Thursday, 2 February 2017

Prague Moments #1 - Sunrise from The Charles Bridge

It looks like my Prague landmarks photos and posts are being well received but I don't want to restrict myself to interesting places and their histories. I have a number of photographs that have a lot of personal significance and their own stories behind them that I'd also like to share.

The Charles Bridge (Karlovy Most) is one of the most visited places in Prague (maybe in Europe or even the world). Its popularity seems to increase every year, and even in the less popular months, there are very few occasions when one can be alone. Bizarrely, one of those occasions is at the crack of dawn, as the sun rises over the city of a hundred spires. It's bizarre because it would appear to be on most people's bucket list when they visit Prague, but when faced with the idea of getting up at four  in the morning, few people actually make it out of their beds.

This is just an idea of what they're missing!

I'll be the first to admit that getting up at three in the morning isn't my idea of fun, but when I decided to do this on my first extended stay in the city, I was in my final week and time was rapidly running out.

On April 29th 2015, official sunrise was 04:43, but the action was taking place from about 03:21 onwards. It took me about 30 minutes to walk down to the river from my apartment on Francouzska in Prague 2, barely seeing a soul in the half light. By the time I got to the embankment by Slovansky Island the sky was a bluish violet mix. The river was calm and it was mostly quiet apart from the clicking of the pedestrian crossing timers.

The bridge was almost empty apart from a couple of other like minded photographers, a Japanese wedding promotion shoot (the model had gone blue with the cold), and a few pigeons and seagulls. I had come armed with my Nikon DSLR, Nikon Coolpix and my iPhone 6. One problem with spontaneous decisions, is that you don't generally do the sort of checks that you do when you make a planned decision - and in this case I'd completely forgotten to check the battery levels in the cameras. The DSLR failed after about ten shots, the Coolpix lasted for another five or so, which meant I was completely reliant on the iPhone 6 camera (which was fully charged). And boy, did it prove its worth.

By about 07:30 it was all over. Over the course of three hours the city underwent it daily transition from night to day and the peace and quiet transformed into the hustle and bustle of the morning commute. It turned out to be a glorious day. Forty eight hours later I was on a plane back to the UK nursing some serious misgivings about leaving.

How can you think about going to Prague and not seeing the sun rise over the Charles Bridge? Just remember to take spare batteries for your camera(s)!

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