Thursday, October 25, 2012

Budapest - a beautiful city with a turbulent past

Purple Sunrise over Budapest


Budapest lies Northwest of Bulgaria, in Hungary.  Most easily (and economically) accessible by a combination of plan and train, Budapest offers the visitor much more than a weekend's entertainment.  Whether you are interested in the rich history of the region or the nightlife that exists on the tiny, quite streets that lie between and under tall, ornate buildings, Budapest draws travelers of all ages.

Budapest's turbulent history has given rise to a free thinking city littered with historical monuments, museums and cultural event locations.  That being said, it is the human element of the city that gives it it's charm.  The Hungarian people have a confident yet polite demeanor about them.  Their ability to be clearly confident in who they are combined with a open and accepting nature made them the highlight of our trip.

Budapest has not always been such an inviting city.  Buried deep in Budapest's past lies a turbulent history that is riddled with conflict.  The Hungarian struggle for democracy has taken them through the clutches of Adolf Hitler and past the iron curtain of communism.  Horrible atrocities and crimes were committed during Hungary's  struggle for a democratic government.  This is no more evident than when one tours the "House of Terror," a historical experience that takes the visitor on a gripping, realistic trip into the past to experience some of the events that lead to their current economic and political state.  After this experience, one can only marvel at the present state of the national resilience, optimism and friendliness.

Some of the more prevalent attractions included Castle Hill, Fisherman's Bastion, The Parliament, hot water bathing pools, The National Opera and the Danube river itself.  Open air markets are now exist where people once cringed in fear of the occupying regime.  Although many of the buildings and bridges have been destroyed and restored multiple times, Budapest retains its historical and old world charm.

This is a city I will return to.


I went a little panoramic crazy during this trip.  Who could blame me?  Everywhere I looked there were beautiful views stretching out as far as the eye could see.  Many of the shots were taken either early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun was beyond the horizon.  This helped to create the crazy tints that you see in the sky.

The panoramic pictures of  the city were taken with the 70-200mm at f4.0 zoomed out to 70mm in the portrait or landscape orientation (depending on what I was attempting to capture).  Exposure times varied from 4.0 seconds to 1/8th of second and the camera was steadied by resting it on the nearest stable object (the bridge in many cases).  I then took each of the photos and stitched them together in Photoshop, reimported them into Lightroom for post corrections.

I am planning to produce a video on how I created the panoramas soon so stay tuned for that information if you are interested.  In any case, this is a fantastic trip for anyone, but especially a photographer.  I have to admit, it was  hard to get up at 6am to get purple panoramic of the Danube, but I continued to remember the advice "put yourself in front of more interesting subjects" and "get there in the good light."  I think it worked ... and really payed off.  Enjoy the photos!

Post Sunrise - Blood red Danube where many battled for their freedom


Stairs up to Fisherman's Bastion

Sunrise under Margit Bridge

Sunrise and lines

View from Fisherman's Bastion

HDR of the church on Fisherman's Bastion


Kamen Kunchev said...

This inspired me to write about Malta! Very nice photos and you really went pro this time!

Damon Rickett said...

Cool! Thanks. I can't wait to read about Malta!