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Škofja Loka – Križna gora

Križna gora is a small settlement NW of Škofja Loka. It is situated on the ridge above Selška dolina valley which together with Poljanska dolina valley constitute the Škofja Loka area. The village and its church of the Holy Cross are visible from afar what is usually a good sign for the views from the spot in question and Križna gora does not dissapoint.

Sorško polje plain is almost entirely in the view and the town of Škofja Loka lies just bellow your feet – at least when the plain is not covered with fog. To the north the peaks of Kamnik Savinja Alps and Karavanke mountain ridge mark the view.

Mt. Kočna, Mt. Grintavec and Mt. Storžič are the most remarkable among these peaks – photographers and followers of @igslovenia would remember them from the photos of the famous Sveti Tomaž (St. Thomas), which in fact lies just accross the Selška dolina valley.

However, the plain and its surroundings are already visible  from the road to Križna gora, from the village itself and from the dirt road leading to the Church of Holy Cross – all you have to do is pick your view and motif – while  photographing the village and church of St. Thomas and the hills above the Selška dolina valley demand some searching and crossing the meadows which are not to be crossed in all seasons. We recommend the short trail which leads to the watter collector which can be easily spotted from the road to the church soon after you pass this idyllic vintage rural spot.

There is about 15 minutes walk from the village to the church on the top of the hill.

The best motifs differ by the season. weather, time of the day and your taste and equipment – just make sure to go around and cover all angles!

Thel church on a hill above the settlement is dedicated to the Holy Cross and was built around 1500. It contains many well-preserved frescos from 1502 that depict the legends of Saint Ulrich, to whom the church was dedicated until 1867, and of Saint Corbinian. Some of the frescos in the nave, dating to around 1530, are believed to be by Jernej of Loka. The hill with the church and a Lodge of the Hunters Society bellow the hill is a popular destination for short outings by locals. /source: wikipedia/

Križna gora offers many photo opportunities but also great views of the area per se. A trip to the village is also a great insight into the way of life in the rural villages in the Škofja Loka area and a nice trip to the mostly unspoiled nature. It is also pretty easy to adjust the lenght and the fitness level of the trip – hiking all the way from Škofja Loka, starting just before the start of the ascent or driving to the village and just hike around.

Check out other locations in the Škofja Loka area with a photogenic church and great views: St. Andreas and St. Thomas.

Text and photos: Zoran Leban Trojar

Sveti Tomaž (St. Thomas)

Sveti Tomaž is a very small settlement in the municipality of Škofja Loka. Just like Jamnik‘s church of St. Primus and Felician has become famous among photographers in the Instagram era by its church and fabulous backdrop.

Both places are also very close to each other, some 30 minutes drive is from one point to another. Both also stand on the hill above the meadow which makes for a pretty photos just strolling around the church.

We have visited St. Thomas in early spring but it is beautiful also in the snowy winter and in the middle of autumn.

Views from the church itself are also worth considering to photograph.

Wandering around the church one should not forget that the meadows are in use by the farmers from the village so walk with care when looking for the motifs!

The settlement is really small and there is no parking place for tourists so some care is needed with that as well, especially if you would like to get a view from some distance and pass the highest farm by the dirt road above it.

Only from some distance the whole beauty of the mountain backdrop reveals.

Unfortunately you have to walk some more to the Rantovše hill to get a view like the one bellow.

You would also need a serious equipment for a shot like this although we pretty good shots from the distance with our HuaweiP30Pro when using a quality tripod. Bellow you will find a 4x zoom of the St. Thomas church as it is seen from the road Škofja Loka – Železniki less than a kilometer before the actual turn for the settlement.

There is a 20 minutes drive from Škofja Loka to St. Thomas, the last part of the road is steep, narrow and curvy so take care!

Text and photos: Zoran Leban Trojar

 

 

 

Nebesa (Heaven)

The highest hill in the municipality of Šentrupert is called Nebesa (Heaven). We have no idea why but the views there are really – heavenly.

Dolenjska region of Slovenia is characterised by the soft rolling hills mostly covered with vineyards, small villages, lazy but magnificent Krka river and many churches on the top of the hills. One can not see the whole region from Nebesa but can get some of the best views of the landscape there.

We have visited it twice, once in the autumn evening and the second time in early summer at the sunrise. Sunset photos are fantastic and available throughout the year.

Direct sunrise can be probably caught from the late autumn till early spring. In other months sun rises behind the hill and lightens up the Mirna valley and the rolling hills around but doesn’t interfere with the lenses of your gadget.

 

The morning fog is pretty common there just to make the whole scenery even more magical.

