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How I spent my summer
russian version

The theme “How I spent my summer” is familiar for us from childhood. Everyone who attended a school remember how after a long vacation on one of the first lessons we were offered to collect our ventilated thoughts and write out an essay about this glorious time. The task was perceived by us differently for different reasons. If my memory serves I liked it. And only now I realize that it is a good way to look at ourselves from the outside, to understand how full passed your life in the last few months. Generally comparing the less active part of the year with this time, honestly answer  yourself wondered 'is my life interesting?'

Anyway summer is traditionally considered to be a season of relaxing and enjoyable impression. But, leaving childhood behind, the adult life of an ordinary man becomes constrained, serious and full of cares. And instead of whole summer, appears only one legalized month (some are insured with two and a half) of annual leave. What a speaking word, if think about it. We are leaving, allowed to go. To gain strength, to relieve our feelings, to remember what “freedom” means. The rest of the time is going along like a regular flow, punctuated by the long-awaited holidays and weekends. The latter is also amusing concept: you can end everything for a couple of days. And thanks to civilization, we can easily find something to fill the life: shopping, cinemas, theatres, restaurants, picnics, arranging themselves, personal affairs, their habitat etc. And more often after a week work people just want more to lie still, nothing to do, nowhere to go. But exactly in summer it is hard to sit still at home, when it's so warm and fresh air invites you.

Honestly, on this point in my life all was very limited until this year. No, of course I loved to walk around the city, to walk on roofs, snapping pictures. But the range of my movements did not go beyond the web of city subway. And once a year me and Lena, like millions of other people, went on vacation. During this time we tried to cover as many miles, countries and voids of our ignorance about the world in which we live. However later we realized that oversaturated impressions occur at this rate, and began to divide leave for two weeks twice a year. So it became even more interesting, many of our friends even began to believe that we travel a looooot, apparently comparing it with their rhythm. But we still think that one month in a year is not quite enough for an interesting life, that gives us a real pleasure and satisfaction. And when you consider the average life of a Russian + unconscious lifetime and dependent existence + pension, to which people can not even make old bones often, the result is a very sad picture. What to do in this case? The answer is obvious, after all - life is one, and every minute is less. And until we did not take any radical changes, we decided not to lose time in vain and start travelling this summer through the woods and fields, lakes, cities, roads, islands, where it's possible to get during the weekend.

The main question that was awakened at first gradually, and then more often arised with each trip: what for? I.e. for what purpose we are journeying somewhere to unknown places: to photograph, to lie still or to walk actively, to swim, to sunbathe, to fish, to grill or just to get away from the usual environment, changing the “Groundhog day” to a new experiences. And we tried this summer all that came to mind and where could get to, occasionally debating on the topic of purposeness own movements and dreams.

So, let's go step by step ...

  • Moyka

At the first friday of summer Serg D beckoning to climb onto the roof, SergAnch join to the idea and drive us by car from home. Arriving to the correct address, it turns out that the roof is closed. Smelov offers to guys to go to the Admiralty, we refused the idea and decided to walk around the city at night. We walked just a little but had a great time, and were lucky with the weather. Night is already short at this time, 'whiter' day the day. I remembered the viewpoint on the Moyka, exposed - shot.


And morning sun already highlights lanes of streets. Called guys - they are 'arrested'. A dozen fellows decided to climb on that roof that night. Apparently this sellout  could not fail to notice the law enforcers. Outcome - 9 hours at the police office. We were lying on the Palace Square for a couple of hours to meet the dawn, basking in the sun. By the way, surprisingly we sold our first postcard for two merry fellows. And on the way home we "gave five" to each of the endless string of cyclists who rode through the Troitsky Bridge.

  • Birzhevoy and Isaaky

Less than a week we move with the same list of participants to a new point. About this roof were thinking for a long time, and thanks to the prevailing conditions it became possible to make pictures. We expected that the Exchange bridge will be open so we could  fit St.Paul's Cathedral between its spans, but it did not happened. Conclusion: It makes no sense to count - frustrations will be less. By the way, for me it's not a fact that otherwise would have been “better”.


Returning to ground I discovered an interesting perspective on St. Isaac's Cathedral. Since then the idea to shoot one of the loveliest cathedrals in unusual exterior erupted in full force. And soon it will repeatedly came true.


