When I’m doing my night photography tours in Budapest, I just usually teach and talk to people, but I’m not taking photos myself.
After all, I have 5165 images of Budapest in my Lightroom collection, so that should be enough…
But of course, there are times, when I must shoot – for instance the Danube is flooding, or there’s a rare atmospherical phenomenon.
So in this article, let me show you my favorite photographs of Budapest that I took in 2019.
(As always click into any image to view in bigger size)
1. Noctilucent clouds over Budapest
Noctilucent clouds are a quite rare high-atmosphere phenomenon, even scientist don’t exactly know why and how they are formed (Wikipedia article, EarthSky article, both have great photos).
What’s for sure, is that in the northern hemisphere, they usually appear in the summertime, and can be seen 30 minutes – 1 hour after sunset.
I must emphasize, it’s well after sunset! Basically, the sky is almost pitch black, but these clouds are so high up, that the sunlight still falls on them.
This photo has a funny story…
I had 2 photographers and their partners doing a photo tour with me that night.
As they didn’t have their own, I had to give them my tripods (which I always offer, btw).
Of course, when we saw the clouds, they started to take photos of it, using the tripods.
After I made sure they used the right camera settings, I started to take some shots for myself, but I could do it only handheld…
And I didn’t even have a “proper” camera with me, only a compact!
Luckily, the small Sony RX100 III has a pretty fast lens, so I could get away with OK handheld shots.
But to make sure I won’t have a noisy photo, I used median stacking technique to lower noise. Click on the link for how exactly I did it.
2. Danube’s extreme water level change on Chain Bridge
This photo was a lot of fun to make!
When the Danube hit all-time low record in 2018 November, I of course took photos.
And then, as it began flooding the following May, it made perfect sense to take another shot from the exact same spot.
Luckily there are many objects in the foreground that helped me to position the camera.
It was on a tripod, which was on a narrow wall, so luckily I just had to move left or right.
I’ve written a detailed behind-the-scenes article about this photo here.
3. Parliament almost flooded in 2019
Okay, that’s a clickbait title…
It just looks as if the Danube was right at the doors.
In real life, there’s a road down there, and there’s at least 10 feet more to reach the actual “street level” where the Parliament is.
Anyway, in May-June 2019 we had the usual yearly flood of Danube, and when I was taking this photo from the Buda side, the water was flowing only a few inches below our feet!
By the way, did you know that base of the Parliament lies on redpine wood pillars?
They petrify as exposed to water, that’s how they fortify the base.
Here’s how it looks, when the water is at a normal level.
Dramatic sunset behind horsemen statue
The statue of Görgey Artúr, a commander in the freedom war against Austria in 1848-49, has always given me trouble in terms of composition.
I just somehow never could get a proper photo of him.
But on a June afternoon, the dramatic sky acted as the perfect background, and I was able to compose him in a pleasing way.
On 7th November, the Turkish prime minister, Erdogan visited the hungarian prime minister, Orbán.
And the Hungarian police went crazy that night: every street the politicians visited, plus all the connecting streets in their whole length were closed down.
People couldn’t go home, or pick up their kids from school…
I was doing a tour that night with an american gentleman, and we were also stuck for half an hour.
Lucky for us, we did my Food Tour prior to taking photos, so at least we were not starving 🙂
Finally, the police opened the road, and we could walk freely.
I took this photo later that night, and titled it “Even the gulls were grounded because of Erdogan”.
Moonrise over St Stephen’s Cathedral
In November 2019, I bought myself a Nikon Z50 mirrorless camera plus their kit lenses.
The 50-250 mm kit lens, I just love it!
Though it’s not exactly a fast glass (f/4.5 – 6.3), but it’s featherlight, retracts back, and has image stabilization.
This means, I can put it in my bag all the time, without hurting my back.
And, I can easily shoot at 1/30 s with a tele lens, allowing for handheld night shots like the above.
That was 100% handheld.
If you’re interested in more of Nikon Z50’s features, here’s my video review of that camera:
Spooky enchanted Vajdahunyad Castle
At Vajdahunyad Castle it’s always fun to play with the reflection.
(This Castle should NOT be confused with the Buda Castle. The Vajdahunyad Castle is not a real castle, just a replica built for the world exhibition)
Well, when there is a reflection…
Because quite often the water is wavy, or there just leaves floating everywhere.
As I remember, on this day, the water wasn’t exactly smooth, just waving a littlebit.
So I took dozens of shots in burst mode, and selected the one I liked the most.
Here’s the whole view (my favorite composition of Vajdahunyad Castle)
Colorful autumn sunset from Citadel
The Citadel (at the top of Gellért-hill) is by far the best vantage point in Budapest.
From here there’s a magnificent view on the Castle and the Chain Bridge.
On this day in October I was lucky to have some beautiful clouds a generous sun going on my left.
See my best photography spots article for more photos taken here.
Party on Liberty Bridge
In every August, for the weekends only the Liberty Bridge is closed off from every traffic.
No cars, no trams, not even emergencies.
This means only one thing: party all day!
Well, most at night, because during the day it’s just too hot on the bridge.
This is how it looks from the street level:
The photo was taken from the southern side of the Gellért-hill, which is facing the Gellért Thermal Bath.
Arches of Fishermens Bastion with Parliament
In the summertime, the Sunset is so late that I usually include an hour before sundown as well – even thought it’s a night photo tour.
So we have an hour in the Golden Hour, when the sun hits the landscape in a low angle.
On lucky day in June, we had fantastic clear weather, and not too many people in the Fishermens Bastion, so I could take this shot.
As the arch is way darker than the background, I went for an HDR with my Sony RX100.
Parliament and Chain Bridge in vertical
As one of my guests asked me:
‘What’s the best time to take a vertical shot?’
(Me having a baffled face)
‘After a horizontal’
And he was right.
In landscape photography it’s mostly landscape orientation, but in the recent years vertical compositions are coming up because of the phones!
Vertical photos look better on Instagram or FB when viewed on a phone.
This composition is one of my favorites from Buda Castle: the pillar of the Chain Bridge with the Hungarian Parliament behind.
And I’m not really a B&W fan, but this photo looks better without colors.
Bonus: Hungarian government used a funny photo
You have probably seen memes like these:
Now have a look on this billboard by the Hungarian Government:
It’s the exact same couple – obviously a lot more in harmony than in the first photo.
They must have made up quickly, as they are wearing even the same clothes!
Anyway, what makes this hit harder is the copy:
“Married young couples get baby support“
The story behind that line is that Hungary’s population is shrinking like crazy: lot more people die than kids are born.
Every year, we’re approx 40,000 people less…
So the government is desperate to stop this, and try to come up with creative ways.
Of course, it’s always around money.
On this billboard the government was promoting their new program.
Which photo did you like the most?
Let me know in the comments!
The photo spots of Budapest (updated every year)
Photography tips and info for Budapest