Posts

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

Nebesa (Heaven)

The highest hill in the municipality of Šentrupert is called Nebesa (Heaven). We have no idea why but the views there are really – heavenly.

Dolenjska region of Slovenia is characterised by the soft rolling hills mostly covered with vineyards, small villages, lazy but magnificent Krka river and many churches on the top of the hills. One can not see the whole region from Nebesa but can get some of the best views of the landscape there.

We have visited it twice, once in the autumn evening and the second time in early summer at the sunrise. Sunset photos are fantastic and available throughout the year.

Direct sunrise can be probably caught from the late autumn till early spring. In other months sun rises behind the hill and lightens up the Mirna valley and the rolling hills around but doesn’t interfere with the lenses of your gadget.

 

The morning fog is pretty common there just to make the whole scenery even more magical.

The place is easy accessible with a car. There is a small tourist farm there which is open for public only at weekends but their toilettes are available at any time. This is probably a local cooperation with paragliders who have their ramp just next to the building.

We have mentioned sunrise and sunset time to be the best times to photograph here. Season wise we would recommend a colourful autumn, a snowy winter and late spring with the blossomed orchards and ripping fields.

We strongly recommend this less known place which could serve also as an inspiration for further explorations. Otočec Castle and  Novo mesto are pretty close!

Text and photos: Zoran Leban Trojar

 

Škofja Loka – Hribec

This is probably the best spot to photograph the Škofja Loka Castle with the whole old town – and much more! It is a small church called Sv. Križ na Hribcu – Holly Cross on the Small Hill – which itself can be spotted almost from you everywhere in the city. It is overlooking the settlement on the right bank of the Poljanska Sora river, Puštal. (By the way, there is a spot on Google maps saying it is Cerkev povišanja Sv. Križa – it is the right one, just use it if you need.) Crossing the big bridge from the Lower Square (Spodnji trg) just follow the road (be careful, it is very narrow) with the sport stadium on your left and in a few minutes you will see a small chapel by the dirt road – turn on the road and follow for the next 5 minutes to reach the church. The view on the castle opens immediately after the chapel.

There are two spots on the top to take photos – first one before the stairs leading to the church and the second the walls of the church. Bellow is an original view from the first one.

Here you can play with different compositions and enjoy.

The hill overlooking the city is called Lubnik and is very popular among the people from the city. It really marks the landscape and it is accordingly steep to reach the hut at the top.

We visited it twice but didn’t have luck with the light. But it is great spot in the morning when the rising sun lit the castle and the town from behind your back and also the best place to catch sunset just behind the castle. Dark clouds can also make very dramatic scene.

In the photo above you can spot a small saddle with some objects far behind the castle – it is a famous St. Thomas church, a mecca for photographers, just a 10 minutes drive from Škofja Loka, which together with both valleys, Poljanska and Selška, form a whole small region, a destination full of history, amazing nature and experiences.

Text and photos – all made with HuaweiP30Pro – 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

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. Everything is pretty close so it’s ideal for a great photos using mobile only.

It’s landmark, the bell tower of the St. George’s Cathedral, is visible from many different angles. One of the best sights is from the path leading to the town from Fiesa Bay, especially at sunset (which we were not lucky to catch).

St. George’s Cathedral, taken with Huawei P20 Pro

Closer look at the tower is the best to get continuing from the same direction (Fiesa) or approaching it directly from the Tartini Square to the NE.

The bell tower from the east, taken with Huawei P20 Pro.

Piran - Tartini Square

One of the best spots to look at Piran is exactly from the bell tower of the Church of St. George. 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

However, if you don’t feel climbing to the top of the tower the views from the walls in front of the church are good enough. If you find the church door open don’t miss this photo opportunity as well!

Inside the church, taken with Huawei P20 Pro, night mode.

The tip of the small peninsula can be reached directly from the church following the path along the fence. The small lighthouse of Punta, the historical ‘point’ of Piran, is attached to the round tower of the Church of St Clement.

Punta, taken with Huawei P20 Pro.

Walking along the coast past many bars and restaurants, a sight like that would be pretty common out of the season.

Fisherman. Taken with Huawei P20 Pro.

Between the coast and the church on the top is a labyrinth of the old narrow streets so typical for the Mediterranean towns.

Steep and narrow. Taken with Huawei P20 Pro.

Shops and bars everywhere but heavily reduced number offseason.

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

Small piers from the both sides of the harbour offer the best view – the church above the square, reflected in the water. We prefer the pier on the east side, close to the Maritime Museum.

The View. Taken with Huawei P20 Pro.

Reflections. Taken with Huawei P20 Pro.

Standing in front of the square is the best view of the harbour itself.

The harbour of Piran. taken with Huawei P20 Pro.

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

Text and photo by Sanja and Zoran Leban Trojar.

Most photos taken with Huawei P20 Pro courtesy of Huawei Slovenija.

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.

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.

IMG_7044

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.

IMG_7018

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.

IMG_7023

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:

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

or the main object of the photo:

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

 

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

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

 

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

or (3) just sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee or a nice meal.

IMG_7030

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!

IMG_7037

Kozjak Waterfall

 

The Veliki (Big) Kozjak waterfall is a pretty popular sight of the Soča Valley. The waterfall is very picturesque since it is caught in a kind of a stony amphitheatre.  There are two accesses to the waterfall but we would definitely recommend the one crossing the Soča River. The reason is quite obvious.

The bridge is located behind the camping site of Kamp Lazar. Don’t try to park there in the season.

The Kozjak stream is feeding the Soča river from the  left. It springs high beneath Mt. Krnčica (2142 m) and makes six waterfalls and many pools. There is a small waterfall under the stone bridge half way to the Veliki Kozjak. The path which takes apr. 20 minutes is following the stream from there on.

The access is over the kind of a wooden bridges and usually slippery.

The waterfall carved an underground hall. Its bottom is covered by a vast blue and green pool, and its walls are reminiscent of those in the Karst caves.

A 15 meter high white water column offers its visitors an unforgettable scenery.

Only a small amount of light gets into the hall so it is difficult to make a good shot of the amphitheater. The best conditions are probably in the early fall and spring when more light enters from behind.

Of course one can always try to come closer but be careful!

All photos taken with mobile HuaweiP20Pro!

Text and photo: Zoran Leban Trojar