Prague...request for information

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by paul_sharratt, Oct 21, 2008.

  1. Hi all,

    A large family group is off to London and then Prague in late November. I'm looking for suggestions in both cities for:
    Camera Stores for B&W film (home bought Efka/Adox?), Leica, general interest (any good used equipment stores in
    Prague?);
    Photography Galleries;
    Good street photography locations;
    Locations that say "London" / "Prague"
    Where to eat! and drink!!!!
    What to do with toddlers (who shoot with a Leica!).

    Thanks.
     
  2. For Prague, right in the centre of town there is a really fine photoshop that will have all your needs. Photoskoda is located in Vodi?kova (that's the street name) and is very easy to find (but hard to leave the store).

    The website is here:

    http://www.fotoskoda.cz/intro.asp?lang=en

    As for good street photography locations, there are too many to list. Prague is known as the Paris of the East and it has this reputation for a good reason (I like it more than Paris actually). Don't worry about finding locations, just make sure you have plenty of film (and memory if you are also taking digital) because your biggest concern won't be in finding photographic locations, but in trying not to shoot everything. It's really a magical city and in November there could be snow, which will add to the atmosphere.

    As for Paris, it's a little bit the same. Too many locations for photography to list and a good way to get around is on the tourist buses. There are several routes and you can buy 2-day tickets for the buses that allow you to hop on and off whenever you like. I'm not so familiar with photography stores in Paris, but a couple of useful links:

    http://www.gisparis.com/paris_shopping/shopping_a_camera_in_paris.htm

    and (photo.net's own guide to Paris):

    http://www.photo.net/france/paris

    Regards,

    Peter
     
  3. Prague is way to expensive for used equipment. In Prague you can get excellent Foma b&w films and papers for a good
    price. (You can get them at Fotoskoda, see above). Usually Prague is a good place to visit photo exhibitions and to get
    good and rather cheap photographic books - in Czech Republic life excellent photographers. If you like heavy and fat food,
    Prague is the place to go. Restaurants in the touristic center are usually not very good and expensive. Beer is excellent (try
    for example "Bernard"), wine from Moravia normally below average.
     
  4. OMG -- Czech beer is outstanding. Try the absinthe as well, it's legal!
     
  5. For cheap films I go to "Be Foto" (www.befoto.cz - only in Czech). Cheaper then Foto Skoda. For example they have Ilford Pan 400 for 70Kc - Skoda has it for 85Kc.
     
  6. Prague in November can be superb for photography, especially if misty. I find it best to get out early - before
    breakfast and before the tourists crowd the place, especially on Karlov Most (don't sit on the parapet).

    If you're reasonably fit, climb the cobbled Zámecké schody steps to Nove Hrady - good photos. There can be some
    great early evening night shots from the citadel walls at the eastern end of Jirská, especially if the sky is
    clear - indigo sky with the city lights, etc. There are some good small restaurants a short walk from the west
    end of Karlov Most, around Josefská and Thunovská - not the cheapest or best, but a sensible stopping point
    before the haul up to the castle
    (especially if the weather is cold/damp). Plan you visit for the theatrical razzmatazz of the changing of the
    guard at the entrance to Nové Hrady - check times locally, get there early (I haven't seen it for a while,
    hopefully it still happens).

    Vysehrad can be pleasantly quiet, and you can pay respects to Bedřich Smetana, Antonin Dvorak and other
    celebrated Czechs ..... It can be a bit bleak there in winter though.

    Prague can be pretty darn cold in November, minus 2-5 C ain't unusual, even in daytime, regardless of global warming
    - which is a great excuse for regularly slipping into a bar for a Merunkovice (apricot schnapps) and kave (coffe) to
    warm up ....... Some small restaurants in the quieter streets in the city cater mainly for office/shop workers
    and are only open on weekdays: these are usually good value and serve more traditional dishes as well as many of
    the better beers like Staropramen Granat and the original, genuine, real, tasty 'Bud' and, of course, many others.

    The Lucerna Arcade between Štěpánská and Vodičkova (off Václavské náměstí) features the infamous Upside Down Horse
    sculpture - but the Art Nouveau Cafe is much more interesting IMO - not particularly cheap, but good coffee and
    cake (I haven't been there for a while tho').

    Museums and exhibitions often require 'large bags' to be left in the cloakrooms - I've never had a problem, but
    it can be unnerving. If you like exotic rocks and minerals (some folk do!) take a trip around the National
    Museum (Czech Rep. has superb geology). And finally, many of the mini-concerts on offer at lunchtimes and in the
    early evenings are actually very well done - prices vary, be choosy. Enjoy! AC
     
  7. I can't help much with Prague, but I live in London.

    There are loads of good places to take photos, the tube network is popular for street photography, but the South Bank, Covent Garden and Borough Market are also popular. The City (aka. the Square Mile) is good for very "Londony" pictures and photgenic buildings. A typical photographic day out for me is starting at Vauxhall (Vauxhall station and the MI6 building) and walking along the South Bank thames past the Houses of Parliament to Borough Market and Tower Bridge. It's quite a walk though.

