Back streets and cool doors


Ok, I will go ahead and admit it: I have a couple of addictions when it comes to my photography. The first is that whenever I am in a new place, I really enjoy wandering around in the back streets. It’s just fun and interesting, and you never know what you might find.

The other addiction I am referring to is that I love to photograph doors. It doesn’t really matter if it’s a big door, small door, red door, blue door, old door or new door (hey I sound like Dr. Seuss!) – they usually catch my eye, assuming it has at least some interesting elements about it.

The nice thing is that these two little addictions often go hand-in-hand. When I wander on back streets, I find cool doors. You gotta love when your addictions are complementary!

I found this door wandering on the back streets of Bratislava, Slovakia. Isn’t it cool?

Bratislava street scene

Whenever I travel, I make it a point to see the "big stuff" because, well, you sorta have to, right?  Even though there are already a million shots of the famous spots, I want to get my own take on a place - and I bet you do, too.  But, I always make time to wander a little too, especially in the back streets near the big sights.  I am always rewarded with some cool, interesting, or unique finds.

In this case, I was wandering around in Bratislava, Slovakia and after seeing their big church (St. Martin's), I decided to walk around it and explore some of those back streets.  This scene immediately caught my eye, since I enjoy graffiti and I liked how that light post was sort of sticking it's neck out there.  The textures and slightly crumbling wall were a bonus!

Back streets in Bratislava

I wanted to share this with you all today - I was featured on the HDR photography/travel blog Strange Lands, hosted by my friend Jimmy McIntyre.  Check out my guest post and let me know your thoughts! 


Daily photo: Back streets in Bratislava

find life experiences and swallow them whole. travel. meet many people. go down some dead ends and explore dark alleys. try everything. exhaust yourself in the glorious pursuit of life.  - lawrence k. fish

I love that quote - it's quickly become one of my all-time favorites.  It's great advice and inspires me to do more with any free time I have.  One part of it that really appeals to me as a photographer is the "go down some dead ends and explore dark alleys" part.  I love to wander with the camera, especially when I am in a new town, and doubly so if I am in Europe.  There are so many big, popular and culturally significant things to see in any town, but sometimes I get just as much joy from wandering the back streets, alone and away from the crowds.

This one was taken in Bratislava, Slovakia while I was doing just that one morning.  I had a few hours to kill, and of course with camera in hand I hit the streets.  It wasn't long before I found myself going down some dead ends and dark alleys.  It was fabulous.

Technicals: Nikon D700, 7 exposures, f/13, 14-24 wide angle lens (at 14mm)

Software: Photomatix, Color Efex Pro, Aperture

Roland Fountain - Bratislava

Town squares are awesome, especially in Europe!

I love fountains and waterfalls, and town squares - they're just awesome!  I found this fountain (quite easily, I might add) in the Old Town Square in Bratislava, Slovakia.  It's hard to miss and is the key focal point of the square.  It seems every town square in Europe has a fountain, and they are always surrounded by such great architecture.  For me, that's part of the charm of European cities.

Curiosity killed the cat...but helped the photographer!

I'm actually lucky to have been able to get shots that night.  I had massive travel delays - and didn't sleep a wink on the plane - so I got into Bratislava around 7pm instead of earlier that day at 1pm.  I almost went to bed, but my curiosity won out so I hit the town for a quick round of shooting (and some dinner!).  It's impossible to pass up an opportunity to shoot in a new place!

Technicals: 7 exposure HDR, f/22, 14-24mm wide angle lens (at 14mm)

Software: HDR Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Aperture

HDR Before & After: how the photo was brought to life!

I have been sharing these "before & after" shots, and get some good feedback on them so I thought I would keep that going.  It's amazing to me what HDR can do - it really does bring a photo to life!


Under the New Bridge

I am traveling this week, and so most of my posts are going to be pretty short.  I hope to grab quite a few shots this week in Santa Fe - it's a great town.  Thanks so much to everyone who visited and commented yesterday, I really appreciate the feedback on that image.

