Get Snappy 7: Bansko and Sofia, Bulgaria

Get Snappy 7: Bansko and Sofia, Bulgaria

I’ve sort of screwed myself this week, because I’ve shared so many of my photos from Bansko already. Only yesterday I posted a photo post stuffed full of all my best mountain pictures from this past week, because even though I knew I should probably just share them in this post, I was a) impatient and b) wanted to carve out a space just for those images.

So yes, there are a few repeats in this Get Snappy. I had a lot of fun this week taking photos of the Pirin Mountains from different angles, at different times and in different weather conditions. The sun, clouds, wind levels and recent snowfall all changed the landscape and it was cool to go back each day and see what I was working with and what had changed. I think I got some really good pictures last week and definitely improved my snow photo skills (it can be hard to take pictures of snow-covered things because they are so bright and the white & blue tones dominate the picture).

Bansko was photographically awesome, mainly because I feel far more creatively energised in nature compared to cities. Although I already knew that – I always feel less inclined to pick up the camera in London compared to Oxford, Cornwall, anywhere green really – it was sharply emphasised to me by going directly from the Bulgarian mountains to the capital, Sofia, and noticing how hard I’m finding it to get back into my photographic groove.

Sofia is full of a lot of amazing Orthodox churches, all covered in gold and bright colors – most notably the awesome Alexander Nevsky Cathedral – which should make for interesting photographs. I did get some pictures I like, included below, but it still felt a bit tedious, like I was searching for a good shot rather than being confronted by how interesting or beautiful somewhere is and feeling compelled to take out the camera. I’m probably placing way too high expectations on the cities I visit (or live in), but I do know that I spend lots of time in cities seeking out interesting angles or trying to find a good shot in amongst the buildings, rather than looking at a place and thinking ‘this is a great scene.’

I know it’s good practise. I know that much of developing skill as a photographer is about finding the interesting angles, unique details and secret shots that other people can’t find. Stumbling across an incredible coastline, landscape or view and taking a picture is definitely easy mode. But I enjoy those moments more, and I enjoy looking for the details and unusual perspectives out in nature vastly more than walking around a city.

To be fair, Sofia is an interesting city to photograph, because it is so much in two minds. Some of the city is clean, modern, bright and well looked after – the colourful, wide buildings are a mainstay of European architecture – whereas other streets are crumbling, cracked and worn down. Two adjacent streets can look like they are from two different decades. The effects of years of Communist rule are clearly evident and I have tried to take (good!) photos that I am pleased with that also capture the more rundown parts of Sofia, which are as much a part of the city as the newer, cleaner buildings and gold spires.

Overall, it has been a wonderful week in Bulgaria. We skied, we learned to snowboard and we explored a restaurant my favourite way, by picking menu items at random because there was no English on the menu and none of the staff spoke English. We had a great meal and a lot of fun (you can check my Instagram stories to see what we ended up ordering).

Here are this week’s photos. Let me know which is your favourite in the comments! Do you prefer city or nature photography? Do you have any city photography tips?

Photo 1
Photo 2
Photo 3
Photo 4
Photo 5
Photo 6
Photo 7
Photo 8
Photo 9 (Old and new; rundown and refurbished)
Photo 10
Photo 11
Photo 12
Photo 13

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