peaceful tokyo

Couple of weeks ago I've posted few shots from Tokyo - full of architectural curves and lines...
The very same day and in the same Shinjuku district I've walked into a quiet oasis in the middle of hyper busy center of Tokyo - Shinjuku Gyoen Park.

You are required to pay (reasonable) entry fee to enter and chill out from the outside world - but it's definitely worth it. Then you can walk few miles, lay down on your own blanket or amazingly green grass, have a family picnic or - take a few shots. Landscape photography - here I come! ;)

frozen in motion

Wouldn't be great to have in one shot frozen action and motion at the same time? Well, I've tried that few weeks ago when I was around a photo session, where my dear Monika was shooting two cool boys, Dominik and Lukas. Session happened nearby local train station and despite natural teenager's hesitation to be photographed - she got amazing shots! (some pictures are here or inside the article). However, when I heard PA announcing train arrival, I've grabbed the camera and tripod and gave them instructions: Stay! and don't move!!

And with a simple 1/4 second at f/16 exposure I've got two super cool, unique and I dare to say quite unusual shots! Picture above was shot with a cargo train in the background - those beauty colorful smudges are just plain red and blue containers on a yellow platform (can you ask for a better color combination?!?)

high connections

As they say, good connections can get you really high. In my case, my very good connections (thanks Gene!) got me to a very unique place, through a very secret room and password protected access to the roof of 15th story high building in a downtown of St. Louis. What a panorama!

If you would expect a plain roof with a view everywhere, you would be surprised as myself. You can see at the bottom of this article, there is actually another 2 story high wall, and you really have to make an effort (and stay in a very uncomfortable position for more than an hour!) to get THE view. But as usual in such situations, it was worth it, would you agree?


Don't get fooled by the man standing next to the rising sun. No, this is not a country of the rising sun, even though Japan is pretty nearby. This is South Korea, where everybody is pretty convinced, that a merge with North brothers is just a matter of timing, there's not doubt about the merge itself. And it's also a country of a FANTASTIC kitchen, and I'm becoming more and more fan of Korean food (kimchi or bibimpa? anyone?)
Anyway, I got again a exciting afternoon opportunity to see Seoul through my camera lenses.

BTW, did you knew, that Seoul is the second biggest metropolitan area in the world !?! Population wise. Number one is Tokyo, third one is New York.

architecture made in japan

Tokyo is the biggest metropolitan area on the Earth. With estimated 30 million people squeezed around. No wonder apartments and hotel rooms are super small and buildings are super high. In the Shinjuku area I've got amazed by a few of them.

bad weather outside

Still getting back to our session where we played a lot with lights, flashes and of course human curves.
And actually the bad weather outside didn't bother us at all - vice versa, it helped to create a fantastic background for Ema.

guess who?!

We had a family trip today and such a delicious composition appeared in front of my lens...
Guess who is it?

PS: Trip members are not allowed to guess ;)

after party

My beloved one, youngest one and the only boy has reached his first milestone. 
He has been invited to his first party!

It was a birthday party of his preschool mate Jacob, and group was wildly partying at Museum of Transportation. You cannot go wrong with 3 and 4 years old and a looooot of trains ;)
Leaving with a balloon (of course) and a goodies bag (thanks Jacob!) - I was so glad to have my point-and-shoot with me. Leica did a great job to capture this milestone, don't you think?

mower (e)motion

A plenty of leaves in the yard, high grass and not really in the raking/mowing mood?

Winning formula for fun afternoon includes camera with wide angle lens, tripod and "a hell a lot of duck tape" ;) Go straight, do a couple of S-curves, go slowly, go fast... Oh, and BTW, meanwhile don't forget to fire your shutter!
(nikon d-90, tokina 11-16mm with  polarizer to bring exposure 2 stops down,  f/14, 1/4 sec, ISO 200)

go low and go wide

You might know that not only photography, but also pets are my passion.
So my dream opportunity is to take a picture of pets, right? Right!

ghost in red

  So here I am, shooting at one beautiful castle, very intrigued by an old carriage. Cool shot with a nice background. Everything is OK. But then in the evening when I've dumped pictures from my memory card to a laptop - THERE SHE WAS! Abandoned, blood-thirsty lady, lost 2 centuries ago while hunting for a young and innocent men. She just popped up on my picture!
OK. OK, ok... Drama is over. ;) But the point is, that this picture is NOT a Photoshop multi-layer, hours intensive output. Again - believe or not - this is a direct shot, made in the camera. (I can say almost) without any editing, as the only post processing was a color correction to make the red dress really pop. But hey, that's it. Transparent, ghosty, "blood thirsty" duchess was exposed in old good, classical way... (more inside the article).

no post processing (aka FLW makes miracle)

Believe or not, but the picture below has not been edited at all. This is "from the camera" shot. No Photoshop, no editing, no playing with sliders of white balance and contrast, no HDR... I'm dead serious.

young clowns @ old square

When was the last time you've met a clown? Well, we were so lucky with Monika to meet a couple at 7am while walking in Prague ;) Now tell me something about unusual models at unusual places...
What a splash of colors!


