Category: phototrip

More Waterfalls, anyone?

Water Falling At Josefstal
Water Falling At Josefstal

After visiting Plitvice lakes (see this post) I was excited to take more shots like the ones in that post. I was wondering if it would be possible to go chasing waterfalls from home and find locations that are reachable (by car) within a day trip from Munich. And there are quite a few. I haven’t visited them all just yet – but maybe there will be a follow-up post at some point. But lets start with a waterfall that is really easily reached from Munich…

Josefstal Waterfall:
This waterfall seen above & below is rather small and located near Schliersee (roughly 1h drive from Munich). It is very near to a parking lot also used by hikers, so you should be up early. The water of the small river in the foreground is not very deep, hence, it is possible to get right into the middle of the stream for a centred shot. This is probably also one of the more interesting perspectives – so a pro-tip: Bring the right footwear. And this location is also reachable with public transport but more hiking is required. But I was off for a good start on my quest and I found some more waterfall locations online. The chase continued.

Josefstal Fallen Tree
Josefstal Fallen Tree

Kuhflucht Waterfall
The Kuhflucht (translates to something like “cow escaping”) waterfall seen below is located near the little town Farchant, close to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Also roughly an hour drive from Munich, this waterfall is also easy to reach with perfect hiking trails around the fall and nice benches next to the fall for taking a break from hiking or shooting. In 3 bigger (and some smaller) steps the water descents roughly 270 meters. Given that, it provides multiple perspectives for shots. And you don’t have to get your feet wet, but you could for even more perspectives. This place is also reachable by train but would involve a longer train ride & more hiking.

Kuhflucht Stream
Kuhflucht Stream
Kuhflucht Fall
Kuhflucht Fall

The Tatzlwurm Waterfall
The last waterfall for this chase was the Tatzlwurm. There is a big fall located very near to a small hotel & restaurant (2min walk) and a smaller one (pictured below) that is located more beautifully in the woods but requires a little more hiking (15-20min) west of the hotel/restaurant. Both falls are easily reachable, the trails are well prepared and you can have something to eat before and/or afterwards or even stay overnight in the 4-star hotel. The place itself is not so easily reachable by train (and bus), unfortunately, so I would definitely suggest to come by car.

Tiny Tatzlwurm
Tiny Tatzlwurm

That’s all for now – Enjoy!

Oh Rovinj!

Old Town Morning Light
Old Town Morning Light

Small towns, especially very old ones, do have a certain attraction to photographers. Structures, old architecture, people and “street photography” are on their various bucket lists around the world. However, there are some places that are especially interesting – or beautiful in that sense. The small town Rovinj in the northern part of Croatia most certainly qualifies as such a spot and I was lucky to cross it off my bucket list recently.

Clouds At The Gas Station
Clouds At The Gas Station

Rovinj is located on the western coast of the Istrian peninsula and its busy history goes back to the Byzantine Empire, probably due to the strategic location at the Adriatic Sea. Today there are roughly 13 000 people living in Rovinj and the main economic activity is tourism with peak season between May and September. There are many restaurant and bars in the old town, a tiny farmers market and unforgettable sunsets almost every day.

Rovinj Fisherman
Rovinj Fisherman

You can quite literally sit on the stones directly at the sea shore and enjoy a sundowner drink – in a bar, restaurant or simply on the main pier of Rovinj. The view is stunning wherever you go – at the shore or from the basilica in the centre of the old town. There even is a small (actually tiny) light house and a small harbour that set photographers’ hearts aflutter.

Old Town Morning
Old Town Morning

I stayed at a small place directly in the centre of the old town in one of the narrow streets with restaurants and bars around. Its busy at night but because parking is virtually impossible it seemed like a good idea. Many of the places in the old town also offer to rent a parking lot somewhere near for the time of your stay. This usually includes a short drive because there is no space for cars in the old town. Like no space whatsoever. But being able to explore Rovinj by foot during the different times and lighting conditions of the day is absolutely worth it.

Sunset In Rovinj
Sunset In Rovinj

While walking through the town I found a brilliant little shop that sells the many different olive oils of the region, which happens to be one of the best regions in the world for olive oil production. They also offer cheese, honey, wine from the local farmers around Rovinj and the best consultancy (in terms of olive oil) I have ever experienced. The first time I ever did a proper olive oil tasting – which sounds strange but it was fun and I learned a lot. With all the pictures (and olive oil) in my bag I headed back home with the promise to myself to come back to Rovinj soon.

Plitvice Lakes: Do go chasing waterfalls.

Lakes Of Plitvice
Lakes Of Plitvice

The extended possibilities you get by using an ND filter as a photographer have been discussed on the web intensively and I don’t want to add anything to that. Basically, whenever you need a slower shutter speed in bright daylight: You need a filter. The wikipedia page even mentions the “wish to photograph a waterfall” as example for using an ND filter. And I had that wish: To take pictures of waterfalls. So I actually went chasing waterfalls (in contrast to what TLC suggests). To accomplish this in style, I decided to get the Canon Drop-In filter for the EOS R to be able to use my different EF glasses with it, especially the Samyang 14mm f2.8 AF and headed for the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia.

The Big Fall
Big Fall

Some quick info, if you haven’t been there or read about it: Plitvice Lakes have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage register in 1979 and the National Park consists of 16 lakes (upper & lower lakes). The difference in altitude between the lakes is roughly 130m, so many waterfalls can be found in between. There are two main entrances to the park (parking entrance 1 & parking entrance 2) and another option that I will explain later. And there is famous scene from a Winnetou movie that was shot at the Plitvice lakes.

