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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

Planina Summit above Vrhnika

Where to in Slovenia features micro locations for mobile photographers. Planina Hill near Vrhnika in Central Slovenia is very popular hiking destinations of the city of Vrhnika and also of  the Ljubljana area. Many different starting points and alternative routes are available for hikers and bikers and the summit is also accessible by car. There is a wooden lookout tower near the lodge…

it is 22m high and offers magnificent views over the Ljubljana Marshes…

… settlements around Vrhnika…

…surrounding hills…

… and in good weather conditions even the Julian Alps with the mighty Mt. Triglav.

 

However, without conquering the tower the views are limited and from the tower a phone camera alone won’t be enough to capture a good shot. Taking the Kuren trail or driving from Vrhnika brings you to the Kmetija odprtih vrat (Agrotourism) where a similar views are available from much lower height though.

Text and photos: Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf.

 

Snakes’s Head Fritillary Meadow

Where to in Slovenia feature micro locations for mobile photographers. And we mean micro since this one in Ljubljana Marshes, full of fragile Fritillaria Meleagris, has no name. In fact, we’ve just made it up because we needed one for a location in the marshes where it is not easy to orientate at all. A vast plain which no landmarks, wet meadows full of drainage canals with occasional gravel road which easily ends in the middle of nowhere – and some of those meadows are in the season full of Fritillaria meleagris. 

Therefore in this case we are talking about a seasonal photo location  but the marshes are beautiful in all seasons and opportunities for a great photo are always awaiting even without these fragile lilies.

Entering the village of IG from the direction of Ljubljana find a left turn just opposite to the gas station at the beginning of the settlement. After a few hundred meters the road crosses a small river Ižica (there is another special place along this short river) and after that comes to a crossroads. The meadow we are looking for is between the bridge and the crossroads. Around the bridge is also one of the better views of the village.

The best time to capture the fritillaries is at sunset or sunrise.

Sunsets in the marshes are always beautiful but for the fritillaries the sunrise is even better timing.

These meadows are really wet, especially in the early spring when around the sunrise time could be even a bit frozen. However the flora is full of water drops which add to the photo so better prepare everything needed for the situation like this:

Totally worth getting out of bed early!

Enjoy and don’t forget to check out other Ljubljana Marshes locations like St. Anna, Lake Podpeč and Ižica.

Text and photo: Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf. 

 

 

Ljubljana Marshes – Ižica

Ižica is one of the shortest rivers in Slovenia. It is a typical river for the Ljubljana Marshes with a karst source in the village of Ig. We named the spot described bellow by the river since there are no other recognisable features to use.

Coming to the village of Ig from Ljubljana and leaving the buildings behind after a few kilometers there is a road to turn to Iška Loka to the right marked with a road sign Iška Loka. Just opposite of the exit there is another one to the left, unmarked and pretty narrow. Turn left and park right away on the left side or proceed on the gravel road until it turns right and park there.

This gravel road is pretty empty most of the time, sitting in the middle of the fields and wet meadows. The landscape is full of lonely trees and the nature is full of life in any season. Flat land, black soil, green meadows, occasional water in the canals make a special feeling which changes with the seasons and is the strongest in the mornings and evenings.

The landscape itself is pretty photogenic. The flora of the marshes is specific and in some seasons the meadows are full of blossoms.

Specific for the marshes is the Snake’s head fritillary from the lily family. It can be easily spotted here but there is another place upstream of Ižica where plenty of them are to be found.

At the turning point of the gravel road just continue in the same direction as you came from. There is no beaten path, just cross the meadows until the river can be spotted after a few hundred meters. The approach to the water changes with seasons and weather but one or two can be easily found.

The meadows. The flora. The water. Upstream. Downstream

The trees. The sunrise.

Take your pick.

Take photos. Enjoy in nature. Check out some other spots on the marshes: St. Anna, Lake Podpeč and Snakes’s Head Fritillary Meadow.

Text and photos Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf.

More about Ljubljana Marshes.

Boka Waterfall and the bridge over the Soča River

Let’s get some facts in the perspective first: Boka waterfall is a 144 high and 18 wide waterfall, considered to be one of the most magnificent waterfalls in Europe. It is definitely the most majestic waterfall of Slovenia and we have plenty of them here. Surely many would disagree if they were not lucky to see it in its full season when its water flow rate can reach 100m3/s. In the summer it can drop to only 2m3/s, so the seasonal flow rate ratio is 1:50! Not this summer though!

The waterfall from the bridge over the Boka stream

The waterfall is visible already from the bridge over the Boka stream in the vicinity of which most of the visitors park their cars and bikes. However, just behind the corner lies the Boka Hotel with its own parking lot which is sooo close to the another bridge, one of the only few bridges over the mighty Soča river itself. The famous shots of the kayakers on the translucent water are usually taken from the Napoleon Bridge in Kobarid – and from this one which  leads to the small settlement of the Log Čezsoški, one of the few settlements on the left bank of the river.

