Photography & Poland: Lessons Learned

I was in a bit of a hurry getting through Poland.  I quickly found out that was a mistake.  The minute I stepped off the train in Gdansk, I knew I needed more time in the city. And, the fact that it poured rain on me the entire time I was in the city certainly didn’t help my mood.  Then, after leaving Gdnask I noticed how stunning Warsaw is.  Of course, I had planned on skipping Warsaw in favour of Krakow.  But, you can’t lead a boy into a candy store and tell him to choose just one thing, it’s not fair.  Poland, is a photographer’s candy shop.  I was definitely taken by surprise by how stunning it is.  From a planning standpoint, Poland was full of lessons learned.  And, if there’s any destination I’ve been in Europe that I need to go back and spend more time in, it’s this country.

Below, as is always the case, I have a video from my time here in Poland, and then some information and thoughts about the destinations, and some photography.

Rain and Lesson Learned in Gdansk

I arrived in Gdansk at night, and in the rain.  I honestly hadn’t checked the forecast at all before arriving.  I just booked an apartment, and went.  Of course, when I arrived in town and saw that the weather was meant to be pouring rain for the entire 3 days I was there, I was devastated.  I’ve been so busy in Europe thus far, I haven’t really been planning, I’ve just been going and wishing for the best.  But, had I looked at the forecast, I would have seen that the weather was miserable, and changed to spend time in Warsaw instead.

What made things worse was that I saw how stunning the city is, and I couldn’t photograph it the way I wanted to.  That kind of hurt.  And, since I had already paid for my accommodation, I had to sit there in the rain hoping that it would clear up.

Gdansk, Poland

Hanging out in the rain in Gdansk

Gdansk, Poland

The lessons learned here, as a photographer are 1) always check the weather forecast. It’s not worth your time to sit in an expensive bit of accommodation if you’re not earning any money.  And 2) go out and shoot even if it’s raining.  Even in the rain, I found a couple places to shoot in the city where I didn’t get soaked doing so.  I only went shooting one morning, and I came away with 5 or 6 images I really like.

Quick Thoughts on Gdnask

  • Maybe the most beautiful city I’ve seen in Europe.
  • Amazing craft beer and foodie scene. The Gdansk Hotel has an awesome little pub full of both.
  • I need to go back. I’m already planning a return. Such a cool place.
Gdansk, Poland

Love these houses on the canals in Gdnask

Gdansk, Poland

The main street in Gdansk

Is Krakow Overrated?

After Gdansk, I caught the train down to Krakow.  And, to be honest, I wasn’t really blown away by it.  I think that in comparison to Gdansk, it’s not nearly as visually appealing.  It didn’t help that the central square was taken over by a giant concert stadium that had been erected for the New Year’s celebrations.  But, I thought there were a lot of tourists, and it didn’t get me the same way Gdansk did.  Still, it is a pretty place, and made for some decent photography even though I only had limited time there.

Photos from Krakow

I only shot one sunset and one sunrise in Krakow, and the light wasn’t mind-blowing either time as it was a bit overcast.  But, the city certainly does photograph well.

Krakow, Poland

The main square in Krakow. Love this cathedral!

Krakow, Poland

Arches always make for great photos.

Krakow, Poland

Swans sharing how I felt shooting in the rain back in Gdansk.

Krakow, Poland

I would totally live in that boat.

Krakow, Poland

Swan exposure.

Krakow, Poland

Blue hour on the river.

What’s Next on the Travel Photography Blog?

After leaving Poland, I headed into Budapest to celebrate the New Year in style. I stayed at the top rated hotel in Budapest, and it was amazing.  Stay tuned for the video footage and photos from that stay.

Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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  1. Hey! Interesting thoughts and lessons learned. Congrats on the positive attitude you preserved despite the weather conditions. Thing about Poland is that the weather is like that for approximately half of the year, so you have to get used to it, if you plan on going back and staying longer.
    I enjoyed you wide angle shots for architecture. What lens did you make it with?
    I’m from Poland, in Krakow was also a 1-day visitor last year – have a look on my blog 🙂 cheers!

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  2. Hey I love your blog and the pictures of this article are incredible

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  3. Poland is one of the most underrated countries in Europe, and I’m not saying this because I’m from here. The majority of people who visit are surprised how beautiful and picturesque the country is. What I like the most about Poland is how big and diverse the country is, you can experience all the best of Europe here. When you come next time and will be in Warsaw let me know, I will gladly show you around! Cheers!

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    • I have been in Poland, I staying in Kielce then we went to Krakow but not Gdansk yet. In my mind Poland is a wonderful country, I love it. I love Polish countryside, food I like it’s Bigos and Pierogi. When I try to browsing the information about Poland from travel forum I didn’t find enough travel advisor about, only some independent travel blog has doing well.

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