Tag Archives: Russia

Cape Khoboy at Sunset, Lake Baikal

Places like this are the natural birthplaces of intense religious beliefs. Remote and forbidding, life can be precarious, even today. In the summers, the earliest inhabitants here must have believed themselves blessed because of the lake’s bounty. Perhaps they judged the winters here — forbidding and often deadly, even now — as the price to be paid for the lake’s largesse.

Cape Khoboy at Sunset, Olkhon Island, Lake Baikal, Russia
March 2016, single image, additional exposures for highlights, focal length 16 mm, aperture f/11, shutter speed 20 seconds, ISO 64, tripod.

There’s a curious energy here and the lake tends to have a powerful effect on people. It’s known for its volatile weather — a summer day that is almost preternaturally quiet can become a windstorm with little warning. The winds at Baikal have their own names and they are not for the fainthearted.

It’s no wonder, then, that this place has been associated with shamanism for centuries. The Buryats, a subgroup of the Mongols, view Olkhon Island as the most sacred space in the lake. It’s the largest island in the lake and is surrounded by some of the purest water in one of the world’s cleanest lakes. On the western coast of the island is Shamanka, or Shaman’s Rock — it is one of the most sacred spots in Asia and is believed by some to be one of the five global poles of shamanic energy. For centuries, superstitions have surrounded the cave at Shaman’s Rock; healers practice their most important rituals there. But for tourists — and photographers — the cave’s interior remains a mystery. Only shamans are allowed inside.

I made the trip to Baikal in winter. It’s the most treacherous season on the lake, but also the most beautiful. When it freezes, Baikal doesn’t turn white. Instead it turns a deep, glassy blue, streaked with cracks and fissures like inclusions in a gemstone.

I’m no shaman, but there is a mystical kind of beauty to Baikal and Olkhon Island. Catching the last wisps of a pink sunset over the ice, I couldn’t help but feel some of the ancient wonder this place inspires.

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Isle Elenka in the Morning, Lake Baikal

One of the great privileges of my work is that it takes me around the world to far-flung locations that I might never otherwise see. Like a child seeing the world for the first time, I’m frequently wonderstruck by the places that I photograph. Whether natural or man-made, they often leave me awestruck.

View of St Moritz in the Morning, Switzerland
March 2016, single image, additional exposures for highlights, focal length 16mm, aperture f/13, shutter speed 0.8 seconds, ISO 100, tripod.

So much of my time is spent in other countries that it can be easy for me to overlook the incredible beauty here at home. Russia is vast — much more than the most intrepid traveler could take in over the course of a lifetime. Most tourists only scratch the surface of Russia with excursions into Moscow and St. Petersburg. They’re beautiful cities, but I am most moved by the natural beauty of Russia, the vast countryside that stretches out beyond the cities and its forests, impenetrable and enigmatic.

Lake Baikal is one of the most evocative places in the country. Like Russia itself, it is vast and ancient, perhaps one of the oldest lakes in the world. An enormous lake formed by the shifting of tectonic plates, Baikal’s blue depths contain roughly one-fifth of the world’s fresh surface water. It’s staggering in its size and depth, and stunning in its beauty.

At any time of year, Lake Baikal is bathed in an unfathomable, mystical aura, but in the winter, the lake is more than that. With the jagged promontory of Isle Elenka looming over the lake’s icy surface, my mind wanders in a more ominous direction. This is a formidable landscape. It is not for the faint-hearted.

Beyond the rift that Isle Elenka tears into the horizon, I imagine White Walkers. There is beauty here, but it is a beauty laced through with a sliver of dread. In this place, it isn’t difficult to imagine the steely-eyed undead coming for me. I am far beyond the relative safety of Westeros and far north of the wall and I can almost hear the White Walkers in the distance.

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Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building, Moscow

The Seven Sisters are a group of seven skyscrapers in Moscow designed in the Stalinist style. I cannot imagine Moscow cityscape without these buildings – it is like Paris cityscape without Eiffel Tower or London Cityscape without Palace of Westminster. I love all of Seven Sisters, but Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building is my favourite one. It is located on Kotelnicheskaya Embankment, where Jauza flows into the Moscow River and it dominates entire neighborhood.

I chose sunset time to capture this building in the best possible light. This photo is a composite image from 3 captures – the main image was captured when the sunset highlighted the building with infernal red glow, the sky was captured 15 minutes before and the city lights was captured 15 minutes after. Also I used additional captures for traffic trails.

Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building, One of the Moscow Seven Sisters in the Evening, Moscow, Russia
Panorama from 4 horizontal images in 2 rows, additional exposures for highlights and car trails, focal length 16mm, aperture f/8, shutter speed 4 seconds, ISO 100, 3-stop ND filter, tripod, pano head.

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Krasnopresnenskaya Embankment, Moscow

The Russian White House is located on the Krasnopresnenskaya embankment and serves as the primary office of the Russian Government and Russian Prime Minister. I have a lot of student’s memories about this place. I remember during the 1991 coup, I was there all night, guarding the government of Boris Yeltsin from the possible plotters attacks. I remember 2 years later, Boris Yeltsin has ordered to besiege the parliament entrenched in the White House. And I remember the tanks shooting at the White House, just off of the bridge. Sad memories. But fortunately it is all over and I can shoot wonderful evening panorama of the magnificent Moscow cityscape from the same bridge.

Russian White House and Krasnopresnenskaya Embankment in the Evening, Moscow, Russia
Panorama from 4 horizontal images in 2 rows, additional exposures for highlights and car trails, focal length 16mm, aperture f/8, shutter speed 10 seconds, ISO 100, 3-stop ND filter, tripod, pano head.

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Berezhkovskaya Embankment and Frunzenskaya Power Station in Moscow

Frunzenskaya Power Station is one of the most photogenic Moscow industrial buildings. It is not that famous as Battersea Power Station in London, but it is still very interesting subject for any photographer. Frunzenskaya Power Station is located on Berezhkovskaya Embankment about 5 minutes walk from Kievskaya metro station and not far from my house. On the right from the station you can see the house where Arkady and Boris Strugatsky lived and created most of their famous science fiction novels.

I decided to capture Frunzenskaya Power Station with a very long exposure to create ethereal and magic look with smoothed steam from the chimneys, clouds and water. I used Singh-Ray 10-stop ND filter and achieved 89 seconds long exposure.

Single exposure, focal length 16mm, aperture f/11, ND 10-stop filter, shutter speed 89 seconds, ISO 50, tripod.

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Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building, One of Seven Sisters in Moscow

Skyscraper on Kotelnicheskaya Embankment is one of the famous Seven Sisters buildings in Moscow. It is located at the confluence of Moskva River and Yauza River within 5 minutes walk from the Kremlin. In this photograph I tried composite technique to bring together dramatic sky sunset, building illumination and street lights and lighting trails from moving cars.

Skyscraper on Kotelnicheskaya Embankment and Traffic Trails at Dusk, Moscow, Russia
Panorama from 4 horizontal photos, additional exposures for highlights, focal length 16mm, aperture f/8, shutter speed 5 seconds, ISO 100, tripod.

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Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Russia

Bolshoi Theatre is one of the most recognised and well known landmarks in Moscow. It is located on Teatralnaya Square in the very center of the city near Teatralnaya metro station. The square in front of Bolshoi Theatre is charming and relaxing and big round fountain in the centre beautifully illuminated in the evening. Usually there are a lot of people around this fountain – both tourists and locals.

One spring evening I went here to shoot a timelapse video of Bolshoi Theatre with many people bustling in front of it. When timelapse shoot was over and it became rather dark I suddenly realised that illuminated fountain in foreground and Bolshoi Theatre in background make a very good composition. So I quickly assembled my tripod again and used the last blue hour minutes to compose and capture this photo!

Fountain and Bolshoi Theater Illuminated in the Night, Moscow, Russia
Single exposure, focal length 22mm, aperture f/11, shutter speed 3.2 second, ISO 100, tripod.

You can buy this photo as Fine Art Print >>

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Urban Portraits, Water Photography Exhibition at Casina Valadier

Spazio Ginko is an exhibition space based in Rome, in the beautiful and charming Coliseum area. They organise exhibitions of art and photography, with both italian and foreign artists. At the moment they are working on Urban Portraits project, which includes ten photographic collective exhibitions in institutional and prestigious spaces located in the center of Rome.

“WATER” is their second exhibition and take place from 24-th of September till 10-th of October 2014 at Casina Valadier, Piazza Bucarest (Villa Borghese) in Rome. I am partcipating in this photography exhibition with my Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and Patriarshy Bridge photo below. If you going to be in Rome at these dates – please visit Villa Borghese and take a look.

Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and Patriarshy Bridge in the Evening, Moscow, Russia
Panorama from 8 vertical photos in 2 rows, additional exposures for highlights, focal length 35mm, aperture f/11, shutter speed 1.3 second, ISO 100, tripod and RRS panoramic kit.

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