I’ve been blown away by the winter in Prague this year. It has been a magical mix of sometimes brisk, sometimes mild weather, with that low golden light that has you guessing what it will illuminate next as it pops out from behind white billowy clouds. As I’ve written many times before, I’ve always been partial to photographing in the damp gloomy streets this time of year; it makes for such great black and white pictures. But this winter has been different. The city seems to have taken on a new brighter and dramatic air about it and color has prevailed. Never before have I made so many color photos of winter Prague – and I’m beginning to really like it…
A Crisp Morning and the Good Light – January 27, 2015
We awoke to a beautiful blanket of snow covering everything outside our window here in Prague this morning (Jan 27, 2015). Naturally, I wanted to grab a camera and run out into the streets right away; always love shooting street scenes in the snow here. Magical. But, with all of the hullaballoo about the snow catastrophe bearing down on the East Coast of the US and photos posting like crazy on FB, I thought snow photos are the last thing anyone will notice from this part of the world today. So, I took my time getting out and by the time I reached this spot just about all the snow was gone. But. The light was gorgeous. So I hung out for a bit waiting for the light to do its thing on the castle.
Photo: A view of the Prague Castle looking across the Vltava River, along Alšovo nábřeží.
Had a wonderful weekend visiting with our dear friends and former neighbors in Kutna Hora. Always love going back to see what has changed since we lived there seven years ago and reconnect with folks we once used to see every day, but seldom do now that we live in Prague. Had some wonderful home-cooked meals, classic Czech beer a really fine Cuban cigar with my old friends Mirek and Vladimir, two guys I used to spend nearly every Wednesday at the pub with years ago…
Also got some sightseeing in while we were there…
Photo: The Gothic cathedral of St. Barbora, one of the grandest cathedrals in Central Europe, gets its name from the patron saint of miners. It is a UNESCO world heritage site, located in Kutna Hora, a town second only to Prague in 1419, where the kingdom’s silver was mined and minted into the Prague Groschen between 1300–1547. Johann Parler, son of famous Gothic architect Peter Parler, who built the St. Vitus Cathedral and Charles Bridge, was the first architect to work on the cathedral. It was planned to be twice as big, rivaling the size of St. Vitus in Prague, but the city ran out of money before it was realized.
A fanciful dragon dances and snakes its way through the crowd in Prague’s Old Town Square during the annual ‘Slet Masek’ (Gathering of the Masks) which officially kicked off the Czech Masopust (Carnival) season Feb 7. Over the next week, especially this coming weekend, masked processions, dances and street parties will take place in towns and villages across the country in the lead-up to Ash Wednesday and the official beginning of Lent on Feb 18. If you are in the Czech Republic during this time, participation is highly recommended!
After seeing a cool photo of Prague’s Lichtenbergovo bakery friend Grant Podelco posted the other day (and getting directions from him) I decided to venture a few trams stops down there to check it out. I’m happy to report that this bakery, serving up deliciousness since 1928, is indeed a gem. Give it a try if you are in Prague 6…I know I’ll be going back soon. Thanks Grant!
Photo: A dreamy look through the storefront window of the Lichtenbergovo pekařství in Prague 6.
I still can’t shake my fascination with reflections on moving trams here in Prague. All the interacting motion, faces and lives, each with stories and drama all their own. If only we could select an image within this frame and hear, see, feel what each person is thinking at this very moment…After posting this one on Facebook, our friend Robb made a great observation, “It’s a story about stories happening, stories being told, stories being watched, stories being read.”
Another one of those great little scenes one happens upon while walking up by Prague castle…Looking onto Prague’s Malá Strana through the window of a small building at the entrance of Velká Strahovská zahrada on Úvoz street.
Enjoyed a great afternoon break in Café Montmartre yesterday where I made this picture of Diana as we sat with the kids at a table near the front window.
The streets change so dramatically at night. You can walk by a scene 100 times during the day, photograph it often, and think you know it. When the sun goes down it’s an entirely different story. Familiar scenes become interesting – new – again. Add some backlight, color, a cool dude in a cool hat (thanks to our friend Gregg) and a new moment appears. I call this one – “Decisions”.
Café Montmartre in Prague continues to call my name, even after all these years – much like the city itself. It was our good friend Jens who first introduced Diana and I to this smokey, dimly-lit, history-soaked bohemian gem back in the early 90s. Tucked away in U třech divých (House at the Three Savages), Montmarte has been harboring the likes of Czech and German writers like Jaroslav Hašek, František Langer, the Longens, Eduard Bass, Franz Kafka, Franz Werfel and Max Brod, since 1911 – so the story goes.
Imagining the wonderful conversations and characters that harbored here throughout its long history, share the same space in my mind with fond memories of my first years living in Prague. Sure, Montmartre had been around for more than 80 years before I had my first glass of red here back in 1993, but to me it was like a new awakening. Rediscovering it again since our return to the city, has brought that on, once again.