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Repetition

This is my first post in this new Monochrome Madness year. What an amazing thing, a fourth year of continuum and still going strong. Even when I step away from my blogging, this challenge draws me back.

For this week, the theme is repetition. So I decided to repeat the image from 2015. I was visiting Prague and this image of Charles Bridge is my favorite from that trip.

Its construction started in 1357 under the auspices of King Charles IV, and finished in the beginning of the 15th century. The bridge replaced the old Judith Bridge that had been badly damaged by a flood in 1342. This new bridge was originally called the Stone Bridge (Kamenný most) or the Prague Bridge (Pražský most) but has been the “Charles Bridge” since 1870. As the only means of crossing the river Vltava until 1841, the Charles Bridge was the most important connection between Prague Castle and the city’s Old Town and adjacent areas.

I took this image with the 70-300mm lens, from a considerable distance, without a tripod. It was a challenge to keep a steady hand, but I had some breathing lessons, so that helped a lot.

The editing was fairly simple. I went for the panoramic crop, it usually works well when your subject is a bridge. Adjusting exposure to bring focus to the stone work was my next step. Finally, blurring the background added a tridimensional feel to the bridge. I like those swans and boats, they add a little bit of dynamic to the image.

I think it fits in the Repetition theme, with all the arches, sculptures and history. Also, I crossed it countless times, repetition in itself.

As always, I urge you to visit Leanne Cole’s blog Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY, where every Wednesday she hosts The Monochrome Madness Challenge, with many excellent images.

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50 Happy Things for 2015: Bloggers Unite in Flood of Gratitude

Few days ago Dawn Landau of Tales From the Motherland invited me to participate in an interesting event. Trying to spread positive thoughts across the blogosphere, I agreed to make the list of 50 things that made me happy in 2015. The trick was to write them down in 10 minutes or less. I thought it tricky, but in truth I managed to come up with 50 happy things in 9 minutes, which in return made me happy again. The event is going live on Monday 21 and if you want to help spread happy thoughts, you will find all the necessary details at the bottom of this post.

And now….here are my 50 happy things!!!

Berta 02.08.2015

Berta
Equanimity
My dearest Stefan

 After

Writing poetry
Autumn
Love
My best friend Irena
Morning walks with Berta
Traveling to Italy
Walking over Charles Bridge in Prague

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Decorating my home for Christmas
Drinking tea with my high school friend Danijela
High school reunion (first time in 23 years)
Watching movies with my best friend
Being amazed by my uncle’s trip to US (he is 61 and doesn’t speak English, but he visited Chicago, Miami, Las Vegas, flew over Grand Canyon)
Joining Instagram (I am posting photos every single day!)
Taking photos with my camera, phone, friends camera, anything I can get my hands on
Two published articles!!!
Dynamic Range, where my series The History of Women Photographers is being featured

Dynamic Range Magazine - Issue 2 Nov 2015 - cover page
My blog (one of the best things I did in my life)
Friday Fictioneers
Spreading my writer’s wings
My new notebook
Berta (again and again)
My hometown
Running wild
Chasing rainbows (even in my forties)
Knowing when to stop

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Dreaming big
Living large
Planning my trip to New York
Knowing I will go to New York with my best friend ❤
Singing
Dancing
Visiting my family
Sharing things
Keeping special people close to my heart
Losing myself in the best way
Finding myself over and over again

 After
Visiting Prague again after six years
Loosing weight (and not gaining it back)
Improving on my photography skills
Learning few Italian words
Walking around Milan (with the camera in my hands)

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Cuddling with my Berta
Vilma, a new member of my extended family
Looking at the mirror
Packing my bags
Happy memories
Still having a love affair with myself

Loré
If you’d like to join in, here’s how it works: set a timer for 10 minutes; timing this is critical. Once you start the timer, start your list. The goal is to write 50 things that made you happy in 2015, or 50 thing that you feel grateful for. The idea is to not think too hard; write what comes to mind in the time allotted. When the timer’s done, stop writing. If you haven’t written 50 things, that’s ok. If you have more than 50 things and still have time, keep writing; you can’t feel too happy or too grateful! When I finished my list, I took a few extra minutes to add links and photos.

To join the bloggers who have come together for this project: 1) Write your post and publish it (please copy and paste the instructions from this post, into yours) 2) Click on the blue frog at the bottom of this post. 3) That will take you to another window, where you can past the URL to your post. 4) Follow the prompts, and your post will be added to the Blog Party List.

Please note that only blog posts that include a list of 50 (or an attempt to write 50) things that made you feel Happy or 50 things that you are Grateful for, will be included. Please don’t add a link to a post that isn’t part of this exercise.

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Лебединое Oзеро

For today’s AfterBeforeFriday I played with another image from my recent visit to Prague.

I was trying to capture the image of Charles Bridge, so I went to a new, secluded spot. It took me probably half an hour to notice those swans, resting some 500 meters from me. I don’t think I ever saw so many swans in one place, it was a beautiful sight.

 Before

Before

In post-processing I did all the usual things, adjusting exposure and colors, cleaning, sharpening…but when I cropped the image, something reminded me of an oil painting. I didn’t want to use FotoSketcher and actually transfer into an oil-painting look-a-like, so I softened the image to get that golden quality. Or at least I think I got it.

 After

After

As always, show some kindness to other participants of the ABFriday Forum on Ben’s blog Aperature64. Next week ABFriday is replaced by OnePhotoFocus, hosted by Stacy Fischer. Since I am not participating, I will show you what I was up to on Instagram in November.