And couple of more clowns you can find inside the article! Have a happy smiling day... ;-)

no tripod? no problem!

I guess you've experienced many times situation, that you see the super cool sunset and you would love to capture it - but you tripod is not nearby. Well, do not hesitate and help yourself and you'll be rewarded by a cool shots. Same happen to me few weeks ago in Moscow, I didn't give up and - I was rewarded :)

fill the frame... see the face

I'm still getting back to pictures from a great session with Russian model Elena. Some of them I've already shared, but can't resist to keep few others just for myself.

singapore's colorful flyer

Even this picture has been shot two years ago, it's still one of my the most favorite.  For a several reasons. First of all, I felt in love with Singapore. If there would be an offer coming tomorrow to move there, I would be packing my whole family following day ;)
Secondly, this picture is a prove, that with a patience and determination, you can get what you want. And the last, but not least - a bit of luck always helps. In my case it was a navy brass band coming right  into my exposure with all their shiny trumpets, tubas, trombones...

OK, I owe you a bit of explanation... Follow me here.

the perfect picture school of photography in CZ and SK

Big announcement! My big photography role model, teacher and friend Bryan Peterson offered me and Monika an opportunity to join expansion of his "baby" - The Perfect Picture School of Photography - outside English speaking part of the world. And I'm thrilled to share, that Czech and Slovak version of PPSOP will be starting this fall, where Bryan and I will be helping you to get The Perfect Picture! Meanwhile, please be our guests and visit, where you can watch Brayn's welcoming video and sign up for updates. Stay tuned...
BTW - you can like us on too.

Veľká novinka! Môj fotografický vzor, učiteľ a priateľ Bryan Peterson ponúkol mne a Monike možnosť spolupodieľať sa na rozširovaní jeho Školy Perfektnej Fotografie mimo anglicky hovoriace krajiny. The Perfect Picture School of Photography (PPSOP) je celosvetová jednička v online fotografickom vzdelávaní a s radosťou vám oznamujeme, že od jesene štartujeme spolu s Bryanom kurzy v češtine pre Českú a Slovenskú republiku. Zatiaľ vás radi privítame na našej stránke, kde sa môžte dozvedieť viac o škole, pozrieť si Bryanove uvítacie video a prihlásiť sa k odberu noviniek. Ostaňte naladení...
A nezabudnite si nás tiež "obľúbiť" aj na ...

workshopping - and for a great reason

My dear Monika came with a great idea. To offer a quick 4 hours workshop for a beginners who still dare to switch from a full automatic to a manual mode on their DSLRs. But the best part of this great idea was, that "fee" will be donated to somebody who needs it - little Danik would benefit out of it.

It took her only a few hours to fulfill 7 offered spots and during our stay in Prague we met on Saturday early morning with great and enthusiastic photographers. Not even a heavy rain stopped this short but intensive event to happen ;) And after a quick update on balance of  "the photography triangle" we were freezing action, implying motion, panning, zooming - and jumping (for a group photo).

flash the camera!

While roaming in Seoul's old part of town I've found this interesting pattern - bunch of wooden sticks. Initial frame just simply filled with sticks was pretty OK, but I've tried to find a way how to make it a bit more appealing. And here's the final one, using two simple - but very effective techniques.

korean backlight

Back in Korea in May I have been playing a bit with my flash, especially when used off the camera.
I was the most curious to use it as a backlight with an orange gel to simulate sunset (or sunrise if you want).
After a several trials with my fellow friend and "two legs voice activated assistant" Andrew I've identified one Korean teenager in front of the huge shopping mall, with a quite long and curly hair, to really let the backlighted flash effect stand out.


limited, but so colorful lights!

Yes, of course I'm talking about a very specific source of light - fireworks. Actually, there is not a better time and the place in a whole world then to be on 4th of July in US...

star trails (how did you do that?)

