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My Favorite Spot on the Charles Bridge, Prague

Prague's Charles Bridge

“There is something particularly fascinating about seeing places you know in a piece of art – be that in a film, or a photograph, or a painting.”
― Sara Sheridan

I wanted to share a photograph for Light, an innovative new camera company, and their Vantage Point project displaying the best shots of a favorite place in your hometown or a place you have traveled. Since I love photographs that take me places, I decided it would be fun to participate. The compact camera looks pretty fun, with multi-aperture capability in a small and light new gadget that would fit in a pocket. I’d love to try it.

I’ve always toted around my Nikon, a seven-year-old camera body D90, with two lenses. I love hearing how other photographers who embrace their photography as a dedicated hobby / semi-profession plan their lenses. One of my co-workers has oodles of lenses. When he asked me what I shoot with, I smiled, a little embarrassed. I’ve never been one to want to accumulate unnecessary things. I have two camera lenses: the one the D90 came with, an 18 – 105 mm kit zoom lens, and a heavy zoom lens with a range of 70 – 200 mm. I love and use them both equally.

When it comes to a great photograph, I think several elements have to work together. Lighting is always number one for me. Then composition, subject, and then the illusive choices selected by the photographer’s eye. When a photograph has it all, it’s magic.

One photograph I’ve taken and posted here on my site before is the photograph I took on Charles Bridge, in Prague. My family and I lived in Prague from 2009 – 2013, and within a couple of months learned fog is a norm for Prague, especially along the Vltava River. Remember the first Mission Impossible movie starring Tom Cruise? The story began with gunshots on a mysterious bridge shrouded in fog. That was Prague’s Charles Bridge along the Vltava River.

I’ve written about it before. The Charles Bridge is a place where I spent a lot of time, holding a steaming cup of coffee from the Lavazza cafe near St. Nicholas Church on Malostranske square. The Charles Bridge speaks. If you stand on it long enough, especially in the off-season on a day with few tourists, you can hear its stories: of Kings and processionals, of whispers of centuries of wars and hostile occupations, of floods and near-miss disasters, of changing governments and protesting people, of peace, fleeting as it may be. The stones have stories. You can feel them.

It is this that the photograph captures, I think. There is a sense of something more than light, composition, and subject. That is why I love this photograph and want to share it again, here. It is my all-time favorite photo I’ve taken, so far.

Prague's Charles Bridge in black and white

The Light Co is posting their favorite photographs of places on their Pinterest site here. And if you’ve shot photography with the new Light camera, share what you think with us — I’d love to hear!

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Charles Bridge, Aristotle, and Italy’s Cinque Terre

Italy's Cinque Terre, Sunrise at Monterosso al Mare

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” -Aristotle

I have 3 things to share this week:

1) Happy news: Capitol Prague, a new restaurant and cafe in Washington D. C. / Georgetown, has bought use of of one of my photographs of Charles Bridge in Prague for use as a mural inside their cafe.

Capitol Prague Cafe
Capitol Prague Cafe

Isn’t it gorgeous? And, illy is my very favorite coffee, the one we drank at our home in Prague. Na zdravi! (Cheers!) Continue reading Charles Bridge, Aristotle, and Italy’s Cinque Terre

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Snow, Charles Bridge, and the Beauty of Prague’s Spires in Winter

Prague's Spires and Bridges with Snow in Winter

“The color of springtime is in the flowers; the color of winter is in the imagination.” – Terri Guillemets

Prague's Spires and Bridges with Snow in Winter
Prague’s Spires and Bridges with Snow in Winter

The first time I saw Prague’s Charles Bridge, the weather was hot and the bridge was crowded. It had been the height of summer tourist season (August) and construction crews worked on replacing the cobblestones on over half of the width of the legendary bridge spanning the Vltava River in Prague. I remember thinking about taking a photograph, but with three children in tow and other tourists pressing in on all sides of us, there was no opportunity other than simply to make it across. Despite the heat and the crowds, my first time across Charles Bridge was a memorable experience.

 

Snow-covered Charles Bridge in Winter, Prague
Snow-covered Charles Bridge in Winter, Prague

Every time I’ve seen the bridge and had the opportunity to meander across it in the four years since then, I’ve walked across in wide-eyed wonder. There is so much to see: the saint statues and the river, the spires on each side of the river, the autumn changing leaves, and the soaring swans and water birds, the organ-grinder man collecting change in an old hat, the artists and vendors and jazz ensembles adding flavor to the air. The Charles Bridge is Prague’s most enchanting place.

 

Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, and Mala Strana Spires in Snow
Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, and Mala Strana Spires in Snow

In January, an unexpected snow fell overnight before I was to meet a friend at the Castle in Prague. When I woke, I saw this view and decided to venture straight downtown, to write near the bridge on that day, and take a few moments to capture the beauty I might find there.

