16 July, 2009

3 days in Kraków

Kraków was a spectacular city with diverse districts and beautiful old architecture. It has been my favorite of the Polish cities so far. I cannot wait to compare it against the tri-cities (Gdynia, Gdńask, and Sopot) - apparently they equally as nice, just bigger altogether.  The above shots where from a three day visit there that Maja and I took in mid-June. Night is when the city really comes alive, with fire dancers and other sorts of performance art. I hope to return to the city in the near future!

13 July, 2009

The fields of Janowiec, Poland

While Maja is presently exploring Bhutan, Tibet, and Nepal, I've been tasked with entertaining myself in Poland. With that in mind, Maja's Uncle, Józef, was kind enough to spend his Saturday a few weekends ago showing me villages near his hometown of Poławy. This began with a visit to Kazimierz Dolny, a beautiful art village on the banks of the Wisła river. I had been to Kazimierz once before, in early June, and my intention was to return and photograph the ruins overlooking the town. During that earlier visit the town was desolate, cold, and quite stunning. I wanted to photograph it then, but by the time we returned from hiking the surrounding forests it rather late, raining, and time to return to Lublin. This time, it was packed with tourists, and brutally hot. Between the crowds and the bright noon sun, photography was near impossible. So we spent the first half the day leisurely seeing the sights, and then ferried across the Wisła to another small village called Janowiec, which Józef promised would be less crowded - He wasn't kidding! Janowiec was exactly what I had been looking for in Poland. An old farming village, a non-touristy castle, and lush fields. Janowiec is incredible, and far less crowded than Kazimierz. The castle was stunning, we arrived a little early for photos outside (still too much contrast with the afternoon sun), so I explored inside the building where movers where cleaning up after a music festival. Following that, Józef took me to the fields below the castle where he hunts in the winter and walks his dog during the summer mornings. 

I was particularly taken by the agriculture surrounding Janowiec. In Poland, every field contains several different types of produce, in tight clusters. This is in stark contrast to the US, where one will see huge expanses of a single crop. In a single hectare I spotted rows wheat, beans, corn, cabbage, hops, and a few other crops I didn't recognize. And these patterns repeat for several square kilometers. Between these fields and the banks of the surrounding water-lands, I spent the evening shooting away. I greatly enjoyed my trip to Janowiec and highly recommend a visit if you're in the area.

09 July, 2009

Statues of Poznań

Poznań is my least favorite of the larger Polish cities so far. The city has a very modern, commercial feeling, which reminded me of U.S. cities. My favorite aspect of Poland has been the older parts of the cities or "old towns" - usually dating between the 13-15 centuries. Don't get me wrong, Poznań has this, but in a more sterile-feeling style of architecture that overwhelms the city. And whatever older buildings they do have are mostly painted bright colors and appear new, despite their age. One of the new major commercial projects of the city was a brewery converted into a shopping mall (Stary Browar). This building was amazing, both architecturally and artistically. If you find yourself in the city, do visit.

The above series of statues were photographed near sunrise (a ridiculous 4:30am in the summer). I enjoyed the statues in Poznań - in fact, they were my favorite part of the city. As I awoke and stated taking pictures, many were still drinking, staggering out of the bars, hardly aware of the rising sun. A few requested I take their picture, thinking I was from the local newspaper - I obliged...

08 July, 2009

A Beginning...

Welcome! This is my first post in what (hopefully!) will be a semi-regularly updated photo blog. I plan to use this blog as a medium to post additional images I've shot that didn't make it onto my main gallery. These "outtakes" will present you  with an idea of my process, from conception to final editing. Hopefully that will prove exciting to you and allow me to semi-publish additional work that I would like to show. I may also from time to time post random thoughts when I feel motivated. Feel free to leave comments and enjoy the blog! 

PS - Almost forgot...The above image was taking in Poznań, Poland in June of this year. I was waiting for the crowds to clear in an attempt to photograph the brightly colored buildings leading to the church (a very long wait on a busy Sunday in the plaza), when a mother placed her child on the street to pose for her camera. After a few minutes of horsing around the child held perfectly still (she pleaded I suppose) for this brief instance. I was able to grab this quick image, before returning to shooting the church. Also of note, the blurry spot in the sky is a bird.