Archive for Slovenia

Oct
13

Bled Castle at Blue Hour

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Lake Bled in northern Slovenia is one of the countries biggest tourist attractions and you don’t need to look at too many photos to see why. It is set in the Julian Alps, it is as picturesque a destination as you could wish to see anywhere in the world. It is dominated by Bled Castle overlooking the lake from high up on a cliff on the northern edge with Bled Island and church towards the western end.

The lake itself is around 6.5km (4 miles) in circumference so you can easily walk round in under 90 minutes. From a photography point of view, this means you can get a wide variety of views at all times of the day. I spent a couple of days here and there was always a new place to photograph. Additionally, the different seasons each offer something different.

Bled Castle at Blue Hour

Bled Castle at Blue Hour

With Blue Hour photos, you ideally want some artificial light on buildings to light them up, giving contrast against the darkening sky. Unfortunately, as stunning as Bled Island is, there is very little artificial light on the church or bell tower. There is no such issue with Bled Castle.

Bled town is at the eastern end of the lake with various hotels, shops and restaurants. The lakeside edge is well light as is the church at the foot of the hill on which Bled Castle is located. With the sun setting over the far end of the lake, all these factors make for the ideal spot for a Blue Hour shot.

For this shot, I positioned myself next to one of the lakeside benches just below the Park Hotel towards the end of Blue Hour. The camera settings were:

  • ISO 100
  • f/22
  • 18mm focal length
  • 30 seconds exposure

I was pretty pleased with this image and it didn’t require too much work in post processing to come up with the final result.

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Jul
08

Ljubljana Castle

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The medieval castle in Ljubljana dominates the skyline of the Slovenian capital from its position high on the hill. Today, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ljubljana offering spectacular views across the city with the Alps providing a stunning backdrop.

Getting to the castle is quick and easy thats to the Funicular with operates every 10 minutes and quickly takes you to the top. For the more energetic, there are a number of footpaths leading to the top or there is also a tourist train which runs during the peak season.

Access to Ljubljana Castle is year round and guided tours are available during the peak tourist season (June to September) in various languages. Entrance to the castle courtyard itself is free of charge but if you want to climb to the top of the tower with the distinctive green and white flag of Ljubljana flying proudly. It will cost an extra €5 to access the tower but the views from the top are worth it.

Unfortunately, the day I went, the weather wasn’t great but on a sunny day, the courtyard would be an ideal place to sit back and enjoy a beer. There are often concerts and shows here during the summer and you can even get married at the castle.

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