 

Sunrise in Winter, the view through my lens, Prague
Sunrise in Winter, the view through my lens, Prague

And beauty blew me away.

 

Bird and Snow on Prague's Charles Bridge
Bird and Snow on Prague’s Charles Bridge

I have never been the only person on the Charles Bridge. On that frigid, snowy morning, I was.

 

Snow-covered Charles Bridge in Winter, Prague, Black and White
Snow-covered Charles Bridge in Winter, Prague, Black and White

It was an experience that will linger for a long time to come …

 

Prague, Mala Strana, and St. Nicholas's Spires in Winter with Snow
Prague, Mala Strana, and St. Nicholas’s Spires in Winter with Snow

For other photographs I’ve taken of Prague’s Charles Bridge, you can find them by clicking here.

 

Prague Castle Steps in Winter
Prague Castle Steps in Winter

Also, other photographs and posts on Prague can be found here. And on travel in Europe, here.

 

Prague Castle Guards, Winter
Prague Castle Guards, Winter

For you: Have you traveled to Prague? What is your favorite place / time of year to come?

 

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Reflections of Prague Castle at Night

Prague Castle at night

 “History teaches everything including the future.” -Lamartine

Prague Castle at night
Prague Castle at night

When I stand in Prague along the Vltava River and see this view, I can hardly imagine the hundreds of years of stories and history tucked into the walls and crevices of the buildings:

  • Prague Castle (the long, horizontal building that stretches across much of this photograph) was founded around the year 880 and is made up of Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque architectural styles. The Castle has hosted the region’s ruling powers through countless wars, the Nazi occupation, the Soviet Communist rule, and the post-Velvet Revolution government — for over one thousand years.
  • St Vitus Cathedral, with its high Baroque and Gothic spires inside the Prague Castle walls, was founded on the 21st of November, 1344, during the reign of King Charles IV. The beauty inside is astounding, especially considering the cathedral is approaching 700 years old.
  • St Nicholas of Mala Strana Church, constructed around 1750 (the spires on the left of the photograph), was a favorite Nazi spying outpost, from the top of its bell tower. Also, famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart played the organ in the church.
  • Charles Bridge, the historic bridge that crosses the Vltava River, was constructed in the 1350s by King Charles IV. Its presence across the river helped make Prague an important trade route between eastern and western Europe.

There is so much to see, feel, and experience just by standing in one small spot in a historic city like Prague.

Imagine …

What do you think about when you experience something so much bigger than you and your time?

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Charles Bridge, Prague, and Sunrise in Fog

Prague's Charles Bridge

“Under the thinning fog the surf curled and creamed, almost without sound, like a thought trying to form inself on the edge of consciousness.” – Raymond Chandler, from The Big Sleep

If there would be one scene that defines Prague for me, it is the serpentine Vltava River winding through the city. Bridges cross the river at regular intervals, artistic in their arches, their Gothic architecture, and their spacing. Vintage red trams cross several bridges, along with cars and trucks and buses. But one bridge in Prague is completely special: the Charles Bridge.

Prague's Charles Bridge in black and white
Charles Bridge, Always Mysterious

Continue reading Charles Bridge, Prague, and Sunrise in Fog

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Autumn in Prague: the Things I Love

Charles Bridge, in the Autumn Light

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.  ~Stanley Horowitz

 

There are so many things to love about Prague in any season, but this autumn has proven to be the most exquisite of all.

Here, things I love about Prague in the fall:

Prague, the Cobbles on Charles Bridge
Prague, the Cobbles on Charles Bridge
Charles Bridge, in the Autumn Light
Charles Bridge, in the Autumn Light
Prague Castle
Prague Castle
Swans in flight above a Saint on Charles Bridge
Swans in flight above a Saint on Charles Bridge
A Harvest of Walnuts from our Neighbor's Tree
A Harvest of Walnuts from our Neighbor's Tree
Prague, the view from Charles Bridge to Vinohrady
Prague, the view from Charles Bridge to Vinohrady

 

Prague, the view from Petrin Hill
Prague, the view from Petrin Hill

 

What is your favorite part of autumn? The changing leaves? The hint of fall colors? Hot chocolate or coffee outside in the chilly air?

Enjoy your autumn!

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A Prague Photo Journal

the Prague Castle
Words cannot begin to describe the beauty we’ve discovered in the Czech Republic thus far, so I am dedicating this week’s blog to a true view through my lens– a photo journal of our time living in Europe thus far. The images can speak for themselves … Enjoy! 

Prague, Czech Republic: the Prague Castle

the Prague Castle
the Prague Castle

The infamous Astronomical Clock, and other sites around the Old Town Square


Crossing the Vltava River on the Charles Bridge:



Not too far from Prague, the Krivoklat Castle:



 

Berlin, Germany: the Brandenberg Gate, the Berlin Wall, and the Holocaust Memorial

 

History has countless stories to tell … More photos to come. Enjoy the waning days of summer! -JK