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WordPress updates

This, as many other sites run on wordpress. And you just have to update, as with everything, there are vulnerabilities and you need the fixes. So after a little while, I decided to update to WordPress 5. And wow, is it a horrible update.

WordPress introduced a new post editor, that should make it easy to create posts. But doing so, they complete broke what was there before. And even that editor is full of really really stupid decisions. Check out this screenshot, which is not even of a full-screen window. The editor window is 610 pixels wide. On any screen size. I feel like my brain stopped when I seen this. Why? Who would come up with such a stupid decision. I have a 34 inch screen, and they force me to work in an area the size of a bigger mobile phone. And that’s not the only issue.

Things that were easily accessible before are now hidden. There is no toolbar on the code editor. Previews don’t work for me and so on. There is even a plugin for WordPress that will revert the editor to the old version. They did not even think to leave that option in it for people that will hate this half baked new one. If it wold not take so much work to switch to something else, I would think about it by now. I don’t like the direction WordPress is going at all.

Down at the Hallstatter see

I have already been to Hallstatt in Austria few times, and each time I was there, I wonder where these spot was. I did see few photo from it, but I could not find the spot where one could go down to the Hallstatter see to get the view. The reason is, that most of the area is private property, so you can’t get down.

But this time, I found the spot, and I also found the reason why I did not notice it before. It’s because each time before I was there in the Summer, and since this is a boat dock, there was always a boat docked here. And it blocked the view. But not this time.

This was the last shot I did during my visit to Hallstat last week. I would maybe do more, but I had problems with my tripod. One of the legs got loose and just detached. So after spending a bit of time trying to fix it, I just took few photos and packed it for the day.

This is a blend of three shots, all edited in Lightroom and then blended in Photoshop.

Down at the Hallstatter see

It has been 6 years since I poublished the Top photography spots in Bratislava page. So it’s time for a bit of an update.

I have spend many hours taking really a lot of photos around the city and so here are my favorite spot. As you will see I prefer spots a little away from the main center and including my two favorite subjects, bridges and reflection :) You will notice the Bratislava Castle is in a lot of the photos. It a very dominant part of the city center.

To see all my photos from Bratislava, check out the Bratislava category

Don’t forget to check out other available lists:

Top of the SNP bridge

If you can go to only one place in Bratislava, go here. The view of the city is just stunning, there are no windows blocking your shots and after sundown you can have the place completely for yourself :) You have to pay an entrance fee (7.40 euro currently), but I think it’s worth it. Parts of the bridge are currently under reconstruction, but the top is still accessible.

Bratislava city center
The stunning view

Bratislava Castle Fortifications

The opposite place to the previous spot. From here you have a great view of the SNP Bridge (New Bridge). If you didn’t know, the New Bridge is the smallest tower in the World Federation of Great Towers :) . Too bad the view of the city is obstructed by trees, but the view of the Danube is great.

Night Bridge
White Castle

Tyrsovo Nabrezie (Waterfront)

I love this place, as I can get a very nice reflection of the castle, when the Danube is calm. Great place during the sunset and blue hour. The whole path between the New and Old bridge gives you hundreds of different compositions you can try. Also there is a docket ship, which you can enter (there is a sign No Entry, but as long as there is no festival or something similar on the waterfront, nobody will stop you, but please be careful :) ), and get a unobstructed view. I noted the ship on the map.

Night colors

Under the SNP bridge

All the bridge here give you nice views. Under the SNP bridge are steps, and you can get down completely to the water. I really like to do panoramas here, including the bridge and the castle. And if the water is a bit calmer, even a reflection.

Night colors

Town Hall tower

If you want a nice view of the main square, that definitively go up the Town hall tower. To get there, go inside the museum that is in the town hall, and buy the ticket just for the tower. It’s around 3 euros. You can take a tripod up there without any issues.

The best time to take photos from there is during the Christmas market, as then the square is full with colorful stands and lights.

Christmas market in Bratislava



Michael’s Gate tower

Another tower you can go up into is the Michael’s gate. It’s not as tall, but still gives a nice view. It’s a museum, so you will have to pay for entrance. You can’t use a tripod inside, but on the balcony it’s allowed. They close quite early, so if you want a sunset shot, it can be done only in winter.

Apollo Bridge

A little further away from the center, but worth it. You can just walk here from the new Old bridge or from the Eurovea Shopping center. Really great for blue hour shots. Also the view from the bridge is very nice.

On the new Old bridge

The Old bridge in Bratislava was taken down few years back and there is a new bridge there now. It gives you a great view of the center, and also is great for long exposures with the passing trams. It shakes from them a bit, so be ready for that.

Under the new Old bridge

And to get a nice photo of the bridge, go under it. I prefer the view opposite from the city, as one can use the bridge to frame the old town and the castle under it.

Also if you manage to be in Bratislava during the White night event, there are usually some cool lights on this bridge.

