“Why Slovenia should be on your bucket list? It’s fresh, different but still in Europe,” says Albert Herrera of the US company Virtuoso, for Business Insider.
You are invited to discover Slovenia’s most unique attractions and natural beauty through a photo workshop with National Geographic photographer and NG photo editor Arne Hodalič. He will show you his homeland’s hidden treasures through the viewfinder of your camera and you’ll have the unique opportunity to get images you have only dreamt of.
During the workshop, you will be brought to the spots known only to locals and you will be inspired by the vivid landscape in the constant chase for the perfect light. You will take images which will influence your work in the future and this will definitely be a special photo journey that you’ll never forget.
Visit Lake Bled and its famous island
Shoot in Krizna Cave using strobe lights
Capture the sunrise and its colors in the Secovlje Salt Pans
Landscape photography in stunning Soca valley
Explore bustling Ljubljana and traditional villages
Arne Hodalič is the photo editor of National Geographic Magazine Slovenia. Originally studying biology in Ljubljana, his first trip to India in 1989 changed his professional career when his photos were published in a prestigious Swiss magazine, Animan. Since then he has travelled the world on photo-assignments. He is also a passionate adventurer and cave diver, participating in numerous sailing, mountaineering and caving expeditions.
In 2008 he received an honorary doctorate at the University of Ljubljana, becoming a lecturer in photography and photojournalism. His photos and photo stories have appeared in books, exhibitions and many of the world’s most prestigious magazines, among others National Geographic Magazine, Life (USA), Time, Figaro Magazine, GEO, Paris Match, Marie Claire, Die Zeit, Cosmopolitan and Stern.
EXPAND WITH PASSION
Private hands-on lessons that will help you take your photography skills to the next level.
Instruction and training in the best photography techniques, including personal hints and advice.
Composition and focus on lines, golden section, perspective, foreground, background and middle ground.
Night and early morning landscape photography
How to take photos in different lighting conditions.
How to approach local people in a natural way.
Portrait photography techniques: depth of field, composition, selecting the best possible available light.
How to take photos in the absolute darkness (Krizna cave) with a limited source of light (strobe/s).
Basics of aerial photography using drones.
As a professor of photojournalism at two universities, Arne Hodalič has extensive knowledge which he will share during evening lectures with projections, showing his photos and also photos of different, world-renowned photographers.
Expert review and constructive critique/feedback of the images taken during the day.
Basics of visual storytelling: Learn from Arne Hodalič the National Geographic Photo Editor-in-Chief
Photoshop courses on request (with Katja Bidovec, Photoshop lecturer at University of Ljubljana).
The basics of digital darkroom and workflow
How to get the maximum out of your Raw files
Effective conversion to black & white using NIK Software
DAY 0: ARRIVAL IN LJUBLJANA
We recommend you to arrive one day earlier to get over your jetlag and adjust to the local climate and get the first feeling of the country.
If you arrive one day earlier, you can use the day to relax or explore Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. You can take a walk in the medieval old town and admire the river banks and bridges of the Ljubljanica river, and take the funicular up to Ljubljana castle for great views of the city and the Alps.
DAY 1: LJUBJANA – STREET PHOTOGRAPHY & WORKSHOP INTRO
For those who have arrived one or a few days earlier, we offer a city tour of Ljubljana from 10am to 4pm. The city tour is a great way to explore the Slovenian capital, meet its inhabitants and get ready for the upcoming workshop with Arne Hodalič.In the evening, we will all meet in the hotel lobby for the offcial start of the workshop. After a traditional Slovene dinner, we would like to invite you to join us for an introduction to the workshop with Arne Hodalič presenting his magnificent work from past travels. Arne will also provide you with his best advice on equipment usage and important location details.
DAY 2: LJUBLJANA – CITY OF DRAGONS
After breakfast, we will visit Ljubljana’s colourful traditional food market and explore the inner city to capture some interesting street scenes featuring buskers, entertainers and street vendors. To photograph the magnificent view over the city with the Alps in the background, we will take the funicular up to Ljubljana castle. As the sun is setting, we will take some amazing twilight shots of the old city to capture this magical mood.After dinner, we will come together for a theory session which will prepare you for the following day: the basics of cave photography and the essentials of taking photos in total darkness (using strobe/s).
DAY 3: KRIZNA – INTO THE DARKNESS
After breakfast, we will drive through the beautiful and dramatic Slovenian landscape to the pristine Krizna Cave. Here, you will be able to apply the learnings from the previous evening and shoot inside the cave. Nearby, the bulky Sneznik Castle – built in the 13th-century – makes for a perfect photo subject as you can both capture the castle and its reflection in the small lake.
