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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

Jamnik, Church of St. Primus and Felician

Jamnik is a really small settlement on the eastern slopes of the Jelovica Plateau, literally bellow the less traveled road between Kropa and Dražgoše 

The village of Jamnik. Taken with HuaweiP20Pro.

 

There are many similar villages scattered around those hills, but Jamnik is famous by its Church of St. Primus and Felician, which is built close to the village at an impressive location on a hill overlooking most of the northern part of the Ljubljana Basin with the mountain chain of Karavanke  as a backdrop towards the north and the Kamnik–Savinja Alps towards the east.

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The location has a special feature similar to Lake Bled or Lake Jasna – it is photogenic in all seasons and almost all weather conditions.

Kamnik – Savinja Alps in the background. Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

We have to admit that this  is not the only church atop a hill in Slovenia and many of them offer great sights and photo opportunities. Nevertheless Jamnik is probably the most photographed one and definitely owns a lot of its fame to the spread of social media like Instagram and others.

jamnik

Already the road to the church itself is a fascinating view and each step further reveals a different scenery. It is beautiful in all conditions, even in a moody good weather, when fog and mist can make the picture totally mystical.

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

 

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

Never mind if on the day of your visit mountains in the background are hidden behind the clouds – it’s a dramatic view and you would have an excuse to come again to catch the sunrise maybe.IMG_7366

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catching the sunrise was our goal in the winter of 2019 but the fog kept coming from the valley.

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

In late spring and early summer everything is so green and blossoming, but it has a special charm in winter, too, especially if snow covers also the mountains behind. Sun rises above mountains somewhere just behind the church, depends on the time of the year, and sunset can colour the same peaks in psychedelic colours.

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If happens that this would be your first visit to the region, steep hills can surprise you, but for centuries people around here survived farming on the same hills.

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

Coming from Kropa you would find an exit leading to the church just when road slowly becomes less steep, but watch out since it is very narrow and windy all the time. Only two or three cars can park there so if you find it full just continue, about 300 m further you can find more space just above the village itself.

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

Coming from the Dražgoše it is probably the best tactics to park the car wherever available once you spotted the church and entered the village area. A few steps more can do no harm but offer even more fascinating views.

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Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf

Črni Kal Viaduct

The Črni Kal Viaduct is the longest and the highest viaduct in Slovenia, located on the A1 motorway just a few kilometres before reaching the city of Koper from the direction of Ljubljana. It runs above the Osp Valley between the village of Gabrovica and the village of Črni Kal by which it got its name.

At the highest point it rises 87.5 m above the valley and it the foggy days many times just peaks above the fog. Its shape presents a nice leading line and it is directed towards west so the sunsets can be pretty spectacular. Since it is pretty close to some photo spots a long exposure photography is possible. No wonder that it became a popular photo object in the last few years with the rise of Instagram.

 

 

The viaduct is 1,065 metres long and runs from the slopes of Kraški rob, where the karst of Slovenia ends , to the rolling hills of Istria. The easiest photo spot to reach is the quarry on the left side of the 409 road just before the village of Črni Kal from the direction of Kozina. Park the car just before the working area of the quarry and the first photo spot is just a few metres away. In fact, there are a few of them so one can choose the angle which suits the situation.

Following the narrow road just bellow the quarry a new angles and photo spots open every few steps and a road itself can be a part of composition as well. A small slope on the left before the bend in the photo above is also one of them.

Descending from the slope on the left a few other spots can be reached closer to the viaduct but at some point is starts to run parallel with the eye of the camera so the road is not visible anymore. Before reaching such a point some interesting compositions are available.

One is the view of the Y-shaped columns, the distinctive feature of the viaduct, rising from the valley. Obviously a fire devastated a part of the area a few years ago and left behind some trees which come handy to make a different photo.

All spots are close enough to take decent photos with a good camera on your phone. We used Huawei P20Pro in different modes, against direct light mostly HDR and and Sunrise/Sunset automatic mode. There is another spot to photograph the viaduct, located just above the village of Črni Kal, namely at the Fortress of Črni  Kal. However it is much higher above the viaduct and more distant so the phone camera probably won’t be enough.

Text and photos: Zoran Leban Trojar

 

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

Županova jama Cave

The caves are usually not easy to photograph at all, even less with mobile camera only. Some of the best known caves which are open for public even forbid photographing. Županova jama is somewhere in between. It is open for public with guided tours but there are only one a week. It is not too crowded and has just enough light for photographing. The entrance is located in charming woods a few kilometers from Grosuplje in Central Slovenia.

Županova jama is the most beautiful cave in the Dolenjska region, located near the village of Cerovo and only 700 metres away from another attraction of the area, a fortified historical church known as Tabor. The Županova jama cave complex was discovered in 1926 by the then mayor of Šentjur, Josip Perme. Before his discovery, the locals were only familiar with one of the cave’s chambers, which they used as an ice pit.

The 330-metre long cave complex extends to a depth of 122 metres. It can be accessed via 478 stairs and a 600-metre long pathway. Besides six chambers, it contains all the curiosities of karst caves, including abysses, tunnels, all kinds of dripstones, shallow calcerous sinter pools, and ice dripstones in winter.