  • Vuoksi lake

On the same day, after we slept a bit, three of us (me, Elena & Serg D) went on a huge lake Vuoksa. Oh, it was one of the most coolest and memorable trips for the summer! We had a great time against all the odds. Because the Russia's Day we had one day more than usual weekend. On arrival we were looking by boat for the free island, which are many here. And then at sunset one of the most vivid impressions over the summer occurred. We're smoothly moving through the mirror of water during a quiet surge of indescribable colors: over our heads and under our feet. We three together with a lot of luggage deposited ourselves somehow in a small inflatable boat with the risk to fall overboard. After, we often bring back to memory that surprisingly pleasant state in which we were lucky to be, when discussing together our common delight. It was those moments that couldn't be characterized: not by words neither by pictures. During this little journey of two and a half days we did whatever we wanted.


There was physical labor and mental relaxation, expedition around in searching of firewood, fishing, soup from the roach and one occasional grilled pike, night chat unto the crackling twigs in fire, heat and cold, moving from one piece of land to another, and many more pleasant and tasty things. Oh yeah, there was a ghostly morning fog and promising sunset, which instantly faded.



And waste, lots of rubbish, a giant heaps of garbage that our vacationers calmly leave at nature.

  • Pushkin (Tsarskoye Selo) and Pavlovsk

Funny to say, but I haven't ever been here over 9 years of my life in St. Petersburg. At the end of June we couldn't decide any route to the weekend, so we went on exploration to Pushkin and Pavlovsk - on Saturday and Sunday respectively. The main aim was to get acquainted with the terrain, own eyes to see its famous beauty and rate the interest for a possible autumn surveys. The company we had was Ilya, he gave us an exclusive tour with mutual pleasure. Moreover, he gladly joined us on the second day. He lives in Pushkin, which celebrated birthday in the moment of our arrival, by the way for the first time in recent years at this date there was no rain. And once again we noted that we are often lucky to arrive in new places on any holiday. Did not make any photos, though traces from the backpack's straps were observed on my shoulders both evenings.

  • Karpovka

Sometimes happened that the weather was changed ten times an evening, although at summer in this case more stable rather than conversely. In such moments it is always difficult to guess where to go to catch the light. So that evening I just went out of the home, turned to the archway, and now strolling already about became almost intimate Karpovka. As long as I tramp to work here every weekday - all the corners, turns and alleys have been studied. But that evening I first discovered couple of unexpected views, and all because of the Light.



  • “Krakatunia” / "Nashestvie"

While Elena went to the rock festival "Nashestvie", I went to a place on the Gulf of Finland with a fictitious name "Krakatunia". The name was invented by photographer with whom I am not personally familiar with. But Sergeys (Degtyarev and Anchipolevsky) have already met with him. And the location seems to have found initially from his photographs. Such crew we went there on one quiet Sunday evening. Warm, cozy, calm, silence punctuated by jokes of “colleagues” and the army of mosquitoes.


It wasn't very easy with compositions at least for me. I really did not see any good view. And only just before leaving I found that became interested. But for this I had to go knee-deep into water, knocking against slippery rocky sea floor my feet, that then were scratched because of unbridled attention of mosquitoes.


  • Valaam (Valamo)

This journey undoubtedly stunned me. And it was honoured with a special photo-story “Valaam at first sight”. Since that time I fell in love with Karelia. Its landscape and nature is extremely beautiful, and it seems that nothing to confuse with. At “white night” here is magically and can no sleep at all, especially if you're a landscape writer and/or romantic.


  • Pskov – Pechory – Izborsk

I've never been here too, although I have heard a lot from different people about the beauty and sincerity of local places. To Pskov is only 4 hours from St. Petersburg. More time to walk, jumped on a night bus. And for the hour before dawn we were already in place. At this place, while contemplating waking-up of the day, only one occurs in mind: "Here is it, the Russian fairy tale!"



Here whole being feels what the great poet so aptly noted: «Here is the Russian spirit, that is like Russia smells…» It's funny: after a couple of days after visit we found out that Pskov celebrated 1111 years at that time!




Made lots of pictures, we had a walk around the Kremlin inside and outside, found a bus to Pechory and got there in an hour. The Monastery, because of what almost all people come here, is very cosy, full of trees and flowers. There are a lot of pilgrims and tourists. The Pskovo-Pechersky Dormition Monastery looks unusual, as in the fairy tale, very colorful. We didn't any photography, just admired and walked across the neighbourhood. Especially I memorized the local diningroom: everything was very tasty, and such dumplings I have ate already three hundred years before.
Somewhere at four or five o'clock we were already in Izborsk. Here first of all ones admire by the wide and the kind of simplicity of the Russian landscape that dragging at heart-strings. Now we were not in hurry. Tasted local pies and hospitality, that surprised us in the such tourist flow. Having tried water of Slavonic springs, went to the opposite shore of Gorodishche lake for bathing, finally to wash dust and sweat. The rest of the evening passed in lasting search of the camping spot.


