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Peles Castle in Sepia

The castle of Peles is with no doubt one of the most visited tourist sights of Romania. Here most of the weekends make from this place almost a giant ant hill. Thousands of people try to enter the castle, better said a palace, in order to understand and to envision the former life of the Romanian-German royal couples. Hundreds of rooms, luxurious halls, tens of bathrooms, amazing art and weapon collections, modern amenities, all of them make from this place a kind of Mecca or the Romanian tourism.

As a Romanian tour guide I have the chance and the pleasure of seeing this place many times in one year. Each time I guide my tourists through this amazing castle with the same astonishment. Being so many times here I have the chance of taking many pictures as well. The one bellow was taken recently on a cloudy day. It is one of my favorite pictures of the Peles Castle from Sinaia.


Romania in 2 pictures

I had read most of the tour guides about Romania and each time I was intrigued by their pictures shown on the front cover. The Lonely Planet  book guide has a picture of Biertan, a beautiful former Saxon village located not far away from Sighisoara. The Rough Guides maybe was not so  inspired and displays the Russian Church from Bucharest; after all, when you try to sell a book about a country you should try to promote it with the most distinctive flavor of it or the Russian Church is far away from this. The Insight Guide book boasts on its front cover one of the most famous landmarks of Romania: the Bran castle also known by the foreigners as Dracula Castle. And the list remains open for many other book guides about Romania.

As a Romanian tour guide and photographer I asked myself which picture I would use for a cover of a Romanian guide book. Instantly I looked through my pictures and after one hour I was still confused. A landscape? Romania boasts the impressive Carpathian arch with beautiful mountains, valleys, glacial lakes and green pines. An image of a medieval citadel, like Sighisoara, Sibiu or Brasov? Or maybe a picture of the vivid and tumultuous city of Bucharest? What about the rural side of Romania, so well preserved in many parts of the country? A horse-drawn cart passing by a traditional haystack would be perfect and would express so well the rural life from Romania. I thought this would be a perfect image. But not quite. Because I realized it would be impossible to capture the flavor of a country in one picture. So I need two of them; one for the front and another one for the back. But which ones?

In the spring of 2012 I had the chance of finding these two pictures. The first one I had in my mind for about 2 years but because I was extremely picky it was very hard to find the image. It is a road sign, a simple sign saying “No carts”. I wanted it to be located in the country side, to be clean and new, to be photographed on a sunny day with a blue sky and some fluffy clouds. Finally after months of searching I discovered it in Bucovina. Maybe it would have been better to catch a horse-drawn cart passing by the sign but I didn’t have enough time to wait for it. Maybe next time.

The next picture, the one for the front page should illustrate the beauty of the locals, of the Romanians and their traditions. Some time ago I’ve been asked what I like most about Romania. I said I like the mountains and the women. ‘Yes, but tell me just one’ my traveler asked me again. Then I answered I like the beautiful women on top of the Carpathian Mountains. Of course, I know and I’ve seen how beautiful the women can be in other countries, especially in the eastern Europe but when I saw a beautiful tall young blonde, slim, with long legs, smooth skin and big round eyes I new this is my cover. And not just because she was beautiful but on top of all these qualities she was dressed in the traditional costume of Maramures, one of the most beautiful all over Romania. Her scarf wrapped around her face was accentuating even more her beauty. Right away I pulled over my car and told her, almost ordering her, being afraid not to loose my image for the cover, to stop. And I was right. She is the perfect cover, a beautiful Romanian woman wearing with pride a traditional costume. Now all I need is to write my guide book :)

by Daniel Gheorghita
Licensed Tour Guide


Reasons for taking pictures

Somebody asked me the other days what do I do with my pictures. ‘Same thing you do with a painting you had bought some time ago’ – flashed the answer in my mind but never to be said out loud, in this way avoiding even the slightest form of sarcasm. Later on, while I was driving on the Trnsylvanian hills, this question came to my mind and I realized the right question is not what do I do with my pictures but what do the pictures do with me.

