This image does a great job of showing some of the situations that we were constantly into on our recent trip to Myanmar. In this shot Jude T. Seth is going right to ground level to get the best images possible. As usual in all of the monasteries and temples we visited required being barefoot out of respect.
2013 was a really good year again for images. I managed to get out several times and travel to several new countries including Portugal, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar. The photos from all of my individual trips can be seen here. I am actually still processing images from these trips but here are a few of my favorites (in chronological order).
Mafra Library Panoramic
Mafra National Palace – Portugal
This massive library built into this palace/monastery is absolutely stunning. This image took about 20 minutes to shoot and is comprised of 117 images (bracketed into groups of 3) and represents a 180 degree view.
Amstel River – Amsterdam, Netherlands
Early evening is the perfect time to capture an image of this row of 17th century homes alongside the Amstel River. Notice that they are all ‘uneven’ due to the age of the structures.
Val d’Orcia – Tuscany, Italy
Gentle curves, soft grasses and easy palate of color are what I found the sunrise that I took this image. We drove hundreds of miles in exploring the Tuscan landscape and at every turn you images like this are found.
Trostburg Castle – Ponte Gardena Bolzano, South Tyrol, Italy
Trostburg Castle is a 13th century castle located in the Val de Gardena in Italy. On our first day in the South Tyrol we had lots of rain and as usual we saw tremendous clouds and fog form and provide some great atmospherics for photographers. Trostburg Castle overlooks the entire valley.
Rainbows and Unicorns
Santa Maddalena – Val di Funes, South Tyrol, Italy
Honestly – This scene is permanently burned into the back of my retina now. This perfect composition for 60 seconds gave Steve and me the opportunity to win the trifecta with perfect clouds, fresh snow and rolling shadows. Later at dinner we talked about the picture and decided that the only way we could have had more perfect shooting conditions would be to include ‘Rainbows and Unicorns’.
I leaped out of bed when I saw the amazing clouds surrounding the mountains on the edge of Innsbruck. Quickly, I grabbed my camera, tripod and panoramic head and took this 60 image panoramic from the balcony of the fire escape at the Hilton Innsbruck.
Child in Carrier
Bac Ha, Lao Cai, Vietnam
Jude and I arrived at the vibrantly colorful Sunday BacHa market after a two hour drive following our overnight train ride from Hanoi. The traditional dress of the Hmong people was intricate and colorful and I was very lucky to find this baby peeking his head up long enough for me to capture this image.
Bicycle at Sunset
This beautiful image was imagined by our friend and guide ‘Ta’. He placed the kids with the bike and told us to ‘hit the ground’ This image literally required us to lay on our bellys in the dirt to get the bike positioned just right.
Angkor Wat – Siem Reap, Cambodia
The morning that Jude and I decided to not visit Angkor Wat for sunrise (as one could predict) the sunrise was spectacular. We were actually heading to another location but had our driver make a detour over to the Angkor Wat complex and Jude and I literally sprinted 1/2 mile with camera and tripod to get setup to capture this shot.
I have dreamt of visiting the Shwedagon Pagoda since I was 16 years old. This magnificent and massive complex has been a place of worship for over 2600 years. The gold on the pagoda is real gold that has been placed there by the Buddhist faithful for millennia.
Kalaw, Shan State, Myanmar
My guide brought me to the area above the city of Kalaw for the view over the city but I was much more interested in spending some time photographing the students in this novice monastery school. Before taking a single photo I sat in a corner in the classroom and just observed and wanted to just become ‘part of the routine’. This also gave me a chance to find images hidden to my normally impatient eye
Santa Lucia at Blue Hour
Santa Lucia – Ortigia, Sicily, Italy
Siracusa Sicily is a tightly knit collection of ancient communities and we wandered throughout Ortigia at sunset/blue hour. This image of Santa Lucia was taken from Piazza Duomo in a soft rain right after sunset.
2012 was a fantastic year for travel and photography. In a nutshell we travelled through 16 countries, over 50 cities and flew over 104000 miles. Instead of giving the traditional photographers rundown of their favorite images of 2012 I am going to give you 13 images (lucky 13 for 2013 starting next week) that represent memorable moments for me. So here we go in chronological order.
