Jiri Lizler, a photographer living in the small town of Jilemnice, Czech Republic, was searching for a passion project that could liven up his landscape portfolio. He decided on a series of sunsets and architecture shoots in various cities throughout Europe. Armed with Google Maps and Sunseeker, an app that provides places and times to get the best quality photos, Jiri and his two photo assistants drove to Monaco, Italy and Austria. Yes, drove. Just your casual, impromptu drive to three of the most beautiful places in the world.
My goal was to make new and colorful images filled with emotion and different lighting scenarios and practice in a dynamic environment without any support of producers or agencies.
Jiri’s first stop was in Manarola, one of the Cinque Terre towns in northern Italy. Cinque Terre, made up of five small towns carved into difficult but beautiful terrain, boasts houses so bright and picturesque, they look like they were taken from a child’s coloring book. It’s no surprise that this town is flooded with tourists, 365 days a year. Jiri knew the crowds of mesmerized tourists would be an issue, so he planned accordingly. He and his team arrived five hours early with a blue hour shot in mind. Quickly realizing he wouldn’t be able to get the perfect shot, he improvised. He took pictures of his subjects before the blue hour hit, while the sun was behind some heavy clouds, and then added them in post to match his actual blue hour shots.
Next up: Hallstatt, Austria. In keeping with his Manarola schedule, Jiri set up six hours before sunset. He had planned to do a left to right panorama, requiring an extremely wide angle. To his surprise, he was bombarded with tourists equipped with selfie sticks who were not too keen on getting out of his way. To add to his headache, a pair of German photographers set up adjacent to Jiri. One of them was respectful to Jiri’s request to move over slightly while the other photographer entered into his shot with no signs of remorse. Forced to move his set-up, Jiri shot the rest of the town lights and hoped for the best in post. In the end, he actually wound up moving and masking every single light source in the picture to get the image he wanted.
Jiri repeated his formula at his last two stops, Venice and Monte Carlo: arrive hours early, fend off crowds, leave satisfied. His biggest challenge with the project was just the sheer amount of time it took—the travel time, the time spent waiting for the right lighting, and the time putting the pieces together in post production. But he says the final product made it all worth-while.
These images are making agencies stop, pause, and think – it sparks a conversation every time!
To view more of Jiri’s work, visit jirilizler.com!