And because the terrain here is hilly and endless, we were exhausted. Marvelous sunset  took us in a road. Light was reflected from all sides, even from below - from the grass was shone like the sky has changed with the ground in places.


Set the tent almost in the dark. And though we have settled down at windy hill away from water, mosquitoes literally ate us despite the repellent: such wicked creatures I haven't met before. The next morning was even more unexpected: we were covered with rain shower, making the pool out of the tent. Not calming down, it triumphantly roared above us, lightened and deafened with powerful thunderclaps, and finished only near Pskov, where we sousing stack of bones leave for home.

  • Komarovo

The middle of the summer. The weather at that time was sweltering flaming front. We were so pleased to leave the city that once, the very middle of the week, we went to the night to Komarovo. After work I jumped on the train and after an hour was on the spot. Weeknight there was not crowded, although it seemed to be very popular place on weekends. We had a typical outdoor entertainment here: sitting near the fire and leisurely chatting, ate fried sausages. Slept an hour and a half - then moved home, and I to work.

  • Kavgolovo lake

Railway station "Kavgolovo”. 50 minutes by train and you're on the shore of the big lake. As a consequence of the first impressions: a giant heaps of garbage and endless drunken screams. About solitude and calm we could only dream. Surprisingly, we found a free camping spot in the night. The next day, wishers to stay here were more than enough. There you have it, a weekend in the suburbs of the metropolis. In the evening, even on arrival, while we stomped on railroad ties, beholded the fog in the immediate vicinity of the railway tracks. And because this is my favorite natural phenomenon, I whiled away the night in good company and happily awaited for its return.




Oh, I made myself tired with walking that morning. Knee-deep in a swamp: the legs are cramping from the icy water. And everything above the knees is heated by the first solar rays. The contrast of the elements in the height of summer.



And also the huge contrast of nature and her guests. It turned out that here is quite interesting and beautiful, but such an unsullied by man places almost gone, and these remained only due to swampiness, unsuitable for a “rest”.



Upset by seen and satisfied with the photo-result at the same time, in this state of division I dragged myself up to our tent.


After a brief sleep, heavy thoughts were dissolved in a pleasant refreshing water of Kavgolovo lake, where we swam all day under the scorching sun. But the after-pains still remained.

  • Ladoga lake

Here we came already without much hope - affected by recent experience. The cameras we took more out of habit, finally not taking them out. Serg D joined to us, walked his long-awaited friend - the iron horse. He turned out to be very useful: we quickly found out where to make camp and spend the next few days. Firewood, campfire, dinner, night chat about pictures and not only. In the morning Serg drove off, and we spent all day swimming in the waters of Europe's largest lake, the beach of which was rapidly filling with every arrived train.

  • Izmailovsky

We almost did not go shooting from roofs the whole summer. And then went, at once by asking ourselves the high achievement as the tower at the Izmailovo Avenue - one of the highest roofs, which I visited. We were fortunate in having dawn on the spot: as if It was waiting for us all the time that we did not photograph Petersburg - today two months.


  • “Roof of the world”

Much happened for the first time that night: I saw alive the famous Roofer "Pooh" although we had communicated more than once before. After I first time turned up on the "roof of the world" - one of the most famous points in the Roofers' environment. Then the first time we were honestly and politely warned by "businessmen" that they will lock the attic to the roof. At that moment I took this shot, one of the first for the evening.


But it cannot happen for the following reason: here I first saw this "gay parade" that's fun pounced to loud tin of the roof and then, by the way, behaved pretty well until the disappearance. As it turned out later, only I took them so. But my friends, two photographers  over there (Serg and Ivan), didn't feel so.  In all this fuss I still took pictures in relatively calm. And I'm very happy with the result: first time I have an image that contains so many of the very St. Petersburg, where I live: all at once...


