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Soča Valley Instameet

Soča Valley is one of the most beautiful and most visited parts of Slovenia, but a bit remote too – it takes two hours to get there from Ljubljana by car! It was the sixth Instameet by Igslovenia but first one at such a remote location so it took us a while to finally decide to do it. We have partnered with Dolina Soče tourist organisation and it’s representative and @socavalley administrator, Tatjana, has greeted us on Saturday morning in the charming small city of Kobarid. It was the first time that Sanja and me didn’t meet any of the participants before and they didn’t know each other so we were breaking the ice with coffee while waiting to enter the small bus, courtesy of Dolina Soče.

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It didn’t take long since the light is important for photographers and we were all there just for that – to take some photos together.

Soča Valley is very beautiful, long and popular. Success of the photos with Soča River can be compared to those with Bled Island, at least on our Instagram account. These photos are usually taken from 4 – 5 different locations  between Kobarid and the end of Trenta Valley (where is the source of Soča River). But the valley has so much more to offer and we are never satisfied with the obvious so we decided to start with some parts of the valley which are not so well known.

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Nadiža River is technically not a part of the valley – it’s turqoise waters, torrential during the frequent storms, originate under the massive Stol range. At the foot of mount Matajur it turns south, crosses the border into Italy and concludes it’s 60 kilometer journey when it joins the river Ter (Torre). Who would care about details like this since it is only a few minutes drive from Kobarid and it is in summer populated not only by locals but by people even from Nova Gorica, almost 50 km away – still  by the Soča River. And with a reason – it is very warm and has carved out pools and gorges, as well as depositing numerous shingle beaches. It is one of the cleanest and warmest Alpine rivers, some even say it has healing properties.

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Tatjana was also part time our tour guide and she proposed to start exploring with Nadiža throughs, one of the most beautiful parts of the river and even less crowded since the access by cars is forbidden. We parked the bus in a small village Kredo to reach the river after 10 minutes walk which was not without surprises.

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We had to cross the river with a hanging bridge and find a narrow steep path to the throughs – not without some effort but for a good reason though!

 

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The untouched wild beauty just put everybody in his own movie and the day finally really begun.

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More surprises on the way back to the bus – how to persuade one of the two horses to step over the wires back into its designated places. Just one hint – success is not proportional to the number of photographers who want to help:).

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Next stop on the Nadiža River was the famous Napoleon Bridge. The famous stone bridge crossing the Nadiža gorge dates to around 1812 and stands mute testament to the routes crossing the area since at least the time of Ancient Rome. The bridge used to form part of the ancient route from Pradol and Robidišče along the Nadiža riverand further to the east. Current bridge was built at the time of the French emperor’s conquests, hence its name. Its uniqueness and technical accomplishment make it a precious architectural monument and a memorial to times past.

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The bridge is just a few steps from the road so we were all immediately in full action – searching for different views, angles and approaches.

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We were never short of voluntary models.

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Of all sexes…

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and species…:)

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Photo by Ingmar Wein

There is a great photo of our dog, Tara, also in @sebo262‘s feed!

 

Our next destination was Robidišče: The village of Robidišče lies on the western edge of Slovenia. From the north, west and south it is enclosed by the state border. Across the border lies the Venetian Slovenia to which the village always gravitated. The old village is itself a living monument of times past.

After WW2 in 1947 Robidišče was cut off from Venetian Slovenia by the Iron curtain. Because of this more than 150 locals packed their belongings onto wagons, crossed the border into Italy and never returned. The village was drastically changed in 1976 when an earthquake with magnitude 8 on Richter scale shook the village. The reconstruction of the village was never completed and the village decreased. In 1869 the village had 178 inhabitants and in 1910 the number rose to 228. In 1991 there were only 17 people living in Robidišče and the number fell to 8 in 2000.

