First of all, my official name is properly spelled as Kerék Dániel. It starts with my family name because I’m Hungarian. Hungarians put their family names first.
One little piece of information that may be new, but interesting to you.
Another tiny step ahead to knowing the world around you better…
That’s why I’ve created this website.
To share with you interesting travel facts, stories, and beautiful images.
To inspire you to discover this wonderful world and help make the most out of your travels wherever you go.
So that you’ll possibly be able to share your travel experiences with your friends and family in a better, more joyful way.
Inspiration 1: a trip to Greece
I grew up in Hungary, “behind the iron curtain”.
In the 1980s Hungarians could travel to the West only every 3rd year.
Each person was allowed to take only 50 US dollars abroad.
In 1987 my parents managed to collect some money enough for a one-month family holiday in Greece.
Needless to say, the official limit of $250 (for five of us) would not do the job.
My father changed a nice sum of forints to dollars in the black market.
It was well worth it!
It was the travel of my life. I was the happiest 12-year-old boy in the world.
I had planned our trip carefully starting to draw maps even the autumn before.
My family completely trusted my route choice that would give us a joyful and memorable Greek holiday.
It included a lot of famous ruins and old cities. Basically, that was all about it: Kerkyra, Olympia, Sparta, Mycenae, Athens, etc.
Every second or third day we would move on to a different camping site on a different beach.
It was wonderful.
We didn’t care about the heat, the constant breakdowns of the car (a light yellow Škoda 120), or eating the cheap Hungarian canned pork liver paste every morning.
We loved every bit of our first “Western” travel experience.
Inspiration 2: Sylvester Stallone and the High Tatras
I’d never been hiking in high mountains until I got 17.
I had an old Geography teacher who took regular trips to the High Tatras with the high school students.
One of these trips was organized during the Christmas break.
I’ll never forget that chilly morning when I first got to see the stunning snow-capped peaks of the High Tatras.
It was freezing cold, but my heart was set on fire by the sight—I was more than thrilled that I was about to tramp these mountains for a few days to come. It was fantastic.
Half a year later I saw Cliffhanger with Sylvester Stallone and wanted to try rock climbing.
A summer trip to the High Tatras offered great, but dangerous opportunities and I think I was quite lucky that without any experience and equipment I did not suffer any accidents. Don’t do the same, please.
But, of course, I definitely recommend hiking among the highest peaks of the Carpathians…
Inspiration 3: Galen Rowell
Since then I have visited a good number of countries and taken many thousands of travel photos.
I bought my first SLR camera (a Pentax ME F) in 1997 in the Netherlands and started shooting primarily slide film.
Although I used my camera extensively throughout my travels, nature photography became my focus.
A breakthrough discovery took place looking in a shop window of a Budapest subway bookshop in 2001.
A huge photography book by Galen Rowell looked back at me.
It was the Hungarian edition of the Italian publication La mia America, seemingly an updated version of Rowell’s original North America the Beautiful.
As I opened it, my jaw dropped. I’d never seen such amazing landscape photos before.
I felt a burning desire to reveal the secret behind the making of these stunning images.
Soon I found out about the article series Rowell had published for years in Outdoor Photographer.
I read them all and kept experimenting and learning out in the field.
I bought a Nikon F3, Nikkor lenses, Cokin filters, a Manfrotto tripod, and lots of Fuji Velvia slide film.
The rest is history. Well, probably not for you, but definitely for me : )
In 2002 I decided I’d try my skills in a “hardcore” environment. I made a 6-month trip to New Zealand with my wife. You can read more about it here.
Inspiration 4: cityscapes, monuments, and Henri Cartier-Bresson
Having arrived back home I spent countless hours scanning my slides and editing the photos.
I kept shooting slide film with my Nikon F3 until 2006 when I bought my first DSLR camera, a Nikon D200, which I still use today.
After shooting landscape images extensively, I took more and more city photos primarily to expand my portfolio and upload them to stock photography sites.
I was particularly blown away by a Budapest exhibition of Henri Cartier-Bresson.
I visited the venue alone and took my time to absorb the fantastic work of one of the greatest photographers in history.
I could describe this experience as an understanding of what photography as an art is and that its very essence is that it vibrates with the energy of life.
I keep on rolling…
Today I enjoy shooting both nature and cultural images during my travels, which nowadays are mostly family holidays with three kids and short getaways to neighbouring cities (e.g. Budapest, Vienna, Bratislava, Trieste) and countries (e.g. Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Italy, and Romania).
And one more thing about my name: Kerék means “wheel” in Hungarian.
So if you feel like, you can roll on with me.
Thanks for reading!