Times Square Panoramic
It seems like every time I visit NYC there is tons of rain. I was in NYC for work and spent one evening in a massive downpour using my raincoat (and a special raincoat for my camera) and was able to with some serious effort capture this panoramic shot of Times Square.
I try to take a spring trip every year and this years trip brought me to Rome, Budapest, Slovakia and Czech Republic.
River of Gold
For beginners Veronica and I spent a few wonderful days exploring Rome. One evening while walking with Augusto we came upon this famous scene of the Vatican looking back a couple bridges over the Tiber River. I have never seen a river with this many golds, silver and copper colors.
The Most Expensive Photo I Have Ever Taken
The next most memorable moment was this one in Budapest where we met up with our good friend Steve (Grumpy Badger). I call this image ‘The Most Expensive Photopgraph I Have Ever Taken’. This is an image of the famous Chain Bridge and Parliament in Budapest. It deserves the title since the night before I had about $10K ($20k if you throw in Steve’s gear too) in photo gear stolen out of the trunk of a car. Spent 5 hours in a police station trying to get a 3 page report for insurance. And the next day went out camera shopping in Budapest. Licking my wounds and honestly not wanting to even ‘shoot’ I forced myself to go out and try. This is the 1st picture taken with my ‘NEW’ camera. A very painful experience that I hope to never repeat.
Apple Tree and Canola Field
After leaving Budapest with our new gear in tow we met up with our guide and friend Milos who introduced us to Slovakia. Traditionally, Slovakians don’t care very much for Hungarians. After our horrific experience in Budapest it was quite funny to hear Milos, as he was driving back towards the Slovakian border, mumble the words ‘f^&*#g Hungarians’ in reference to their driving. This phrase seemed to become the mantra for the trip after that point. We visited many places in Slovakia. This image is of an apple tree and one of the many canola fields in full bloom that we found while exploring. Steve, Milos and I had a phenomenal day shooting here and it was one of my memorable moments from 2012.
In Slovakia Steve and I were taking photos of the interior of a church located near my Grandfather’s birthplace. A family was prepping the church for a wedding and gave us permission to take photos while they worked,. They wanted to give us a gift and gave us a few prayer missals and a plastic rosary in a little snap-case. Skip forward a week and Steve and I are entering the Bone Ossuary in Kutna Hora, Czech Republic. The skeletal remains of 30000+ people (who died 500 years ago in the plagues and Hussite wars) reside here. As I went to pull my camera out of its bag the rosary not only came flying out but unsnapped itself from the case and fell out onto the floor (in full length). So many weird creations in this church. This is a candle tower creation I found while wandering around this strange place. The rosary now remains (for good luck) on my work desk and is next to me right now.
I would like to personally thank Dave Manley (Czech part of the trip) at www.gorealeurope.com and Lenka, Milos http://www.fotomarcinek.sk/ and Martin from http://www.travelslovakia.sk/, Kristen at RandInsurance (you saved my tail) , Silvio Rugolo and of course Veronica for their help in making this trip fabulous!
Green Wall and Tree Shadow
In addition to having my 1st ever photographic show in July (thank you Andrew Clark). I had the opportunity to visit Argentina and Uruguay. Managing a couple days to get out and shoot I spent one fantastic day with Paloma visiting Sacramento de Colonia in Uruguay. Paloma is a fantastic photographer in her own right and we had a special day exploring the area together. What I remember most about Uruguay (and remember this is wintertime there) was just how beautiful, crisp and clean the air felt when we were there. I actually said to Paloma ‘ This is one of those moments when you are just happy to be alive and be right here’ I call this image ‘Green Wall and Tree Shadow’ (Yeah – I know – real original) and I loved the shadows and light on the wall in this image.
