August 16, 2016

Door to be opened

In our lives, we pass by and through many doors, both real and figurative. There are doors we love and there are doors we are afraid of. There are doors we long to open and don't know how to approach them, there are doors that get out of our reach because of our hesitation. Sometimes the decision is ours whether to open the particular door or not, sometimes the life itself pushes us through not asking about our opinion. 

Whatever the doors look like, wherever they seem to lead, we never know exactly what we will see and experience when we pass through them, the same doors may lead to quite different worlds.

In the previous months I saw a door in my blogging future that I wasn't sure whether to open or not, but eventually I've made a decision. I've purchased a domain and webhosting services and I'm going to start a new blog based on Wordpress. I'm going to move most of my posts from the two blogs I've been contributing to here on Blogger to the new blog to have the better part of the history there and in the process I'm going to improve and adjust some of the older posts. 

I don't know much about Wordpress and it's been challenging to find my way through the technicalities of the webhosting but I've been drawn to this door for long enough to know I need to gather my wits and do what needs to be done. It means though that while I'll be working on the new blog, which may last for several months, I will not be posting anything new either in this blog or in my photoblog.

Until I'm ready to invite you to visit my new blog, you can read about the places in the Czech Republic I wrote about, you can think about and discuss the topics in my reflections, you can read my poetry, you can stroll around the village where I live, have a look at my gardening or visit my photoblog.

I wish you to enjoy the coming months!
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July 17, 2016

For the love of details

A few weeks ago we visited my mom, who lives in Příbram, which is a town in Central Bohemia. I took my camera with me for the occasion of "what if… we went for a walk". We did and I took a few miscellaneous details that I want to share with you.

No. 1: Watch out for children
There are standard traffic signs we all are used to and need to know when driving but passing by the signs along the same routes repeatedly makes them often sort of invisible to our eyes. I loved this colourful sign drawing attention to its message.

No. 2: Alfa Romeo 
Alfa Romeo is not a common car here so I was surprised to see it parked by a block of flats. 

No. 3: Statue
The statue felt impressive from that perspective high above us. It depicts Antonín Dvořák, quite a famous Czech composer.

No. 4: High school environment
The building of the school is repaired beautifully and there is a small park in front of the school. Lovely environment for those studying there.

No. 5: Benches and litter bin
Who would want to shoot a litter bin, right?? Well, I did, for the lines and colours... :) This is a detail from the park I've mentioned above.

No. 6: Shapes and colours
Another detail of a building inspired by lines and colour combinations. Again.

I know, nothing extraordinary. But often things that seem ordinary hide a message, a feeling or even a revelation of something we hadn't been aware of. That's why I like looking for those details. They tell me their stories...
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June 25, 2016

Colouring fantasy

Today I've finished colouring another pattern. When my kids saw it, they were looking at me as if I was from another planet. Too bright, too colourful, mom, you've definitely got overboard with this... Well, you can have the same impression but I will be brave enough to say I don't care. I love that brightness, I love those colours, and I love the combinations. This is exactly what I love about colouring. I follow my instincts, make my choices and can go as crazy as I like and dare.

My older sister used to colour images as an adult too, until she bought a laptop and started playing facebook games, but that's another story. What I want to say is that I thought she behaved in a childish way. Colouring images?? Oh, come on... Then, two years ago I got inspired and started colouring myself. A different kind of images though, I like the ones that you can bend and change with your fantasy. There are no right and wrong results and you can colour the same image in many different ways.


I use felt tips for colouring and usually colour one image for several days as it can take a few hours before it's finished.


It's not easy to get the colours accurate when scanning the images but I've found out two improvements that are helpful. 

Firstly, it's useful to tell your scanner that it shall preserve your image from showing the other side of the paper through, even if the other side is blank. This option should be in the scanner's settings. I don't know why but without choosing this option, the scanned paper is greyish and the colours are a bit weird, with this option ticked off, the paper is white and the colours are bright. 

Secondly, it's useful to correct potential colour discrepancies in Photoshop or Lightroom or any other similar software where you can change hues and adjust lights. I have most problems with violet which often becomes blue when scanned, it's easy to move the hue slider and bring it back to what she should look like.

I wish I could draw but I can't and this is another wonderful way to get creative. There are many sorts of images available that you can either download or buy and you might be surprised how much the choice of colours and combinations and the way of colouring would tell you about yourself. I'm not laughing at the adult colouring any more.
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June 04, 2016

Country church

Every time when we go to visit my mom, we drive by a church in Starý Rožmitál that always draws my attention. There is nothing extraordinary about the building itself, it's a country church standing by a cemetery, but the view from the road looks very nice. I asked my husband to stop nearby last week so that I could take a photo. 

Here is a closer view with a different processing:

I was walking here and there for a while when looking for the best view and along the way I was passing by a beautiful lilac bush:

Lilac blooms are gone for now so it's a nice memory. I also saw an eye-catching leafy tree which I really liked:

But back to the church itself. Those of you who have been following my blog for some time might remember that I captured the church a few years back in winter, it looked like this:

I edited the photo a bit more this time and created another look:

We always hurry when we go to my mum to be there in time and we usually go back in the evening when there is not enough light and we are looking forward to getting home, but I'd love to capture the scenery also in autumn and under different weather conditions. The resulting series might look great...
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May 15, 2016

When the time comes

Body like a stone.
Heavy like a stone.

at the edge of wakefulness,
at the edge of awareness,
at the edge of perception.

