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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:

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or the main object of the photo:

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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

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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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Piran

Picture perfect (or Pirano, in Italian) is a small & most popular town on Slovenian Coast. It sits nicely at the tip of Piran peninsula and it brings tons of photo opportunities for both, professional and amateur photographers. To be honest – it is so lovely even just using your mobile phone will be enough for many amazing photos.

Piran - Tartini Square

One of the best places to see Piran is the bell tower of the Church of St. Gorge. Paying a few euros to get to the top is well worth since the tower offers unobstructed views all around. Just come prepared! There are lots of steps to climb:)

Piran peninsula from bell tower

Piran beach from bell tower

When you get tired of all the views get down & enjoy the narrow streets of the old town. Shops, bars, restaurant, galleries, you name it, Piran has it.

Streets of Piran

Don’t miss the main – Tartini Square. The place where Tartini Square is located today, was once a harbour for fishing boats of Piran. Today it is the city centre, a place everybody meets, eats out and – takes some of the best photos. I, for example, love the statue of violinist and composer Giuseppe Tartini in the middle of the square. He points his finger in a way you can make some nice (funny) photos using just this motive. For sure all the houses built in the Venetian – Gothic style make a great back (or fore)ground for any photo you will take.

Tartini Square

The only problem you’ll face here (and generally in Piran) is – the crowds. Specially in July & August the town is just full of tourists so try to avoid peak season. If you are not lucky enough and it gets to busy anyway, climb the city walls. This place offers simply the most beautiful view of the whole town and it is amazing all year round. If you get hungry … there is a nice restaurant just behind the city walls. It offers great home food and the prices are (for Piran) very reasonable. If you are lucky enough the restaurant owner will share some interesting stories with you.

Piran from the City walls

City walls

Top 10 instagrammers from Slovenia 2016

It has been an amazing year for Igslovenia. We have organized 3 Instameets and some very successful workshops (next one >> 22. 12. 2016!) beside having published almost 450 photos from 285 photographers. At the end of the year, is time for recap – who are the best photographers of 2016 on @igslovenia?

Let us explain the criteria first; We have been looking for best instagrammers from Slovenia. They were the most featured photographers on our page in the past year, so they are (mainly) landscape photographers sharing photos of Slovenia and tagging #igslovenia. Their photos are of supreme quality, they are always searching for new locations and sharing lots of information about specific places. We also highly appreciated their interaction with followers. All of them have been featured on Igslovenia profile at least 5 times in 2016.

So, here they are, top 10 instagramers from Slovenia 2016 (in alphabetical order).

Ana Pogačar >> @anapogacar

Velika Planina Ana2 Ana3

Borut Trdina >> @boruttrdina

boruttrdina borut2 borut3

Aleš Krivec >> @dreamypixels

Dreamypixel dreamy2 dreamy3

Iztok Medja >> @iztok_medja

Iztok_medja iztok2 iztok3

Jaka Ivančič >> @jaka_ivancic

jaka3

Jan Čermelj >> @jancermelj

jancermelj jan2 jan3

Luka Esenko >> @lukaesenko

lukaesenko luka2 luka3

Luka Kotnik >> @lukakotnikphoto

lukakotnik lukak2 lukak3

Peter Zajfrid >> @peterzajfridphoto

peterzajfrid peter2 peter3

Simon Primožič >> @simonprimozic

simonprimozic simon2 simon3

PS: All photos used here were published by top 10 instagrammers – on Instagram.  To see the originals in high quality check their webpages & follow them on Instagram.

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lukaesenko

Luka Esenko. Amazing landscape photographer and an Instagrammer that – sometimes – makes me crazy. Each and every photo he publishes on Instagram could end up on @Igslovenia profile. Every day. But this only means – he is good at what he does. And this is – photography, sharing his knowledge about photography & connecting great photographers and incredible locations in his new app. I just had to ask him a few questions;,

Hi there Luka, we will start as we always do; can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Who are you, what do you do?

Hi Sanja, I am a local photographer based in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. Photography has been my work for the last eight years when I started running workshops in Slovenia and Croatia. I also love the outdoors, the Alps above all, this is why a lot of my photos are from there.