Wall and Red Jacket
The next couple days I spent with my friend (and another photographer – surprise) Pato. I wasn’t entirely sure what we would be doing when he met me at my hotel in Buenos Aires but we quickly became friends and started on our 25+ mile (on foot) journey across the city of Buenos Aires. Pato and I walked and walked and walked some more. I think we were both shocked when we eventually had to get a taxi to bring us back at how far we had walked. The following day one of my colleagues (Jorge Xifra) joined us in exploring and taking photos (do you remember the nutcase woman we ran into at Chicarita?). This image is one of my favorites that I made with Pato on that first fantastic day. Pato and I were wandering through Barracas in Buenos Aires and I found this marvelous wall. I started to build up the composition which was great as a standalone. By accident I captured someone in the image and liked the result. We then waited til we could get a person staged in the right part of the image and here is the result.
I would like to thank the entire Latin American BMC Software team, Pato Guillamon http://www.patricioguillamon.com/ , Paloma Herb http://www.palomaherb.com.ar/ and most importantly Frank Lamprea for making this an awesome trip. I cannot forget you either Taylor Moore and Amelia McGoldrick. Thank you all!
August /September 2012
Veronica and I spent our annual trip together visiting Poland/ Lithuania/ Latvia/ Estonia and Russia. Before I get going let me just say that this was one of the most aggresive trips we have ever planned. It had so many moving parts to make it successful and there are lots of people to thank. But let me first show you a few moments.
Town Hall through Arch
In Gdansk we worked with Agnes as our guide and translator. Earlier in the year we uncovered some relatives of ours living in Torun and with Agnes help we spent time getting to know them and explored the fantastic medieval town they call home. Meeting them was one of the highlights of the year for Veronica and me.
The restored old town of Gdansk is very impressive. As the sun was going down and Veronica and I were looking for some pierogis for dinner I stumbled upon this image framing the town hall with the last evidence of the days light fading away.
Zaporo and Building Ruin
In Latvia we worked with Artis and Marcus who work for a company called eatriga.lv . They are known for providing tours that are different and out of the ‘norm’ (which was perfect for V & me). On our second day together we met with Artis and he said Marcus was bringing the car around. Expecting a modern car, we were very surprised when they picked us up in a 1988 Ukrainian made Zaporozhet. It was really a riot to drive around in this piece of history. People driving next to us on the highway would cheer us on. All throughout this trip I sought out anything old and Soviet even if it was abandoned and in ruins. I thought the building was a perfect backdrop for this car.
Fireworks at Peterhof
In St Petersburg we met with one of the most awesome people I know. Julia (and her family) own the company Dancing Bear tours http://dancing-bear-tours.com/ . From the 1st moment V & I were stepped foot into St Petersburg we were impressed with the depth and seemingly never ending stuff to see and photograph. And everything is grand, precise and ‘over the top’. Being with Julia is like being with a PhD in Art History and we really clicked (literally) together as she instinctively worked with me to find the right locations and things to shoot. I picked this image of the fireworks at the closing of the fountains at Peterhof only because I can vividly remember the crowds (and cold) waiting for the fireworks to go off. Our guide Julia told us that we would be visiting these famous fountains on one of the two nights yearly when they mark the closing of the fountains with fireworks. We waited with thousands of people until about 9:30P when they finally triggered the finale. (on a personal note – Julia – I cannot wait to work with you again!)
There are many more images from this trip on my website galleries. I would like to thank though Agnes Syroka http://www.tourguidegdansk.com/ , Justina Petruskaite (the Zeppelins were awesome!), Marcus and Artis at www.eatriga.lv , Nelli Kerde, Andrew Meek www.estadventures.ee , my family - the Karepins and of course Julia at Dancing Bear Tours http://dancing-bear-tours.com/ .
Fremont Bridge Panoramic
My good friend Jude Seth wanted to learn photography and boy did he ever dive in head first. We met in Portland Oregon for a quick weekend of photography. I took him through the Coloumbia River Gorge and we crossed into Washington (giving him two new states in his collection). Coming back into Portland we crossed the Fremont Bridge and I said to him ‘ you know I think we should get off this exit. I have a feeling that we might be able to find another shot’. I could tell from his expression that he thought I was nutz. So we got off the exit and without knowing where we were heading or what we would be shooting we stumbled onto the location in this shot when we took this panoramic of the Fremont Bridge.
