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This is my personal travel, photography, cinematography and adventure related blog. Here I share my visual experiences coupled with interesting articles from my trips and photography outings

Holiday in Slovakia, some photographs from my home

Čachtice castle ruins

After an entire year without annual leave with 2 movies completed at work, it was finally a time to take a well-deserved holiday. It's been a very long time since I seen my family so my obvious destination was my homeland,  Slovakia. It was not a holiday of exciting adventures, but days full or rest and relaxation. Couple of easy trips here and there, family, friends, good food, some gardening and lots of fresh air. What else can one wish for?

The journey from Sydney to my home was a long one. 3 different flights, 2 transits and final car ride from Vienna International Airport took nearly 40 hours. But I made it home at last. Exhausted, sleepy but happy. There is an entire month of rest ahead of me. The weather was awesome, and the obligatory welcome drink got me me started on the right note (well, it almost knocked me off after 40 sleepless hours). I don't even have to mention the fact that I was in a small village away from the city. No noise, crowds or heavy traffic. That made my holiday that much better. 

This holiday was not a photography trip. I had my camera with me, of course. I planned to be at home most of the time, doing some work in the garden. It was a welcome change compared to my office job. A whole day on the fresh air was something I missed a lot. At work, I only get to see the office walls. Depressing. 

I met our new family member Xara for the first time. This was high on my "looking forward to" list. She is a the Appenzeller Sennenhund dog. I soon learned that she has an abundance of energy and temperament. Obviously, being only 7 months old she is still a playful puppy ready to discover and chew on everything she can find. It is fun to observe how she gets along with our older dog Lola. They have an interesting chemistry. I noticed Xara is sometimes over provocative towards her and occasionally Lola's patience boils over. and lets her know who is the boss here. Other than that they got along just fine. It is nice to have two dogs again. Lola mourned the passing of Borka a year ago and she was noticeably sad and lonely. 

I made two one-day trips in Slovakia. The first one was a trekking trip to Maly Rozsutec in the north of the country in Malá Fatra National Park close to the village of Terchová. The village is most famous for being the birthplace of Juraj Jánošík (outlaw and Slovak national hero). During the second trip, I visited two well-known castle ruins, Beckov and Čachtice. The latter was the home of Elisabeth Bathory. She was a noblewoman and serial killer labeled by Guinness World Records as the most prolific female murderer.

About photographs

When it comes to photography I didn't make too much effort to scout the locations, be there in the perfect time of day etc. I just wanted to enjoy my break rather than focus too much on photography. I tried to make the most of the situation and lighting conditions I encountered. Some of the photographs are a good example of how to make the most of uninteresting flat light. I also photographed my sister quite a lot. I don't do that kind of photography often but why not do a practice when I can.

These photographs are a selection of shots I took over this month. I shot with Fujifilm X-T2 coupled with XF 14mm F/2.8, XF 50-150mm F/2.8, XF 56mm F/1.2 and XF 35mm F/2 lenses. All photographs are processed in Adobe Lightroom. I used Astia, Classic Chrome or Acros image profiles coupled with basic exposure and contrast changes (global and local) . There is not much editing going on except the infrared images which require Photoshop for channel swap.

We have a small pond in our backyard with few crucians and frogs. 

We have a small pond in our backyard with few crucians and frogs. 

There are always goodies to be found in the garden such as rapsberry. During the season one goes there and picks whatever grows there. 

There are always goodies to be found in the garden such as rapsberry. During the season one goes there and picks whatever grows there. 

Lola has a lot of german shepherd genes but she is not a clean breed. Hence her ears are not standing straight. She looks kind of sad. Perhaps she still misses Borka, our dog that has passed away last year.

Lola has a lot of german shepherd genes but she is not a clean breed. Hence her ears are not standing straight. She looks kind of sad. Perhaps she still misses Borka, our dog that has passed away last year.

Lola and Xara running in between vines in the garden.I don't understand people having dogs locked in their apartments. I firmly believe dogs have to have room to run around whenever they please. These two have the whole backyard and garden to do it. Freedoms and joy is the keyword here :) 

Lola and Xara running in between vines in the garden.I don't understand people having dogs locked in their apartments. I firmly believe dogs have to have room to run around whenever they please. These two have the whole backyard and garden to do it. Freedoms and joy is the keyword here :) 

Barrel of water in garden comes handy for Xara when thirsty. She drinks it so fast she is almost choking herself..Xara is just tall enough to reach it while standing on the back legs.

Barrel of water in garden comes handy for Xara when thirsty. She drinks it so fast she is almost choking herself..Xara is just tall enough to reach it while standing on the back legs.

Lola is too lazy to jump on the barrel to drink water. Or maybe smarter. She drinks more comfortably from the can in front of her.

Lola is too lazy to jump on the barrel to drink water. Or maybe smarter. She drinks more comfortably from the can in front of her.

There is a great chemistry between Lola and Xara. They quarrel here and there especially when Xara is just way too active for somewhat lazy and much older Lola. But they complement each other well.

There is a great chemistry between Lola and Xara. They quarrel here and there especially when Xara is just way too active for somewhat lazy and much older Lola. But they complement each other well.