Just a few minutes away is another great photo spot, the educational nature trail Following the Kingsfisher’s Trails in Log near Cerovo.

Text and photo: Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf

Log, Cerovo

A small private nature educational trail Following the Kingfisher Trails just bellow the village of Cerovo near Grosuplje in Central Slovenia consist of two small ponds and a few lookout towers. It is a really great spot for observing and photographing birds and other animals. The best time to photograph is early in the morning. Occasional morning mist is just a bonus.

Just above the village stop at the side of the road to capture some more misty scenes over the meadows.

Ring the owner to book your visit. Just a few minutes away is also an underground photo spot Županova jama cave. Enjoy!

Text and photo: Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf

St. Ursula

St. Ursula is one of the many small churches on the slopes and peaks of the hills around Polhov Gradec in Central Slovenia which provide for some fabulous photo motifs. Where to in Slovenia features micro locations for mobile photography and sometimes micro stands for really – micro. This one fits into the category but still offers many different views and options to compose a photo.

All of the featured photo spots are on the map with exact positions so we won’t bother with navigation, let us only tell you that reaching St. Ursula can be a pleasant short hike from the touristic farm reached by car or a longer one from the valley. The church is visible almost all the time on the shorter hike.

The peaks of Mala Grmada and Grmada in the vicinity of St. Ursula are popular hiking destination in these hills.

 

The “rear” view is a kind of Slovenian classic and since nothing disturbs the composition it is probably one of the best of the kind as well.

However, the church itself is only a half of the story.

The other half is definitely the view of the surrounding hills over the meadows above the farm.

St. Lawrence is another peak with a church just over the valley.

Personally we can’t wait to hike there again to observe the sunset – location is just right for that. Enjoy!

Check out also the great views of the Črni vrh in the vicinity!

Text and photos: Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf

Vrhnika

Where to in Slovenia features micro locations for mobile photographers. Sometimes it is quite a challenge to define “micro”, especially in the cases like Vrhnika, a relatively big city which doesn’t provide many good photo spots in the city area itself. Vrhnika is located in Central Slovenia region on the western edge of Ljubljana Marshes and it is one of the destinations included in the photo contest by Visit Ljubljana. Its green landscape is shaped by Ljubljana Marses, surrounding hills and Ljubljanica river which has many sources around Vrhnika and characterizes the area.

This time we decided to put the “Vrhnika” geo located photo spot on the slope of the Grča Hill just above the city, more precisely to the location of the Monument to the Fallen in the National Liberation Struggle.

It is pretty easy to find one of the many sources of the Ljubljanica river in Močilnik, there is an exit just at the first turn when the road begins to ascend above Vrhnika towards Logatec. Find a path at the corner of the small parking place before the bridge and follow it for some 10 minutes to reach the monument.

The view of the city and the surrounding Ljubljana Marshes is fantastic especially in the early morning when the marshes are covered with mist and the sun is rising.

Unfortunately many trees cover the scenery so for the better view one should climb the monument itself. Or shouldn’t?

We are dedicated to mobile photography but this spot demand some serious landscape settings – even with a beast like HuaweiP20Pro you would need to use a tripod at least.

In that case you can also play with the lights on the busy road through the city.

Obviously we haven’t had one but we managed to capture the church of Sv. Trojica (Holy Trinity Church) from afar.

It is an iconic place of Vrhnika, find out why in the link.

The Močilnik source can be beautiful when it is full of water but not really photogenic. Maybe something can be done with the church on the cemetery over the fields.

Crossing the bridge at Močilnik you can easily reach another area with Ljubljanica springs – the Retovje. The bridge can be photogenic there when the water supply is high and some motifs from the river itself are worth considering a try.

When finished here in the early morning just enough time is left to catch the morning light at the Bistra Castle which is situated along the road a few kilometres towards Borovnica.

The best views of the Vrhnika area are of course from the Planina summit with a lookout tower.

The ponds at the abandoned brickworks near Verd can also provide for some good motifs along the nice walk around the area.

Text and photos: Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf

 

Bistra Castle

Where to in Slovenia features micro locations for mobile photographers. Bistra Castle near Vrhnika lies on the southwestern margins of the Ljubljana Marshes in Central Slovenia. Originally it was  a monastery but later became a grand mansion. Both settlement and manor take their name from the clear karstic springs, which issue forth from under the adjacent wooded hillside. Since  1951 the castle hosts the nation’s Technical Museum.

One of the oldest museums in the country has really interesting collections, find out more about them here. We are more interested  in the building itself and the karst source which also provides water for some early industrial objects in the castle’s yard.

Walking around these wooden structures above the Bistra source offer many beautiful motifs, mostly reflections.

The light can be an issue here since the castle is perched under a slope of the hill. Early morning light would be the best but the museum opening hours don’t support this idea in all seasons.

There is also a beautiful garden in front of the castle which is mostly used for different activities at the weddings and other events which are often taking place at this beautiful locations. What is even more interesting for photographers is the typical scenery of the marshes which can be seen next to the castle and its garden.

The morning mist, occasional tree and a horse – can you ask for more?

Enjoy!

See more about photo spots around the city of Vrhnika and Ljubljana Marshes.

Text and photos: Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf