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Interesting places

Winter wanderings in the Pilis Mountains

Interesting places

„No more wild geese pulls in the sky, No wind shudders the gloomy fields. The muted moment silently strains, Look: a snowflake flies. The first one. To the silence it replies.”
The subtle verses of the Hungarian poet Lajos Áprily introduce us to the beauties and wonders of the winter world. It is worth grabbing the camera in winter as well and capture the wonderful and enchanting moments of this season.
Photo: © János Szekeres

Canon EOS D60, EF 2,8/70-200mm L USM 1/350sec f/8 ISO 400
I love winter! In this season I frequently hike the forests of the Pilis. My favourite area is the beautiful beech forest above Pilisszentlélek. The colour of the trunk of the beech tree changes in different lights, often silvery, sometimes it appears in the shades of brown or white. It is worth wandering in the Pilis peak, along the hiking path up to the lookout tower from which you can see a nice panorama of Budapest in clear weather. One of my favourites is the area around Mexikó- Puszta. You can photograph forests lined with beautiful old trees there. The most atmospheric and popular photos of the winter season are taken in fresh snowfall, at such times the snowcovered trees are magically beautiful.
These areas can be accessed easily through the Budapest-Pomáz-Dobogókő route on foot from the Két-bükkfa-nyereg bus stop. Alternatively, you can climb up to Dobogókő and wander around there. In very cold weather fantastic frosty trees can be captured from the lookout points. If I can I walk as this way I can contact the land more closely and intimately. It reveals its secrets to me and I can stare at the tiny details in amazement and enjoy the enchanting silence which only the winter forest can provide. Winter photography has its special techniques. First of all, you have to protect your equipment from humidity and cold - it can be done by a wellisolated photo backpack or bag.
Photo: © János Szekeres

Nikon D100, 18-270mm 1/100sec f/2.8 ISO 200
A practical advice: if you want to see your pictures quickly at home, then take the memory cards out of the camera outdoor and place them into a case and put them into your pocket to keep them warm so you could immediately save them to your computer at home as you do not have to wait your equipment to be warmed up.
You can take very nice pictures of the winter landscape. Place the camera on a tripod, do not shoot handheld and try to reach the lowest possible ISO rate, ISO 100 is the best choice.
Aperture should be set to medium value and you should use a remote release cord to avoid unwanted shakes. If you do not have any, setting the timed exposure on your camera control is also a good solution. You can also photograph with wideangle lens to capture a wider view of the theme. It is not easy to capture the atmosphere we see, you need to compose precisely and slowly, do not rush with the exposures.
Photo: © János Szekeres

You can also use telephoto lenses to capture a smaller part of the landscape. Try to find characteristic winter motifs. Do not leave your macro lenses at home neither, frosty branches can be your subject as well. If you display the sky in your pictures, I also suggest the usage of polar filters in sunshine.
Have nice shots and beautiful light!
I say goodbye with the verses of Lajos Áprily:
„I walked your paths on foot with my students, thousands of them, They refreshed my vision, They turned it young. In eternal fever I feasted upon your beauty With thousands of eyes. But to all the thousand eyes A mystery you remained.”
Text and images: János Szekeres
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