There is nothing in the world that would be uninteresting for Xara. We tied a rope on walnut tree branch in the garden so she has something to play with and jump after. We sort of hoped she stops running across plants in the garden damaging everything in the process.

There is nothing in the world that would be uninteresting for Xara. We tied a rope on walnut tree branch in the garden so she has something to play with and jump after. We sort of hoped she stops running across plants in the garden damaging everything in the process.

Naturally framed photograph of Xara. Like guardian angel standing in front of the door I shot this photograph of her through small gap in the wild vine growing in our backyard.

Naturally framed photograph of Xara. Like guardian angel standing in front of the door I shot this photograph of her through small gap in the wild vine growing in our backyard.

Dad doing what he loves. Gardening.This is the best time of the year because he can be outside all day long.

Dad doing what he loves. Gardening.This is the best time of the year because he can be outside all day long.

Mom is watering some plants in the garden. It was a dry summer and we have to water the garden daily when sun is about to hide behind horizon.

Mom is watering some plants in the garden. It was a dry summer and we have to water the garden daily when sun is about to hide behind horizon.

The infrared photography is a great way how to shoot mid-day During the hot summer days

The infrared photography is a great way how to shoot mid-day During the hot summer days

Back of out garden in infrared false color rendition.

Back of out garden in infrared false color rendition.

Back of out garden in infrared false color rendition.

Back of out garden in infrared false color rendition.

We have regular guests in the garden such as birds.Some do lot of damage, some come to drink water from barrels.These, we are happy to see. Like this turtle dove, they are coming every day. This one is one of the pair.

We have regular guests in the garden such as birds.Some do lot of damage, some come to drink water from barrels.These, we are happy to see. Like this turtle dove, they are coming every day. This one is one of the pair.

This turtle dove landed on the barrel which is usually filled with water all the way to the edge. We do it so the birds can come and drink water. This time the barrel was empty as we just finished watering the garden.

This turtle dove landed on the barrel which is usually filled with water all the way to the edge. We do it so the birds can come and drink water. This time the barrel was empty as we just finished watering the garden.

No adventure photography opportunities? No worries. Stepping outside my comfort zone photographing my sister in the "tomato plant" forest :).

No adventure photography opportunities? No worries. Stepping outside my comfort zone photographing my sister in the "tomato plant" forest :).

There is never enough Facebook profile photos :) My sis in the warm light shot at the end of the end of the day.

There is never enough Facebook profile photos :) My sis in the warm light shot at the end of the end of the day.

A long alley of trees and bushes makes a perfect background for this kind of photograph. Fairly wide with nice and shallow depth of field. 

A long alley of trees and bushes makes a perfect background for this kind of photograph. Fairly wide with nice and shallow depth of field. 

My sis with Xara next to the small pond in the backyard.

My sis with Xara next to the small pond in the backyard.

Very painterly photograph of my sister and her husband inside Beckov Castle ruins.

Very painterly photograph of my sister and her husband inside Beckov Castle ruins.

Trying to be creative shooting inside Beckov Castle ruins.I positioned my sis right in the beam of light coming from window and I shot it from a low angle.

Trying to be creative shooting inside Beckov Castle ruins.I positioned my sis right in the beam of light coming from window and I shot it from a low angle.

Beckov Castle.As in the previous image, the light was extremely flat and I did my best to bring out some shape out of the subject.

Beckov Castle.As in the previous image, the light was extremely flat and I did my best to bring out some shape out of the subject.

Čachtice Castle ruins. The home of countess Elisabeth Bathory.

Čachtice Castle ruins. The home of countess Elisabeth Bathory.

One of the towers inside Beckov Castle.I am sucker for a moody black&white photographs. Sometimes there is no other choice, only shoot the subject in the worst lighting conditions right in the middle of the day. More often than not, the results are less than satisfactory. BW conversion such as this can salvage the photograph create a reasonably useful image,

One of the towers inside Beckov Castle.I am sucker for a moody black&white photographs. Sometimes there is no other choice, only shoot the subject in the worst lighting conditions right in the middle of the day. More often than not, the results are less than satisfactory. BW conversion such as this can salvage the photograph create a reasonably useful image,

Inside Čachtice Castle. It is hard to imagine that this is the place where more than 600 people met their end in the hands of Elisabeth Bathory.

Inside Čachtice Castle. It is hard to imagine that this is the place where more than 600 people met their end in the hands of Elisabeth Bathory.

Wild flowers in the meadow.

Wild flowers in the meadow.

Color contrast.I noticed while shooting the previous photograph. I saw an opportunity for this kind of shot. O wished for a patch of yellow field among the trees. It would create a perfect "ying and yang" composition

Color contrast.I noticed while shooting the previous photograph. I saw an opportunity for this kind of shot. O wished for a patch of yellow field among the trees. It would create a perfect "ying and yang" composition

Scene near Beckov Castle. I actually shot this one from inside the ruins of the castle.

Scene near Beckov Castle. I actually shot this one from inside the ruins of the castle.

Country around Čachtice Castle. Rolling hills, fields and trees make the scenery beautiful.

Country around Čachtice Castle. Rolling hills, fields and trees make the scenery beautiful.