Blog posts


Pechersk Lavra

It was the kind of moment photographers dream about. Jacob and I were on a trip to scout out the 950-year-old Pechersk Lavra monastery at sunset. I've had this picture in my head, of one of the onion-domed churches silhouetted against a sunset sky. Why scout? I wanted to figure out what my options were, so I was hauling 20 pounds of sleeping baby over the snowy hills, instead of 20 pounds of more camera gear. Tripod, remote, other junk I too often carry around and too seldom use. The light had faded to a dull winter-gray sky, and I didn't expect to make photos other than future idea shots.

We were crouching in a dark empty alley, looking up at the Church of the Assumption, built in 1077 A.D. Suddenly a swarm of monks came rushing down the hill in their black cloaks. Every element was there for a perfect photo (except that tripod), and I knew it was up to me to make it. And that's when Jacob woke up and started whimpering. The monks stared at us as they sped past.

So did I get the shot? No, not quite. I made some nice photos and it's hard to believe I got anything at all (shooting handheld at 3200ASA, F4, 1/8 to 1/13 of a second). But I know I'll have to go back to that alley — with the tripod, without the baby — and wait for the monks to show up.

Here are some other test shots from the monastery, all places I'll revisit in different light.

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