The Charles Bridge

Last summer when Holly and I visited Europe we stopped in Prague for just long enough to know we needed to come back for a decent amount of time.  This past summer we decided to return again; this time spending a week there, which included our 10 year wedding anniversary.

Prague is a classically European city, with many different types and styles of architecture and art.  Central to all this, and probably the most recognizable part of the city, is the Charles Bridge.  The bridge itself spans the Vltava river and is lined with beautiful statues depicting various scenes from the Bible.  Frankly, it was the one thing in the city I was bound and determined to get a good picture of… not necessarily an easy task.

By day the bridge is jam-packed full of tourists and vendors selling various wares. By night… well… it is still full of tourists and not very conducive to a good photograph (at least not my style of photograph anyway).  I had done some asking around and found out that the vendors didn’t show up until 8AM, but my gut told me the other tourists would be along well before that.  First light in that part of Europe is around 5:30AM during the summer months, so I decided the early morning would be my best opportunity.  I scheduled a cab for a pickup at 10 till 4… AM… and managed to talk a few friends into coming with me (Holly said she’d just look at the pictures! 🙂 ).  Surely the bridge would be empty at that time, right? Nope!  Turns out there are quite a few night clubs all around the area where the Charles Bridge is and they all start kicking people out at 5AM.  Apparently there is no time during the summer when you can find the Charles Bridge with no people on it… BUT at 4:30 or so there were very few people on it… which is the next best thing.  Luckily with the super-slow shutter speeds required to shoot in so little light, the drunkards wandering back to their hotels disappear in the pictures, and I got the shot I was after; a seemingly empty Charles Bridge.

–Dan Thompson