Later that same month Jude, Veronica and I went to Spain for Thanksgiving. On the morning traditionally reserved for shopping in USA on Black Friday we found ourselves in the ancient city of Girona and that is where I captured this image at sunrise. The trip was fantastic and we explored, took photos and enjoyed our time in this part of Spain.
I would like to thank Laurie Cohen from Barcelona Photography Tours http://www.barcelonatoursonline.es/ and Beatriz from barcelonaphotographer.com for their help. I can wholeheartedly recommend both Beatriz and Laurie if you ever want to take photos in Barcelona.
I still had one more photo trip and it was a quick visit with my good friends Eric and Sarah in NYC. I stayed at their apt near Chinatown and spent two terrific days exploring NYC on bicycle and in the rain. On the way home after biking through what must have been 100000 people in the Rockefeller Plaza/ Times Square (all checking out the Xmas tree) area we made one last stop at the Williamsburg Bridge when I captured this shot. Right afterwards we metup with another friend Jerimiah and Laura for dinner. It was an awesome weekend.
Thoughts towards 2013
If you would like to see the entire collection of images that I took in 2012 (and for the past few years) check my galleries page.
2012 was really an unbelievably productive year not only for photography but in all of the memories and great friends I have met along the way in my journey through it. Looking towards 2013 I have a few ideas rolling around on some upcoming trips and hope my same post next year will yield similiar photos, great new friends and memories.
On July 19th 2012 Andrew Clark Photography welcomed me as their guest photographer for Ephemera 8. Andrew is a phoenomenial photographer and you can see some of his work on his website.
Andrew Clark started a series of one night monthly shows called Ephemera to showcase artists (photographers, painters, sculpters, magicians …) It really is a treat to meet the people and artists every month and share their work and passion.
Andrews Philosophy – “Ephemera is a miniaturized and modern version of the grand artists’ salons of 1800′s paris; an elegant party hosted only for the discerning few, where the new, the unusual, the daring and the surprising will always be found.”
Veronica and I worked very hard over the past 6 weeks to prepare for this show. Having a broken printer at home didn’t help either. But we were still able to put everything together and get it installed for the show.
Approximately 70 people showed up and I want to thank all of the people who came out to support me and my photography. We met lots of new people and were excited to see old friends.
Veronica and I would like to thank Tim Emerson and his staff at Duraplaq for doing a terrific job on building the laminated prints (and rushing the order to be ready for the show in time)
Veronica and I want to personally thank Andrew Clark and Amy for welcoming us to the studio for this show.
How to plan a trip to Slovakia
I have always wanted to visit Slovakia. My family is Carpathian/Rusyn on both sides and our origins are from Slovakia/Poland. In May 2012 I finally made my pilgrimage and decided to visit my homeland.
During the planning stages I discovered a company named Travelslovakia.sk (www.travelslovakia.sk) . From my first interaction with the company Lenka always provided me with quick responses to my requests. See I am not the easiest person to plan for. I love travelling but travel with the sole purpose of creating photographs. Travel and photography are my passions. With Lenkas help (and at least 50 emails) we worked through a schedule that would allow me to make a photographic ‘pilgrimage’. She also arranged for a tour guide named Milos (who is also an outstanding professional photographer) to assist us.
We were scheduled to have Milos pick us up from Budapest in order to start our journey North. My plan was to spend two days in Budapest taking photographs before starting my journey with Travelslovakia.sk. Disaster struck us in Budapest when approx. $9700 USD worth of camera gear was stolen from me. 5 hours later around 4am Budapest time the police finally gave us a report. Honestly, I seriously considered cancelling the rest of my trip. Instead we decided to continue the trip but only if we could replace at least our camera/lens/tripod the following day in Budapest. Luckily we found a Canon 5Dm2/24-105mm/and an adequate Slik tripod.
When I took the following photo I was pretty sick to my stomach. I was reeling from my losses. But needed to move on and test out the new gear.
The following day Milos picked us up from the hotel though and our journey into Slovakia began. From the beginning, Milos enthusiasm, energy and passion for his country was infectious. Everything became brighter the minute we crossed into Slovakia.
