I believe I don’t need to explain the title since everybody knows that phrase. The whole idea behind it is that generally, simplicity is more appreciated and better understood than complexity. That is for certain type of people of course. Usually I’m stuck somewhere in between, perhaps even a bit more leaned on the complex side, but it all comes down to the type of situation that find I myself in. What got me thinking about this in the first place? This shot.
I took this photo of Maja yesterday, just a few minutes before we went to bed. It was taken on the bed in fact. From a technical point of view, this photo is a total car crash. Since the lighting in the room was really bad, I had to use the higher ISO (that’s why it’s grainy) and furthermore, it’s not even sharp. Not sharp?! Anyone who knows me well would probably ask me “You out of all people, like an out of focus image?” Indeed, normally I’m obsessed with sharpness and overall image quality which is why I generally (if possible) rather use my tripod, so I don’t need the higher ISO or at least I fix it later on in post-production. So usually, I really wouldn’t label a shot like this as a “keeper”.
However, I love this photo. It is so god damn simple. But it’s not just the simplicity, but also the sentimental value that it represents to me. For me, it basically says everything about that girl and her personality. Notice the contrast between the playful child wanting to stay up late, while we can clearly see how obviously tired she is. We can’t really see her eyes either, so for what we know, she might as well be sleeping already.. which wouldn’t surprise me much ;)
Tell me, what is your perspective on “less is more”? Have you ever taken a shot like this?
Don’t be angry with the rain. It simply doesn’t know how to fall upwards.
The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain as well.
It is quite challenging to describe such a great, historical city with only a few words. But if I had to do it anyways, I would probably go with something like;
“Bernard, Kozel, Pilsner, Budvar, Krušovice and Staropramen.”
Hmmmm, wait… I only wrote down six Czech beer brands, didn’t I? Let me try that again. :)
Tall baroque buildings, cathedrals, restaurants, bridges, and finally, yes, beer. This is what Praha is all about. Oh, and apparently also masses of tiny, confused and inappropriately dressed Asian tourists, wandering the streets of Prague.
It’s been a while since Maja and I started planning our trip, and after several different options of various locations and types of transport, we finally settled for Prague and train. Indeed, as always, there were ups and downs, that were mostly related to the biggest rule we set: we travel cheap. Did we manage to follow it? Keep reading.
The first issue we encountered was before we even left Ljubljana, thanks to the justice system offered by our dear national railways. (please, note the incredibly obvious sarcasm). Why so much whining? I’m glad you asked!
The return ticket to Prague turned out to be double the price their website stated few weeks earlier, not to mention the fact that the lady at the window did not give us the return ticket from MB to LJ, which of course we paid for. Yes yes, I should’ve noticed that, but I didn’t. I guess my expectations for them to do their job were too high.
The pricier ticket did ruin the enthusiams a bit, but it didn’t stop us from visiting the land of beer. Luggage, check. Camera, check. Booked our hostel on a January -50% discount, check!
Off we go!
After 11 hours and 3 different trains, we arrived at Hlavní Nádraží, the main railway station in Prague. Since it was the already in the evening, we didn’t have the time to do anything but to find our hostel – Clowns and Bard – located in Prague 3. (Probably meaning third closest area to the old city centre, but not really that case). Thanks to Maja’s orientation with a map, and my ability to type the name of the street in the Google Maps on the tablet we found the place shortly. I wish I took a photo of theentrance to the hostel, but I didn’t. It looked like one of those places you really don’t want to visit. A gray metal door, similar to the ones you usually see in the movies in the end of a long dark dead-end street in NY, where Russian mafia has their illegal poker room. It only had a sign that said “Ring here”. And so we did. The doors unlocked, we entered. Frankly, it wasn’t any better than the first impression I just described. The stairway led us to a basement filled with cigarrete smoke (reminder: Czech Republic does not have the law that prohibites smoking inside). We were received by the receptionist, who just finished a round of table soccer. Unusual. At least the price in hostel was accurate. Oh, wait.. IT WASN’T.
The 50% discount that the good sir at hostelbookers.com claimed isn’t calculated in the price displayed yet, actually was. So once again, we were faced with a situation where we had to pay twice the amount that we expected, only that this time we didn’t even have enough money to pay for it so we took a nervous walk downtown, searching for a free Wi-Fi. We found it, standing outside a fancy hotel, “Googling” a new, hopefully cheaper hostel while freezing our asses off. After a while, we found a so-called Chili Hostel for 4€ a night in Prague 1, meaning the old city center. We only stayed in the first hostel for one night and the room in Clowns wasn’t really heated either. It was freaking cold. Fortunately, this was the last bad thing in the trip. It was all uphill from here. :)
Snapshots of our room in Clowns and Bard where we stayed our first night
Knowing that we are staying only this one night we didn’t even unpack ourselves, because next morning we already on our way to new, hopefully better Chili Hostel. We took a metro to the other part of the city, I loved it. I’m sure I can speak in the name of every fellow citizen from Ljubljana, we want this! There is almost zero waiting, and mainly, it does not just happen to be 10 minutes late. Sound familiar? Yeah, me too. But shit like that doesn’t happen there. In addition, it’s a lot less complicated, since there are only 3 lines that cover pretty much the whole city and the prices are very affordable as well. We found the hostel, left our luggage and went for a walk, since the earliest check in was at 2pm. Only two blocks away, we found this interesting looking building.
