Caught in the Act

This is one of my favorite photos I ever took. As usual, it is not about the image, but about the story that goes with it. It was May 2007 and I was visiting my aunt in Czech Republic. One day we decided to take a field trip to Karlštejn.

Karlštejn Castle (Czech: hrad Karlštejn; German: Burg Karlstein) is a large Gothic castle founded 1348 CE by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor-elect and King of Bohemia. The castle served as a place for safekeeping the Imperial Regalia as well as the Bohemian/Czech crown jewels, holy relics, and other royal treasures. Located about 30 km southwest of Prague above the village of the same name, it is one of the most famous and most frequently visited castles in the Czech Republic.

As we were climbing up the hill where the Castle sits, we came upon the man in a medieval costume, with an owl sitting on his hand. You could take a picture with them for a small fee, if I remember correctly it was 1 euro.


Naturally, I failed to see the sign and thought it would be nice to take a photo of a random lady posing with them. He spotted me, pointed his finger and started yelling something in Czech, we can all imagine what…and I captured that exact moment.  My aunt paid him and we continued to the castle, laughing our heads off. But that is not why I love this image so much. My beloved aunt died two years later and I will never forget how much fun we had that day. It will always stay embedded in my heart and in my mind.

As for the post-processing, I wanted to add a dreamy quality, just like it was a memory  pulled out from the dusty corner. After tinkering with exposure, I used the Orton effect, which gave me what I was looking for. I used the Dodge tool to lighten up the owl and man’s face and a soft vignette, just to put the focus on the center of the image.

That would be all for this week’s edition of Monochrome Madness. Till next week, be sure to check Leanne’s blog Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY, where every Wednesday she hosts Monochrome Madness Challenge.

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