I will give you a breakdown of our itinerary and suggestions for shooting in Slovakia in another posting. But I must first tell you the rest of the ‘gear’ story. My favorite lens is the Canon 24mm TSE II. I just love it!! I was really heartbroken that I was going to have to complete my journey without this lens. Between Slovakia and Czech Republic I still had another two weeks of photography. My guide Milos told me that he knew some Canon people in Slovakia and that he would see what he could do for me. Try after try he kept striking out. I started to feel that I was the only person on the planet who shot with that lens. Finally, while shooting in Banska Stiavnica he smiled at me (trying to hide his great news) and said he located one of the lenses but that it was on the other side of the country. He said wait a minute let me call Martin (Martin is the owner of travelslovakia.sk). The next part of the story still really impacts me and touches me deeply. Martin agreed to pick up the lens for me and drive it half way across the country and we would meet him at a restaurant in Presov. Oh my god!! I was going to get my favorite lens back!!!!!
The following image from Levoca is one of the first images I took with the new lens.
This one too from Bardejov
I want to personally thank everybody at travelslovakia.sk especially Martin, Milos and Lenka. You all worked so hard on my behalf to make our trip fantastic. I will visit Slovakia again soon and you wil be the first people I call. Dakujem www.travelslovakia.sk
Also, anybody reading this post considering travelling to Slovakia. Please feel free to contact me as a reference and for photo advice.
My 10 favorite images from 2011
2011 was really an amazing year of photography for me. It did include 106K miles on airplanes, and spending many nights away from home (for work and photography) but I saw things I had been hoping to see my entire life. The 10 best images cover 3 continents and each one has a story behind why I took it and what it was like to be there at that moment. It was really hard to choose ten images. I started with a list where I hoped to write down my favorite 10 and it wound up being 16. So this is what I whittled the list down to.
You can see most of the images I had to choose from in my new work section —> here
Here are my choices (and why):
#10 – Chrysopigi Church Star – Chrysopigi Monastery – Sifnos, Greece
Chrysopigi Monastery is located on the east side of Sifnos Island and was originally built in 1650. Veronica and I had the place to ourselves but I just couldnt find any worthwhile images. This image came to me after about an hour of quietly walking the grounds.
#9 – Writings in Study – Hongcun, Anhui, China
I found these ancient writings in the study of one of the prominent homes in the town of Hongcun . I wanted to take an image of the great Chinese prints and the weathered texture found in the traditional wall.
#8 – Eiffel Tower – Paris, France
Veronica had never seen the Eiffel Tower so we took the subway over to the station and wandered over to the tower. She commented that it was a lot more massive than she expected. It really is massive. This image was taken at about 8:30PM and I really love the refraction of the 14mm lens in the image.
#7 – Concorde Metro Station –Paris, France
Veronica and I accidentally wound up transferring to another train through the Concorde Metro station and were presented with this ‘boggle/scrabble’ like wall of letters. I couldn’t resist and stayed around here for a while taking pictures. What is actually on the wall in tiles is the French ‘Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen’.
#6 – Factory Staircase – Boott Cotton Mills – Lowell, Massachusetts
Ok I admit it. I have a real soft spot for staircases. This is another example of having to return to a location to ‘get it right’. There were several challenges to getting this image and physical obstacles in the way. Eventually I decided that the cross members and pipes work well and everything works together to lead us to the upper floors.
#5 – Powder Tower – Prague, Czech Republic
Arriving into Prague only an hour earlier I wanted to hit the streets quickly and start exploring (in spite of the rain). I found the Powder Tower (circa 1475) and got out the raingear for the camera and built my composition with the 24mm TSE. The rain creates the glow you see on the street and cobblestone sidewalk.
#4 – Virgin River Flow – Zion National Park, Utah
Fall colors is a great time to visit Zion National Park and usually my eye is focused on the vibrant colors at every turn. It is very easy to get distracted and forget to look for other possibilities. This image was taken on the Virgin River in Zion National Park.
