There are a lot of excellent professional photographers in Slovenia, of course, but what makes Iztok Medja different is that he also happens to be an outstanding nighttime photographer.
Last night, I went on a workshop run by Iztok, and it showed me a whole new world that is possible in Bohinj. That’s right, “The Night in Bohinj”.
I wish I had come up with this term but I must give credit to Miha Gantar (who was also there) from Slotrips who came up with it. But I digress.
The workshop was arranged by Aleš and we all first met at the Triglav National Park headquarters for some theory. Iztok did this by explaining how certain images that he had taken from around the globe were created. We were also given an overview of his workflow in Lightroom and Photoshop.
We then headed up into the Pokljuka high plains and through a series of practical shooting examples, Iztok showed just the tip of his knowledge. Back lighting, side lighting, strobes and flashes. You name it Iztok did it. I think that originally some star trail shots were planned for but since the sky was totally overcast, Iztok had to improvise and reorganize the exercises which he did with great effect.
So, if you are interested in nighttime photography or have something specific that is beyond the usual and “ordinary” styles of shooting, Aleš and I highly recommend Iztok’s services.
Everyone who has ever been to Bohinj knows that the light here is special and gorgeus. And if you are a photographer then you know that this place is something unique. Why?
In the last few days I did a small comparison between lakes in the whole area of Alps. After a couple of hours on Google Earth I realized that Bohinj lake is really something special and can’t be compared to any of lakes in Alpine valleys across Europe. From a photographic point of view Bohinj lake is special and different because of the reasons listed below:
- the lake is oriented exactly E-W – not many lakes in Alps are oriented that way. Orientation of the lake and the course of the sun have great influences on light conditions and photo composition. The sun is setting behind a horseshoe-shaped mountain range in a way that is perfect for compositions;
- the lake lies on a low altitude and is surrounded by forest which is good for contrast photos (blue, green, …)
- the lake is “opened” (no mountains) towards east;
- immediate surrounding of the lake is not steep so the lake has a feeling of openness;
- the lake is closed by a horseshoe shaped mountain range from the south, west and north. Such specific geomorphology can’t be found elsewhere. Geomorphology has a big influence on the quality of light and on the direction of sun rays falling on lake and surroundings;
- the lake lies close to the Adriatic sea. The Adriatic sea has a big influence on the weather and air masses around Bohinj. A mixture of Alpine and Adriatic climate creates special effects;
- the lake lies in a unique shaped glacier valley which is totally closed with mountains from three sides. Closed valleys causes the occurrence of low fog at certain times of the year. From photographic point of view low fog is great for moody compositions.
- surrounding of the lake is formed by limestone which is white and gray and makes good contrast with water (blue), forest (green). Majority of the Alps is formed from more dark rocks.
- the lake is not too big which is also good for compositions;
I have visited some of the lakes in the Alps and I must say that none has such great light and such a “soul” than Bohinj lake. Come and see for yourself. You’ll be amazed!
And this is just from the past few days.
Normally, I take things pretty easy here. But today was such a rush.
Being a Monday means quite a number of activities for the kids after school.
After getting on top of the usual daily chores I noticed that the fog was starting to lift. With some seriously good snowfall over the previous two days I knew that there was going to be some good shots around.
The problem was that daughter had an appointment that I had to take her to, so I rushed down to the Lake and grabbed a handful of snaps. I then rushed over to another location but found that I needed to be there about an hour or so later. I waited as long as I could but the shot just wouldn’t come.
I must have been on an adrenalin rush so I popped into a bar for a hit of caffeine. Then I remembered that we were out of milk so I ran into the shop to get some. Of course the checkout queue was a mile long.
As I headed out the door I saw a friend that I hadn’t seen in ages. I was just about to stop and say hi, but I was in a hurry, right?
Got to the school to pick up daughter and she says “Oh daddy, that appointment has been cancelled”.
So, next time I will remember to do what I tell others: “Don’t rush in Bohinj”. And don’t forget to say hi to your friends. You just never know when you will see them next.
I saw a photo of a bee-house on the internet a couple of weeks back and knew instantly that it would make for a good shot if the conditions were right. (This version is not quite perfect but I will be back when there is better snow cover.)
In the shot I recognised the mountain range in the background so had a good idea of roughly where it was. When I went to look for the bee-house I met a woman who was walking her horse. I asked her if she knew where the bee-house was. She said that she did and would show me the trail leading to it.
The woman said that she lived nearby and that she was walking, rather than riding her horse because it was still too young to be ridden.
After a few minutes she showed me where the bee-house was and said that she was going in a different direction. I wanted to ask her to join me but felt that it was probably inappropriate.
In the famed book The Alchemist, author Paulo Coelho writes “If you talk to someone long enough they will help you to find your destiny”. Maybe the woman was there to help me find my destiny or maybe I would have helped her find hers.
It is in these 5 minutes of chance meetings that can shape and change your life entirely.
Every now and then the universe will “conspire” for you to meet someone and hold time still for a few moments. It doesn’t happen often but when it does it reminds you of how amazing and short your life is.
OK, so I don’t have a mistress or something like that in case you are wondering. It’s from a song by Sting (Sister moon).
Anyways, Photography is full of seductions and one of them is the challenge of shooting into the sun. There’s nothing else quite like it. You can get some great results or some really bad ones.
There are a number of ways to include the sun in the shot. For example, here is a shot from Aleš:
However, when you don’t want the sun in the image you want to avoid direct light hitting the lens.
One simple technique to deal with problems when the sun just hits your lens is to place a hat at an angle to the camera so that the lens doesn’t take a direct hit from the sun. This also works with other light sources such as street lamps or car headlights.
You can see in the shots below how much of a difference it makes. If you want more tips like this, then you are invited to a workshop run by Aleš in Pokljuka this Saturday (18.10.2014).
Leave the mistress behind and bring a small umbrella instead. Aleš will show you how much more useful it can be.
A couple of weeks ago I went to one of my favorite gorges and was somewhat disappointed with what was available to shoot. Not too bad, but the water was just a tad low.
Today I went back after some good overnight rain and now it is cream-De-la-cream. Beyond words!
Now is the time to come to Bohinj to see and photograph the gorges. In a few weeks time everything will be too red for my taste.
Aleš and I would be happy to suggest to you when and where to shoot. Of course if you want to learn what is needed to create such images we would be even more happy to run private tours especially tailored to your needs.
And if you are a Zen Master like my friend Davorin Zalokar, you can take a dip in the secret infinity pool below. A word of warning though, the water is seriously cold!