 Robidišče is a nice starting point for hiking in the neighbourhood and admiring the old architecture. The highlight is the Vanče’s house which is over 300 years old and in which the original smoke kitchen is preserved. /breginjskikoten.wordpress.com/

IMG_5600The village is charming but we have to admit that itself does not offer many photo opportunities – the village is small and houses renewed . We didn’t say it offers none though:)

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There is a magnificent view on Mt. Stol just beside the village but the sun was already pretty high and the skies clear – sunrise or sunset are definitely worth trying.

It was a hot day and after two working stops a short break with courtesy refreshments at Turistična kmetija Robidišče made no harm to anybody. The all local food was great too but we had to leave. Hop-on, Hop-off bus was waiting on us. It was his first day on duty in the season or better to say, a pre-day of duty since it served only our group – otherwise it is a seasonal service which a few times a day drives to some more remote tourist destinations like Robidišče. Visitors thus don’t need to drive their cars or rent them and are also start their cycling or hiking tours at the optimal starting points etc..

FullSizeRender-19Narrow and steep road took us again over the Nadiža upper stream, a pretty popular bathing spot and quite crowded already, so we just checked out @ingmarwein‘s levitation skills. We have already found out before that Tina of @followsunsets is a great model:)

Our next destination was Breginj, a village nested bellow Mt. Stol. The clustered old Breginj was an architectural pearl of Venetian Slovenian architecture. The ground plan of the village was round with concentric alleys called landrone. Most of the houses were built from stone with wooden exterior corridors (gank), stairways, balconies (linde) positioned on wooden or stone pillars with big overhangs and agricultural frescoes on the facade. The farmhouses were joined by intriguing sets of underpasses and overpasses. After the earthquake of 1976 the whole village was completely rebuilt. The remaining traditional houses are now a local museum/breginjskikoten.wordpress.com/

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Unfortunately rebuilding the village was focused only to give the people shelter and no historical elements were taken into account. Bot location itself is a very charming one and there are some views on the village, the mountains and the church above the village we wanted to explore.

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A short examination from the best photo spot above the village cut down our expectations  – it was middle of the day and clear skies, the light not appropriate for taking photos there so we decided to leave it for some other time. Photos above are from our previous visit.

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One of the most popular destinations around Kobarid and in the valley itself is a Kozjak Waterfall. The picturesque Kozjak waterfall is caught in a stony amphitheatre not far away from Kobarid. It can be reached by an easy walking path by the riverbed of the emerald Soča River. /www.dolina-soce.com/

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The Kozjak brook, feeding the Soča river from the east (on the left), springs high beneath Mt. Krnčica (2142 m), and runs through many pools making six waterfalls. One of Slovenia’s most picturesque waterfalls, the Veliki Kozjak, was created in the outlet of the lower Korita of the Kozjak Brook.

Approximately 250 meters lower, the water falls again. Here, the waterfall carved an underground hall. Its bottom is covered by a vast blue and green pool, and its walls are reminiscent of those in the Karst caves. A 15 meter high white water column offers its visitors an unforgettable scenery./www.dolina-soce.com/

Unfortunately popularity equals crowd. It is tough already to get a decent picture of the waterfall given the closed natural amphitheater with scattered source of light. When crowded it is even more difficult to get a shot without people standing in the way. But for dedicated photographer nothing is too difficult:)

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Photo Ingmar Wein

Activity on the photo is illegal though:) You can check out a bit more classical take at the waterfall on @lukakotnikphoto‘s, @alanjereb‘s and @dejskovski‘s feed.

It was time for beer, some great pancakes (salty editions) in the camp near the river and slowly saying “goodbye, nice meeting you”. Phones were also ready for first posts:) Also girls from @igposocje took break in their studying for exams to greet us on their home territory.

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On the way back to Kobarid some of us stopped at another classic spot to photographing Soča River, another bridge called Napoleon’s:).  @dani.kla got his classic shot with kayaks there (check out in his feed) and I got @ingmarwein  and @feinerkerl in action.

