Photoessay: Hruba Skala at Cesky Raj

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About all that’s visible from the road

Today’s photoessay continues the previous two from Hruba Skala at Cesky Raj. I would think of today as more of a general overview and contextual positioning of these unique rock formations in the general landscape around the Cesky Raj (Bohemian Paradise) area in the northern part of the Czech Republic. What isn’t immediately apparent from this (and all other) images of the rocks is that they’re really not that easily visible from the roads surrounding the perimeter of the area, nor does the general topography suggest where you might find them. Instead, you are driving hopefully through some forest and there are little hints of entrance on the right which suggest something much larger. It isn’t til you get down into the gorges and keep walking that the sense of scale is actually apparent. It is one of the most surreal places I’ve been because of this dichotomy between our ability to comprehend the scale (unlike say the Grand Canyon) and the actual size of it – you can go up and touch elements of it, but you’ve got to do some walking. In other words, it’s bigger than you think. And a challenge to capture, too. Enjoy! MT

This series was shot with a Nikon D810, 24 and 45mm PCE lenses, a Zeiss 1.4/85 Otus, a Voigtlander 180/4 APO Lanthar and processed with Photoshop Workflow II.

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Photoessay: St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague

A fantastic piece of gothic architecture, St. Vitus is arguably the centerpiece of Prague Castle – itself at the northern part of the old Malastranska district and overlooking the rest of the city itself. I’ve been inside a number of famous cathedrals – St. Paul’s, Canterbury, Notre Dame, St. Vitus, the Sagrada Familia, and Stefansdom – and the one thing that always amazes me is that we humans could build such structures as early as nine hundred years ago, when the majority of people were living in shacks and huts without sanitation or any other modern infrastructure. Even more amazing is the degree of architectural finesse involved in building these structures in stone – remember, there were no structural members that could take tensile loads, let alone pre formed or pre stressed panels. Everything was reliant on gravity to stay in place. Construction took generations; even with modern building techniques, the Sagrada Familia began in 1882 and isn’t expected to be complete until 2026 – that’s <em>144 years</em>. Frankly, it doesn’t look very different today than when I first visited in 2003. Glass <em>had</em> to be made with lead frames holding together small pieces, simply because there was no way to make big sheets. But the craftsmen of the day found a way to make that beautiful, creating the incredible stained-glass mosaics that survive to this day; a lasting testament to their devotion to their faith. MT

Series shot with the Leica M9-P, 28/2.8 ASPH and 50/1.4 ASPH

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