Striking photograph of medieval castle at sunrise wins postcard competition
A stunning medieval Gothic castle snaking up a tree-covered hill shrouded in mist, low clouds clinging to its back and softly lit by the rising sun. This is the postcard that won the competition for the most beautiful Czech tourist postcard of 2023. Photographer Ladislav Renner took not just one, but an unbelievable five of the ten best winning photos. He told Czech Radio how the stunning picture was taken:
“It was a stroke of luck – one evening a friend of mine messaged me on Facebook that a space for a hot air balloon ride had become available at the last moment. The next day, early in the morning, I set out for Bezděz. It was my first ever hot air balloon ride so I was a bit scared but I survived and the conditions for the photos were perfect.”
Bezděz Castle, located about 20 kilometers south-east of Česká Lípa in northern Bohemia, was built in the 13th century by order of Ottokar II of Bohemia. It is one of several locations across the country that Renner has photographed for postcards and takes places in the top ten in the competition, including the countryside around his hometown Česká Lípa (2nd place), Trosky Castle (4th place), Jedlová in the Lusatia Mountains (6th place) and the Zvířetice Castle near Mladá Boleslav (7th place).
Renner’s Almost Too Good To Be True shots competed in the competition, now in its 26th year, with 74 postcards, 78 tourist calling cards, 62 calendars and 12 tourist diaries and passports. Although Renner says postcards are becoming a historical artifact, there are still some niche uses for them.
“People don’t send nearly as many postcards as they used to. Part of that has to do with costs, how the price of postage stamps is going up and so on. But there is a global post-crossing community where people all over the world send postcards to each other, there is an online system with its own rules. These people use postcards a lot.”
Renner, who has won the competition multiple times over the past few years, has never owned a car and travels the country by public transport, by bike or on his own two feet to capture his stunning shots. He is a self-taught photographer who first tried his hand at art at the age of 25, researching online and being inspired by experienced photographers whose work he enjoyed. He now photographs with both a camera and drone, photographing architecture, interiors and urban environments, as well as his iconic landscape photographs. If possible, he tries to combine his photo trips with family outings to show his two daughters the beauty of the Czech countryside.
“I fear that my dreams have already come true. The pinnacle of my photographic career for me was cooperation with the Czech Tourist Agency, which promotes the landscapes and monuments of our country all over the world, and thanks to which my photos have really arrived all over the world – at airports, wherever possible. Czech Tourism ran at least two advertising campaigns with my photos, it was really wonderful.”