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Some of us stayed for the rest of the day or even weekend, some headed for other great photo spots in the area. A week would probably be enough to cover only the best spots of the valley, not even trying to hike the less accessible waterfalls, villages, pastures and peaks.

We had a great day, made great photos and most important – some new friends! We thank everybody for joining us and especially Dolina Soče for hospitality!

More photos from the event: #instameetsoca and feeds of the participants. More detailed descriptions of some destinations are available in Where to in Slovenia section and we will be adding more of them.

Photos @zokus_gf ,  @sanya_lt  and @ingmarwein.

Narration:@zokus_gf .

Brdo Estate

Castle, golf course, park, lakes, hotel, congress centre … you name it, Brdo Estate has it … but still not many tourists know or visit this place. We are quite sure this has something to do with the fact Brdo Castle is the most important diplomatic protocol building in Republic of Slovenia. Through its history, it hosted presidents, kings, and diplomats from all over the world. But this does not mean you can see it! Brdo Estate is (most of the time) open to public and is well worth of a visit. We’d recommend you to take at least half of the day to really enjoy the place and discover all of its secrets.

 

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Our favourite part is of course the park. Small lakes, wooden bridges and animals make this place a photographer’s paradise … especially in the autumn when colours take over. In late spring you can admire baby swans, flowers and amazing mountains in the back. We are quite sure even bad winter will not spoil your experience. Moody woods and foggy lakes are something that looks nice on any photo.

 

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If you are an architecture lover or maybe you’d prefer statues … you will find lots of motives here. The Brdo Castle is renaissance chateau, built in 16th century. It is characterized by four dominant corner towers and it really stands out here. Also the congress centre: A modern building in the middle of pure nature makes everything more interesting.

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To know more about the place we highly recommend you to check official Brdo Estate page. There you’ll find everything there is to know about rich history of the area, maps, information … everything you need to know. We’d only add one thing: Don’t forget to stop at the hotel terrace and try one of their sweets. They are as good as they look. Or even better:) #nowyouknow

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St. Ana

St. Ana above Lake Podpeč is a perfect getaway from a hustle and bustle of Ljubljana. Only a short drive  from the city (like 15 minutes) plus a short walk (20 or 30 minutes) … there is this amazing small church built on a hill with the same name – St. Ana.

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St. Ana is a church you can see from far away and it offers some amaaaaazing views of Ljubljana Marshes. It stands on a steep slope above the old Podpeč Quarry. As the hill juts out like a huge pier above the Barje, the view from the platform around the church is amazingly beautiful and vast, for it embraces the entire Ljubljansko barje from Škofljica to Vrhnika. In its present form, the Church of St. Ana has stood here since the end of the 16th century, when built on foundations of an old Gothic church. The main pilgrimage gathering is held on Sunday after St. Anna’s Day (26th July).

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We (meaning team Igslovenia – @zokus_gf, me & Tara, our dog:)) prefer leaving our car near Lake Podpeč and then going a little bit uphill to ‘climb’ to the top. It usually takes us just around half of an hour and it gives us the pleasure of being just a little tired while reaching the church at the top. Plus – there is a city bus going from Ljubljana to Jezero (Lake Podpeč) and back every half of an  hour … so … if you don’t mind a short walk uphill St. Ana is reachable even if you don’t drive.

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If you have a car and (or) you are not a fan of walking uphill … go towards village Preserje and leave your car just before the village. The walk will be a little bit shorter and easier.

Beside the church … there is nothing at the top … just views … wherever you look … there are amazing views. So – bring some water … sit down, relax and enjoy. Best time to visit St. Ana is, of course, sunrise or sunset. I prefer – sunsets. Just be careful … if you are going up or down in the dark … bring some lights with you!

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By @sanya_lt.

 

 

 

 

Ptuj from the Drava River banks

There is something about Eastern Slovenia that makes me go back every time I can. It might have something to do with unbelievably  kind people, really good food or ‘just’ stunning nature. At the end … it doesn’t really matter why am I coming back, the fact is … I am. And I do enjoy each and every time.

