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Križna gora – Church of the Holy Cross

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.

 

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

 

 

 

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

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

 

The Best of 2018

Countdown time! The sixth year of Igslovenia on Instagram was marked with another big joint venture campaign with Visit Ljubljana to promote Central Slovenia, the campaign  finished with a very successful international two day Instameet. We have also organised two Instameets with Canon, one in Ljubljana and another one in Zagreb. We also joined an Instameet at Plitvice Lakes in January. @igslovenia community still growing and engaging is what gives us a satisfaction and pays for hundreds of hours spent to bring you the best photos from as various locations of Slovenia as possible. That has also resulted in a cooperation with Huawei since we were always focused on mobile photography, at least on our site in the section Where to in Slovenia.

Some stats first: More than 40 photographers were featured more than once in 2018 what is a bit less than the previous year. The same goes for the number of photographers which were featured five times or more – there are only 8 of them compared to 16 a year before.

Lets’s start with the best nine photos by the number of likes. They belong to eight different artist, from left to right and top to the bottom (all Instagram handles and links, more or less all of them also have a Facebook account which you can find): Jošt Gantar @jostgantarDomagoj Sever @domagojsever@auerimagesTom Strojnik @tomstrojnikHeikki @frozenblizzardPiotr Skrzypiec @piotrskrzypiec9198 @malaposastmiciZoran L Trojar @zokus_gfPiotr Skrzypiec @piotrskrzypiec9198.

Our selection of the year is in fact a result of our selection during the year: we just counted the number of features the artists made on our profile.  We are trying to feature high quality photos of different locations and not to repeat a single photographer and location too many times. But just as it happens with photos of Bled – throughout the year we post many of them and some photographers get more features than others simply because they are highly active and post different locations of superior quality.

To get into the Top 10 four features were needed. Each author is present bellow with one photo which does not always correspond to the actual featured photos on our profile.

Jaka Ivančič @jaka_ivancic managed to the first place by the number of features. Among many other recognitions he have received recently this reflects his high quality photos but also a huge amount of activity spent both in the field and on social media channels.

In the next group, very close to Jaka, were: Ana Pogačar @anapogacar

Jošt Gantar @jostgantar was also close to Jaka by the number of features but he holds the first place by the number of likes in 2018 – and 2017.

Next group consists of a few artist with the same number of features, none of them is new to our list:

Luka Esenko @lukaesenko

Gregor Škoberne @gregorskobernephotography

Aleš Krivec @dreamypixels

In the last group were:  Piotr Skrzypiec @piotrskrzypiec9198

Jurij Pelc @jurij_pelc

Klemen Zepp Dovžan @klemen_zepp_dovzan

Dan Briški @dan.briski

We thank you all for participating, tagging and engaging. Love you all,

Sanja and Zoran

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