church of san giovanni battista in mogno

Alarm clock 4:30. 4.5 hours drive through two borders. Unbelievably curvy and steep serpentine ride to middle of nowhere (see at the bottom). Literally - in the village we have met nobody. Just a few empty looking seasonal houses. And there it was. Hidden gem. Architectural beauty and photography feast. Oh yeah, and soul asylum and place to talk to him too. Quite in private. Open 24/7. Church of San Giovanni Battista in Mogno - Fusio. Tiny village in Italian canton Ticino in Switzerland. Who knew?!
So, I have talked to him for a bit. But also I have photograph his place. For more then two hours I was looking for angles, lines, patterns, symmetry and all elements of design I could think of. I was in heaven (spiritually and photographically).
And what's the story with this church in the middle of nowhere? Well, village has their own church since 1636. But in 1986 a devastating avalanche completely buried the church and local patriots were looking for somebody who could built them new place to worship. Swiss born architect Mario Botta stand up to a challenge, but he come up with something visionary and so out of that small region, so word is that locals were apparently against this "non-classical" way how church should look like. Anyway, in 1996 church was opened (do you seen those "six"? 1636, 1986, 1996?) and since then it is there. Here's a link to a very nice leaflet with a church history, including a photo of avalanche!
Plan your trip there! Just a road to go there is an adventure itself and whole Ticino region with all waterfalls around the road is terrific! Now - less word, more pictures...
PS: Thanks Mom! For all...




Budík na 4:30. 4,5 hodiny šoférovania cez dvojo hraníc. Neuveriteľné zákruty do prudkého kopca na ceste plnej serpentín (viď video dole), ktorá nás doviedla až tam kde líšky dávajú dobrú noc. Doslova, lebo nestretli sme ani živú dušu. Iba niekoľko prázdno vyzerajúcich sezónnych domčekov. A tam bol. Schovaný poklad. Architektonická nádhera a fotografické hody. A hej, taktiež duševný stánok a miesto kde sa s ním môžete tiež aj porozprávať. Pomerne v súkromí. Otvorené nonstop. Kostol San Giovanni Battista v Mogno - Fusio. Piďolatá dedinka v talianskom kantóne Ticino vo Švajčiarsku. Kto by to bol povedal?
Tak som sa s ním chvíľku porozprával. Ale potom som si to tam u neho aj nafotil. Viac ako dve hodiny som hľadal uhly, línie, vzory, symetriu a všetky dizajnové elementy, ktoré ma napadli. Bol som v nebi (duševne a fotograficky).
A ako sa teda vlastne vyskytol takýto kostol uprostred ničoho? Nuž, dedinka mala svoj vlastný kostol od roku 1636. Ale v 1986 im na neho spadla obrovská lavína a kompletne ho zrovnala zo zemou a tak sa miestni zástupcovia vybrali hľadať niekoho, kto by im postavil nový svätostánok. A švajčiarsky architekt Mario Botta to zobral ako výzvu, ale prišiel so svojskou víziou a niečím, čo bolo úplne tak mimo tohto kúska sveta, že podľa dostupných historiek sa lokálni obyvatelia pomerne hlasito vyjadrovali proti niečomu tak "inému". Každopádne, kostol sa vysvätil a otvoril v roku 1996 (všímate si tie šestky? 1636, 1986, 1996?) a odvtedy je tam. Tu je link na krásny leták o histórii kostola, vrátane fotky so spadnutou lavínou! Naplánujte si tam cestu. Už len tá samotná cesta tam je zážitkom a celý región Ticino s vodopádmi všade okolo cesty je úžasný... A teraz už menej slov a viac fotiek...
PS: Díky mami! Za všetko...







































Hide and seek

Yes, we played kind of "hide and seek". Well, actually - he was just doing his job and I've tried to follow him, to predict his moves and to not disturb him while capturing his work in such peaceful place... But then I got him. Almost where I wanted to...

But those "hide and seek" ones are worth to share as well to document that waiting for the perfect shot is great. But to work on it, is even better! ;)

Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis - you are beautiful! How could I not see that earlier?!

And thank you anonymous cleaning service man for your work and for being my anonymous model...



And here are my "hide and seek" trials ;)

sweet cherries

Yes! Spring is here. And cherries are usually the first messengers to confirm that! When I was growing up, my grandparents had a beautiful old cherry tree in the garden, which I loved to climb and when I saw it in the blossom, I hardly could wait for cherries to be there! It was "the early" type of cherry tree, which always ensured a lot of friends in the school when I brought freshly picked cherries to school! Also, my very very first seasonal job at the high school was in the cherry orchard near Dresden. And of course, I am kissing my beautiful wife for over 20 years every 1st of May under the cherry tree - cause I love her :) So yes, there is something going on between myself and all those cherry trees. And when I have found out and planned very carefully this year's trip to this magic cherry orchard - right at the peak blossoming moment AND with the perfect weather - 2 hours trip was nothing! So worth it and I was so excited. And so rewarded after all. And the best thing? I was able to share this enchanted place with others and we actually had a great Photo walk after all. Enjoy with me.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 24-70mm @26mm, 1/125sec @ f/22, ISO 400