    Prices of equipment in London are quite high, but there is a lot of shops.

    My favourites are the Leica Store in Pied Bull Yard (hard to find, but here: http://maps.google.co.uk/?q=WC1A%202JR) and Aperture (on Museum Street, a few hundred meters from the Leica Store).

    There's also Caplan's (http://www.richardcaplan.co.uk/, near the other two), plus Red Dot Cameras and Nicholas Camera (not so central), but I've not used them.

    For more general stuff and film, Jacobs on New Oxford Street (near Tottenham Court Road tube station) is good.

    Silverprint (http://www.silverprint.co.uk/) near Waterloo station carries a lot of film, but it's closed on the weekends.

    Branches of Snappy Snaps (all over the city, look for green and yellow signs) carry Ilford and/or Kodak B&W film, and a couple can develop B&W - the ones I know of are in Kensington and Pimlico, but there are more. Some can do 120 rollfilm too. Quality of development varies, but most are OK.

    Travelling around London with toddlers is difficult I'm afraid, the streets are very crowded, and the tube network gets really packed in the morning and evening. Busses are more child friendly, but pretty slow.

    The Photographers Gallery (http://www.photonet.org.uk/) is usually good, and the Tate Galleries (one's in Pimlico, one's on the South Bank) often have photo exhibitions. Magnum and Getty sometimes have public exhibitions too.

    From November onwards the Nation History Museum hosts the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition which has always been pretty amazing in the past.

    It's hard to recommend somewhere to eat, I tend to go places where children wouldn't be welcome. There's loads of guides though, Harden's is reliable, and available for free online – don't believe anything you read in Time Out. If you have a large group you'll probably need to book, or wait a while for a table. There are a lot of restaurants, many amazing, but some terrible. The best ones have months long waiting lists, but can often fit in small groups for lunch if you turn up on-spec.
     
  8. FotoSkoda is a reliable and professional store where you can get anything from Leica M till Voigtländer, the newest Sony DSLR 25+ Mpix camera and a lot of films and photopaper (Foma also) even the Dutch photochemicals from Amaloco.

    In case you need precise info where to shoot with a Leica-M, you can send me a PM. Or maybe you can join our model seminar in Prague while your family is have a city trip with one of our guides.

    http://www.fotohuisrovo.nl/documentatie/Seminar_Praha.pdf

    best regards,

    Robert (from Holland)
     
  9. Prague is beautiful. If you're looking for inspiration take a look at Josef Sudek's work. I'm sure your local library will have some of his books.
     
  10. I didn't go in to FotoSkoda, but the photo shops i did go in to in Prague seemed to have every Olympus digital model of the
    time available. I was hoping to find a soviet panorama film camera for cheap, but didn't. It is probably the most picturesque
    city i have ever been to. My wife criticized me for seeing the city only on the 1.5 inch screen of my 60d canon. it has been 2
    or 3 years since i have been there, and i still weekly pull up the 2000 some photos i took and continue to re-edit and re-explore
    the images. you will have a blast. ps, absinthe is legal in the u.s. now, it just isn't well advertised. Portland even has it's own
    distillery already... http://www.integrityspirits.com/trillium-absinthe.html ... just another reason to love Portland!!
     
  11. Just to add to the fairly extensive info above. Foto Skoda (Skoda is name of the owner BTW) is good if you want to
    buy film. They will have almost everything you want. Many locals including many those living outside Prague buy
    their gear there. But it is more expensive than in the US. Films are about 35% more expensive than at Adorama and
    cheaper than on Broadway. TriX sells at CZK119, which is about $6. Everything will be more expensive in Czech
    Republic (and Europe) than in the US including Leica so no benefit of buying it here. The selection of Leica gear will
    be very limited too.

    There is a shop not far from Foto Skoda named Foto Pazdera (guess what, Pazdera is name of the owner) and they
    do only second hand gear. You can buy all sort of stuff related to picture and film taking. I have not seen any Leica
    gear there for a while. The shop is basically in the sight from Skoda, but on the other side of the street past the KFC
    restaurant.

    I live about 80 miles away from Prague, but I bring all my C-41 films to Foto Skoda and I print all my B&W scans
    there too. They are hopeless processing B&W. In fact they do not develop B&W themselves, but they send them
    god knows where, and those guys will screw your negatives.

    Enjoy Praha and 'Na zdraví'

    Pavel
     

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