<<< o >>>Buzludzha #1 15 comments + add yours

According to wikipedia ...

"Buzludzha is a historical peak in the Central Stara Planina mountain range in Bulgaria and is 1441 metres high. In 1868 it was the place of the final battle between Bulgarian rebels led by Hadji Dimitar and Stefan Karadzha and the Turks. In 1891 the socialists, led by Dimitar Blagoev, assembled secretly in the area to form an organised socialist movement. In honour of this act the Buzludzha Monument was built."

However, despite the fact that the monument was opened in 1981, to celebrate the 1300th anniversary of the founding of the Bulgarian state, it's now a ruin: the roof is full of holes, the windows are gone, the murals inside the building are crumbling, and the building is covered in graffiti and anti-communist slogans.

So, that's the history ...

Last Friday, Craig and I headed up there and parked in the car park at the bottom of the hill. We then spent the next 25 minutes dragging ourselves up the extremely steep path, and arrived panting, on the verge of a coronary, at the summit. We then discovered the road, which would have been a slightly easier way to get there :)

Anyway, I'm still researching the building, so can't tell you much more about it at this stage – other than that it's definitely one of the most fascinating buildings I've ever come across – but do have another four shots that I'll post at some point soon. If you're interested, Craig has posted a slightly more natural interpretation of the interior here:


As always, let me know what you think.

On a technical note ...

I've categorised this one as an HDR image, but it's not, at least not in a technical sense. I did use multiple exposures (a bracketed sequence of 11 images: 1 EV spacing, 1/250s to 4s), but manually blended them rather than creating a 32 HDR bit image which I then tone mapped. I did try using Photomatix Pro but, on this occasion, couldn't produce a version I was especially happy with. The 'show the original', in this instance, is the .5s exposure from the original sequence.

3x2 + HDR + travel [Bulgaria] + show the original
comment by Matteo at 07:19 AM (GMT) on 27 October, 2010

Breathtaking, one of the most beautiful shots of yours, IMHO. Communist alien spaceship incoming!

comment by Garry at 07:35 AM (GMT) on 27 October, 2010

Fantastic building :)
Looks like part of the set from "close encounters..."

comment by Matt O'Sullivan at 08:22 AM (GMT) on 27 October, 2010

Wow, amazing place!

comment by steve deer at 10:32 AM (GMT) on 27 October, 2010

dave...impressive... what did you tonemap the file with then?

comment by djn1 at 10:41 AM (GMT) on 27 October, 2010

Matteo, Garry and Matt: thanks.

Steve: it's not tonemapped. I started with one of the brightest exposures then blended in seven of the darker exposures, masking them to prevent them from blocking the areas I wanted to remain bright. It was a bit time consuming, but the only way I could get this one to work.

comment by Carlos Garcia at 12:02 PM (GMT) on 27 October, 2010

Stunning image David. I love old structures like this. They evoke an interesting mix of history, sadness and wonder at the untold story of it's demise. Fantastic processing.

comment by Tim at 12:28 PM (GMT) on 27 October, 2010

Fascinating image -- evokes a great sadness for the hopes but failure of Marxism -- reminds me of a great exhibition i saw in Amsterdam of Soviet Art/Architecture from after the Revolution. All the drawings looked like Gotham City but none of it ever got built...

comment by Chris Yakimov at 02:46 PM (GMT) on 27 October, 2010

Incredible image - a rich... emblem? of the pageantry of history. I definitely thought it was HDR. Regardless, the treatment works for me: rich, intriguing and slightly intimidating. Seems apt.

comment by Paul Mansfield at 03:30 PM (GMT) on 27 October, 2010

Fantastic work, the colours and light!

comment by Steve at 11:06 PM (GMT) on 27 October, 2010

The new Nik HDR Efex Pro plug-in is worth looking at, it's less trial and error than Photomatix in my - albeit limited - experience with it so far.

comment by Chris at 03:54 AM (GMT) on 28 October, 2010

This is unbelievable, architecture is extremely fascinating. You captured and were able to post-process so much detail. Again, that should not surprise your visitors who know your work well. Technical question, did you try the exposure fusion option in Photomatix or just the tone-mapping feature?

comment by djn1 at 06:02 AM (GMT) on 29 October, 2010

Thanks everyone.

Steve: I'll take a look at that plugin.

Chris: I tried the Details Enhancer and the Fusion option, but didn't like either version all that much - I just couldn't get the light balanced in a way that would make a good starting point for subsequent post-production.

comment by Patrick Dodds at 12:25 PM (GMT) on 31 October, 2010

This is breathtaking - what a fantastic building.

comment by Mat at 08:43 AM (GMT) on 7 January, 2011

Just saw the link on Craig's blog to the pic of this place before it was ruined. It's still atmospheric but what a decline. Quite unbelievable!

comment by Calin C. at 08:42 AM (GMT) on 15 July, 2011

The quality of this photo is amazing! Like all your other photos :)

The building, almost make me feel the communist glory and what it represent. I'm not a communist, don't get me wrong, but no architecture should be a ruin, no matter who or under what politic direction was build.

I don't know if I'm allowed, but here is a comparison in images between opening day and now: http://mavar.byethost16.com/index.php/topic,275.0.html

The link is in Bulgarian, but this makes not difference.