Áno! Jar je tu. A čerešne sú zvyčajne tými prvými poslami, ktorí to zvestujú. Keď som bol malý chlapec, tak moji starí rodičia mali na dvore nádhernú starú čerešňu, po ktorej som zbožnoval loziť. A v momente keď som ju videl zakvitnutú, tak som sa nevedel dočkať, kedy už budú na strome čerešne. Bola to "májovka", čiže čerešne boli naozaj veľmi skoro a v škole som mal vždy veľa kámošov, keď som ich doniesol čerstvo nazbierané ;D Tiež jedna z mojich prvých brigád na strednej škole bola v čerešňovom sade neďaleko Drážďan. No a samozrejme, už viac ako 20 rokov bozkávam svoju nádhernú manželku na 1. mája pod čerešňou - lebo ju milujem ;) Takže áno, naozaj mám k čerešniam špecifický vzťah. Preto keď som objavil a precízne naplánoval výlet do tohto magického čerešňového sadu - v tom najlepšom momente a s úplne perfektným počasím - tak 2 hodinová cesta zbehla ako voda. Stálo to za to a bol som od nedočkania napnutý ako traky ;) A stálo to za to, bol som odmenený. A to najlepšie? Podarilo sa mi sa podeliť o túto kúzelnú krásu s ďalšími a mali sme nakoniec skvelú Photo Walk. Užite si čerešne aj vy...


Nikon D800, Nikkor 70-200mm @200mm, 1/1600sec @ f/2.8, ISO 100


Nikon D800, Nikkor 70-200mm @145mm, 1/800sec @ f/6.3, ISO 320


Nikon D800, Nikkor 16-35mm @16mm, 1/500sec @ f/6.3, ISO 100

up up and away

Hot air balloon show in the night, full of colorful and photogenic source of lights? Count me in!
Once organizers confirmed weather conditions and event was okayed, I knew I'll go there. Even got a great company (thanks Lina and Juliana!).
After arrival I have quickly realized that balloons are located on the top of the hill, so all spectator would have a nice view from the valley. But that wasn't good enough for me, as the background was black forest. So we "speed walked" up the hill and were able to catch the last moments of Blue hour and got a few shots of color splash against blue sky (and even some stars already)!
Rest of the photo trip was about trying to catch the right moment for the right exposure! I was surprised, that correct exposure for the balloon with a available light and balloon illuminated from the inside by a burst of flame was several seconds, otherwise I was capturing just orange fireballs! :)
Show was spectacular with balloons throwing flames to the rhythm of local folk music (! try to coordinate that!), with parachutist with huge sparkles (impossible to capture, I just gave up and enjoyed the view) and of course with nice firework to enhance my background. Feast for the photographer eye! :) 
PS: Special thanks to guys from "FlyingPictures.eu" in the nearest balloon (Travel Department) for being so nice to throw us photo flame upon requests (many of them!! :)

Nikon D810, Nikkor 24-70 at 38mm, 1/2 sec @ f/7, ISO 500
Nočná balónova šou plná farieb a fotogenických zdrojov svetla? Idem tam! Akonáhle organizátori potvrdili dobré počasie na akciu, tak bolo jasné, že idem. A mal som dokonca aj skvelú spoločnosť (díky Lina a Juliana!)
Po príjazde som sa zorientoval a zistil, že balóny sú ukotvené na vrchole kopca, tak aby mali diváci dobrý výhľad z doliny. Ale to nevyhovovalo mne, nakoľko ako pozadie by som mal tmavý les. Tak sme si dali rýchly výstup do kopca a podarilo sa nám zachytiť posledné zvyšky Modrej hodinky a nafotiť zopár záberov farebných škvŕn oproti  modrej oblohe (a dokonca aj nejaké hviezdy)!
Zvyšok výletu už bol o zachytení správneho momentu pri správnej expozícii! Musím priznať, že som bol prekvapený z toho aký veľký rozdiel bol medzi správnou expozíciou balónu osvieteného z dostupného svetla a balónu osvetleného zvnútra s blčiacim horákom. Bolo to dokonca pár sekúnd, ináč som mal na fotke len oranžovú ohňovú guľu ;) Show bola nádherná, balóny dokonca púšťali oheň do rytmu lokálnej dychovky (! skúste toto skoordinovať!), prileteli aj parašutisti s obrovskými "prskavkami", ktoré púšťali nádherné iskry (a bolo to nemožné nafotiť, tak som to vzdal a len sa kochal). No a nakoniec samozrejme krásny ohňostroj, ktorý mi pekne zvýraznil pozadie za balónmi. Úplna pastva pre fotografove oči! ;)

Nikon D810, Nikkor 70-200 at 150mm, 3 sec @ f/3.5, ISO 1600

Nikon D810, Nikkor 24-70 at 32mm, 1/2 sec @ f/6.3, ISO 640

we love synchronized swimming

Synchronized swimming is beautiful and hard sport! And I had a pleasure to photograph my beloved daughter's Synchro Christmas show again. What a pleasure! Equipped with mirrorless SONY Alfa 6000 with Meikon Waterproof Camera case I got very, very close! And I got rewarded... 
PS: Video with "below and above" view is at the very bottom.


