Wedding Portraits – Tomek and Marzena

This was a fun portrait shoot that took us all over the city. Tomek and Marzena wanted some shots that were a little different than the traditional, posed wedding photos. Of course, we made some traditional shots too, but we focused more on some fun poses and situations throughout Kraków.

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Monochro-Mountains

Black and white winter photography of Tatra mountains in Poland by Jeff Baumgart

There’s no predicting mountain weather, it can change so quickly. The Tatra Mountains near Zakopane, Poland are no exception. What to do when the weather doesn’t cooperate? No need to put the camera away! There are always good shots to be found. Since the cloudy skies and fresh snow cover made the views naturally monochromatic, I decided to work with it and go for a black and white treatment. Not much beats hiking through deep snow in the mountains with a camera and tripod!

Black and white winter photography of Tatra mountains in Poland by Jeff Baumgart

Black and white winter photography of Tatra mountains in Poland by Jeff Baumgart

Black and white winter photography of Tatra mountains in Poland by Jeff Baumgart

Black and white winter photography of Tatra mountains in Poland by Jeff Baumgart

Black and white winter photography of Tatra mountains in Poland by Jeff Baumgart

Black and white winter photography of Tatra mountains in Poland by Jeff Baumgart

Black and white winter photography of Tatra mountains in Poland by Jeff Baumgart

Black and white winter photography of Tatra mountains in Poland by Jeff Baumgart

Black and white winter photography of Tatra mountains in Poland by Jeff Baumgart

Black and white winter photography of Tatra mountains in Poland by Jeff Baumgart

Playmobil photographer in the snowy mountains by Jeff Baumgart

Kraków Wedding Photos

Congratulations Rafał and Natalia! This was another first for us, a wedding shoot in Europe! What a great place Kraków is for wedding photos. Nothing like what we have back home in New England. I really like the custom here in Poland where the formal wedding photos are made a week, or in our case, a couple months, after the actual wedding day. This is nice because everyone is much more relaxed and there is plenty of time to make some nice shots at multiple locations without keeping the hungry wedding guests waiting.

In Kraków, it’s very common to see a bride and groom along with their photographer posing throughout the Market Square and other parts of the city on any day of the week.

For tourists and visitors from other countries, especially the US, this is something special to see. When Martina and I were photographing Rafał and Natalia, I turned around to see a group of 5 or 6 people taking their own photos of us!

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Żubrówka – The Taste of Poland

Żubrówka bison grass vodka

This bottle comes straight from Poland. I set it up in my back yard for a quick photo shoot before I cracked open the bottle.

Żubrówka is a dry, herb flavored vodka. The vodka is infused with a special grass that grows in the Białowieża forest in Poland to give it it’s characteristic taste and yellowish color. The bottle also contains a blade of the grass that a bison may or may not have peed on. That doesn’t bother me, it’s pretty delicious.

Żubrówka has been made since the 16th century. While a form of Żubrówka can be found at select liquor stores in the US, it is not the same as the Polish version. Importing it was banned in 1978 by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms because the grass contains a toxic compound.

Żubrówka is traditionally served chilled and mixed with apple juice, a drink known in Poland as tatanka or szarlotka. Add lime and mint for a Polish mojito.

Real Football, Krakow Style – VIDEO

Besides learn Polish, the only thing I really wanted to do during my time here in Krakow was to see a football match. That wish came true last Saturday night. There are 2 rival teams here in Krakow. Cracovia and Wisła. I didn’t know much about either team. I mostly follow the English, Spanish, and German leagues. Wisła finished on top of the Ekstraklasa last year and a lot of our friends here support them so that led my decision on which team was to get a new fan.

As most European countries, Poland takes their football pretty seriously and so do the stadiums. At least at Wisła’s stadium here in Krakow, you can not even purchase a ticket unless you first obtain a club card which has your photo and ID number on it. Even the tickets come printed with your name and the stadium turnstile will not let you in unless you scan a valid club card. I’m not sure if this is a safety precaution or what. The hooligans are pretty tough too. No alcohol is served at the stadium, police in full riot gear are all over the place, and the home and away fans are kept apart by fences and separate entrances and exits.

Interestingly, as serious fans they are, you never see anyone in the city wearing their teams colors. In fact, even on game night, it wasn’t until we got close to the stadium that people started to put on their Wisła jerseys and scarves. Right after the game everyone quickly changed back. It’s pretty sad that you can’t even wear your teams jersey in public without the fear of getting beat up or knifed by supporters of the “other” team. It happens!

Anyways, we avoided injury and watched a great game. Rafał stood in line to get us our tickets and the 4 of us met him, Bartek, Beata, and Milena at the stadium, only a short walk from our apartment. The game ended 1-0 in Wisła’s favor due to a penalty kick. The caliber of play was excellent, especially compared to the MLS games we have in the States and the fans were great! Click on the photo below to play a video I made of  the action.

Wednesday night Wisła plays for a spot in the Champions League, a first for them in a very long time. We wish them well, Go Wisła!

VIDEO - Wisła Kraków