My trip to Death Valley was an exceptional one with a hundreds of fantastic shots I'm so proud of it. But one of all hundreds is a very specific and personal, as I've tried for the first ever star trail photo (and left my camera alone in the middle of nowhere for whole night!)
As I've received many "how did you do that?!", here's a short "how I did that" ;)
Môj výlet do Death Valley v Kalifornii bol úžasný a doniesol som si stamadiaľ stovky fotografií, na ktoré som vážne pyšný. Ale jedna z tej kopy je obzvlášť špecifická, nakoľko som si po prvýkrát vyskúšal fotenie nočného pohybu hviezd (v angličtine Star Trail photography) - a nechal svoj foťák celú noc len tak napospas uprostred púšte!
Keďže som dostal kopec dotazov "ako si to vlastne urobil?", tak tu je skrátený popis "ako som to urobil" ;)

women in black

Still processing pictures with my models. Tons of them, more to come.
This is a mini set called woman in black or how can you easily create two different persons, so unexpectedly with blond hair or bright green eyes respectively. Camera and lights are a beautiful magic things, you can create whoever you want...

lights and curves

Experience with a real (I mean now hired and paid) model. Blonde one was from Russia, being in US for about three weeks, barely speaking English, so with my poor level of broken Russian I was able to navigate her. And for those who will immediately ask - no, my significant one wasn't with me and yes, she knew what I'm going to shoot! I was actually with a bunch of other photographers, including women too! ;)
Cool experience with lights, flashes, pocket wizards, remotes etc...!

cycas plant in focus!

Still in a macro mood over the weekend: we were also shooting this lovely Cycas plant, we have on our patio (it is actually an abandoned Cycas, which my significant one decided we adopt ;) New, beautifully curly leaves appeared so we set up quickly our small studio, grabbed the macro lens and a water sprayer and ... voila!
And just to make sure, I cannot take all credit for those below, we share them equally with Monika.

100 decibels neighbors (aka invasion of cicadas)

Well, they are everywhere. At the beginning we only noticed empty ugly shells at the trees. Then first ugly bugs. Then disturbing noise, lately changing to unbearable noise! There are thousands of them only in our garden. Millions in our area. Cicadas  As we googled out on wikipedia, they are digging out from the ground every 13th years (!), they are more or less harmless, and they'll live only a few weeks. In the middle of the July they should be gone. OK, but they are still extremely ugly and when one of them will sit on your shoulder.... ghrrrrrr!
But we have to give them a bit of the credit. They are beautifully colorful and kinda photogenic. Especially under a macro lens. PS: Now we know where Aliens and Sigourney Weaver got inspiration for their mutual friend! ;)
PS: updated with a "behind the scenes" picture.

kingdom house makeover

Nestle Purina Petcare Pride day dedicated to St. Louis Kingdom House makeover. Unbelievable what a few hands can do within a few hours . Lucky me, I could be the part of it and my role was to capture it all.
And on the top of it, I've got a fantastic opportunity again to take a pictures in the unusual and so photogenic place. So apart the photo reporting I've taken a few just for myself. Full gallery is available here.

water sculpturing

We've got about an year ago a cool photo tip for a very bright sunny day. And this weekend was the right time and conditions to try it out. So we set up an outdoor studio and started to craft our sculptures. A little bit of playing (OK, a lot of selection and then a little bit of playing) in the PS in the evening - and here it comes - our BATTLE OF THE TITANS! ;)

photo trip to st. louis downtown

It's not a secret that St. Louis downtown is not the most inspiring place on the earth. But it can be a pretty wildy colorful and photogenic. Especially if you are looking for the wild angles and dark arches (not the Arch ;), right below the bridges and next to graffiti wall... Just a 5 minutes wallking from my office - and hour and half with my fellow photo club colleagues on a pretty clouded Thursday afternoon. Full album can be found here.
Well, this is also part of the st. louis downtown. apx. half a mile from famous the Arch.

printed big!

Voila! Today, I've found out, that one of my picture from the last year company event "Petcare pride day" has been printed pretty big and is now at the show next to our company store... 
Next to the store. Don't blame the blackberry quality! :)


Second trip to Korea. Now with a weekend spent there - so the opportunity to explore a bit more then just a surrounding of the hotel. A bit of shooting on Saturday and on Sunday I couldn't miss opportunity to go and see North Korea. Well, all what I've seen from North Korea was a flag. I was in DMZ (demilitarized zone). Pretty weird place. More pictures will be coming soon.

peace in the DMZ

exhibition for a good cause

Together with other folks from our photoclub we are donating about 30 our pictures to a silent auction and all our colleagues can bid on them. All raised amount will go towards several charity organizations. Coolest part of this event is, that all our pictures (10 mine and monika's) are professionally displayed in the lobby for the next three weeks. Serious exhibition... :)  Update: Auction finished and our club raised $1683, out of which my and monika's pictures contributed by $823...

death and alive (aka death valley, california)

What a place! I think I can say I've traveled a lot, but what I have seen in Death Valley - that was breath-taking. Within a few square kilometers you can find mountains, sand dunes, deepest place on the north hemisphere, moving rocks... There is no mobile phone signal and GPS will usually gets you lost ;) And on the top of that - sleeping deprivation! Waking up at 4am to pick up my beloved camera left in the desert for star-trail shots and still shooting at 1.30am in the night (21 hours later) in the Ghost Town, in the middle of nowhere. After a while of processing, the best of Death Valley full gallery is here.
Fun, fun, fun! Thanks Scotty and Jenny for support...