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Also – there is one more important thing; Eastern Slovenia is not (yet) as popular & crowded as the Western Slovenia with lakes Bled and Bohinj, Piran, Postojna Cave and other touristy places is. I’m quite sure this will not last forever so I try to see & absorb as much of this part of my country as I can. I recommend you to do the same … and maybe … you can start with Ptuj.

Ptuj is one of the oldest cities in Slovenia and, for sure, one of the most beautiful. Any photographer knows red-tile roofs, white houses, bridges (there are 4 of them crossing Drava River) and river (here almost a lake) make a quite a nice photo-combination.

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One of the best places to take photos of Ptuj is the right bank of the Drava River. You can leave your car on one of the parking near Terme Ptuj or Grand Hotel Primus and find your way to the river. It shouldn’t be difficult, since the river is just there. But, if you are not sure, just look for the castle and walk towards it.

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Once you’ve reached the river, that’s it. You can walk up and down by the river and search for the best angles & motives. When you’re done, you can – (1) walk up to the castle, (2) get lost in the streets of the old town or (3) sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee or a nice meal.

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If you’d decide to take a nice meal … my recommendation would be: Stop at the Ribič restaurant. Beside really tasty food there is always a chance you will meet one of the kindest, funniest and best waiters in Slovenia.

For Igslovenia, @sanya_lt.

PS: Since sharing is caring … be sure to leave your experiences with Ptuj in the comment section. Let us know where to go and what to see & where to go to take best photos. Thank you!

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Ljubljana Castle

I’ll be honest: Ljubljana Castle is my favourite photo-spot in Ljubljana. Perched on top of a hill, just above the old town, it offers amazing views on the whole city and surrounding area, all the way to Kamnik-Savinja & Julian Alps. Wherever you look, whatever you do … there is something to see & photograph; the castle itself, architecture details, people (getting married), couples in love, rich cultural program, view on the city, mountains in the distance … It really doesn’t matter what are you looking for … you will find it!

There are many trails leading to the top of the castle and every one of them offers different photo opportunities. Ok, the easiest way to get up there is to take the funicular (located near the central market, on the Krekov trg), but taking photos from the funicular is no fun (due to the ‘dirty’ windows you will never get the photo you are looking for).

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So – walk! My favourite time to visit the castle is spring, when colour green takes over the castle forests. Walking up there between lush green trees opens ‘windows’ in the trees allowing you to take picture perfect photos.

I also love the views from the castle in the winter, when you can see almost all city. I prefer view toward Trnovo district (south-west of the city), where you can take best sunset photos. Don’t forget; You will never be alone at the Castle Hill in the sunset time, so if you are looking for a really nice place and photo – be there before sunset!

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Also – don’t forget to visit the Castle Tower! It offers unobstructed (360) view of the city so – it’s a must! The views of the city from here are the best and you can capture details of the rooftops & Ljubljana’s notable bridges, squares and buildings.

If you get hungry  or thirsty… there are 2 restaurants (that I really, really like), Strelec & Gostilna na Gradu and a Castle Coffe House, so … just sit down and enjoy. If you need more ideas about perfect photo spots don’t forget to check out an amazing SNAPP guide to photographing Ljubljana by dear friend, Luka Esenko.

So … when in Ljubljana … Castle is a must. Also – let me know you are around. I’ll just might join you.

Sanja

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Top 10 instagrammers from Slovenia 2016

It has been an amazing year for Igslovenia. We have organized 3 Instameets and some very successful workshops (next one >> 22. 12. 2016!) beside having published almost 450 photos from 285 photographers. At the end of the year, is time for recap – who are the best photographers of 2016 on @igslovenia?