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Pražský Orloj

It’s been too long since I posted something crazy. So naturally, I thought ABFriday Forum would be a perfect place for some end of the week craziness. 😀

On my short visit to Prague in October, I had very few opportunities to go out and about with my camera. And when I managed to steal some free time, the weather was not in my favor. It was mostly raining, with just a few moments of sun peaking behind the clouds.

Loré Dombaj ABF69 before

When I got to the famous Astronomical Clock, the crowd was huge, so I decided to walk around the Old Town Hall and try to take some interesting pictures of the clock tower. I love to capture images from the frog perspective, especially the old architecture, it adds power and drama, making them even more imposing.

After few tries in different editing directions, I realized the biggest problem with this image was the sky. I needed a more dramatic backdrop to bring out the character of the tower, but I didn’t want to tinker forever with the existing sky and I doubted it would give me the desired effect. Instead, I went to PicMonkey and selected my favorite space texture, which has proven very successful in some of my past edits.

Loré Dombaj ABF69 after

This gave me just what I wanted, a magical look. I find it a perfect fit, this medieval tower that holds probably the oldest functional astronomical clock on this planet and that colorful sky that looks like a battlefield in The War of The Witches.

That would be all from me for this week, I am so happy it is Friday. Please, show some kindness to other participants of the ABFriday Forum on Ben’s blog Aperature64

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Charles Bridge

Few quick words about this week’s Monochrome Madness. Another image from my last month’s visit to Prague, this is one of the most famous bridges in the world.

Its construction started in 1357 under the auspices of King Charles IV, and finished in the beginning of the 15th century. The bridge replaced the old Judith Bridge that had been badly damaged by a flood in 1342. This new bridge was originally called the Stone Bridge (Kamenný most) or the Prague Bridge (Pražský most) but has been the “Charles Bridge” since 1870. As the only means of crossing the river Vltava until 1841, the Charles Bridge was the most important connection between Prague Castle and the city’s Old Town and adjacent areas.

 

I took this image with the 70-300mm lens, from a considerable distance, without a tripod. It was a challenge to keep a steady hand, but I had some breathing lessons, so that helped a lot.

The editing was fairly simple. I went for the panoramic crop, it usually works well when your subject is a bridge. Adjusting exposure to bring focus to the stone work was my next step. Finally, blurring the background added a tridimensional feel to the bridge. I like those swans and boats, they add a little bit of dynamic to the image.

As always, be sure to check Leanne’s blog Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY. for other amazing entries.

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Framed

For this week’s Monochrome Madness I’ve chosen the image from my last month’s trip to Prague. I thought about how it was nicely framed, there was no need to crop the image. So, I played with it and explored framing some more. For me it works because of the vintage treatment of the original, I enjoyed turning this into an “old photograph” version.

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I still haven’t gone through my other images from that trip, I can’t believe how time flies. I thought I’ll have more free time to sort and reorganize many things in my life, but I am having trouble with that. My head is full of plans and projects, but they are still just sitting there. One good thing is that I am managing to post an image a day to my Instagram account. It is challenging to find interesting things on my morning walks with Berta and not to repeat myself.

December in Monochrome Madness will be just that, completely maddening. There will be a different theme every week.

1st week of December the 2nd – Bells
2nd week, December the 9th – Santa or Elves
3rd week, December the 16th – Angels
4th week, December the 23rd – Christmas where you are

I’ll need to go out and find something interesting to photograph, my biggest challenge is finding some bells. I know there are many variations on that subject, but I would love to photograph big, church bells. Well, I have my work cut out for me, for sure.

As always, be sure to check Leanne’s blog Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY. for other amazing entries.

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Five Stories Through Five Days – Prague (Day III)

This is Day III of the challenge called Five Days of Black&White, where you are chosen by a fellow blogger to post black&white images five days in a row and every day you are to choose another fellow blogger to continue the challenge.

I was very humbled by the fact that I received two requests for this challenge, both from bloggers I admire and respect very much, Robyn from Captivate Me and Ben from Aperature64.

Ever in a pursuit to tell a different story, I decided to share not only the photos, but also little parts of my life, my little love stories.

Prague

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My love affair with Prague started 25 years ago, when I first visited this magical city. The City of Thousand Spires and countless intriguing stories about its history, it captured my heart from the start.

I would walk for hours, visiting every park, church, museum I could find. Or just sit near Karl’s Bridge, watching people walk by.

I have a special place that I visit every time, Královska zahrada (Royal Garden) in the Hradčany district. There is a bench with a lovely view of St. Vitus’s Cathedral and the Castle’s walls and bastions. It is always quiet there, secluded from the tourists. I sit on that bench, under the umbrage of ancient trees and collect all the little pieces of my soul that somehow got scatter around.

It’s been years since I last visited Prague. My beloved aunt lived and died in that beautiful city and it’s been forever marked by that loss.  But, maybe it is time for me to visit my secret spot and collect the pieces of my soul once more.

Today I nominate Priceless Joy from Beautiful Words and I am adding a twist to this challenge. Post five days in a row b&w or color images through which you will tell a story. It doesn’t matter what the story is, just that there is a story behind every image. It can be one sentence, a dribble from your life, a fiction, a poem, long, short, interconnected through all five days or every day a new story.

This is NOT a ‘have to’ and you can choose not to play along if you’d rather not or do it later if it doesn’t fit your current schedule.. it’s completely up to you.

If you choose to play along – you post a photo for five consecutive days from when you start and each day nominate another photographer to enter the challenge. Or you can add your own twist and let this challenge grow.

Tomorrow comes another image with another love story…hope you’ll enjoy it.