As an introduction to a series of posts featuring cityscape photography, we head to Budapest, the capital of Hungary. In fact, we are going to visit only one small part of Budapest. One lovely bridge.
Budapest is a fascinating city. For many years I ignored it as a place to visit. Budapest was almost always on my path whenever I traveled to the western Europe, but never a destination. And then, a few years ago, I decided to start my trip with a weekend in Budapest. I did not regret. Actually – I did regret, but for a different reason. Two days was not enough to explore this magnificent city.
Budapest has an architecture that seamlessly competes with Vienna or Prague. Loads of beautiful buildings, impressive palaces, green parks, magnificent museums. With rich history worthy of someone who listens more carefully than I do, it is a place you must visit. For photographers, it is a surprising paradise full of subjects.
As someone who grew up near the Danube, I started my day in Budapest right there on Danube shores. And, like countless before me, I was fascinated by the amazing bridges of Budapest.
The official figure of eight Budapest’s bridges contains some of the most beautiful ones in the world. Stunning Margaret Bridge and famous Chain Bridge are the most popular, but fate wanted me to start a day with one, in terms of features, a completely unremarkable bridge 😉
Budapest’s third oldest and shortest bridge bears the flattering name of Liberty Bridge or Freedom Bridge. Completed in 1896 as part of the Millennium World Exhibition, this bridge was the first one to get under the wheels of my bike in one chilly April morning.
And let me tell you: for more than a good reason – Liberty Bridge is carrying the title of the most scenic bridge in the whole Hungary.
This bridge is very difficult to shoot. It may be the shortest one, but it is still damn huge. The panorama is simply too large. The details and all the beauty of this place is lost in the vastness of the scene. This is why I was most pleased with the photos showing the bridge as it extends into the distance reaching across the river.
And then, at the end of the second day, I found the perfect location to shoot this bridge. The small lookout in front of the entrance to Gellért Hill Cave would probably remain remembered as the average one if it does not offer the perfect view to the Liberty Bridge. Even though location simply cries for a very wide panorama, due to the fact that Budapest does not have a building higher than 96 meters (it’s a law), the wide panorama simply has no focal point. The eye wanders through the photo in a quest for the subject. The large cross on the lookout breaks the monotony, and it is the only reason that this panorama did not end up in the garbage can at the end. But it is not enough.
Nevertheless, a slightly narrower panorama is an entirely different story. A large concrete cross is a starting point from which the eye naturally begins to travel through photography. A careful observer may notice that the photo also shows my faithful bike which was my traveling companion on this adventure, but this fact will most likely be discarded by all sane people reading this. They will ignore bicycle and naturally cross the Danube, following the Liberty Bridge. Eventually, the eyes will reach the other coast and the lovely Budapest panorama.
This photo is a fine example of how challenging shooting the cityscape can be. Sometimes it is almost impossible to properly portray the grandiosity and beauty of a place. Many of the sites I visited have unfortunately been shown poorly, mostly because of my inability (or laziness) to find the proper shooting location. However, the Liberty Bridge in Budapest is not among them. Delighted, I can share with you the perfect location to enjoy (and shot) this gem of Budapest.
And as usual, poetical destiny arranged that the Liberty Bridge was the last bridge I crossed when I left Budapest.