Synchronizované plávanie je nádherný a namáhavý šport! A ja som mal tú česť si znova nafotiť Synchro Vianočnú show mojej milovanej dcéry! Aká nádhera! Vybavený so Sony Alfa 6000 a Meikon vodotesným púzdrom som sa dostal naozaj veľmi, veľmi blízko! A odmena ma neminula...
PS: Video s "pod a nad" zábermi je úplne dole.














show must go on

If you ever visit Montreux, Switzerland, you'll probably hear very soon, that this charming city at the Geneva lake was Freddie Mercury's favorite place. So favorite, he bought (and decorated) a flat. And even more importantly - with his Queen mates they bought their own recording studio there! So they spent quite a bit of time around and many great songs and albums you know, were recorded in Montreux! BTW - studio is opened to public now and it is a great experience to visit...
So it is not a surprise, that Freddie's statue has been erected in Montreux, next to a lake and is definitely one of the popular places (to photograph or to meet or to take a selfie ;). It is a less known fact, that this iconic statue (copied then in many other places) has been made by Czechoslovakia born sculptor Irena Sedlecká, who has to flee her own country in 1968 after a shameful occupation by Soviet tanks... So pardon my sentiment, but I have to enjoy once again how things turned out to better later on in November of 1989...

Obviously - with a great view, nice weather, gorgeous sky and sunset timing - I couldn't resist to capture Freddie's and his surroundings as well.


Nikon D810, Nikkor 16-35mm at 24mm, f/8 at 5 sec, ISO 320

Ak niekedy navšívite Montreux vo Švajčiarsku, tak si určite čoskoro dozviete o tom, že toto malebné mestečko na brehu Ženevského jazera bolo obľúbeným mestom Freddieho Mercuryho. Tak si ho obľúbil, že si tam aj kúpil a zariadil vlastný byt. A čo je ešte dôležitejšie - so svojou Queen partiou si tam kúpili vlastné náhravacie štúdio! Takže tam trávili pomerne veľa času a mnoho skvelých pesničiek a albumov, ktoré určite poznáte bolo nahraných práve v Montreux! Mimochdom - štúdio je stále otvorené pre verejnosť a vrelo ho odporúčam navštíviť...
Nie je teda až takým prekvapním, že Freddiemu postavili v Montreux sochu, hneď vedľa jazera a je to obľúbeným miestom (na fotenie, na stretávanie alebo na nafotenie svojky ;) Menej známym faktom je to, že túto ikonickú sochu (ktorá bola skopírovaná na mnohých ďaších miestach) vytvorila sochárka Irena Sedlecká, ktorá sa narodila v Československu a ktorá musela utiecť z rodnej krajiny v roku 1968 po hanebnej sovietskej okupácii... Takže mi odpustite môj sentiment, ale som proste veľmi rád, že sa to znova zlepšilo v Novembri 1989...

No a samozrejme - s takým skvelým výhľadom, pekným počasím, úžasnou oblohou a podvečerným načasovaním - som proste nemohol odolať a nenafotiť si Freddieho a jeho okolie.











Beauty of Sunrise

I will keep repeating this - but early morning wake up is so worth it! And of course, that was the case last Saturday when we woke up for our Photo walk dedicated to Beauty of sunrise. And beauty it was! Great clouds, orange color, dusky sky, ever changing weather - and of course - group of fantastic enthusiasts eager to wake up so early on Saturday morning! Oh yeah - and a bit of walk too ;)
And do you see that red light on the strong foreground subject (rocks I mean ;)? Well, that was actually created by an accident initially, when I have pointed with my red colored headlight during an exposure! White light would probably ruin the photo, but when I saw the results I was "WOW!" and we repeated this light-painting several times... Thank you Jane, Emily, Tony, Joe, Rick and Giuliano!

Nikon D810, Nikkor 24-70mm @ 24mm. 
Budem to opakovať dookola - ale skoré ranné vstávanie stojí fakt za to! A bolo tomu tak samozrejme aj minulú sobotu, keď sme vstali skoro ráno na našu Photo walk zameranú na Krásu východu slnka. A bola to teda krása! Skvelé mraky, oranžová farba, modrá obloha, stále sa mieniace počasie - no a samozrejme - skupina skvelých foto nadšencov, ktorí neváhali si v sobotu privstať! No a ešte aj trochu tej prechádzky k tomu ;)
A vidíte to červené svetlo na tom výraznom prvku v popredí (mám na mysli tie kamene;) Nuž, to vzniklo celé vlastne náhodou, keď som sa otočil so svojou čelovkou zapnutou na červeno smerom na kamene počas 15 sekundovej expozície! Biele svetlo by pravdepodobne pokazilo záber, ale keď som videl výsledok, tak som bol "WOW!" a museli sme toto maľovanie svetlom zopakovať niekoľkokrát... Ďakujem vám Jane, Emily, Tony, Joe, Rick a Giuliano!