Towards Bovec

We were not lucky with the kayaks this time but the river itself is always beautiful and the view from this bridge is different from what we usually see in the media: it is an upstream view towards the town of Bovec and surrounding peaks of Julian Alps which just after the town divide the upper Soča Valley (Trenta) and Koritnica.

Mt. Bavški Grintavec in the background

There is even more to it – the waterfall is visible from this bridge too and the sight is even better! So if in a hurry a photo can be taken from the bridge – with a good camera it should be decent enough for a memory or a social media post.

Boka from the bridge over the Soča river

Our posts are focused on the mobile photography trying to show places where ordinary tourists can get decent photos without an expensive gear from the reachable spots. We have been doing Instagram and blog for almost 6 years now using phone cameras exclusively.  Ever since we have begun to use HuaweiP20Pro our horizons are widening – it has extremely powerful zoom which can be used handheld: the photo bellow is a zoom up from the same spot as the above photo was taken.

Zoom in from the bridge – amazing zoom of HuaweiP20Pro

 

After passing the hotel building and crossing the road just before the bridge a narrow path opens leading to the viewpoint which is accessible in some 15 minutes. It is not difficult but we would still recommend to wear a pair of decent shoes. Walking along the bed of Boka in the summer one can imagine the amount of water which flows here when the snow of the Kanin massif begins to melt (up to 8 m of snow can be accumulated in some winters there).The karst terrain with large caves can be deadly for skiers leaving the official ski runs.

The Boka stream bed

The path leading to the viewpoint is mostly in a pleasant shade of the trees with only some tricky places to watch your step.

Pleasant shade

The viewpoint is situated on the slope across the waterfall and can be pretty crowded but the views are much better than from the bridges.

 

The viewpoint view

Zoom in from the viewpoint

Most of the visitors turn around here but some other viewpoints can be reached which are higher on at the slope and a bit closer to the waterfall. Reaching them is not so easy anymore, the path gets pretty steep and can be slippery as well. We needed another 15 minutes to the next viewpoint following the orientation signs on the rocks and trees.

 

Orientation signs

Some unexpectedly good sights of the valley towards Bovec awaited us on the path.

 

The Soča Valley towards Bovec

The water is collected in the karst cave system and spring just above the waterfall, falls freely for 106 m, followed immediately by another 30m drop. The source is situated at an altitude of 725 m, the average temperature of the water is 4,5 degrees Celsium. Since the rock is pretty soft the waterfall  still increases!

 

Standing closer 

Watching this power of nature from the higher and closer viewpoint and without disruptions from other people is definitely worth all the effort!

 

Zooming in again

Returning on the the mountain paths is always more dangerous than going up so be careful stepping down! But don’t overlook this sight with which this whole short photo trip can be rounded up: the road to Log Čezsoški.

 

Left bank of the Soča river towards Log Čezsoški

Of course we had to check the situation on the bridge again when we returned to the parking lot.

Preparations

Some more luck though but not the proper light to get the effect of the kayaks hovering on the water.

 

From the bridge

Nevertheless this bridge offers excellent up and downstream views on the river and the valley caught amidst the steep mountains and it is worth to stop there for the bridge itself. The sights are ever changing.

Downstream view towards Žaga

Hey, there is some shadow underneath the kayak after all:)

Photo and text by @zokus

 

Krma Valley

Krma is a glacial valley, one of the three valleys that stretch from bellow Mt. Triglav to the village of Mojstrana. Krma is the southeast of them and probably best known as the easiest access to the Triglav peak.  There is a  route to the Triglavski dom lodge which is 7,3 kilometres long and  gradually ascends 1550 height meters.

Krma Valley is the upper part of a Radovna Valley which ends near Bled with the famous Vintgar Gorge. In fact we were exploring the Radovna Valley in the morning  and out of curiosity turned onto the gravel road leading to the Krma Valley at the crossroads for Mojstrana. When the road came out of the forest and we got the first glimpse of the mountains surrounding the valley there was only one thought on our minds: to stop the car as soon as possible too see it in full.

It was still early in the morning, the sky was blue with some puffy clouds showing over the peaks, the valley was empty.

rhdr

Krma is also known as a mountain pasture but as we have learned latter the cows were only to come next week.

Soon the clouds made some more drama over the peaks but it was still pretty warm outside in the front of Kovinarska koča lodge where we ordered some sweet dumplings for breakfast.

The Krma valley is a great place to have a walk or stay a few days in silence hiking around. It is accessible also in winter. The Krma route to Mt. Triglav is the safest one in the winter and offers some great ski touring slopes. The scenery provides for magnificent photos in all seasons.

Posted and photographed by @zokus_gf.