The place is easy accessible with a car. There is a small tourist farm there which is open for public only at weekends but their toilettes are available at any time. This is probably a local cooperation with paragliders who have their ramp just next to the building.

We have mentioned sunrise and sunset time to be the best times to photograph here. Season wise we would recommend a colourful autumn, a snowy winter and late spring with the blossomed orchards and ripping fields.

We strongly recommend this less known place which could serve also as an inspiration for further explorations. Otočec Castle and  Novo mesto are pretty close!

Text and photos: Zoran Leban Trojar

 

Škofja Loka – Hribec

This is probably the best spot to photograph the Škofja Loka Castle with the whole old town – and much more! It is a small church called Sv. Križ na Hribcu – Holly Cross on the Small Hill – which itself can be spotted almost from you everywhere in the city. It is overlooking the settlement on the right bank of the Poljanska Sora river, Puštal. (By the way, there is a spot on Google maps saying it is Cerkev povišanja Sv. Križa – it is the right one, just use it if you need.) Crossing the big bridge from the Lower Square (Spodnji trg) just follow the road (be careful, it is very narrow) with the sport stadium on your left and in a few minutes you will see a small chapel by the dirt road – turn on the road and follow for the next 5 minutes to reach the church. The view on the castle opens immediately after the chapel.

There are two spots on the top to take photos – first one before the stairs leading to the church and the second the walls of the church. Bellow is an original view from the first one.

Here you can play with different compositions and enjoy.

The hill overlooking the city is called Lubnik and is very popular among the people from the city. It really marks the landscape and it is accordingly steep to reach the hut at the top.

We visited it twice but didn’t have luck with the light. But it is great spot in the morning when the rising sun lit the castle and the town from behind your back and also the best place to catch sunset just behind the castle. Dark clouds can also make very dramatic scene.

In the photo above you can spot a small saddle with some objects far behind the castle – it is a famous St. Thomas church, a mecca for photographers, just a 10 minutes drive from Škofja Loka, which together with both valleys, Poljanska and Selška, form a whole small region, a destination full of history, amazing nature and experiences.

Text and photos – all made with HuaweiP30Pro – Zoran Leban Trojar

Vintgar Gorge

The gorge, a beautiful piece of wilderness with steep depths, vertical walls and rapid river lies only some  4 km north-west of the famous Bled Lake. It was discovered in the 1891 by Jakob Žumer, the Major of the village of Gorje, and the cartographer and photographer Benedikt Lergetporer. The gorge was impassable at the time but very soon was arranged for the visitors. Bled has a long history in tourism and no wonder that the gorge is still one of the main tourist attractions of Slovenia.

The guarded entrance

 

It is closed during the winter since the wooden galleries can be slippery and combined with the amount of water which flows through when snow starts to melt it could be really dangerous, hence the metal doors just after the official entrance.

Maintenance workers on the galleries

In the season can be pretty crowded but we visited it just at the beginning of June and very early in the morning. We were lucky that the maintenance workers already entered the premises and we were allowed to enter it a few minutes before the official opening hours.

Wild beauty

At the beginning we were quite shocked by the cost of visit – 10 EUR for the entrance and 5 EUR for the parking – but soon we have realised what amount of work is needed to keep the 1.6 km long gorge safe since about 90% of the path is on wooden galleries and bridges. Beside that the beautiful Radovna river can cause some problems after a heavy storm.

Nature regulates itself

Looking back

The river carved its way through the vertical rocks of the Hom and Boršt hills and graced the gorge with its waterfalls, pools and rapids. Since it is very steep, high and narrow the sun enters it randomly and adds to the beauty with the light plays.

It works in both directions – did we mention that you have to come back the same way unless you want to take a pretty long walk around?

The Vintgar gorge also includes two man-made sights. After some two thirds of the trail the gorge opens a bit and the river slows down just before the single-arch stone bridge of the Bohinj railway, constructed in 1906, which crosses the gorge 33.5 m above the river, and the dam from which the water is routed to the small Vintgar hydroelectric power plant under the Šum waterfall.

It is not easy to take very good photos there – the gorge is narrow, the light pretty difficult and the crowd is always in your way – or you in theirs. Using wide angle lens helps a bit though and in a moment with no crowd a nice LE can be taken.

But at the damm the breeze from the falling water was so intense that our HuaweiP30Pro on the tripod behaved like the sail in the wind:) hence the blurred image.

Pretty soon after the damm the other entrance is reached – if you are with your own car it is probably a good idea to start from this side, which lies just above the Šum waterfall.

Above the Šum Waterfall.

The waterfall itself lies outside of the to-be-paid-for boundaries since the gorge ends here. But it is difficult to take photos there since there was no easy access to the river bed and also no stance outside of the water.