  • Isaac's in exterior

We have long wanted to shoot the backside face of the city in inseparable union with its dominants. And after previous shooting we decided to visit the point opposite of "the roof of the world”, from the other side of St. Isaac's Cathedral. At the same time we were a big part of our “photo-gang”. And to the amazement of the audience, in spite of all our fictional patterns of relationship about “bad” shooting when we are on the roof more than two, the sky was blazing. It was truly fantastic, given that it happened on a blank sky after about 15 minutes after sun set beyond the horizon.


That evening was almost no time to testing shots before sunset, and I did it after the inclusion of urban illuminance. Now I like this panorama not less than that from the top.


  • The Trinity Cathedral

We came here because of the gorgeous photo of our old friend Alex. As it turned out empirically, he actually made a cool picture, repeat which makes no sense. But our result, though more modest, but also remembered for its zest. Because each photo has its own story, sometimes a little, sometimes more.


We with Serg wonderfully conducted in this area a couple of warm nights, rejoicing as the children, found the grown apple crop on the tree (by the way, there is on photo) and arguing for hours about the many things that filled our photographic world. For example...
Thanks to photos life becomes much more interesting: it turns out that initially going somewhere, climbing, crawling for images, and then find out how because of the this process fills your life with interesting and new experiences. But if not for the incentive and the desire to take pictures, would sit at home and did not know the world through direct personal contact. I have generally observed even gradual transformation of priorities: the result is not so categorical as before. Although I realize that the one from the other for me now inseparable, nothing fundamental - the relation is important itself.

  • Kizhi

And the next trip happened precisely in the same way. The process of traveling to a new unknown, tasting thereof, acquaintance and socializing with her images - is incredibly interesting when in a positive mood. I was so captivated and delighted this process, that fascinated by the details of a visit to another beautiful Karelian island I described it at six pages. The benefit of the female half of EGRA saved the situation and cleverly designed it to an acceptable form. It turned out to our photo-story “Kizhi at first sight”.


  • Khersonskaya

About this cozy corner of Saint Petersburg Serg D told me long time ago, almost a year passed. Since then we've been trying to see if its something to shoot, but it never came. It turned out that there are no problems. And at the first try. And it happens far not the first time, when luck goes upon our heels. We are even now occasionally laugh: became experienced - from the first try to find the right door to the roof. But in fact, of course all this is a set of unpredictable randomness, while blurring the soles of shoes - unlucky campaigns no less than positive. And the patio was really very pleasant, so typical and unique at the same time. Generally the Saint Petersburg.


  • Roofs

And this view settled in my head long time ago, since I saw it at my collegue's portfolio. It's scary to think - 4 years ago. And now the dream has come true - at the last day of this summer. It was, by the way, very cold that night up there. But now, with all its twilight coldness, this picture warms the soul. A little photos while all our roof walkings I was able to observe with such harmony of the city and its roofs. And most of them happened this summer, when we walked on top significantly less than usual.


The summer is over. But there are still many discoveries and thoughts that were born in it...

Everybody will die. This indisputable perspective recently optimizes us like nothing else. This is the true stimulus, unrivaled catalyst to live. The here and now. And not once, when pay off the mortgage, when settle all business or the child will grow up. To collect something, to postpone, to dream, whatever it touched - not have the slightest sense. Wherefore, sooner or later, all of this pales in the face of death. Her memory perfectly sobering. We will be gone. Perhaps something will be left after, if you were a creator. Well in general: new evidence, theories, people, architecture, computers or photography - will not matter, when the heart stops beating. If we consider this simple truth, we can either fall into despair, or start to live - to live more consciously. To live with a sense of satisfaction just from the fact that you live, regardless of where, how and with whom. All this can be changed. Except one.

During our modest movements on the planet, we noticed that people who travel a lot are more unconfined by prejudice, tolerant of others, kind and open. The way of sitting not in one place contributes to their versatile and balanced perception of the diversity of the surrounding world. And skill not to get stuck in a rut, neither mentally nor physically, beneficial effects to a positive attitude to everything, starting with ourselves.

There are many people who stopped with a typical mass way of life and went beyond the ordinary. They are no longer tied to planned schedule life in comfort and security. They travel the world, sometimes even without money, meeting each new day in the embrace of the unknown. And amazing way for us, the inhabitants of the usual routine, also live long life in the face of constant changes. Now I think that they can experience the fullness of life, its scope and grandeur. At least they can see much farther than the wall of an office or apartment, though there hangs a TV with thousands of channels. And certainly deeper and calmer feel this contradictory reality, the diversity of its faces, its relationship, their own course and meaning of life in this, exactly this and not some other, this the only life.

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