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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.

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.

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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.

Instameet No5 – Brdo pri Kranju (Brdo Estate)

Park of Brdo Estate is beautiful in all seasons but autumn has a special charm. It was a beautiful sunny day which exposed all the vibrant colours for us. But let’s begin from the beginning – we organised this Instameet with the help of Brdo Estate marketing team which made sure that  more than 20 participants didn’t need to pay the entrance fee and we got more than rich welcome snacks and picnic baskets before the sunset.

Screen Shot 2016-10-30 at 18.21.33Hotel receptions/estate guide explained some of the rich history of the estate which you can read on their site or shorter version in our announcement.

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We passed the modern congress centre just after the entrance and the exploration went under way. Everybody tried to get a nice shot of the red tree.

Screen Shot 2016-10-30 at 18.20.22Colours, swans and reflections were the key words of the day.

Screen Shot 2016-10-30 at 18.31.27We indeed had a lot of fun with the swans…Screen Shot 2016-10-30 at 18.21.01...especially the black model….

Screen Shot 2016-10-30 at 18.20.36…but also with each other! A threesome here…

Screen Shot 2016-10-30 at 18.19.35There is a small herd of Lipizzaners at the estate, available for riding but also working.

Screen Shot 2016-10-30 at 18.25.02Photo by @selecshine

This time we didn’t try to keep the group together, everybody explored the park by themselves but there was an important meeting point.

Screen Shot 2016-10-30 at 18.18.03Picnic baskets provided by the host were full of local specialities and nobody stayed hungry. Just imagine a beautiful summer day under the trees with the picnic basket and some more romantic company…

Screen Shot 2016-10-30 at 18.24.29Photo by @simm_photography

Picnic took place at the beginning of a very special tree-lined lane, an ideal photo setting.

Screen Shot 2016-10-30 at 18.17.33Eating we had been waiting for the sunset – it was not spectacular since the weather was so bright and dry but still – worth the wait.

Screen Shot 2016-10-30 at 18.23.47Photo by @zupssss.

More photos of the Instameet are to be found in the album Instameetbrdo on Facebook page and on Instagram under tags #instameetbrdo and #brdoestate. Much more about the Brdo Estate  in Where to in Slovenia in coming days. Stay tuned, also for the next Instameet coming soon.

Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf

 

Instameet Brdo Estate – Brdo pri Kranju

Autumn colors are in full blow but won’t remain for long. So it is a right moment for the next #instameet in the right surroundings of The Brdo Estate Park. Park is now open for public and represents a unique study of history, culture, architecture and nature thanks to 500 years of uninterrupted development. Many of the park’s trails lead visitors past buildings from various historical times. We’ll have free entry and a guidance.

Instameet will take place on Saturday, 29th October at 14.30 until sunset. Meeting point is at the reception of Hotel Brdo where we will start with a coffee and some introduction. 

Hastags: #instameetbrdo #brdoestate

Due to the limited number of participants an email application is obligatory: info@igslovenia.si.

More about this unique location from their web page:

A mansion was built there already in 1446. Most ob the 20th century it was closed for public – between 1935 and 1941 Brdo was under the ownership of the Karađorđević family (Prince Paul of Yugoslavia and his wife Olga). They thoroughly restyled the castle and the land and Brdo soon became one of the most beautiful estates in Yugoslavia; a luxurious government summer residence. Besides the royal family, only a few chosen ones were allowed to access the estate. After the war it became a residence of Josip Broz Tito and even today it is in a protocolar use.

Between 1785 and 1790 Karl Zois designed the first Alpine botanical garden in Slovenia. He planted it with a variety of Alpine plants, which he  collected on his mountain hikes. In addition to the botanical garden, the Brdo park also had two promenades, a viewing platform, a baroque park, a tree nursery, and the flower, winter and party gardens. At the end of the 18th century 10.686 plants already thrived in Brdo park (7.446 tropical plants and more than 3.000 fruit trees).

It was renovated many times since than but always around nature and beauty. Beautiful old trees and ponds with a castle and cottages on the estate are worth visiting for themselves. Autumn is a particularly interesting due to different colors of the nature and beautiful view at the surrounding mountains in clear weather can make your day and photo.

Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf

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, 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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If you are into animal watchin & photography; In the area, 276 bird species have been observed – one half of all European species. Lake Cerknica is home to 45 mammal species – one half of all European species; 125 butterfly species can be spotted here – a little less than a third of all European species; 15 amphibian species spawn by the lake – nearly a quarter of all European amphibians… Biodiversity of the region is truly exceptional! (Info and more info by Lake Cerknica.)

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