As every single year in my life, I spent some time on the Bulgarian seaside this summer. I usually go to the southern part, around the Gulf of Burgas, and this time was no exception. I took it as a proper vacation going to the beach and having fun with friends, so I only took my camera on several occasions and my photos won’t be really representative of the Black Sea cost or even of my own vacation. I particularly regret not taking my camera on our boat trip from the port of Burgas to the tiny island of St. Anastasia, which has a really cool story during the communist years and has recently been turned into a beautiful place to watch the sunset over the city with the help of some EU grants.
What I will show you instead are a few photos of Burgas and Sozopol, our main spot for the vacation, together with quite some photos with boats and setting sun from Pomorie, thus covering the whole Gulf of Burgas from its northern to southern end.
This is a photo with an open story, which I myself can only guess. I took it shortly after sunset in mid-December 2015, on a hill off the village of Starosel in central Bulgaria which hosts the well-preserved ruins of an old Thracian temple from the 4th century BC. We were the last visitors of the temple and on the way back stumbled across this (probably not anymore) mobile house on the side of the hill, which might serve to the people making excavations in summer or is just someone’s temporary escape from the city life. No matter what the real story behind is, I was just struck by the harmony of this image – the complete serenity of this ancient place in late autumn in such a rural and very unnoticeable part of Bulgaria, together with the unexpected comfort and cosyness of this old truck that somebody turned into their home. If the hobbits would move to Bulgaria, that’s the first place I’d suggest for a new home!
In the middle of summer I made a short four-day trip to Veliko Tarnovo and some of the places nearby, which I will describe with some photos as usual. In this time of the year the temperatures in northern Bulgaria don’t fall much below 35 degrees, so it was not exactly the perfect condition for taking photos. To be fair it is probably hard to do justice to the place anyway, so I’d recommend anyone to visit it even if it doesn’t look as amazing from this post.
Veliko Tarnovo is one of these places where you can actually feel the history around you and imagine what it must have been back in the medieval times during its glory. Even if most of the main historic sites are just ruins now, the position and fortified walls of what used to be the capital of the second Bulgarian empire on Tsarevets hill are very suggestive of its former power. Together with the typical Bulgarian Renaissance architecture from the end of 19th century and the Yantra river turning around the hills, Veliko Tarnovo is easily one of the most impressive and beautiful places in Bulgaria. So here come the photos and their explanations, ordered chronologically from my trip on my way from Sofia and back.
After a few weeks of silence due to my vacation in the countryside and the sea (plenty of photos coming soon), it’s time for a slow restart. This weekend the post is probably a less original photo, but still artistic in the sense that the main object is supposedly used for art – my guitar. Unfortunately I stopped practicing playing the guitar in the last year, probably because of my photography obsession, but at least it is pretty on a picture. In fact I made this photo for a science magazine here in Bulgaria – I was actually giving an interview about my physics career but they wanted to include some photos with my hobbies. Obviously I couldn’t take a proper picture of my camera, so that was the next best object! As an added bonus, the strings on the guitar helped to make a nice analogy with my physics subject, string theory.
From this weekend I decided to add a new category in my blog – single photos. This way I can share some photos that do not really belong to a longer post, while in the same time I find worthy of a bit longer description.
The photo I chose to start this category with, “The train”, is one of my best photos from my pre-DSLR era. My passion for photography started with my compact Panasonic Lumix camera when I was still living in Milano, Italy. It was actually taken in the beginning of summer 2015, on a hot Saturday afternoon in the outskirts of the city. I used to bike in the weekends to a park near my house, passing by a bridge over the railways close to Forlanini train station (and a bit further from the Linate airport). I bet you don’t immediately recognize that the photo was taken in bright sunlight, but the settings are clear (if you know how to read them) – the f stop was 5.6, with shutter speed 1/640 seconds and ISO100, strongly implying that the light was intense. However, I found the colors of the freight train very peculiar and thought I’d accentuate them on Photoshop by increasing the contrast and decreasing the exposure, making the background dark artificially. I usually don’t like messing with the photos so much and using Photoshop to bend reality, but in this particular case I quite like the final image, and thought it’s worth sharing its story. It also has a sentimental side for me as a memory from one of my last weekends in Milano, which is never easy to leave as explained in the song (for those of you who know Italian).
After the end of the football games I finally had more time for photography, and even got a new portrait lens in anticipation of the sea holidays and coming beach photos. I was still in Sofia though, so we arranged a photoshoot with Adi in the park. She felt like her style would be some “dark” photos in black outfit and I had the idea of getting a candle and trying to combine the evening light in the park with the candlelight. So we aimed for a bit creepy feel in the narrow pathways in the forest on one end of the park, and i think the result is quite cool.
For the coming photos I need to tell you a bit more about Adi and her multitasking personality. Apart from being a full time financial analyst and a mother of two children, she is doing a PhD in philosophy with Italian language. If that’s not enough, she is also a journalist and an author that writes short stories in her free time, and has a blog of her own (https://adispasova.wordpress.com) in Bulgarian. And last but not least, she’s also a yoga instructor. Which is why we decided to make some photos of her practicing yoga and trying various positions on one of the old communist monuments in the park.
After the yoga we planned to do some more dark style photos in the gazebos nearby, but unfortunately they were all taken by people, and we wondered around the alleys making a few more photos. It was one of the hottest evenings of summer and so we were essentially forced to stop for a beer at some point, which was the end of the photoshoot as it got too dark afterwards.
The summer started very busy for me with travels and plenty of football games to watch, but finally at the end of Euro’2016 I had several free nights where I could enjoy the beautiful evening weather of Sofia. Due to the proximity of Vitosha mountain the evenings and nights are always relatively cool here, at most 20-25 degrees Celsius. So on several occasions I went out for a walk around the city centre with friends and family, who were patient enough to endure me taking some long-exposure evening shots. Here I present you in a random order some of the main evening sight of Sofia with short comments, squeezing also some older pictures to show how seasons change the city.