Šum Waterfall

We assume that the circumstances here change and with less water in the bed access is easier – but then also the waterfall is smaller though.

Can you spot the rainbow in the water drops? The 13-meter high waterfall is pretty powerful and the breeze quite strong just like at the dam above.

Have a coffee just above the waterfall as we did before heading back. It is the same trail but the sights are changing here very fast and you will sure enjoy the way back almost like as it was the first time.

Clear skies in the early morning provided for the sharp pictures even in the shade. Evening light changes everything, many times the morning mist ads to the beauty, with the fog the gorge becomes misty and mystical. You can find a lot different photos from the gorge in our feed on Instagram We will sure come back to experience it in different circumstances.

Text and photos: Zoran Leban Trojar.

All photos taken with HuaweiP30Pro courtesy of Huawei Slovenija.

More information about the gorge can be found here.

Predjama Castle

According to Lonely Planet, Predjama Castle, 9km from Postojna, is one of Europe’s most dramatic castles. It teaches a clear lesson: if you want to build an impregnable fortification, put it in the gaping mouth of a cavern halfway up a 123m cliff. Its four storeys were built piecemeal over the years from 1202, but most of what you see today is from the 16th century. It looks simply unconquerable.

 

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

Since it is located only a few minutes drive from the famous Postojna cave gets a lot of attention despite the remoteness of the area. In fact,  approaching it from the other side, from the direction of Planina, one drives through the parts of Slovenia which are pretty unknown even to the natives of Slovenia.

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

The place is really fascinating and calls to be photographed. It is easy to capture with a mobile camera. However, given the castle is already framed in the rock and it is not easy to get a lot of background in the picture, there are not many options left to make a difference with the shot. In addition to that it could be pretty soon in the shadow, but when lit with the sun the light can be pretty strongly reflected off the walls. Fortunately there are enough elements available to help with the dynamics of the shot, especially off the season when it is not too crowded.

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro.

A few different angles available can be used according to the number off people around, the weather conditions and the season. Winter time is obviously off season so the surroundings can be pretty plain and dull. In the snow everything change to the better.

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

The view from the road leading to the entrance can be combined with some plants. Stairway leading to the stream bellow – which runs into the cave underneath the castle – can be a great leading line as well as the sitting elements at the restaurant nearby.

The lower levels offer more interesting shots in other seasons than winter but always give a strong feeling of the castle’s splendour.

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro.

Behind the largest cave castle in the world, there is a network of secret tunnels, from where the knight Erazem of Predjama would set out on his plundering expeditions. The Cave under Predjama Castle is the home of a colony of bats.

Text and photos. Zoran Leban Trojar

Otočec Castle

If you ask us Otočec Castle is simply the most beautiful castle in Slovenia. Not only it rises like a jewel from the mists of the Krka River and is the only water castle in Slovenia, you have to love this castle because it is not as crowded as fBled or Predjama Castle can be and because it offers so many photo opportunities.

Leave your car on the parking space just near the river (you can’t miss it) and start taking photos. Immediately! Some of the best views of the castle can be captured from there. Most of the time you can find some boats in the river that can make a great addition to your photo (we all know boats are a must:)

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Also some birds are often on or near the water to pose in the foreground.

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

Sitting on the island in the middle of a very slow river some fog is not unusual to find and it can make the whole place very mysterious and mystical.

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro.

Two wooden bridges which connect the castle with the river banks are very photogenic by themselves or with the castle in the composition.

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro.

When you are done with the first few photos cross the first wooden bridge & start exploring. The island on which the castle stands is really small, it is basically just a park and you can walk all around it. You can capture photos of the wooden bridges, trees, paths, river, swans, ducks, flowers … and the castle itself.

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro.

The castle is a popular wedding destinations, and a hotel with a bar and restaurant. Keep in mind that it is very expensive and –  whenever I was there – the coffee sucked and the service too.

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The views from the right bank are different and no less beautiful.

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Taken with HuaweiP20Pro.

After crossing the second bridge you can turn right to find a path going up the river through some nice woods. Follow it. You will come across some great views of the castle and the river and finally (after a half of an hour walk) you will end up on a bridge near Village Otočec. The place also offers some great photo options.

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You can return to the castle (& your car) on the other side of the river (from Otočec Village).

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro.

To see everything there is to see – 2, 3 hours should be more than enough. If you are looking for great photos you already know to be there early in the morning or late in the afternoon. There are some other nice places to visit nearby so you can spend a day or two in the area.

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If you have any questions don’t hesitate to send me an e-mail to info@igslovenia.si or leave a comment.

