Category: Landscape photography

Landscape photography

Brod Moravice in Gorski Kotar

   Location:   Brod Moravice
Brod Moravice is a small village located in the heart of Gorski Kotar. Above the village is a hilltop with magnificent views over the Gorski Kotar mountain range. This is one of my favourite photo locations and a place where you can just sit, relax, and enjoy the wonderful surrounding.

   Take a break: 
There are no restaurants in Brod Moravice. There is a small supermarket for restocking your supplies and there is a coffee bar.

   Take a walk:
You can walk from the village and climb the steep hill to the little chapel of  Sveti Andria. For this walk park your car here and choose the unpaved gravel road left of the main road. the walk will take about 15 minutes.
You can also choose to drive to Gornji Kuti and park your car near the hunters lodge and take the narrow gravel road to the top of the hill. Park your car here and take the gravel road on the left side. This walk takes about 10 minutes.

    Photo tips: 
It is always a guess to what level the mist will rise in the morning. But most of the time the mist lingers in the village itself and the top of the hill is bathing in bright sunlight. Make sure to come at least 20 minutes before sunrise. The sky will mostly change its colours rapidly and that makes it the most interesting time of the day. The mist quickly changes its patterns, it comes and goes; it hides and reveals. So make sure to take as many shots as you can. Soon the sun will be too bright and the mist will lose its depth and becomes flattened and uninteresting. So try to make the best of this early bird situation. Make sure to enjoy the fresh air, the sounds of the birds and the great view itself.

Is this the most tranquil valley in Croatia?

Today I would like to take you to my favourite valley in Croatia. It is in the heart of Lika called Gornji Kosinj. 

In Spring and Summer, the valley hosts an abundance of wildflowers. There are not many people living here anymore but practically this counts for all of Lika. Yet it reflects such purity and tranquillity that I have only found on some places in the French Alps.

Accommodation is very hard to find. So you need to book something near Perusic or Otocac if you like to stay there for some more days. It is really worth to take long hikes. The Sjeverni Velebit National park with its’ impressive tall peaks is nearby.

The valley is interesting from both sides. Coming from Otocac you first head to Kuterovo and then follow the narrow but relatively well-paved roads to Donji Kosinj. Only recently the tourist board has also recognised the purity of this unique valley. They have invested in some bike and walking trails and coming from Otocac heading towards Gornji Kosinj there is now a brand new watchtower that gives the photographer a great spot for some unique pictures. In fact, I cannot wait until next year Spring to go there myself. The low morning mist, the wild cherry trees and the shepherds with their flock of sheep wandering through the valley is a heavenly decor for some of my pictures that I still have to realize.

Most of the houses here are in a very simple and some in a devastating state. The majority of the people here got accustomed to the hard life of the ever-changing seasons. And as I mentioned most of them are local shepherds.

The sad thing about this wonderful valley is that it won’t be there too long anymore. Parts of the valley will in due time disappear underneath the water surface as for over 40 years construction plans for a hydropower plant now seems to come to full realisation. That means that most of Gornji Kosinj and its church will be no longer visible in ten years time. So plenty of reason not to wait too long to indulge yourself and convince yourself and set off to Lika to see some of Croatia’s most pure destinations.

Do not expect any catering, facilities or luxuries. It is what it is… Just enjoy that. It is the experience of this pure nature that will hopefully capture your heart and purify your thoughts and visions of some of the worldly stress and burdens. It worked for me….

There is a cafe in the Gornji Kosinj. For supermarkets and restaurants, you need to drive 40 minutes to Gospic, or make sure you stock up in Otocac before coming to Kosinj.

Links: 
Old medieval bridge
Water source
View on the lake
The confluence of river Lika

 

 

 

Klanac at the Kupa river

   Location:  The Kupa river at Klanac
   Short video impression

From the main road heading to Rijeka or Karlovac, turn into the village of Klanac at the restaurant Mirni Kut.
Turn right and drive down the hill until you reach the river. The road is not visible in google maps but has lately been paved and widened so no worries!
There are some unorganized parking places. Avoid weekends.