Let us explain the criteria first; We have been looking for best instagrammers from Slovenia. They were the most featured photographers on our page in the past year, so they are (mainly) landscape photographers sharing photos of Slovenia and tagging #igslovenia. Their photos are of supreme quality, they are always searching for new locations and sharing lots of information about specific places. We also highly appreciated their interaction with followers. All of them have been featured on Igslovenia profile at least 5 times in 2016.

So, here they are, top 10 instagramers from Slovenia 2016 (in alphabetical order).

Ana Pogačar >> @anapogacar

Velika Planina Ana2 Ana3

Borut Trdina >> @boruttrdina

boruttrdina borut2 borut3

Aleš Krivec >> @dreamypixels

Dreamypixel dreamy2 dreamy3

Iztok Medja >> @iztok_medja

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Jaka Ivančič >> @jaka_ivancic

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Jan Čermelj >> @jancermelj

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Luka Esenko >> @lukaesenko

lukaesenko luka2 luka3

Luka Kotnik >> @lukakotnikphoto

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Peter Zajfrid >> @peterzajfridphoto

peterzajfrid peter2 peter3

Simon Primožič >> @simonprimozic

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PS: All photos used here were published by top 10 instagrammers – on Instagram.  To see the originals in high quality check their webpages & follow them on Instagram.

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Above Lake Bled in a hot air balloon

To be honest, I do not like anything that has  to do with heights. I am not a fan of flying and bungee jumping is usually only a part of my nightmares. Nevertheless, when Domen from 3glav adventures invited me to try hot air ballooning over Lake Bled I couldn’t resist and even haven’t thought much about how high would we go and how would I feel up there. All I had on my mind was that flying over Lake Bled should mean amazing views. Lots of them!

Since hot air balloon can only move up and down and everything else depends on the winds, it took us 2 weeks to find a day that worked for all of us (meaning that I had time, 3glav adventures was available and weather conditions were perfect). However, it was well worth the trouble!

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Mission number 1 was getting the balloon standing up. Since I could not help, I was searching for any option to take that ‘classic Instagram’ photo of a person walking inside the balloon. Forget it! Huge fans, ropes all around, hot air … it was simply too dangerous to get so close. This is all I got. 😀

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Once the balloon was up everything went very fast. Suddenly there was Bled Island bellow us and I hardly managed to snap a few photos of it before we were already flying over the Bled Castle. Amazing! The perspective up there is sooooo different! I probably forgot to breathe in the first minutes of the flight since there was so much going on and there were so many amazing views.

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At this stage, we were flying about 300 meters above ground and I had no time to panic. Changing phones in my hands ( I always carry around two phones), trying even to do some photos with the camera … I hardly noticed that things below us became really small. Well, we were already on 1.300 metres above Lake Bled. The views were spectacular! Once again, there was not much space and time for panic attacks.

 

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Some ‘panic time’ was available when balloon was slowly descending but all I had to do was to look around and the beauty of what I saw had calmed me down. Just before landing I had an opportunity to take last few photos and that was it. The end.

This was one of the best (photo) experiences I had in my life and the best one since I’ve started to work on @igslovenia project. Not only I was able to see Lake Bled in a way I have never seen it before, I also had the chance to do it with a bunch of great people. No, I am not saying this because I’m a nice person or somebody asked me to. It is plain and simple truth. There are people and there are teams that just know their business and know what people want and need. Team 3glav adventures for sure is one of them and I can easily say: Whatever sport activity you are planning near Lake Bled – check 3glav adventures.

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PS: All the photos were taken by Iphone6.

 

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Instameet in Kranj, Slovenia

What? Instameet!

Where? Kranj, Slovenia

When? Friday, 2nd of September, 6 pm

Who? @igslovenia & @visitkranj & YOU!

We will meet at Khislstein cafe (MAP), get a coffee and check the open Instagram gallery on the Khislstein wall. At the meeting point we will give you the insight of the city and its 6000 years of history. Than we will discover the Old Town of Kranj and Kokra canyon. In search of the best and most photogenic locations we will wander the small and charming streets of Kranj. Street art, historic sites, artistic shops and bustle of the city will accompany us along the path. The Instameet will end at the sunset. After the last photo snaps we will head to a local microbrewery “Kranjsko pivo” and enjoy the deserved beer!