We followed the Vltava river and eventually came to the famous Charles Bridge (Karlův most). The bridge is filled with tourists, artists and people rubbing the statues. I’m not really sure what’s the point to touch the polished part of the statue is, although I think it’s supposed to bring you good luck. I touched it and felt ridicolous doing it. It was also snowing for the first two days, so the Prague castle (Hradčany) couldn’t be seen from the bridge, but one of the images below is going to have the castle in it, because it was taken later on. Photos time!
Homeless man and his dog.
From the Charles Bridge, Maja took me to see huge creepy babies with no faces. I know, what the actual f***. So ladies and gentlemen, I present to you… This!
Timing was right to go check out our new hostel which thankfuly happened to be a lot warmer, better AND cheaper. Yeeeah! For lunch, we tried searching for an affordable traditional Czech restaurant, because we were in Czech Republic after all, but our paths led us differently so we ended up in a Thai restaurant, and believe me when I say it, I do not regret the turn of events. The meal was delicious! Maja had a chicken soup with noodles, while I had rissoto with shrimps. I know, rissoto AND shrimps. Awesome. The next day, we took a trip to the Old Town Square and the Prague castle. On the Square, we were able to see the famous astronomical clock everybody is talking about. As an astronomical clock enthusiast, I have to say the clock is nice. Honestly, the way I see it, it’s just a complicated clock on a wall. Here are some shots, no clock photos though.
Old town square (Staromestske namesti) and Church of Our Lady before Týn in the background
Inside the St. Vitus Cathedral, which is inside the Prague Castle
Since I’ve already told you what we ate the day before, I might as well do it for everyday, and make this whole thing a “Where and what was Klemen eating?” kind of post. We decided to eat cheaper that day, because we wanted to go to “Sushi all you can eat restaurant” on the last day, which costs more than our usual meal so we found an Italian restaurant. We both had spaghetti and it cost about 100CZK per person, which is around 4€ or something like that. Cheap! But we didn’t want to live too healthy for ever, so we had an American style dinner in KFC later on. Seriously Ljubljana, what’s with all the Mcdonald’s, when this is so much better? :)
The last day we went the remaining, for us less important places we hadn’t seen yet, like the Jewish Quarter and a small hill above Prague, where I needed to take a photo that you’re going to see below from. By the way, the stories about the Jews being rich aren’t fictional, I counted 7 Porsches and 3 Bentleys in only one alley, while other cars weren’t Clios either. Of course, the stores also changed from Žabka and Billa (Grocery stores) to Prada and D&G. Otherwise, there was nothing really interesting about the Jewish Quarter, but hey, maybe that’s just me. After I took my shots from the hill, we were ready to go eat but my dear tripod wouldn’t close, so I had to carry it around town for the rest of the day and the next day on the train. Below, a shot from the hill.
Now it was finaly the time for all you can eat lunch, and yes, we did “eat it all”. :D We could barely walk afterwards, thanks to all the sushi, soups, meat and fruit. Besides the Chinese and Japanese food, they also had a few Korean dishes, although they appeared to be quite spicy, but it still got Maja excited. The last “tourist thing” we did in Prague was the search for the Lennon Wall, which we did not find the first day. To be honest, we weren’t really successful at finding it this time either. Thanks to the tip from the tour guide on segway we found it later on. Yeah, they even have tours on Segways, it’s hilarious. The wall is not amazing really, but whatever, it is a wall with Lennon on it, so I’ll give it the credit. :) We caught our train home the next day, and thanks to the lady that didn’t give us the return ticket from MB-LJ (lame), we had to find ourselves a cheaper ride back home from Maribor. While waiting for the Austrian train in Wien railway station, we used prevozi.si and found 3 guys who were going to a party in LJ. Guys, you’re probably not reading this, but nevertheless, thanks again! :)
Soooooo, to sum it up… Comfortable, cheap life and less than a euro for a beer? I’m pretty sure I could get used to that. ;)
Today was just another one of those semi boring – semi relaxing Sundays, which I usually spend sitting behind my computer randomly websurfing or watching some movies I’ve probably already seen before anyways. But not this time. From a time to a time a man just has to be more productive (in one way or another). This was one of those times. Today, I grabbed my Nikon and my tripod, set up some lights in my photo-studio (read: yeah right, my balcony) and on top of all that, a bucket full of water, some milk and paint. The result = everything is wet, but a bunch of fun! Since you’re most likely wondering what the heck was going on, I’m posting a few shots. Enjoy!
Last night, somewhere around 9pm, Alice Russell held a concert together with Quantic and his Combo Barbaro here in Ljubljana. Unless your taste in music is very specific, you probably have no idea who I’m talking about right now. Don’t worry, I had no clue who I am going to shoot yesterday either, but it turned out to be a pretty good concert actually.
