Eastern Europe is a wealth of photographic material. On this photo tour you will spend time in two of Europe's most dynamic cities, Vienna and Budapest, and the second half of the tour will be in incredible Romania. 15th century painted monasteries, Dracula's Castle, medieval fortresses, and breathtaking Orthodox Churches are on the agenda. The Carparthian Mountains are majestic and they nestle picturesque villages. In Romania as well as Austria and Hungary, we will spend a lot of time doing twilight photography to capture the beautifully illuminated buildings and monuments against the cobalt blue sky. From Vienna to Budapest to the Romanian city of Timisoara we travel by train, and then once inside Romania we will have our own van.
Day 1, Saturday, Sept. 6: Arrive in Vienna and transfer to the hotel. (If you are coming from the U.S. or Canada, you need to leave the day before, on September 5). After lunch and a short rest, we visit spectacular St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna. The exterior has incredible detail, carvings, and a unique design on the steeply pitched roof, and the interior is breathtaking. This is a great place to use HDR to record detail in the darkest shadows and the brightest of highlights. We have our In the early evening, we will shoot the city with twilight colors. Jim will explain the best approach to take superior quality images in low light situations. Overnight.
Day 2, Sunday, Sept. 7: Today we explore several of the beautiful icons of Vienna -- the Berg Theater, St. Charles Church, the City Hall, the incredible interior of the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Opera House. We will again shoot the city at twilight because it is illuminated so artfully. Overnight.
Day 3, Monday, Sept. 8:. The Austrian National Library is perhaps the most beautiful library in the world. We start our day here and it definitely won’t disappoint you! We also photograph the Hofburg Palace, the stunning Belvedere Palace reflecting in the water of a large fountain, and you have the option of climbing the Stephensdom for an aerial view of the city. More twilight photography tonight of the historic area of Vienna. Overnight.
Day 4, Tuesday, Sept. 9: We depart Vienna this morning for the two hour drive to Budapest, Hungary. After checking into our hotel and having lunch, we start exploring the wonderful photographic opportunities this city has to offer. We photograph the impressive interior of St. Stephens Basilica using HDR, the elevated view from Fisherman’s Bastion looking down on the huge Parliament Building, and after dinner we will shoot twilight from the top of Castle Hill. This affords one of the grand vistas in Europe -- the Danube River and the famous 14th century Charles Bridge. Overnight.
Day 5, Wednesday, Sept. 10: The Budapest Parliament Building is one of the most remarkable buildings in Europe. It has 12 miles of corridors! We will take a tour of the interior, which is beautiful, and the best part of the tour is the unbelievable dome. You’ll need the widest lens you have to encompass the dome in its entirety. The exterior of the Parliament is extraordinary, and it photographs well from across the Danube. We then photograph the interior of St. Matthias Church. The stained glass windows, murals, and mosaics plus the gothic architecture make for outstanding pictures. In the afternoon after lunch, we photograph Iparmuveszeti Museum which is breathtaking, both interior and exterior. This evening for twilight we will shoot the Parliament Building from across the Danube River. Overnight.
Day 6, Thursday, Sept. 11: We visit the incredible opera house today for interior photography of the incredibly ornate decor. This is followed by lunch and photography of the dramatic pool at the Gellert Hotel. You can go swimming and shoot the pool from water level for very unique and visually powerful images, especially with an extreme wide angle lens. This afternoon is at leisure, and after dinner Jim will hold a critique session for the group. Overnight.
Day 7, Friday, Sept. 12: We depart from Budapest this morning by train for the Romanian city of Timisoara, the third largest city in the country and the center of social, economic, and culture in the western part of Romania. After crossing the border and arriving at our destination, we check into the hotel and then explore the old town in afternoon and evening light. The Orthodox Church is dramatic as is the mint green baroque exterior of the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Union Square. Timisoara was the first city in Romania to be freed of communism in 1989, and it is also the birthplace of Johnny Weismuller, the first Tarzan. Overnight.
Day 8, Saturday, Sept. 13: We leave this morning for the heart of Transylvania. Our first stop is Hunedoara to photograph Hunyad Castle, a gothic masterpiece built in the 15th century. It is dramatic from many different vantage points. Then we proceed to Sibiu
where we have lunch and photograph the unbelievable Holy Trinity Cathedral. The artistry, the color, and the stylized religious interpretations make this an extraordinary work of architecture. Sibiu also has a lovely cobblestoned town square that can be composed through a series of arches. We will shoot the Axente Sever Fortified Church as well, and then from here we proceed to Dracula’s Castle in Bran. Overnight.
Days 9 - 10, Sunday-Monday, Sept 14-15: We spend the morning exploring the medieval city of Brasov which is surrounded by the southern Carpathian Mountains. We can get some wonderful elevated views of the center of town as well as the Black Church from a cable car ride. We then head north to Sighisoara, a town that has a lot to offer a photographer. Colorful, houses, a classically beautiful skyline, medieval streets, a fortified church, and a beautiful orthodox church. From the clock tower we will be able to take unique perspectives on the town below., and at night the town has a distinctive moody atmosphere. We will also visit nearby Biertan, another stunning village where we can take landscape images of the medieval setting and the surrounding hills. Overnight.
Day 11, Tuesday, Sept 16: We head north this morning to Targu Mures and photograph the unbelievable Ascension of the Lord Romanian Orthodox Cathedral. The exterior is impressive, but it’s the art of the interior that is breathtaking. We continue north through the beautiful Carpathian Mountains to Campulung Moldovenesc to shoot another stunning Orthodox Church, and then to Vatra Moldovitei where we photograph the Voronet Monastery one of the most beautiful painted monasteries in Romania. Built in 1488 to commemorate the Battle of Vaslui, it is often called the ‘Sistine Chapel of the East’. The intense blue color that predominates in the Christian art is visually arresting. From here we drive to Suceava and overnight.
Day 12, Wednesday, Sept. 17: Sucreava and the surrounding area is rich in Romanian history and photographic subject matter. We will visit the 14th century Sucreava Fortress, used successfully to fend of an invasion by the Ottoman Turks, and the Sucevita Monastery with its beautiful setting amidst green hills. We will visit the Bucovina Village Museum, the Monastery of St. John the New, and the Zosin Monastery in nearby Botosani. Overnight.
Day 13, Thursday, Sept. 18: Today we transfer to the international airport in Suceava for our flight home.
Tour cost: $5350 Includes all hotels, all ground transportation including train tickets, metro tickets, taxis, and van, all breakfasts, the welcome and farewell dinners, photo instruction, and entrance fees.
Single supplement: $1500
Not included is international airfare, visa fees if needed, lunches, dinners except the welcome and farewell dinners, alcoholic beverages, and items of a personal nature. Note that your air ticket should be arriving in Vienna and departing for home from Suceava,Romania.