The photography is a hobby/profession that can change you dramatically. It can open your eyes and make you see deeper than just surfaces and appearances. It makes you an observer of everything that surrounds you. And these two things are the most important changes the photography did and still does for me. Before that I was completely unaware of the things that were living right next to me, of all the small details my eyesight was able to capture. My camera came with a magical frame that is always present in front my eyes and makes me notice everything. I thought that light was just something that makes it possible to see. I thought that birds were all gray, but in fact they are richly colored. I only knew a few kinds of flowers, but after photographing them, I became interested and learned that in a very small area of the Carpathian Mountains there are more than 1600 species.

Like most of the photographers I started with landscape. I wanted to capture the beauty of nature, the amazing blue sky with its white and fluffy clouds, the tall and craggy peaks, the turmoil of a waterfall, the tranquility of a field of sun flowers or the menacing precipices. Now, most of these pictures end up as screensaver on my laptop, many times making me to look at them and admire them like a father admires his children. They bring me peace for a few seconds or minutes and even I end up to be bemused by the magical beauty of some pictures.

Then I started to take pictures of different tourist landmarks, some of them more or less famous, more or less interesting. Once I had started doing this I noticed the beautiful architectural elements and I was curious to find out what type of architecture it was; so I went back home and I studied till I’ve learnt them. In the end the photography is the one that made me to go and study and not a teacher.

As a joke, I remember one of my tourists who came to Romania for a cultural tour asking me ‘Daniel, why do you keep taking pictures of each place we visit, don’t you already have pictures of this place?’ I told my nice tourist that I have hundreds of pictures of this place but never at this exact hour. She was a little bit confused.

Once I was in the cities for tourist attractions I noticed that many things happen around me. So I was introduced to the street photography. It is here where I started to chase the action, the events and the life; a kid running after a ball, a girl playing splashing the water of a  fountain, a man taking a breath on a bench or two lovers kissing themselves. After a while I realized most of the people like to be photographed so I started to interact with them. And BANG, I was hit! The people are the most important subject in photography. They are so divers and their feelings can be so different that a photographer will never be able to capture everything about people. Never. And sometimes these pictures can be very intense, they can bring happiness but they can bring sadness and even tears.

In 2006 I was touring with a lovely retired Canadian couple, both of them in the 70s. I asked them if they want to take a detour for a better view of the rural area and receiving an affirmative reply we dived into a forgotten territory. The road, or better said a dirt track, took us through mountains and old villages. At the outskirts of a village we noticed an old Romanian couple, also in the 70s, plowing with an iron plow dragged by two oxen. We pulled over and talked with them. The old Romanian couple told us about their hard life, their small pensions or about the farm work. The whole story was told with sadness but they never lost their dignity. My tourists, deeply touched, gave them some money. I was touched too, as I saw in these two people my grandparents who worked exactly like them. Once back in the car, we all had tears in our eyes. The pictures I took then, showing two old people, still working in the 70s, is one of my precious memories.

Beautiful women, which in Romania are easy to find,;; plentiful,’’’ every where you look,;;; in every café, shop or even in hay fields.

I continued to take picture of old people, different craftsmen, poor families, events or beautiful women which in Romania are easy to find, they are every where you look, in every cafe, restaurant, shop or even in hay fields. Each time I try to create a mood with a a different approach or I try to take advantage of light. I try to accentuate the wrinkles of an old woman like I would try to find there a trace of the hard life or like I would try to bring to surface a secret long time forgotten. Sometimes I fail. Recently I was walking in a city of Transylvania with another photographer and we noticed a very beautiful young woman sitting on a bench. We started to ask ourselves whether to ask her the permission or to “steal” a shot of her. I took a couple of shots but just one of them proved good enough. I thought I managed to capture, beside her beauty, the thoughts, the feeling and even her slight sadness. Back home I realized pretty much all I had hoped to capture didn’t appear in my pictures. The young lady remained forever shrouded by mystery, a total enigma, a question never to be answered, a moment on a bench. And that’s why I like so much to take pictures, even when I fail I get something, I end up with a result I had never expected.

To conclude, I can say the photography made me to see the details, sometimes the soul, the stories behind the eyes or the funny world. And I really like it.

by Daniel Gheorghita
Licensed Tour Guide


Maramures Photo Tour

There are several reasons for visiting Maramures, the northern region of Romania. Probably the most known are the wooden churches, 300 years old or even 600 years in one case, several of them being part of UNESCO. The rural life is following with great precision the old traditions and the annual seasons. Merry Cemetery is another unique tourist attraction of Maramures. It is here you can discover how the locals deal the inevitable event of death. And to all these add the great tasty and fresh food, the hospitable people and the daily life.

