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Locality:Hungary
Date:1/7/2015
Winner of National Geographic Photo Contest taken at Széchenyi Thermal Baths Budapest
Winner of National Geographic Photo Contest taken at Széchenyi Thermal Baths BudapestA famous photo, (below) taken two years ago at the Széchenyi Thermal Baths in Budapest, Hungary by a visiting Singaporean photographer was the winner of the 2014 National Geographic Photo contest in the "places" category....

Winner of National Geographic Photo Contest taken at Széchenyi Thermal Baths Budapest
A famous photo, (below) taken two years ago at the Széchenyi Thermal Baths in Budapest, Hungary by a visiting Singaporean photographer was the winner of the 2014 National Geographic Photo contest in the "places" category. Hungary Tourism tracked down tour guide Nagy Gábor, who aided photographer Triston Yeo and his photography tour group and explained how it came to be taken (and among other things, why they ended up lying on an icy Lake Balaton in the small hours.)

„Throughout the eight days of the photo tour, we hardly saw the sun. It was damp and murky the whole time. For a while, we thought that visibility conditions might mean the end of the trip, but gradually we came to see that this was the essence of the trip, and we became sensitive to the palest, most delicate colours that appeared fleetingly."

Tour guide and photographer Gábor Nagy counts this 2012 photo tour as one of his most memorable assignments ever. For more than a week, he shepherded the 14 Southeast Asian photography enthusiasts and their professional leader Triston Yeo.

"From the first moments, Triston Yeo took control of the professional schedule, and at all times, the 14 photographers knew what they were supposed to be doing. In practice, this meant lying out on the ice of the frozen Lake Balaton at the marina in Balatonfüred an hour before sunrise, or flailing around in 20cm mud at Lake Tisza looking for subjects. At our hotel in the evenings, we would often continue with after-dinner photography seminars late into the night."

Triston Yeo and the photo tour participants in Hungary, 2012. (Photo: Gábor Nagy.)

Triston, who according to Gábor, was a slightly obsessive photography jack-of-all-trades, did sometimes slacken the reins. Then his students would dump their expensive camera equipment to jump in the snow, as the very sight of snow at all was quite amazing for many of them.

Tip! Check out the sights and activities at Lake Balaton in the off season.

Around the middle of the tour, they arrived at the capital Budapest, which had a real curiosity, the mist over the thermal baths. They really wanted to capture the evening light through it, and they certainly succeeded.

An interesting urban photographic concept was born in Gabor's mind, which came from the contrast between the Ice Rink and the Széchenyi Baths and suggested the name "Hot spot vs. Ice Age."

After a little effort, we gained permission from the thermal baths to take photographs at the Széchenyi baths, which caused unexpected enthusiasm in the Singaporean photographer. The Hungarian tour guide added that "Actually, we all have the picture which won the competition, even me, just not quite the same."

Triston Yeo, Singapore. "Bathing in Budapest", the winning photo of the 2014 National Geographic photography competition, places category. Image courtesy of ©National Geographic 

"The thermal baths of Budapest are a favourite pastime, especially in winter. We were so lucky to receive special permission from the Széchenyi Baths to go in and take photos, and all thanks to Gábor. I adored the mist, caused by the difference in temperature between the hot spa water and the cool atmosphere.  It gave the entire bathing experience a mystical and surreal feeling," the winner Triston wrote about the image.

"As you can see, most of the students were gathered in the central part of the spa, as it provides an unobscured view of the Thermal Spa. However, the winning picture was taken in a quiet corner over a wire mesh, chosen specifically to give the finished photo sense of voyeurism and the mesh helped to create more depth – it is as if I had been spying on the bathers. Well, actually it was sort of true... "

Triston seemed to feel that something great was going to be created, because we could not get him off the Széchenyi Baths balcony, even when all of us, including myself, had completely worn out the topic - remembers Gabor Nagy. "I remember that he had almost put down roots and we could not speak to him. This well-travelled photographer, had never seen such a wintery explosion of colours, such an urban fairy tale world. Now I understand why he spent more than an hour on that winning image, while the tripod was not moved once."

Good to know! In winter, a great many people choose the Széchenyi baths, on average more than 4000 tickets to the City Park bath are sold daily. Most of the swimmers are international tourists.

According to Szilvia Czinege, Sales and Marketing Director of the Gyógyfürdői és Hévízei Zrt (Budapest Spas cPLC): "It's been a very good year for the domestic baths. There were months when the tourist traffic was more than 20 percent higher than tourist traffic in the previous year!"

See more sensational Tristan Yeo images of Hungary on the photographer's official website.

 

 
 

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