I have recently returned from a 3 day trip to Southern Moravia organised by my friend, Marek Biegalski of Landscape Photography Workshops. This was my second visit to the Czech republic on one of Marek’s workshops, the first being in September 2014.
Southern Moravia is less than 150 miles south-east of the capital, Prague, sprawling with quaint villages and hundreds of lush, green vineyards. We flew to Prague , where we hired a 9-seater car and then drove down to our destination. We stayed in a pretty town called Kyjov. I was struck by how clean it was….. not a scrap of rubbish in sight anywhere on the beautiful cobble-locked streets. .. The pace of life is very laid back and the people are friendly and welcoming .
Except for Czechs, not many tourists visit the area. It is very popular with them for a cycling holiday. The scenery is amazing, all rolling hills and beautiful landscapes. It is nature at its most beautiful. The rest of the country is flat , and hence its popularity for cycling enthusiasts. Southern Moravia is laced with over 745 miles of marked cycling trails designated as Moravian Wine Routes providing an idyllic way to experience this wine country. The trails wind through the lush green vineyards & tiny villages . It is the Czech republic’s main wine growing region and the vineyards are densely planted throughout.
Also abundant in the landscape were small chapels or shrines… like the one above and below.
Whist we were there it was quite windy for the few days and the fast moving clouds in the sky made for great fun for all of us chasing the light & also some lovely play with Light and Shadow in the images.
The rolling hills look like waves :
Some of the idyllic little towns and villages still look the same as they did in the past. The old houses are neatly painted in bright colours. The churches in the landscape struck me as being particularly beautiful.
The rolling hills and fields in their various colours offered endless photographic opportunities & it truly is a photographers paradise
From a technical point of view, the photography here was quite different to shooting landscapes and seascapes here at home in Ireland. I use my Canon16-35mm wide angle lens 99% of the time for landscapes and seascapes. However a telephoto lens is required for shooting landscapes in Southern Moravia. I used a Canon 100-400 mm lens. Most of the images were shots at 400mm. Shooting in Aperture priority, I had the aperture set at F11 constantly for maximum sharpness. It was quite windy for the 3 days we were there. Even with the camera on a tripod to minimise camera shake, I still needed to push the ISO up quite high on occasion to ensure my shutter speed was fast enough to cope with any movement as a result of the strong winds..
With regards composing the images, it was all about isolating shapes , patterns and colours in the landscape. Timing was crucial too in order to get the light to accentuate the contours of the rolling hills and fields. The sky features in very few of the images and therefore I did not need to use my Lee Filters.
Our accomodation during our stay was very comfortable. We stayed in Hotel Club Kyjov, which was perfectly located just a few minutes walk from the old town . It has recently been renovated and a huge new restaurant has been added. The food was excellent and plenty of variety. There is also a small brewery in the hotel . It was interesting to note that the hotel had a large “garage” attached to cater for all the guests bikes.
I would highly recommend Marek’s workshops if you want to learn from the very best and explore the beauty of Southern Moravia in a relaxed environment.. I for one brought home many beautiful photos and lots of happy memories. 🙂 A return trip is definitely on the cards.
With thanks to Marek, Ann, Mags, Michelle, Brenda and Sean for their friendship and all the fun we shared !!