Definitely one of the loveliest a beautiful spots on river Kupa. In the early days, the Kupa river had many watermills. Most of them have withered and nowadays only the remains can be found. Nevertheless, the artificial waterfall at Klanac is very beautiful and when the water is low you can walk to the other side of the river and visit the little hamlet of Damelj, Slovenia.
The village is an ideal setting for morning photography. There is not just the waterfall that is very photogenic. About 200 meters upstream you can spot a very nice old watermill that is still in good shape. The village next to Klanac is Damalj (see picture 2). The church and the old houses make it a very picturesque place. The Kupa itself is sleepy, dreamy and fairytale-like at this location.

   Take a walk:
You can consider a short walk from the Kupa river at Klanac to the next village of Damalj. It is very easy just walk through the fields. There is a pathway that leads you to the village.
The second option is just to follow the course of the river till the next waterfall and even further. The road is narrow and unpaved but easy to walk.

   Take a break: 
There are picnic benches at the riverside and a grill.
Up in the village is the traditional restaurant of Mirni Kut
The next village of Severin na Kupi has a small grocery store and two coffee bars and a gas station. This village also hosts one of the many Frankopan castles in Croatia.

    Photo tip: 
Klanac is famous for the morning mist. In fact, every time I come there during late Summer, Autumn, Winter and early Spring there is morning mist. The mist adds so much more atmosphere to a picture. Sunlight comes into the Kupa valley about an hour after sunrise. Even though the Autumn colours are much more attractive this location is an all year round photo hot spot.
Watch the local weather report (I can highly recommend the YR app) for weather circumstances.

 

Slapnica nature reserve

   Location: Slapnica
If you love a wonderful hike through dense forest and you want to avoid the heat on a hot sunny day or the usual crowd at Plitvice then try this wonderful hidden gem. It is a 10-minute drive away from Krasic and easy to reach by car. You can walk all the way from the quarry (park your car there) to the old watermill where grandma “Nada” and her dog and sheep reside. She has her own private waterfall in her backyard!
The path is very easy and absolutely not demanding. No steep climbs. You walk along the creek and you are accompanied by the beautiful sounds of the rushing water and some very nice waterfalls. There are two waterfalls that take you off the track. They are called Brisalo and Vranjak. There are signs that help you find them. One of them is a bit hard to reach. The road is unpaved. You can also drive it with a four-wheel-drive car. In total it is 9 kilometres.

You can extend your hike by taking a right at the watermill by taking the road to the almost abandoned village of Pecno. From there you walk to Rude Pribicki (great views!) and you head back to the main road at Svrzevo. If you want to do this long hike please consider a full day. (but it is worth it)

    Warning: 
The bridge before the quarry has no safety railings. Be careful!
Please make sure not to block the lorry trucks when you park your car. The starting point for such a beautiful nature reserve might seem a bit odd, but you are definitely in the right place 🙂

   Photo tips: 
   Waterfalls are best after some rainy days, there is more water!
   Avoid direct sunlight as it makes the water beams too bright to handle later on in photoshop.
   Use a tripod in order to have a low shutter time and create this “milky effect”.
   Do some clean up of branches that might disturb your picture.
   Take boots so you can stand in the water.
   Look for some boulders like in the first picture and some colourful leaves. They really add a great atmosphere to your picture.
   Some late afternoon light in the background is highly recommendable.
➨   Personally, I prefer using a wide-angle when I take pictures of lakes, rivers, and waterfalls.

   Take a break: 
The nearest place for refreshments is the great restaurant “Zumberacki Raj”. The restaurant is in the heart of the nature park in a very idyllic setting. They serve a simple but delicious meal of fresh brook trout, potatoes (3 choices), and fresh salad. They also offer some other meat dishes.

Croatian Tuscany

Just a mere 30 minutes from Zagreb you will find the wonderful Plesivica hill range. I dare to say that this wonderful gem of nature shows great similarity to the landscapes in Tuscany. If it wasn’t for some of the neglected fields with messy bushes this place would be a true copy and equal counterpart of the well known Italian Tuscany.

The best photo opportunity is around sunrise at the old elementary school. But around Plesivica you will easily find some more attractive photo locations. Just make sure to come after a rainy night in the Autumn or winter and you will be treated on nice layers of fog. It is always a guess to what level the mist will rise. But nonetheless, I am convinced this area will bring you some rewarding pictures.