True View Of Plitvice
True View

Once you are there you will realise that the park is big. And I would suggest to plan more than 1 day to spent there, otherwise it will be only stressful. If you want to focus on the park, 2-3 nights is optimal in my opinion. The northern part (near entrance 1) is the more spectacular part with the big fall (veliki slap) and beautiful walks over the wooden footbridges. It is also the busiest part and the lovely (and well maintained) footbridges can become very crowded. Especially between 10-16h. But as a photographer thats normally easy to avoid since the light is not as good at these hours anyway. To cover longer distances in the park fast, there are two options: A bus driving from north to south and the electric boats over the lake. Just remember: No swimming anywhere in the park! And added more recently: No drones (without permit)!

Plitvice Water Lines
Plitvice Water Lines

The area between upper and lower lakes has many small waterfalls in the woods and a bat cave. Compared to the lower lakes in the northern part it is more quiet here, even though you will hear some water falling somewhere in the background everywhere. For me it was not always easy to find a good composition in this area, but water, trees and roots combined just look beautiful.

Roots And Stream
Roots And Stream

When you reach the southern part, confusingly the upper lake (because of the altitude), you will be blown away by smaller and very picturesque waterfalls. And I would even suggest to start here, the morning light and maybe some fog on the lakes will make up for any getting up early. The image below shows the Veliki Prštavac waterfall. Very beautiful and the sun creates a small rainbow in front of the fall when you are early enough. But it is only visible at a certain point – so also go chase rainbows in Plitvice!

Morning Falls
Morning Falls

And here is the trick that I learned during my stay that I can highly recommend, especially for photographers because you will not be bound to any entrance hours: You can book your stay somewhere at the very southern end of the biggest lake (Prošćansko jezero) in a very tiny village called Plitvička jezera. The places there are very simple but also quite cheap. You have to buy your entrance tickets for the park online. To have a guaranteed ticket, you should do that 2 days in advance. And if you are staying more than one night, you can also buy the a 2-day ticket. When you have arrived there you can then hike along the big lake into the park. Just don’t forget to take the online ticket with you because it will be checked occasionally and you need it for the boat or bus rides. The short hike into the park from there is roughly 5km and the area around the big lake is almost empty and very quiet. The images below might give you an impression. Enjoy!

Croatian Color Mirror
Croatian Color Mirror
Jezero View
Jezero View

Bilbao: A Basque Experience à la carte

Frank Gehry once famously said that “Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness.”. The city of Bilbao seems to achieve this goal with every day passing by.

Curvy Front
Curvy Front of the Guggenheim Museum

I wanted to make a trip to Bilbao for quite some time and for some reason a number of people seem to believe that Bilbao is located in Brazil. I earned some funny comments for “enduring” such a long flight for only 4 days… But obviously this is false. Bilbao is located in northern Spain and is also the largest city in the province of Biscay and in the Basque Country. Strolling the internet will bring up many mouth-watering images shot there, hence, my plan to make a photo trip came together easily. Also because the flight actually is only ~2,5h from Germany. 😏

Guggenheim And The Spider
Guggenheim And The Spider

Coming into the city from the airport via Puente La Salve, you are immediately greeted by the Guggenheim Museum. It is undoubtedly the most famous building in Bilbao, created by Frank Gehry in 1997. The museum was opened as part of a revitalization effort for the city of Bilbao and almost immediately after its opening it became a popular tourist attraction. The museum has helped to generate about €500 million in economic activity in the first years and this positive effect is often referred to as the “Bilbao effect“.

In Water Vapor
Water vaporised every now and then in front of the Guggenheim

But there is so much more to see and shoot. Bilbao has more than a dozen museums covering a range of fields including art, science, and sport. Bilbao is said to have the highest concentration (with regard to residents) of star restaurants while keeping the lowest concentration of fast food places. The food is fantastic and you can try to taste all the different variations of pintxos, but you will most probably fail. There even is a street in the old town (Calle Somera) that basically consists of bars. Not that the other streets in the old town really lack possibilities to eat and drink but this street will be filled with people during the weekends (actually also during the week), sitting and standing everywhere, which creates a unique buzz and is a great experience.

Arrow Martzana
Calle de Manzana, close to the Casco Viejo in Bilbao

The old part of the city also is a hot spot for fantastic graffiti and street art. The beginning of Calle Bilbao La Vieja close to the Plaza de Saralegi is famous for that and also has a number of restaurants and bars everywhere. It also used to be the centre for the Basque underground fighting for the independence of the Basque Country.

The Girl From Bilbao
The Girl From Bilbao

In addition to all this, there is obviously the river with its “Bilboats” that bring you to locations along its path and the Mount Artxanda. Walking up offers some new perspectives of the city – not only for photographers. If you prefer to not walk up, you can also use a little cable car that will bring you to the top.

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View at the Mirador de Artxanda

Going to the beach via public transport on a sunny day is just as typical for Bilbao as eating pintxos with your fingers. On the way to, well, basically anywhere in the city, you have to pass some of the many bridges across the river. Some of them are old and famous as the Vizcaya Bridge, a World Heritage Site, also known as the Hanging Bridge of Portugalete. Some of them are modern and stylish as the Zubi Zuriwork of architect Santiago Calatrava.

Zubizuri Night Perspective
Zubizuri Night Perspective

Writing up all this makes me wanna go there again! The unique mixture of culture, architecture, food and people is worth a trip and I can promise you that you will use your camera heavily. Eskerrik asko, Bilbao!

View At San Mamés
View at San Mamés Stadium