Sanja Leban Trojar – @sanya_lt

Novo mesto – Ragov log

A beautiful wooden bridge connects the NE end of the old town with the peaceful and mysterious woods on the right bank of the Krka river, Ragov log. A pleasant 15 minutes walk through the woods connects this bridge with Kandijski most bridge in the city centre, the main photo spot of Novo mesto.

A shot from the left bank towards the woods is definitely a better option, especially with some fog in the early morning, snow or colourful autumn would do no harm either:).

Following the river downstream one would find a boathouse not far from the bridge. It is not in the best shape, so be cautious trying to get a shot with the colourful boats. From there a nice view of the bridge over the river opens up as well.

The upstream part of the river bank from the bridge is located bellow the buildings and it is not easy to get close to the water. The views are nothing spectacular but with some luck one always find a nice motif.

The bridge view from this side comes with the buildings in the background but with some dramatic skies and probably autumn colours and/or mist one can always make a nice capture. Not at the time of our visit though.

From here a path leads uphill to the old town – pass the Court house and stay above the river in Šolska ulica street, than follow the first opportunity back to the river to reach a small dam if you want yet another angle of the river and the Ragov log itself.

Now the best way is to head to the old town and enjoy the rich architectural heritage of Novo Mesto!

Text and photo: Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf

All photos are taken with HuaweiP20Pro courtesy of Huawei Slovenija.

Novo mesto – Kandijski most

Novo Mesto  is the city on a bend of the Krka River in the City Municipality of Novo Mesto in southeastern Slovenia, close to the border with Croatia. The town is traditionally considered the economic and cultural centre of the historical Lower Carniola region. The old town is located right at the meander made by the beautiful Krka river. Unfortunately the main square and the most interesting old street Pugljeva ulica were completely under reconstruction in the time of our visit so the only close encounter with the historical part we made was passing by Capital Church (Kapitelj) which overlooks the old town from a small hill, on the approach to our photo spot – Kandijski most bridge. (Note: all photos are taken with HuaweiP20Pro, no edit).

The Kandija Bridge (Slovene: Kandijski most) or the Old Bridge (Stari most) is an iron bridge which connects the old city on the left bankof the Krka River with Kandija, a historical suburb of Novo Mesto, on the right bank of the river. The bridge stands at the lower part of Glavni trg. Wikipedia says that it was built in 1898 to replace the old wooden bridge from 1600, located a few dozen metres upstream. The riveted structure bridging the Krka with a single 75-metre (246 ft) arch is a unique structure in Slovenia.

View from the Boter bar towards old town.

Most photos of Novo mesto which can be seen on Instagram (there are not many though) are from this bridge, the most classic view is of the old part with the Kapitelj church. With some fog on the river or at the sunset the views (and photos) are truly glorious.

But make no mistake, the views downstream are not worse at all. Calvary Chapel Church with Franciscan Convent dominate the sight on the left bank and the mysterious Ragov log forest on the right.

The bridge itself offered an interesting view when we crossed the river – we have never seen so many spider webs on any bridge, ever.

The river bank is easy accessible so one can get under the bridge as well, a change of the angle never hurts and reflections are much better when close to the water.

There is a bar with the terrace on the river just a few meters away, besides having a new angle again we were also lucky to spot local fisherman in an unusual vehicle for such an activity.

Some other spots are located upstream towards the main bridge but we decided to follow the path through the Ragov log grove which begins just behind the Kandijski bridge downstream. In the first few hundred meters some spots can be reached close to the river to get another angle at the Franciscan Convent.

After that the path follows the river but much higher on the slope, the woods are pretty thick and there is no access to the river and no photo spots either until the Ragov log bridge is reached after some 15 minutes of a pleasant hike. The photo spot there deserves a separate description, here is a photo just for the feeling.

Text and photos: Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf

Photos made with HuaweiP20Pro, courtesy of Huawei Slovenija

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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Of course you can also start just across the city centre. The pedestrian bridge is an object for itself to be captured in a few different ways. It can be an additional element in the photo:

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

the standing point to take a photo of the old town with the river:

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

or the main object of the photo:

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

 

which works in both directions. In the summer you can catch the sunset just in the line of the bridge.

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

There are many great spots to take a capture of Ptuj along the right river bank between Terme and the second bridge. Sunrise can be very rewarding time to go for a photo walk.

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

Some morning mist can make the whole scene very mystical.

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

When you’re done, you can – (1) walk up to the castle

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

sunset over the rooftops can be amazing

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

(2) get lost in the streets of the old town

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

 

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

or (3) just 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 … there is a great restaurant garden by the river just at the pedestrians bridge. Unfortunately we can not recommend the food at the Ribič restaurant anymore since the ownership chamged hands a while ago.

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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