#3 – Expanse of the Great Wall – Jingshaling Section – China
I have wanted to visit the Great Wall since I first saw it in 1st grade. Mrs. Hookway explained to us that this wall went for thousands of miles to keep the Mongolians out of China. Stepping onto the Great Wall completed a lifelong dream for me. It was more impressive than I could have ever imagined.
#2 – Hallways at the Louvre – Paris, France
I loved the way the light was spilling through the hallways at the day at the Louvre. The surrounding campus of the Louvre is an absolute treasure trove of images for the patient and observant photographer.
#1 – Sunrise Cormorant Fishing in Yangshou – Li River – Yangshou, China
I have wanted to take an image like this since I was 19 years old. For the previous 2 days we woke up at 4AM and went out to get ‘the shot’ with no success. I woke up at 4AM with my guide Lilly and our driver to head over to the Li River to head out on the water to capture an image of a traditional cormorant fisherman with 4 birds, lantern and bamboo raft. The skies cooperated with me for around 3 minutes and I captured this handheld panoramic while kneeling on my small raft.
Thats it. I am already working on planning some trips through new territory for me in 2012. I really wish all of you happiness, health and some really great shooting in 2012.
Veronica and I travelled through Greece in October 2011. Due to multiple strikes with air traffic control, taxis, archaeological, ferries and garbage it was a real challenge to travel around. Just as a reminder make sure you have extra time set said (if you are a photographer) for airport security in Athens as each time we travelled through there they had me remove iPads from cases, dissasemble cameras, open all lenses etc. It took about an xtra 15 minutes beyond normal screening each time we travelled through there. On this trip we explored the islands of Santorini, Paros and Sifnos.
These are some of our favorite images from our vist to Greece. The complete collection of images from the trip can be found here .
Every evening in Santorini, Greece huge crowds gather to watch the sunset. Like clockwork they watch the sunset, applaud and head out while the best light is available on the Oia village. This image was taken exactly after sunset Oia and is a panoramic stitch of 15 images.
The worn checkboard floor was a perfect opportunity to work with my ultra wide Canon 14mm L lens. I love the leading lines of the floor. The hardest part of taking this image was making sure that the symmetry was spot on. It required many shots that I was able to preview onsite before ‘getting it right’.
I woke up my 1st morning in Oia, Santorini to a solo, quiet walk through the many alleyways and paths throoughout this cliffside village. The clouds surroundinf the windmill were really awesome this morning.
Veronica and I were exploring Fira on a day with fierce wind. I saw this cloud moving very quickly in the distance and managed to ‘bunker’ down my camera and tripod for the shot. Due to the winds within a minute of this shot the clouds vanished.
I saw the shadow of the cross through the doorway into St Johns Cathedral in Fira Santotini and wanted to find a way to frame it while showing both the cross and its shadow.
I found this cafe in Lefkes on the island of Paros,Greece. Unlike other places in Greece this place was surprisingly empty and I was able to wander around this town square and experiment with a variety of compositions.
Veronica and I were driving around the island of Paros, Greece with some really sketchy weather around. I dodged a few raindrops as I captured the drama of this white church and the oncoming storm.
Chrysopigi Monastery is located on the east side of Sifnos Island and was originally built in 1650. Veronica and I had the place to ourselves but I just couldnt find any worthwhile images. This image came to me after about an hour of quietly walking the grounds.
Welcome to voninski.com. I have been wanting to build a website to showcase my photographic work for several years. Last year I talked with Scott Bacon about the possibility of working with me to program me a new website. Thankfully he agreed to help me out.
Scott is a really smart guy and a talented programmer. He decided to jump in with both feet and create (with a partner) Folio5280. Folio5280 is the engine that drives this website. It is a very powerful and easy to use set of flex based tools that make it ‘easy as pie’ to add photos, create galleries, and edit. Sometime in the future I will make a video of how I use the tools for this website.
So I have at this point added about 250 photos. I have a LONG ways to go but am very happy with the results so far. I still have a ton of 4×5 drum scans to do, BW negatives in 6×7 and 4×5 that I have never seen, and processing for many locations to still simply begin.
This is an exciting beginning and I am glad that you are here looking at the site.