Who can come? Anybody! Instagramers, photographers, mobile photographers or people who would like to discover Kranj, meet some Instagramers and have fun.

We kindly ask all of you who will join to let us know that you are coming so it will be a little easier for us to organize everything; Send us an e-mail to info@igslovenia.si.

Looking forward to meet you all!

Photo by Leena Jerončič, @stellap0laris

Photo by Ian Rožanc, @ianrozanc

Photo by Leena Jerončič, @stellap0laris

What is an instameet?

An InstaMeet is a group of Instagrammers meeting up to take photos and videos together. That’s it! An InstaMeet can happen anywhere and be any size. They’re a great opportunity to share tips and tricks with other community members in your area, and an excuse to get out and explore someplace new! For more information check Instagram Community page.

A photo from our last instameet in Koper, Slovenia. We had so much fun!

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How do you pick photos for Igslovenia?

… or even better – why haven’t you picked & published my photo on @igslovenia profile?

Before I say anything; Your photo has to have a hashtag. It is #igslovenia. Simple as that. We don’t share any photos without your permission and on Instagram – hashtag gives us the permission needed.

When we see the hashtag we then and only then we check the photo:)

First of all; we are looking for quality photos. We know that quality in many cases comes down to personal taste, but we can all see – grainy, blurry photos, photos with to many filters and sometimes even photos that have nothing to do with Slovenia.

Yes, we are aware that most photos have met Photoshop, Snapseed or some other app and no, we don’t mind … as long as the photo looks OK and as long it looks OK on bigger screens. If you are not sure check, your photo on something bigger or try to post it on Facebook. If it looks bad … it is bad.

Your profile has to be set to ‘public’ so everybody can see your photos. If your profile is private … you probably have a reason for that:)

Second of all; we are looking for new places & photographers. Everybody knows Bled, Bohinj, Ljubljana and Piran, but not so many other places. That does not mean we will not feature a photo from Bled, it just means – it really has to be a good one:)

If we have featured you in the last few days we will not feature you tomorrow or the day after. We would really like to give a chance to as many photographers as possible. We can publish your amazing photo next week, right?:)

Since our profile is all about getting to know Slovenia don’t forget to mention the precise location of the photo in the comment. Or even better; Share as much information about the place as you can. In this way you will help our @igslovenia community to know everything there is to know. We don’t share photos without location.

If your photo has it all – it is beautiful, it has a hashtag, location and information and we still haven’t featured it – be patient. There are many photos waiting for a feature and sometimes we miss a photo or two. It happens when you have a lot of photos to check.

It also helps if we know you! And we know people who comment on our photos, we know people who help other Instagrammers with information, we know – our community. Be an active part of it and be sure – we will notice and share your work.

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Any questions? :)

#hereforyou … @sanya_LT

Lake Cerknica

Lake Cerknica, the largest disappearing (intermittent) lake in Slovenia, is one of my favourite places in Slovenia to photograph. It might not have the charm of Ljubljana castle or the definitive beauty of Lake Bled, but it has something more. I would call it the ‘raw beauty’ or simple beauty of nature that is changing all the time! When full, Lake Cerknica is the biggest lake in Slovenia, when there is not a lot of water you will ‘only see’ fields on which cattle can graze. But not only water, everything changes here, paths, colours, boats, trees, flowers … you just have to keep returning and discovering new point of views.

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If you are looking for a short (photo) visit just park your car near the Museum of Lake Cerknica and walk down by the road. Most of the photos you can see here were taken from the road. To discover the real magic of the lake and its surroundings take your time! Check all the paths you can find, search for boats in the water, sinkholes, rent a bicycle (another thing that you can to on the spot, at the Museum). Don’t forget! The lake freezes in the winter and you will see many people ice-skating on the lake!

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