The people of Maramures, in my opinion the most important reason to visit this area, are known as well for their beautiful traditional costumes. Even today they still wear them with great pride. The long and wide men’s trousers and their white shirts match in perfect harmony the beauty of the women’s costumes. With their red-black aprons and large white dresses, with delicate and intricate flowers sewed around the collars, the women’s costume might be easily made for angels.

The best time to see the people of Maramures wearing their traditional costumes is during the Sundays when the locals go in the morning to the church. It is the perfect moment to observe how pride they are of their costumes, from little girls and boys to beautiful women or old ladies. And all of them look so nice in these costumes!

Bellow one can see some pictures of the people wearing the costumes of Maramures. In order to view the slideshow you need to install flash. Also, take advantage and see the pictures in full size (hover your mouse pointer over the right upper corner of the picture and select the full size view). Each picture has its own explanation.

  1. MaramuresTraditional costume.
  2. MaramuresBoys in traditional costumes.
  3. MaramuresTraditional costume.
  4. MaramuresMusic and women in traditional costumes.
  5. MaramuresTraditional costume.
  6. MaramuresTraditional costume.

by Daniel Gheorghita
Licensed Tour Guide


The Full Moon

Few nights ago the moon was at the closest distance to the earth, hence everybody tried to capture this moment and now you can see on internet thousands of pictures of the moon. While many captured the moon, I tried to do something different and I took advantage of the “moon light” capturing a beautiful little old house built in the Carpathian Mountains. It is here where I take my small groups, no larger then 4 or 5 people. This little house, originally built in 1910, was restored by a young family and now it is one of my favorite accommodations all over Romania.

by Daniel Gheorghita
Licensed Tour Guide


Bucharest Photo Tour at 6AM

I couldn’t miss the moment of having a bike ride and a photo tour in the same time at 6AM when Bucharest was an almost deserted city due to the extended weekend as Tuesday – May 1st, is celebrated as the Labor Day. And because many people took a day off for Monday as well, I was sure Bucharest is going to be a perfect occasion for some good shots. During these extended weekends it is very common for the people of Bucharest to go to the seaside, to the mountains or to their relatives in the country side. The ideal moment for a tour of Bucharest, the ideal moment to be in Bucharest! I love it during these days.

As soon as I entered the old center of Bucharest I stopped for some pictures of Lipscani Street. While I was playing with my camera, a group of three people passed by me saying “Look, he’s taking pictures”. More like a joke, I started to take some snaps of them. Back home I saw that the one bellow looks quite good.

Party girl in Bucharest

I continued my biking-photo tour in the old center of Bucharest and on Stavropoleos Street I took this picture of a sitting man. Usually, this street is one of the busiest streets of the old town as it is here where the famous Caru cu Bere restaurant is located. Today, early in the morning, just one person was having his moment of relaxation.

Sitting man on a bench in Bucharest

And last but not the least is the picture of this car which had landed in the middle of the Unirea fountain. Maybe they wanted to wash their car or they wanted to see if the car floats on the water… Or too much party during the night? By the way, at least one or two cars per year end up in this fountain.

Car in a fountain from Bucharest

As a conclusion, I do recommend a very early photo tour of Bucharest as well as a biking tour. The whole city belongs just to you, especially during the spring and summer weekends when the town is so quiet but not completely sleepy.

by Daniel Gheorghita
Licensed Tour Guide


New attraction of Bucharest

My dear tourists, Bucharest is proud to present its last major attraction: a car which landed in the main fountain located in the Union Square (Piata Unirea). Now, beside the Parliament, which can be seen in the background, you can enjoy this wonderful sight of an old Opel Corsa in the middle of the fountain. I think, if you’ll be in time, you might see the water running from the fountain in all directions, thus making the sight even more attractive.

Rumors have it this was in fact the idea of the present major of Bucharest who desperately tries to do something for the first time in 4 years for the inhabitants of this city. It is said he is very pleased by this great achievement.

With this image I certified one thing: definitely Bucharest is the most interesting city of Europe!

Car in a fountain of Bucharest

by Daniel Gheorghita
Licensed Tour Guide

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Powerd by Daniel Gheorghita.