Kuchajda Lake

This place is just about reflection. The lake is usually very calm, and the sun usually sets behind the two Millennium towers, so you can have the whole sunset twice. Also once a year they have fireworks above this lake (usually at the start of June).  As reflections go, this place is never disappointing.

Port bridge view

Ok, this bridge is quite far from the center. It shakes really a lot, as it’s a highway bridge and even trains pass through it. But if you go there in the right time when the sun sets above the Danube, and you have a long lens, you will get a coll shot of the bridges and Bratislava castle. I would not walk there from the center. Find a connection that goes to the bus stop Pristav (Port) and walk from there. It’s still about 1km away from there, but that the closest you can get.

Castle and the bridge

Other available lists:

Clear water at the Traunsee

Let’s stay at the lakes in Austria with another photo. Still a winter photo, but from January of last year. This one was taken at the Traunsee, in the town of Traunkirchen. I did many different compositions here, that I shared here before, but this one I did not share yet. I really like how the water was clean and clear, making it easy to see the bottom. So here I wanted to combine a reflection of a background, with a foreground where you can see the bottom. And it worked out nicely.

This is a single exposure edited in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Clear water at the Traunsee, Austria

Taking panoramas without a panoramic head

I have been posting and also taking quite a few more panoramas recently, so today’s post will be about those. To be exact about if you really need a panoramic head, and if you do when. Also, how to take panoramic shots without one.

What is panoramic head?

A panoramic head, is quite a big tripod head, that has two main functions. First is to move the sensor back from the center of rotation, so you avoid paralax shift (will explain in a moment what it is). The second is to allow you to rotate the camera horizontally and vertically in exact increments.

With it, you can get a perfectly shot panorama, with every photo in exact increments from each other. For big and multi-row panoramas you just have to have one. The photos will align perfectly every time if you use one.

I do have one, but use it rarely. It’s just to big and heavy to carry around all the time.

What is a paralax shift?

If you ever moved you camera, you have seen it. When you move your camera horizontally, the objects that you see move also horizontally. But you may have noticed, that things that are closer to you move much more than the ones further from you. Like this, their relative position towards each other changes.

So what effect this has? If you take two photos for a panorama, but he positions between objects in the photos changes, they will not blend nicely or at all. The reason for this is, that you are rotating your camera at the spot where the sensor is. To avoid this, you would need to rotate the camera around the spot in the lens, where the light bends (nodal point). There is a mark on most of the lenses to identify where this is. If you rotate the camera around this spot, there will be no paralax shift at all.

When do you need a panoramic head?

So since the panoramic head can help you remove the paralax shift, you need it in situations when that is a problem. These are:
– when you have something very close to the camera. The closer, the more paralax shift you get
– when you are shooting with a very wide or a fisheye lens. Both of these types of lenses (mostly anything under 20mm) add to the depth of a scene, and with this add to the paralax shift.
– when you are doing a too big of a panorama. If you are doing a very huge panorama, it’s easy to miss a spot or just forget where you started. A panoramic head will help you to get all the shots you need without problems.

For this photo I used a panoramic head, as it’s a huge 9 shot panorama and it made it easy to get all the shots properly.
Taking panoramas without a panoramic head

When you don’t need one?

So you don’t need one in all other situations. Especially if what you are taking a panorama from, is further from you. There will be a small paralax shift, but it will not effect the final photo at all. Here are few tips for taking panoramas without a panoramic head:

– zoom in. Shoot at least at 20mm or more. I you zoom out, it can happen that the panorama will not blend.
– use manual mode. Getting all the shots with the same settings is important. Meter the scene to get you camera settings, and then use manual mode to get all the shots.
– use manual focus. You don’t want the focus to change in between shots.
– use a tripod. This is a must. You can get panoramas handheld, but they will never be the same as from a solid tripod.
– either do bracketing, or set exposure based on some average spot from your scene. If the panorama goes from bright area to a dark, it’s best to set the exposure based on something in between them.
– turn on the build in leveling in your camera. If it shows up on the camera screen, it’s easier to move the camera horizontally without moving it up or down.
– do multiple panoramas. Never do just one shot, do multiple. Bigger chance you get one right.

This panorama was taken without a panoramic head. There was nothing close to me, so it was not a problem.
Taking panoramas without a panoramic head

If have, you can also use a tilt-shift lens to create panoramas, and you can read more about here.

Seevilla hotel at the Altausseer See

For this photo I would have preferred to go much much closer to the water to get more of a reflection. But as I mentioned with the previous photo from here, I could not. The piles of snow would just not allow it. So for this, I was actually standing in a spot where they pushed off the snow from the road. It crated a bit of a platform. I did sunk into the snow a few times, but only a little.

This photo was taken at the Altausseer See in Austria. On the left you can see the Seevilla hotel. It is a 6 tile panorama, combined in Lightroom, finished in Photoshop.

Seevilla hotel at the Altausseer See, Austria

And here are few details:

Seevilla hotel at the Altausseer See
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