who are more comfortable with their photographic abilities and simply want to have an amazing photographic experience, rather than learn a standard workshop. If anyone thinks it’s a good idea, drop me a line or leave a comment on the blog.

Two personal trips which are close to happening:

Another trip to Indonesia and yet another trip to India. I want to buy underwater housing for my Canon 5D MKII and shoot stuff on fishermen in Indonesia. The last time there were just too many times when I was kicking myself for not having some sort of casing.

The India thing is well, India calls and when it calls you go. It seems to be calling me at least once a year, but hey, I still have only just scratched the surface of what can be done there. I’ve got a few particularly exciting things planned, but I won’t reveal too much just yet.

I like to make plans for the future, actually, it’s more like dreaming up things and then working to make them happen. It’s an amazing feeling when you realize that you are living a dream, but it all starts with nothing more than a thought, an idea. I think it’s important to have those plans/dreams, not only for photographers, but for anyone. Make those dreams achievable and then really work to realize them. It’s sort of what I’ve been doing, without having any particular idea of how to make things happen, I simply make them up, dream and somehow everything falls into place, the important thing is to set those goals for yourself. I guess the clichéd yet encouraging and true thing to say is that – if I made it happen, so can you. 🙂

So I guess before I end this blog post I’d like to ask; what are your photographic plans/dreams for the next year?

Happy new year folks! 🙂

Too many impressions – too little time

December 16, 2009

Budapest-Baths-next-move

In a day or two Tanya and I go back to Belarus. Though I’ve had more bad luck and troubles on this trip than ever before, it has been a fulfilling nevertheless.

My main goal at the beginning was to visit Romania, get a taste of it and then just see and absorb as much as possible in a limited amount of time in the other countries I visit. That’s pretty much what happened. Along the way I shot some images for the stock agencies I work with, also something I wanted to do.

In a bit over two weeks I’ve been to Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Austria and Italy. That’s a lot of places in such a short period of time, too many for my liking usually, but this situation was the result of Tanya’s visa limitation and my curiosity outweighing the desire to concentrate on any long-term photographic work.

Just a couple of months ago, the names of the countries and cities I visited were nothing more than that – names. I guess now I have at least some associations with these names and though I don’t pretend to have gained any understanding of the places I’ve been to, I have had a glimpse into a different world, which for me only existed in pictures and guidebooks before.

I feel like I have grown a little photographically too. I understand myself a little better, I understand more what drives and inspires me and what doesn’t so much. For any creative person that’s an important thing. Essentially if we understand that, we know how to push our own buttons, to get those creative juices flowing, rather than wait for some higher power to enlighten us.

And so here’s a quick look at a few of the photos from the last few days.

Budapest-Baths-top-viewThe famous Szechenyi thermal baths in Budapest. The image at the top of the post is from there too, it’s kinda weird that there are people playing chess in a pool, but hey, it makes for a good photo subject. These baths are a place I wouldn’t have normally thought to bring my camera to, I wanted to enjoy them myself, but after seeing some of Ami Vitale’s images (she’s one of my fav photogs), I couldn’t resist. So I had my fun in the water and in the spas first and then went out to shoot a few frames.

baths-massage People enjoying a massage from the strong stream of very warm water. Periodically the whole pool area is enveloped under the steam. I love shooting in these situations, I just wish I had a waterproof camera case to do some stuff from different perspectives.

Zakopane-viewFrom warm thermal baths to the cold snowy mountains of Zakopane, Poland. I’ve wanted to be at the top of snow-peak mountains for some time, but never got the chance, until now. I did it the easy way too, by cable car. 🙂

ski-chairsSki chairs against a mountainous backdrop. I find ski chairs to be pretty photogenic for some reason.

trees-from-aboveThe view from above was almost surreal. Part of the forest was illuminated by the sun while the other was in the shadow. It’s times like these that make me feel like there is more to photography than shooting people.

That’s all for today. My next post will probably be from Belarus. I hope it snows there and I hope my car makes it. 🙂