The best way to start is to drive from Molvice over the ridge of the Zumberak. The first viewpoint is at the bright blue restaurant Ivancic. Enjoy the view and your coffee on the terrace outside. Just remember that Charlie Chaplin loved to spend his holidays at this very place way back in history.

Are you in for a delicious treat of local organic cheese? Visit the Sestak cheese house.

Continue your way through the winding narrow road to Soskic. The winegrower owns an Italian style house that is a true landmark in this surrounding. The owner is always very busy but if he is around you will be able to buy a bottle of his great ecological wines.

Enjoy another great view from the Sumski Dvor. This restaurant only opens on weekends.

Do you fancy a healthy swim in a small spa among the locals? Try the Jana source. This is a small basin full of always fresh, clean natural spring water…Totally for free! The water is always 21 degrees. (limited amount of parking space, nog locker rooms)After your trip trough Plesivica you can choose to visit Jastrebarsko. This town has some nice restaurants and cafes. The city park is worth a visit. Park your car at Lidl and then cross the wooden bridge.

Enjoy your day in this wonderful area!

Veliki Tabor castle

This is the castle of Veliki Tabor. Remember the right picture always starts in your head. I had this picture in mind for some time. Most important is to find the right location. I was lucky to find it on a hilltop 3 kilometres away from the castle.

Zagorje is famous for its many rolling hills. Therefore it is a photographers paradise. The mist adds great flavour to this picture and due to late October sunrise, I was still able to shoot the picture straight into the sun. Just imagine this picture without the castle… It would have been ok but a bit boring. Great landscape pictures should attract the eye to some point of interest in the picture. That is what this picture has to offer.

   Did you know: 
Zagorje has the highest density of castles and ruins in all of Europe. The most beautiful one is Trakoscan.

   Take a break: 
The Vuglec Breg restaurant is a great place for a relaxing break.

    Travel tip:
 
Cross the border to Slovenia after your visit at Veliki Tabor. The area around Rogaska Slatina offers great opportunities for hiking and photography. You will love it!

Why did I start this blog?

In many ways, Croatia is like a diamond….It has a small polished side that in my view has been overexposed. But the rough and unpolished side is the one that I love to bring to your attention.

You will not find many reports about the Croatian coast and some of the main tourist highlights. Even though they are equally beautiful.

I want to share with you those lost pieces of paradise that you can practically find in thousands of places in this amazing country. They are underrated, hardly ever visited, and every so often surprisingly in easy reach. So many times I had the place just for myself when I experience those glorious Autumn mornings just before the sunrise.

I love the share, I love to take pictures, I love to write, I love to give things for free.
Most of all I love Croatia.

I noticed my love relationship with this country has been deepening itself over the last 8 years since we have moved here.

It is a high quality of life, the fresh air, the astonishing nature, the great culture, the many friends we made over the years.

But most of all it is a photographers paradise. One never needs to drive very far to discover yet another great point of view.

It is the unique combination of rough and unspoiled nature and the human interaction in the landscape like this cattle of sheep, the wooden stable, or the old house that fit so well in the landscape picture. I can never get enough of that. I need at least four more lives to discover all that beauty in Croatia.

Over the years I visited so many spots and always wondered why there is hardly anything available on the internet about those spots. Now that we have google maps some more pictures and reviews about those places started to come in. But still in very low numbers.

Even the beautiful spots itself will make the occasional explorer wonder… why are there no signs, why are there no provisions, why are there no other people.

I am not afraid to share some of my best locations and hidden secrets (and some I will keep to myself). It will not be overrun by busloads of tourists. There are just too many of them. Furthermore, those places are for those whose main focus is on seeing, experiencing and capturing beauty off the beaten tracks.

Croatia is one of the most searched for worldly destinations. And still, there is very little knowledge about all those jewels and diamonds that lay hidden in 95 per cent of the country that attracts only 2 per cent of the annual visitors.

So if you visit my site to find out more about the great dalmatian coast I will leave you wondering. This is all about a paradise that only a few have seen and want to discover. The Croats themselves take it mostly for granted. I am still that Dutchman coming from a so-called “developed” country where there is no more wild nature and wild forests. In Western Europe, you will always need to share that piece of nature with crowds of other people. Not so in Croatia.