So, first off, a little info about the musicians. Alice Russell is a British soul singer who worked together with many famous artists, Will Holland on the other hand, who is also known as Quantic currently lives in Columbia, where he started a funk/jazz group named The Quantic Soul Orchestra.
Even though I personally enjoy listening to jazz, specially late in the night when everybody else is asleep already, the primary reason I was there last night wasn’t to enjoy the concert (still, I really did :)), but to take some photos for a website that I usually work for. You can check my other galleries from various concerts on this website: http://www.studentarija.net/infoscena, but you’ll have to search for a bit, because I’m not their only photographer, which means all of the galleries aren’t mine.
Maja and I arrived about half an hour early, just so we could “take it easy” and slowly pick up our PRESS passes. Yes, it’s the thing that you wrap around you wrist and it suddenly lets you go to places a normal visitor isn’t allowed in, but most importantly, you’re there for free. It’s fascinating, how a just simple bracelet makes you feel so awesome that you almost want to wear sunglasses. Usually, I always drink an Erdinger Weissbier before a concert and it’s probably the only real tradition I’ve ever had, but you got to admit it, it’s a really tasty one. This time though, the bar outside was full. There were soul addicts dressed in vintage clothes everywhere around us and you could almost sense that late 60’s or early 70’s feeling somewhere in the air. Unlike me, their passion and desire wasn’t beer but rather red wine. Eventually, I accepted the fact that I’m going to have to enjoy my drink inside, so we moved upstairs. I also had to show the contents of my camera backpack to the security personel at the entrance, probably for drinks, because I’m pretty sure I don’t look like a terrorist. Or do I? :D
The concert started instrumentally without the vocalist Alice on the stage, but to be honest, the band itself is already good enough, so Alice was just an extra bonus, if I may call her that. Don’t get me wrong, I think her voice is more than great. The songs on the setlist we’re most likely written down in that order strategically, since they we’re progressing from the slower ones to more and more lively rhythms, that just make you wanna move your feet. On account of the fact that I forgot to ask the staff if there were any limitations for the photographers, I wasn’t aware that I only had first 3 songs to shoot (which is up to the band to decide) and since I’m usually allowed to shoot for the whole concert, I took things easy, thinking: “First few songs I’ll shoot some shots of Alice and the back vocalist and then I’ll slowly move to the members in the background”. By the time the security guy came to tell us our time was up, I had only about 20-30 pictures, and they very mostly images of the 2 persons in front. :D Still, we learn from our mistakes they say, so it’s a lesson well recieved and I’ll sure be asking for the restrictions the next time. :)
To sum everything up, the concert was great and here are a few photos from it:
Thunder, na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na! :)
Unlike most people, I’ve always really enjoyed and loved thunderstorms and needless to say, I have always been fascinated by their beauty, size and the strenght at the same time. I’ve heard some people tend to sleep better if there is a thunderstorm outside their window, but I can’t say I’m one of them, because I always sleep good, no matter what is going on around me. (Knock, knock, knock). Counting only the fact that for a brief moment, a second or two after the “big old BOOM” the whole sky above you turns into a lightning show and makes it look like the New Years Eve on a whole new level is just priceless. For that reason, I think thunder is the most obvious proof and a really violent display of how powerful the nature is and just how small and control-less we as an individual are against it. Funny thing though, just because you know it’s so dangerous and that you REALLY shouldn’t go outside instead of just watching it through your kitchen window makes you want to go there even more. I guess it’s true, that the things we cannot have tend to be the most desirable and would satisfy us the most.. or is that just me? :D
Well, now that we already discussed about the awesomeness of the thunderstorms, lets cut to the point. (:
I was coming home on a bicycle tonight, returning from the guitar lessons I have every tuesday, when I noticed.. no, actually I FELT how the weather changed from a nice warm evening to a strong wind blowing situation with very, almost scary dark sky right behind me. Using my natural instinct, when I realised I’m on a bicycle in a T-shirt and in shorts (cause it’s been really warm lately, perhaps even too warm sometimes) I knew I had no more, but about 10 minutes to get the hell out of there because it’s about to get nasty. I could dramatize even more right now, and use all the war-like and painful adjectives that I know of, to describe how serious and horible the situation was, but really it wasn’t that bad because after I got home, I had like time to eat a toast and talk to my bird until the raining really began, but when it did, it started raining like.. in London? I don’t know, like somewhere where it really rains alot. :D
People would generaly be happy and satisfited that they didn’t come home wet and wouldn’t even think about going out now, in the middle of the storm. But then again, I am not like most people, so when I saw that there are thunders flying around like arrows in the battle between the Spartans and the Greek (epic metaphor, I surprise myself sometimes as well) I grabbed my camera bag and my tripod and an umbrella, rushed to a field, set up my equipment and took a few dozen shots at the sky. I admit it, I should’ve been there faster, because I totally missed probably the most interesting part of the storm when the thunders were really intense and more often seen, so I didn’t get the chance (or I wasn’t acurate enough) to catch the “big ones” that I was going for, the ones the fill the whole sky, but still I did catch a few smaller ones. You know what they say, there’s always tomorrow, and in my case, there literally is another storm predicted by our meteorologists. :P
Enjoy the show! ;)