I caught this shot in Bratislava, while I was walking around under their New Bridge.  I love shooting bridges, and often try to get shots underneath them as well!

Looking down the Danube

Here's another shot from my recent trip to Bratislava, which is a great town.  I would really like to go back there sometime.  You know how you visit some places, and even though you may like them, you feel like "ok, been there, done that"?  I don't feel that way at all about Bratislava.  It was beautiful, the people are nice, and the old town is condensed enough that you can see it all confortably in a couple of days, then just hang out and enjoy the culture without feeling like you should be out "doing something".  It's a place where you can just relax.  So if you get the chance, be sure and visit this jewel on the Danube!

iPhone fun in Bratislava

Well, as you can plainly see, I am on a bit of a Bratislava kick right now, having recently returned from that wonderful town. I have plenty more shots to share, but have to find some time to process them all! I thought today I would share a few iPhone shots I took while wandering in various parts of Bratislava's Old Town...enjoy!

From inside the walls of Bratislava Castle...

St. Martin's Cathedral in Old Town...

One of the massive passenger ships on the Danube...

Crazy graffiti...

Some cafe that I just liked the look of...

St. Michael's Gate in Old Town...

Town Square...

Just an interesting street scene...

A church that threw me out...geez, I just wanted to take a picture!!

Some urban ruins...

Well that's it - a quick tour but I covered a lot of ground! Thanks for stopping by!

Sunrise in Bratislava

I really enjoyed Bratislava - it's a beautiful town and I shot like crazy when I had some free time.  It's just so historic and beautiful.  But I must say, I had the hardest time getting there.  My flights were supposed to go Austin > Chicago > Madrid > Vienna and then in Vienna get a car to Bratislava (about 45 minutes away).  The original plan had me landing around 12n in Vienna on Saturday.  

Unfortunately, I missed my connection in Madrid, so I ended up re-routed from Madrid through Rome and then to Vienna, where I landed about 6pm.  It was 7pm+ by the time I got to my hotel in Bratislava, and I had been awake at that point for nearly 30 hours (I can never seem to sleep on planes).  I was wiped out.  I had a short stroll through Old Town, ate dinner, and promptly crashed, hoping to sleep for 12 hours straight.  Around 5:30am I woke up with the morning sunlight streaming through my curtains - it was bright and sunny and the new day was here!  I looked out my window, saw this incredible scene, and took a picture.  Then I went back to bed and slept til noon.  I was so bleary-eyed at 5:30am that I am lucky this one was even in focus!

Blue hour over Bratislava

I was in Bratislava, Slovakia last week, which you may know if you happen to follow me on Facebook.  It was a business trip of course, but I was able to find a little time to get out and shoot this beautiful city.  In particular, I was very happy to be able to meet up with my friend Miroslav Petrasko, who runs the HDR photo blog called HDR Shooter and is a fabulous HDR photographer.  Locals always know the best spots, and he was kind enough to hang out for a while and take me up to the highest spot around, where we got this amazing view of the Bratislava Castle, the Old Town, and St. Martin's Cathedral.

Here's a quick snap of the structure we were shooting's a restaurant called UFO and sits atop the New Bridge.  It's a bit of a strange sight, considering Bratislava is very historic-looking, but you can't beat the views! The river you see is the Danube - one of the historic and famous European rivers.  

Bratislava is a beautiful town.  It's not big enough to be overwhelming (like say, London - which is a great city, but it's HUGE and you can never see it all) but it is big enough to give you plenty of interesting things to shoot over a few days.  I took about 1500 photos there - so there is a lot to shoot.  It has a lively culture, beautiful architecture, and lots of interesting back streets that are fun to explore with a camera.  Lots more to come!

One last shot - a close-up of UFO.  You can see the rooftop deck - that's where we stood, aiming our lenses out through the wires, firing brackets into the night!  It was awesome!!  Thanks Miroslav!