Springtime in Prague

At Warwick University it is common for societies to have an Easter Tour at the end of Term 2, at the start of the Easter holidays. This is a good time to have one because it provides a welcome reward at the end of term, and is early enough not to clash with exams and essay deadlines. As the President of the Art Society, I was particularly looking forward to this years tour to Prague- organised and executed brilliantly by our Trip Exec, Charlotte Finley. Eight of us traveled to Prague, and I was the only bloke. Yes, I know. How DID I cope. Luckily, everyone on the trip was lovely, and we all got on really well. We had a couple of meals before heading over to Prague and had gotten to know each other, which was a good decision.

I will talk more about what we did and the experiences we had in a separate post. This page is chiefly dedicated to the beautiful city of Prague, and some of the photos I took whilst over there. When you visit Prague, you can’t help but notice the olde worlde feel to the place. There aren’t many high or modern buildings in its centre, the streets are all cobbled and uneven, marionettes and puppets are very common in shop windows, and this all combines for a very historic atmosphere. Consequently, the photos I took reflect this, and I hope they capture the mood of the city.

I haven’t put all the exact correct place names here with churches etc, but I hope you enjoy them all the same!

16 thoughts on “Springtime in Prague

    • Thanks Renee! There’s definitely that Eastern European/ Scandanivian atmosphere that can feel a little Gothic or sinister, but it’s a very old city, and we stayed mostly in the historic centre. I imagine if you travel out a bit further, it gets more modern and less creepy! But I quite liked it, especially at night because everything is lit up.

      • I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the creepiness of it. The older and creepier the better. Hope you had a great time there. I just showed these pictures to Dave and he was extremely impressed… wowing through each one of them.

      • It was brilliant thank you- we got a good balance of art galleries, history and night life, which was ideal. I’m glad Dave likes them too! It’s very encouraging to get positive remarks from someone who’s so experienced, thanks for that.

  1. Wow Ben… just WOW!

    Now you’re starting to “SEE” through the lens like an artist… This entire series is an incredible jump forward in your photography. Way to go.

    The closeups are amazing… Eggs, Strawberries, Citrus… all great. (Slight technical: On the strawberry shot, I would have enjoyed a VERY narrow depth of field. Next time try opening up a bunch and focusing on maybe the 2nd basket from the front, letting the fore and backgrounds fall off focus… but the Eggs and Citrus demanded full frame focus just like you did… )

    The cropping on the man holding the marionette is just incredible. It takes disciplined restraint to NOT show the entire man holding the strings… AWESOME.

    Is that lens flair natural in the statue picture? If it is… I LOVE it… if it’s not… then not so much

    I’m not a big fan of the landscapes, but the shots down to the people on the street… now THAT’S the way it’s done my man… especially the first one that shows more of the buildings.

    Love the way you forced a unique perspective with the cemetery shots.

    SMART cropping on the bottle shots…

    Ben… way to go man… way to go.

    • I’m SO pleased to hear you like the shots Dave!! I really enjoyed taking them and it was a great break in Prague, I’m glad the photos do it justice. The lens flair was natural, it just turned out much better than I thought it would. With this series I definitely looked for different perspectives, and cropped them in a different manner to see what effects this had, just like you told me before, and I’m glad it’s paid off! With regards to the strawberry advice you gave me, I’m not sure I know how to get that result with my camera. What settings do you change? I’m always learning new things about my camera, and I love finding out new techniques, but I’d like to try it on another close-up sometime. I think the puppet man shot is my favourite of the lot.
      But seriously, hearing all the compliments from an experienced photographer like yourself is very reassuring Dave, thanks a lot! I’ll try and keep up the good work!!

      • To narrow the depth of field… Go to manual settings, then set your aperture absolutely as wide open as you can get it. Then it would probably be better to go to manual focus and zero in on one single strawberry, maybe 1/3 of the way back. If your camera goes down to as far as f2.8 or f3.2… you should get the effect. Another tip to force the depth is to shoot from as close to the subject as possible.

      • Here’s a good way to learn still life depth of field with an experiment at home. Set up 10 or 12 similar objects on a flat table in a straight line going away from you, and with EXCELLENT light (tennis balls with some fuzz on them would be perfect because you can really see FINE focus on the little fuzz hairs of the balls). If you have a tripod, use it. Set your camera on manual, position your camera maybe 2 foot from the first object, at a down angle of maybe 30 degrees. Set your camera to SPOT focus on the 4th or 5th object from the front and bracket the aperture (you do NOT want general “scene” focus, make sure it’s focusing on exactly the object you want it to… you probably will need to turn off autofocus and go manual). Then shoot a series starting at wide open, then 1 step at a time IE: f:2.8, f:3.2… each and every step all the way up to your max (f:32 maybe?) Then compare results. f:2.8 should have focus on only the single object of your focus with the front and back objects getting progressively blurry… f:32 should have all, or most all in relative good focus.

        Do the exact same test as above 2 more times… The 2nd test from maybe 6 feet to the first object, but keep the SAME angle by raising your camera as you move back (zoom in to get a similar crop as the first test). Do it again from maybe 12 feet (again raise the camera to keep the same plane and zoom in to get similar crop as the first test).

        The 2nd and 3rd test as outlined above is VERY important, because you will see differing variants of depth of field (a reduction of variance) the further the distance you shoot from.

      • Thanks for all the advice Dave! I’ll look into it when I get back home for the Easter holidays (tomorrow) and can set something up with a spare hour or so. I’ll have to get to grips with the manual controls again for this new approach but it’ll be fun to have a new technique available to me.

      • One last thing… that lens flair being natural… AWESOME… just crazy good.

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