This website will also offer you some gastronomic tips, places for hiking, photo tips and some reports about the Croatian lifestyle and the live me and my family live in this paradise called Croatia.

Thanks for visiting, feel free to comment.

Pozdrav! René

Zeleni Vir canyon

Location
   Zeleni Vir – Skrad, Gorski Kotar
You need to be a kind of a daredevil to take the narrow roads deep into the canyon of Zeleni Vir. It is quite scary to drive.

   Take a walk: 
There are some nice waterfalls in this nature reserve and you can hike over wooden footpaths and bridges. A fantastic experience.

   Take a break: 
During the summer season, there is a “planinarski dom”(mountain hut) near the entrance that serves food and drinks.

   Photo tip: 
If you want to take pictures of waterfalls always take your tripod and choose a low shutter time for that special effect. Avoid bright and direct sunlight as the contrast of the white water and the nearby surrounding is just too much to handle in one picture.

The little village of Vrhovac

Location
   Vrhovac (near Ozalj)
The village of Vrhovac is located in the hilly area of the Zumberak Mountains. It is located only five minutes from Ozalj. I personally love this village for the many lovely vineyards and small “klets” (wine sheds). It is an ideal starting point for a simple walk. You can start your walk at the church. There are signs that show you the way.

You can park your car at the church and a little further there is a nice cafe. Just drop in because some of my photos can be seen there. Next to the cafe, there is a small supermarket where you can buy the necessary provisions. The route also passes a beautiful stretch of the Kupa River. In good weather, you can go for a swim.

   Take a break: 

The homestead of Culig is a wonderful place to taste some real homemade food. The location itself is ideal for landscape photography.

   Photo tip: 
The human element and influence in the landscape make the landscape picture more interesting. This is what I appreciate so much about Croatia. The area around Vrhovac has many little chapels and churches and they really serve as a very welcome object in many of my pictures. This picture shows that even a dull morning without any direct sunlight can be a good photo opportunity. I like the dark grey/blue sky. The great thing about Spring is that for a period of 10-14 days the green colors are not so boring and overwhelming. In this picture, the fresh leaves are just opening up whilst there is still a lot of brown branches around. It adds great “freshness” to the picture. Take that same picture two weeks later and it is much less interesting. Take it two weeks earlier and it will be too brown. Because of the lack of sunlight, the picture almost becomes a pastel painting. I really like the fact that the little sandy road that is part of the walking trail catches the attention and leads you to the main topic of this picture; the church.

Source of river Gacka

Love…Like…Lika
One of my favourite regions in Croatia is Lika.
Later on, I will write more about one of the prettiest rivers of Croatia, the Gacka river.

How to describe the landscape? Coming from Otocac you will find the Gacka river on your right flowing trough a pastoral valley. Once you have passed the city you take a left and drive a few kilometres to find the spring of Gacka river

I lover river sources. Especially when you have already seen the river itself. It brings you back to the very origin of something very strong and powerful. The source itself is often something rather fragile and vulnerable. At many of the river sources in Croatia, you find these mint plans. It means that the water is absolutely clean and pure.

Many river sources in Croatia were used for their hydropower. So is the case with the Gacka river source. But it makes the location even more attractive. The wooden mills fit so well in the landscape. They are not in use anymore but one serves as a little shop. Unfortunately, the place is a bit run down, and some renovations would be beneficial. But nevertheless, this is a very refreshing, spiritual and photogenic place.
 

   Location:
About ten kilometres from Otocac.
Parking space available. No entrance fee.
Click here for the exact location.

   Photo tip:
I advise you to picture these watermills just after sunrise. I took mine when there was still some morning mist. It adds some more atmosphere to the picture. I used a wide-angle, it gives more depth to the picture. With pictures like this, it is much better to take a low position so the water serves as a nice forefront. You can also decide to go into the water. Be careful not to shoot these kinds of pictures in the late morning or afternoon. The reflection of the sun in the water will spoil your picture.

   Take a break: 
There is a great pizzeria very near to the river source.  In the town of Otocac there are many nice cafes.

   Take a walk:

The Gacka river is of such pristine beauty. The Gacka valley is really ideal for walking or just sit on some of the benches and enjoy the silence and the sound of the small river. If you like you can rent a canoe and explore some part of the river. Some boats are transparent so you can experience the water life underneath the surface.