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Urban Photography in Kraków, Poland

At the beginning of October I spent 4 days in the beautiful city of Kraków in the south of Poland.

krakow architecture photography

So, why Kraków? Well, we were actually meant to be going to Prague but I left it too late to find suitable flights for the days off we had so we chose Kraków as it fulfilled our simple criteria of looking beautiful and we hadn’t been there before. I definitely remember seeing photos of the St. Mary’s Basilica before from a photographer I follow online plus when I posted to my Instagram stories that I was going I got lots of replies from friends who each recommended the city. So I felt assured it was a good choice..!

krakow architecture photography

Camera Gear

What camera gear would I pack with me this time? Taking all my lenses over in the carry-on bag was not an option plus I really wouldn’t want to be lugging them all around sightseeing anyway. For walking around the city during the day I picked my Ricoh GR3 which is a pocket-sized camera with a fixed 28mm lens. This was a recent purchase as a always-on-you camera and when I tested it around London with friends I was really impressed with the image quality and how discreet it was.

My favourite time of the day for photography around the city is during the blue hour when the buildings and landmarks get lit up. So for this I packed my DSLR and my 20mm prime which produces lovely sunstars from street lamps etc. I also brought my 70-200 lens for any distant views and/or architectural details I’d find along with a travel tripod. All set..!

krakow architecture photography
Long exposure of trams passing during dusk

The Old Town

We were situated in a hotel very close to the main railway station and just minutes from the Old Town which turned out to be ideal for opportune dawn and dusk shoots. (Particularly on the last morning when we got some thick fog! Photos below…)

My main focus was the St. Mary’s Basilica in the main market square (Rynek Glówny) which is the largest medieval square in Europe. I visited here a number of times and took shots of the church framed around the pillars of the Cloth Hall in the centre of the square.

krakow architecture photography
I tried this shot a few mornings, each time with a vehicle in the way. Nevermind..!
krakow architecture photography
krakow architecture photography

The streets away from the busy square in the Old Town have a different vibe with some grand architecture. I enjoyed shooting street scenes day and night.

krakow architecture photography
krakow architecture photography
krakow architecture photography

Nowa Huta

Once I started researching things to do in Kraków I came across Nowa Huta, a new city in the east rapidly built in the 1950’s in the social-realist aesthetic of the time.

‘this movement was meant to promote the communist worldview by presenting labour-related themes and employing clarity of form. Its aim was to inspire subservient awe’ (https://culture.pl/en/article/nowa-huta-the-story-of-the-ideal-socialist-realist-city)


Dubbed the ‘perfect working-class city’ its utopian design was meant to foster a local community with each block having its own green space and key facilities within. I’m interested in residential design like this and I like to visit brutalist estates at home which had similar community fostering ideals but were often done unsuccessfully. I had expected to find something similar here but it was far from the sort. I especially liked the concrete renaissance and classical style shapes evident around the main square.

krakow architecture photography
Perfect black and white attire. Thank you..!
krakow architecture photography
Beautiful concrete columns
krakow architecture photography
krakow architecture photography
krakow architecture photography

Foggy

As promised here are the shots from a foggy morning in the Old Town. This was on the last day of our trip but fortunately the plane was not until midday. I would have been pig sick if I had missed these conditions..!

krakow architecture photography
krakow architecture photography
krakow architecture photography
One of the very few shots that needed the use of my telephoto lens. Could probably make do without it next time..!
krakow architecture photography
krakow architecture photography
krakow architecture photography
krakow architecture photography
krakow architecture photography

Thanks for reading. If you have enjoyed my photos please let me know in the comments 🙂

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