Prague is a beautiful city. It’s great for life as well as for photographers. I was born in Prague and I live for most of my life. But I have to confess to something now. The point is that I got into a situation when I have a problem figuring out what to photograph. Maybe it’s because I spend almost every day in Prague, and it has nothing to offer. But it is not so simple.
When I started with the shooting, I wanted to make beautiful pictures of old Prague. But in the meantime, I have seen so many wonderful photos of other photographers that it has seemed unnecessary to try to photograph the same or better pictures. It’s hard to photograph Charles Bridge, Old Town Square, Prague Castle or Dancing House in a way that no one has ever used. Most of the best photo spots have been discovered and it is very difficult to find new views, new angles or new lighting conditions.
Maybe you know that feeling. When you try to shoot in a place that you know intimately, you will gradually lose inspiration and stop to notice the beauties around you. Every other tourist with a mobile phone then sees a lot more interesting things to photograph than you yourself. I must say that I admire photographers who can overcome this problem.
I started quite negatively. Fortunately, it ends more positively. Over time, the situation has improved. I started to look at Prague differently. In a minimalist way. Suddenly in front of me appeared a completely different city. A city where I can photograph detail, panorama, street and street still life, as no one else ever shot. And that’s what I want to share with you in this article. I hope that you will enjoy my minimalist Prague photos and especially that my observations will be a bit useful for you.
Moving Prague Night Tram
I shot the following minimalist Prague photo one night while waiting for the last train. It was way home from a corporate party and I was slightly drunk. In such a state, I have a mood for taking pictures. Sometimes I leave the train to go home just to take a picture of some very interesting lamp or enlightened street. The next day, for most of these photos, I find that they are totally uninteresting and I should rather go home and go to sleep 🙂
Sometimes it does pretty well, as in the case of the following photo. That night I even had a tripod with me. I wanted to photograph the passing tram so it was blurry. To make the photo interesting, I placed a waste bin in the right third of the picture.
I photographed with the Olympus XZ-2 attached to a tripod. Even though it was dark, I used an aperture ƒ/8 to have a sharp basket, a railing, and a passing tram. With shutter speed of 1/1.3s, the tram is blurred just enough.
What do you take from that?
When you return a little drunk at night home, try to make some photos. Most of the photos will be useless, but you will be less shy, you will have new ideas and so you can take pictures of something you would not normally do 🙂 And do not forget to take a small tripod!
Resting Seagull On the Charles Bridge
The following photo is a classic example of a minimalist photo of urban detail. I do not know if you know Charles Bridge in Prague. But I think you might know that. Every day there are several thousand tourists. If you want to take a classic photo of Charles Bridge in a minimalist style, you will have to come late at night or ideally very early in the morning. But as you can see in the picture below, it is possible to photograph a minimalist photo even during the summer evening when the bridge is full of people. Just look up at the sculptures. Around the bridge, hundreds of seagulls fly to make the photo more exquisite.
Even though it was evening, as seen in the beautifully colored sky, I could set the ƒ/5 aperture on my Olympus XZ-2 and the shutter speed of 1/640s with ISO 200. Even though it was in the evening, I could afford to set a very high shutter speed that did not blur the photo by moving my hand or moving the bird. I could achieve this only because the fairly bright sky occupies the vast majority of the image, and the statue with the bird is only a silhouette here.
What do you take from that?
To shoot minimalist photos in busy cities, find different angles, look for details and do not worry about taking pictures even where hundreds of people are walking around.
Prague main railway station
If you also looked at other pages of this site, you must have noticed that I wrote several times that I spend a lot of time at the railway stations and that it is not because I am a lover of trains but because I travel by train daily to work. On this minimalist black & white photo you can see the detail of the beautiful Art Nouveau hall of the main railway station in Prague. Although the photograph is made up of geometric shapes that form the silhouettes of windows, traffic lights and iron roof supports, it is clear at first sight that it is a station hall. I shot it with a great Nikon D7100 camera with a Nikkor 18-105mm kit lens set at 105mm.
What do you take from that?
Even if it’s hard, try to look for extraordinary things even in places where you are very often. Sometimes just look in a different direction than usual 🙂
You can say that this photo is not minimalist. There are about 9 people, inscriptions, flowers, and much more. For me, this photo represents minimalism just because on the photo is actually nothing more than the side of the ship, inscription, round windows and the ticket vendor. Everything else is just a reflection in the mirror! Anyway, whether it’s a minimalist photo or not, maybe someone will like it.
I photographed the photo with the Nikkor kit lens 18-105mm, set to 105mm. Due to the relatively large focal length I achieved that in the mirror does not reflect my character on the photo.
I photographed this shadow of a traditional Prague lamp in Apolinářská Street in Prague 2. I was interested in two things on her. First, it is a symbol of Prague. And it’s always good when the viewer can recognize the place where the photo comes from on a minimalist photo. The second thing that interests me is the “expression” of that shadow. Looks a little scary, reminding the human skull. When shooting, I used Nikkor 18-105 mm kit lens, set at 105 mm with aperture ƒ/11. This makes the entire image area pretty sharp.
- Try to capture the atmosphere of the place. The photo will work much better when the viewer immediately understands where it is from.
- Try to make your photos evoke emotions. In minimalist photographs, it is most often a sense of peace and harmony. But, as you can see in the shadow of a lamp, it can also be the opposite.
Roofs of the convent of Saint Agnes in Prague
How to guarantee a nice minimalist photo of the city? Just take the telephoto lens, in this case Tamron 70-300 set to 155mm and go shoot the roofs. The best place is at or above roof level. You can also shoot the roofs from the street. For example, the following photo I photographed from the park of St. Anne’s Monastery in Prague. When shooting a roof you can play with a composition (Where to place a window? One or more? With or without sky?), lines, colors, texture or depth of field.
Modern Prague architecture photography
Although Prague is known primarily as a historic city, you can find here many interesting modern buildings. And the modern architecture is perfect for minimalist photography. It’s minimalistic in itself 🙂 On the picture below you can see the detail of the building called Main Point Karlin. This interesting facade lures for taking pictures 🙂
On this minimalist photography you can see McDonald’s on the Holešovice metro station in Prague. It’s nice how the pigeons can help themselves. Metal barriers on the roof and on the inscription “McDonald’s” did not deny the pigeons anyway.