At the edge of comprehension,
when there is no way back, 
when one can't wake up and live,
when the way leads just to falling asleep.

The door is getting closed
to be opened
when the time comes.
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May 06, 2016

Loket castle

Do you have memories which you are not sure that are real? I have one which is very persistent. I don't remember much from my childhood but I seem to remember very strongly that we went on a school trip to a castle called Loket. No more details, just this piece of information and it carries quite a positive feeling. I keep this memory like some treasure though I absolutely don't know why, it's so strange. 

Now, you won't be surprised when I tell you that the memory made me really curious about how the castle looks so last year my husband and I went to visit it. I loved the castle as well as the town surrounding it and sharing the same name, and today I'd like to show you some of the photos that I took there. Click on the photos to see them larger.

The name "Loket" would be translated into English as "an elbow" and both the castle and town got that name according to the meander of the river Ohře that resembles an elbow and that you can see below the castle.

Here is another view of the castle, from another part of the town. Isn't the difference in the perspective quite interesting?

Here is the entrance to castle's yard:

In my opinion, there is not much to be seen in the castle itself but it has quite interesting history. The origin of the castle dates back to the first half of the 13th century. A settlement was built around the castle and later it became a royal town. The castle was enlarged and became an important royal stronghold. The castle and town were called "a key to the Kingdom of Bohemia" because it used to be said that those who conquer Loket will conquer the whole Bohemia.

One of the most interesting facts relating to the castle is that king Charles IV was imprisoned there as a child at the age of three because of some family and property disputes. Yet he didn't reject the castle as an adult, on the contrary. He often came there and in his Maiestas Carolina code, a code that never came into effect, he listed the castle among the places that must not ever be taken away from the Czech crown.

In the yard, there were presented some tombstones from an old cemetery, such as the one in the photo below on the left and inside you could see a little collection of targets used to practice shooting, such as the one in the photo below on the right:


But there is more to be seen in the town, not just the castle itself...

A café placed by the castle's walls that doesn't seem to be frequented much…

An old organ in the adjoining church…

A beautiful fountain in the square which was too big for me to be captured fully so here is a partial view from the street connecting the square with the castle and a detail in the square...

We loved many of the houses we were passing by when strolling in the town and some places felt quite special, such as these…


The truth is that the place itself didn't explain what's behind the scenes of my persistent memory, I'm still none the wiser and may be forever, but at least I can connect the memory and the place now. It feels good, surprisingly good…
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April 18, 2016

A few hours in Prague

About a week ago my husband and I spent several hours in Prague. We had tickets for a concert of "Rodrigo y Gabriela" there and we decided to visit a few places before the concert would start in the evening. The weather wasn't nice, it was a dreary and rainy day, but eventually it was not as awful as it was forecast and we enjoyed the trip. I'll show you a few photos that I took but first I'd like to tell you more about those Rodrigo and Gabriela in case you've never heard of them. They deserve it.

"Rodrigo y Gabriela" are an acoustic guitar duo coming from Mexico yet their music does not present Mexican traditional melodies. It is influenced by more genres including rock and heavy metal and the word "acoustic" describes it significantly. Most of their repertoire consists of instrumental pieces, they are both skilled guitarists, but lately they've added also songs sung by Rodrigo. They made such great progress in the last several years... We saw them in the "Colours of Ostrava" festival last year and loved them and when my husband noticed a few months ago that they would come to Prague in April, we agreed on going to see them. They didn't disappoint us, the concert was great and I would go again right away. They said that it was their first concert in Prague and promised that they would come again next year so we will see.

And now back to my photos but please, don't expect the famous Charles Bridge or Prague Castle, there is more to Prague than just its icons. (Click on the photos to enlarge them.)

No. 1: Statues waiting patiently in a yard, probably for the time of their repair or show time. I couldn't take my eyes of them!

No. 2: We visited an aquarium with many fish but also many children, and lots of noise.

No. 3 and 4: An old historical tram that used to be passing through Prague streets many decades ago.

No. 5: A face looking down upon us mortals from its heights on a wall.

No. 6, 7 and 8: Blooming Magnolias and Forsythia everywhere

No. 9: Funicular to and from Petřín which is quite a popular Prague hill with an observation tower and mirror labyrinth.

Let me conclude this post with a photo No. 10 that presents part of a building in former exhibition area. As I've mentioned before, the weather was not favourable and the sky in this photo was ugly, without any texture, so I played a bit with it, trying to add the texture that I was missing, and I created the following image. I'm no expert in working with textures but I like the mood of the result.

It would have been nice to have good weather for that trip, it would have been nice to get breathtaking photographs. But it was fun and a great experience anyway. Things don't have to be perfect to be enjoyed...
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