36 Skylark Avenue

a rare vagrant

Weathered (aka y no new posts)

You might have already noticed that I’m a restless man. When I try something for the first time, I’m fascinated by it. For like a short moment. I’m immersed by that moment, but after the brief dissolution in the here-and-now, I have to move on, and find something else, I simply cannot remain stationary. Sometimes I feel that this was predestined by my name, as Csaba means something like ‘rover’ or ‘stray’.

In part, this is a good thing, urging me to expand my interests to vastly different things like, yeah, photography and blogging, but the list is much longer and quite colorful, ranging from cycling to motorsports, hiking, video games, travelling (doing it and reading and writing about it), computer programming and numbers in general, reading, skating, writing, translating, languages, acting & filmmaking (ok, that only happened once, but there it was) etc. etc. Yet it makes my life harder when it comes to more extensive projects which require long-term focus. Like a PhD, which I managed to procrastinate until 33 (some of my fellas completed that by 27, but then again, some of them pushed it until 40). And of course, the next step, which is turning that PhD into a proper, I mean ‘proper’ book. Which I’ve been procrastinating for the last 3 years.

Okay, enough of numbers, although I warned you I like them. The thing is, this year I absolutely have to finish that book. I have already started it, several times, actually, and made a good deal of progress. I’m starting to experience genuine flow, without which I think a book should never be written. But of course, producing a book requires a full person, and I have already cleared away everything I could to devote the next 5-6 months to that project. So this is my excuse for the year, put here in advance: I won’t be here as much as I’d love to. I mean, in terms of longer posts, so the textual part at least. It will be more like photos simply fired away, without my usual jabber.

Looking back, the first year of my blog was a truly unbelievable, reassuring and inspiring experience. I achieved so many things it’s hard to enumerate them. For years and years and years, my photos were resting unpublished on my hard drives, except for the occasional Facebook post and similar stuff. It was not easy, being something of an introvert except when not to put them out there. One year later, my stats tell me that the blog has in fact travelled around the world:

Location of visitors in 2017 according to WP

I would have never imagined this. I also reached 50 posts on instagram, launched a secondary ig-project, started a rudimentary Facebook page for the blog, and read more books on photography this year than ever before. There are even areas where the impact of my blogging spread to my extra-blog life, too. After long deliberation and hesitation, I finally entered a photography competition with a short photo-essay, and I received a shared 2nd price (the text is in Hungarian, but you can check the shots here, and one day I’m gonna produce an English version of it).  There are several similar projects crisscrossing in my mind, some of them already being worked on.

So I just wanna thank you all for a wonderful 2017, which was lived to the fullest extent, thanks partly to the blog, and partly to the person who made me start it, and who also made me cope with a number of difficult things in my life. This year, I will probably seem a bit weathered. But you know, it’s just that right now I’m sailing my ship through the storm.

In spite of rock and tempest’s roar,
In spite of false lights on the shore,
Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea!

Featured post

My first attempt at a contest with a photo essay – Takeaway Szeged (2nd prize, text in Hungarian).
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Beloved in Budapest, Birmingham, Oxford and Prague.



An autumn-seeming winter’s day in Soltvadkert, Hungary.

East and West

I grew up in a little village (Maroslele) only a stone’s throw from two international borders in Southern Hungary, one leading to Romania, and the other to Serbia (still Yugoslavia back in the day). Now this village is a “sleepy hollow” indeed, as if time would have come to a complete halt there. Of course you don’t really get to notice this while you are sheltered by this very “bell jar”. Maybe this is why I never got to cross these two borders (or any other borders) until I was 20 years old. Eventually, my belated first longer cross-border trips led not to the two nearby Southern countries but in the opposite direction, to Slovakia, to Austria, to Germany, a 2007 train journey being my most significant travel experience then.

Ten years later I faced an opportunity to travel to Cluj-Napoca/Kolozsvár in Romania. I decided right away that I’d celebrate the 10th anniversary of that trip to the North/West with a similarly extensive train journey to the East/South. And of course, I wanted to play a bit with the old photos, reproducing variations of some of my older pics. So many things have changed (most importantly, I spent three years working in one of those neighboring countries), and it took a while to realise that one of the most powerful forces shaping my life is this enduring tension between East and West.

Sitting on the train watching a photo taken while I was sitting on a train
My reading (an English book) then…
… and now (a Hungarian book)

And in the rest of the series, YOU decide which is West, which is East



The Last Tram of Budapest (plus a lovely clip)

The final outbound service from an abandoned metropolis covered in snow and silence.

While working on the post, I came across a charming YouTube clip (serendipity, huh?). Cameras were invented for such clips, “recording the moments in which the mundane becomes the historic”.

What was the attraction of the tram? The smooth, straight rails gave us a sense of security no other road vehicle could provide. A sense of cosiness, too, as the passengers rattled home in a warm atmosphere of steamed up windows, of damp coats and mackintoshes. This feeling of home was heightened by the friendliness of the crew.

Source of the quote:

24 from 17


It was a desperately long train journey. A mother was sitting opposite me, caressing her little baby who was crying for hours and hours. It totally exhausted me. Just like her brother, occupied with his toy computer, incessantly whining and shrieking meanwhile. I needed a break, so I went to the dining car. A young couple was all over each other there, and it just ruined my appetite. I went back, the mother had already left, and I was almost starting to feel relieved. Enter a policeman in blue uniform and an elegant manager. They were arguing in a loud, violent manner, like buffoons on an empty stage. I was happy to finally arrive at the station. I entered the customs office. A shabby old man was sitting there with spectacles on his nose. He carefully read through all the pages of my passport, and then on the very last page, he stamped the word ‘Oblivion’.

Bad shots

In his inspiring book, The Art of Photography, Bruce Barnbaum writes:

Before moving on, it would be worthwhile to study your photographs slowly
while considering the questions posed in the first chapter, in order to better evaluate your own work. I feel that such an evaluation is extremely valuable and
should be done periodically.

It’s been one and a half years since I stepped up my photographing activity, when I confessed to myself that this is something truly important for me. From this spring, after the acquisition of a new camera, I’ve been constantly taking photos. Continue reading “Bad shots”

November, remember

I’ve always wanted to peek into the head of strangers.

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