Ljubljana from the Nebotičnik / Skyscraper caffee.

Ljubljana from the Nebotičnik / Skyscraper caffee.

You are a professional photographer, I know that. What does Instagram mean to you? Or better; People say that Instagram is only for amateur photographers. What do you think about that?

To be honest I am pretty new to Instagram. I started last summer when I was on a vacation in Croatia. It soon became quite fun and I’ve had a lot of feedback and interaction on my posts. What I like about it is its focus on photography and I find it more enjoyable to browse through the feed. For photographers (pro and amateur alike) this is a great channel to promote their work and services.

Slovenia. You take people around our country for photography workshops. Can you say that there is a place that amazes people more than other? Or – what is your favourite photo-destination in Slovenia?

Quite obviously Lake Bled and its island is the most popular among my clients. But there are many other less “iconic” places that people love and make great subjects for photography. Unique to Slovenia are its hilltop churches – my clients always wonder how crazy we are in Slovenia to build churches on top of the hill – who wants to walk up there?!? I always reply – well – photographers 🙂 Personally, my favourite place is the Julian Alps. I love the mountains, but unfortunately I’m usually way too busy to get out and spend the time I’d like to out there. For that reason every moment I do get to spend there is even more precious.

Church of St. Thomas / Sveti Tomaž.

Speaking of photo-destinations. You took connecting amazing photographers and incredible destination to a whole new level. You are a co-founder of the snappguides application. Can you tell us a little bit more about it?

Recently we released SNAPP Guides – destination guides for photographers. This is a mobile app (currently available on iOS with Android coming soon) where photographers can purchase guides to destination they are traveling to. With these guides they get exact coordinates with interactive maps (routing, current position, different layers..), information how to get there, when to go, practical advice on photographing that location as well as inspirational images. We work with pro photographers around the world to deliver the best possible information and currently we have ten destinations available – new ones are being added to the collection every month.

Laka Bled; Island & Castle in the back.

Sounds amazing! And looking at the @snappguiddes social media profiles and page … you have tons, literally tons of amazing photos. Who are the photographers that you are working with? How did you meet?

We sure have a lot of great images to share! Through my previous work I met many excellent photographers from all around the world. With their help we partnered with the best authors/photographers from destinations such as the UK, California, Oregon, South Africa, Ireland, Austria and many others. Now we’re receiving requests from photographers who want to make guides with us and we’re growing our team of photographers quickly. If you have extensive knowledge of photo locations in your area and would like to build a guide with us do get in touch!

Can you share some ‘behind the app’ information with us? What are the places (locations) that people love most? How is Slovenia doing? Can we expect more photographers here soon?:)

A tremendous amount of work goes into each guide. Every spot has to be populated with relevant information, exact coordinates and beautiful images. Most of the spots have been scouted more than just once to make sure the information is valid. At the moment, the most popular guides are Yosemite NP in California and London, UK. Slovenia is doing well, but it is obvious that it gets fewer visitors per year compared to other better known destinations in the world. I’m working hard to change that!

What are the plans for the future? Which destinations in Slovenia will be presented in the app?

Right now the most popular places of Slovenia are covered, Lakes Bled & Bohinj, Ljubljana and Istria. The Complete Guide to Slovenia will follow but I can’t promise when – it is huge amount of work to cover it all! As for SNAPP Guides, we want to cover as many destinations as possible. We’re working hard to deliver new destinations, but because of our high standards it takes time.

As a local and as an amazing photographer … what would you say to a person visiting Slovenia for the first time? Where to go, what to see? (Beside – Bled, Ljubljana & Piran, that is:)

Well, the ones you mentioned are definitely the obvious, right? My first suggestion is make sure you allow enough time – Slovenia might be small but it has lots of great places to photograph! Be prepared to do some hiking and you’ll need a car. Visit one or two hilltop churches for sunrise or sunset, don’t miss the wine region (Brda or Prlekija) and be sure to explore Soča river valley.

Thanks Luka! And … all the best with your amazing projects! 

Thanks for giving me this opportunity at Igslovenia!

 

Sanja Leban Trojar – @sanya_lt

You can find more about Luka Esenko and his work on his web page, Facebook or Twitter profile & you can follow him on Instagram.