Yes it’s a peaceful view, but this a popular corner at Lake Bohinj, even on cold and cloudy winter evenings. The view to my right had a dozen people or more milling around admiring the ducks. To my left, this. As I set up the shot, knees buried in the snow, I could hear people approaching behind me, making their way towards the hut and pier in this scene. Peace doesn’t last.
It’s a stunning place without a doubt. After days of rain, the waterfalls were energised and energising. You might think it’s easier to photograph the lakes and falls once the constant downpour stops. Not so! The absence of rain and the appearance of the sun brought the tourists in at what seemed to be a rate of a dozen coachloads every 10 minutes. As a result, the wooden walkways shook constantly, and I couldn’t very well block the path by hanging around with my tripod and backpack. So the good news is that I’ll be going again, when the coachloads have gone, whenever that is.
A few paces around the corner and the path was under 15 cm of water on account of several days of rain. Not so good for flimsy shoes, but great for the waterfalls!
It wasn’t the first wooden path I walked across at Plitvice, but it was my favourite: both for the cool, leafy shade it provided, and the play of light, leaves and water. I could have spent the entire day here.
Every winter for some years now, hundreds of swans have been flying southwards to Svetloe Lake in the Altai Region of Siberia. Because of the warm springs that feed this Lake, the water never freezes, and in fact it is said to never go below 5°C no matter what the surrounding air temperature is.
The lake water may be warm enough, but the winter temperatures here are well below freezing! These preening swans are doing what needs to be done to keep the cold at bay: feather care. By spreading the oil produced by their uropygial glands, the swans keeps their feathers waterproofed and in good condition.
Even in temperatures of -25°C to -40°C, visitors come to watch the swans and hear their loud honking. But in the chilly hours before and after sunrise in late February this year, the only visitors were me and a small group of Russian photographer friends.
… for misty morning photography 😉
Further around the lake I met a different scene, but equally misty.
The start of a stunning winter sunset, but I left too soon, erring on the side of caution to avoid walking in the dark on patches of ice. I had forgotten my headlamp.
What is it that makes us want to take that particular photograph, there, at that time, in those conditions?
I enjoy going on photo trips with other photographers now and then, but sometimes it’s like trying to photograph while on a hillwalking trip with others: sometimes our priorities don’t coincide.
I don’t mind not having stunning dawns, spectacular dusk scenes, dramatic mountain cloud formations. Not just because not having these things is “real”, or even because it presents a challenge to “find something to shoot”, but because it allows for a more contemplative, thought-out approach to the mood or atmosphere potentially there.
This scene appeared to me early one afternoon on a cold October day near the Chata pri Zelenom plese.
I liked the cold feel (the air was freeing cold) and the harsh look (it hadn’t been easy to get there). Life is like that sometimes. I also remember enjoying the fact that I was alone, wandering around the lake, while my photographer companions warmed themselves up with some local (Tatra) tea. There was nothing there other than an undefined inner voice to distract me: no voices, no-one’s tripod in my viewfinder, no crunching of stones underfoot as companions moved on to greener pastures, complaining that there was nothing there to photograph, the light poor, the reflections weak, the majestic mountains around the Chata invisible in the mist…
This image may not be as popular or “liked” as the stunning dawns I’ve had the good fortune to photograph, but “nothing there” does not exist.
My first time here. I hope not my last. The Corno Grande barely visible behind distant clouds.
A fleeting autumnal sun casts its soft light for a moment around Sdrbske Pleso before disappearing altogether. Not quite the sweet light, but sweet enough for me.
We left the Chata (pri Zelonom Plese) in the early hours, hiking in the dark to reach Biele Pleso in time for sunrise.