Barge on the Danube

The Story Behind: Barge on the Danube

Not all images are a result of meticulous planning, preparation and research. This one certainly wasn’t.

I’ll quickly set the scene.

So it’s winter time (mid February) and I’m in the capital of Hungary, Budapest, it’s my very last day there after spending 3 days visiting the city. I was catching a flight back to Barcelona (where I live) at 8pm that evening so I got up early, checked out of the hotel and went for a walk along the banks of the river Danube.

I quickly realised when I arrived in Budapest that pretty much every image I capture is going to be best developed as a black and white due to the constant mist that lay over the city at this time of the year. It wasn’t a problem though as you can see it made for some excellent moody looking photos.

So the days leading up to taking this image I had been visiting all of the spots I had found while doing my research on Budapest, trying to find the best compositions to capture the obvious stand out features of the city. The bridge, the parliament building, Buda Castle etc…

I had got some great shots of all of these but, minus a few differences, they were mostly similar to any image found on google. The fact that I had to fight for space amongst other photographers in these sports gave me a good idea that the photos I was taking might not be all that original.

I was desperately trying to find compositions of these landmarks that would stand out and differ from the hundreds of others photos of the same thing.

That’s the thing, trying to plan to do something out of the ordinary and maybe a bit random isn’t easy. Sometimes you just have to let situations unfold and just be prepared to act on it when it does.

So back to walking alongside the river Danube on my last day.

Capturing this image was nothing crazy or particularly out of the ordinary, but I certainly didn’t have it in mind when I checked out of the hotel that morning. I was simply walking by when this scene unfolded ready to capture anything unexpected.

Barge on the Danube
Barge on the Danube

Compositionally the image is perfect for me. The bridge sits in the bottom right third of the frame, the mist gives it real atmosphere like you would expect from an eastern European country in winter. This stillness of the water at that time in the morning gives off a great reflection from the bridge while also emphasising the movement of the barge by allowing ripples to form and fan out from the front. The contrast between the whites of the misty sky and blacks of the barge/bridge really makes this image pop and work amazingly as a b&w.

This was the image I was looking for of the bridge and the bridge isn’t even the main feature.

One of my favourite images of the trip was captured, unexpectedly, just a few hours before I was due to leave. So it just goes to show that you should always be prepared for that composition you have been waiting for to finally come along.

Don’t give up and if you feel like an image just isn’t right for whatever reason, despite being a technically great photo, then it probably isn’t right. When you capture the perfect moment you just know you’ve got it.

If you’re interested in reading more about my time in Budapest, or are thinking about visiting yourself, then check out my blog post about what else I got up to and my tips for getting the most out of your time there.

Thanks for reading!

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