Olomouc—known as Olmütz in the day of the old Hapsburg Empire when it was the capital of Moravia—is an ancient city dating back to Roman times. I found it an exceptionally photogenic small city.
In January 2009, Denis McCabe and Tim Doherty visited Olomouc on a week-long photographic trip to central Europe. On the evening of our arrival from Prague, a heavy fog had settled across the city, making its eclectic architecture, Soviet Era trams, and well worn cobblestone street even more evocative.
We spent several hours walking around in the mist.
On August 23, 1989, twenty five years ago today in Warsaw, Poland, Tadeusz Mazowiecki became the first non-communist prime minister of a Warsaw pact nation. This symbolic event is credited as a landmark moment in the crumbling of the post World War II totalitarian grip on Eastern Europe.
On several occasions, more than decade after the momentous events of 1989, I traveled to Poland to photograph railways.
If Poland had remained under the old regime, I think it would have been far less likely that I would made these trips. The freedom to cross borders and wander around unhindered remains an important consideration in my travels.
I made this view of Warsaw Central Station on May 1, 2002, having arrived by overnight sleeper from Dresden, Germany.
I selected this image of Budapest Keleti Station as part of a exhibition of more than twenty of my photographs titled Silver & Steel that made its debut in November 2008 at the GONe Studio. I exposed it at the beginning of an Eastern European rail adventure that ultimately brought me across Hungary, through Romania to Vlad Tepe’s birthplace, over the Carpathians and then into eastern Ukraine. Keleti or ‘Eastern’ Station is a principle Hungarian terminus for international rail travel; it’s a classic railway temple featuring a magnificent train shed that faces the city through an enormous fan-shaped window.
The trick to getting this dramatic angle was working my old Nikon F3T with its detachable prism. I focused manually, then removed the prism, and laid the camera on the platform, fine-tuning composition looking down on the mirror image while using a combination of Euro coins to prop up the lens. During exposure, I used my notebook to shade the front element from flare. To minimize vibration, I set the self-timer and stood back. My faithful Minolta IV light meter was key to calculating base exposure, but I then added a full stop to compensate for the cavernous quality of the train shed and the film’s reciprocity failure (owing to long exposure time). I made several exposures, most of which came out blurred because of nominal camera vibration. Ultimately, I locked up the F3T’s mirror for this final image.