In the afternoon, we will drive along Cerknica Lake, one of Europe’s largest intermittent lakes, to the hidden natural monuments called Big and Small Natural Bridge, located at each end of a valley.
We will return to Ljubljana for the night. After dinner, we will meet for our daily photo review and a presentation by Arne about working for and with National Geographic.
DAY 4: LAKE BLED – AN ICONIC ISLAND
After breakfast, will drive to Slovenia’s highlight spot – Lake Bled. On the way, we will stop in Radovljica where traditional Slovene decorative candies (named “Lect”) are produced. There, we will have the chance to practice the basics of on-location studio photography.
We will continue to Bled with its iconic fairy-tale church steeple perched atop the tiny rock island at the middle of the glacial lake that we will visit by boat. Bled is definitely a sight that you will remember forever. During twilight, we will do a special shoot of both the small island with the church and the impressive medieval Bled Castle, situated on a rock, high above the lake.
We will stay in Bled for the night. After dinner at the hotel, we will meet to review the photos taken during the day. Arne will provide constructive feedback and criticism to help you improve.
DAY 5: TRIGLAV NATIONAL PARK – THE EMERALD VALLEY
Early in the morning, we will depart to Triglav National Park. Our route will take us to Vrsic pass, the highest mountain pass in Julian Alps and well-known for its incredible views across the Slovenian mountains. Have your camera ready for some amazing landscape shots of the mountain range. And don’t even bother to store it because as we are descending to Soca valley, you will want to capture the Soca river with one of the most amazing emerald colours you will ever see. We will follow its lively rapids from the source to the spectacular carved gorges, all the way to where it slows down and becomes deeper and more secretive.
This amazing landscape is also the place of one of the most dramatic WW1 battlefields – Isonzo front. There are plenty of sides connected to this tragic battle that are worth photographing.
Our destination for the day is Goriska Brda. After dinner at the hotel, we will have a non-formal meeting for those who simply want to talk and contemplate on photography.
DAY 6: GORISKA BRDA AND KARST REGION – FROM THE WINE REGION TO THE COAST
After breakfast, we will head to Slovenia’s most famous wine producing region. You will have ample opportunities for taking photos of wine producing processes and wine cellars accompanied by a wine degustation.
After lunch, we will drive through the Karst wine region and visit some some traditional villages. Here, you will have the chance to practice both your street and architectural photography skills. Afterwards, we will proceed to the Adriatic coast.
Tonight, we will stay in Portoroz – a Slovenian seaside resort. After dinner, Arne will hold a presentation about working with flash equipment.
DAY 7: PIRAN – PICTURESQUE SALT PANS
At dawn, we will travel to Fontanigge’s historical Salt Pans to take photos of the ancient Venetian salt production site during sunrise. Capturing the soft morning colours reflected in the salt pans is a magical sight and makes this one of the most photogenic places that we will visit together. The area around Fontanigge was partly left to nature, providing great diversity of
habitats and hosting several fauna species. Today, it is the core conservation area of Sečovlje Salina Nature
Park.We will return to the hotel for breakfast and then visit Piran, a highlight of the Slovenian coast, strongly influenced by the old Venetian Republic. Explore its narrow medieval streets wedged between beautiful houses, churches and squares and enjoy the breeze that blows from the sea. You will have time to relax and spend the afternoon at leisure in Piran; however, we can also arrange other photographic activities on request.In the evening, we will take evening light photos of Tartini’s square in Piran. The square is named after a famous local, the violin virtuoso and composer, Giuseppe Tartini. The shape of the white marble pavement now occupying that space gives you an idea of how the roundabout of the former electric trolleybus looked like.After dinner, we will meet for another theory session and photo review.
DAY 8: PREDJAMA CASTLE – A SIGHT TO BEHOLD
After breakfast, we will travel back to Ljubljana. On the way, we will stop at Predjama Castle, selected as one of the most interesting castles in Europe by Discovery Channel. For good reason – the impressive Renaissance castle is built within a cave mouth.Enjoy the afternoon at leisure in Ljubljana to explore more of the city or revisit the sights and places you liked the most.
Tonight we will have a farewell dinner followed by a thorough review of some of the best workshop photos, with a glass of sparkling
DAY 9: LJUBLJANA – TIME TO SAY GOODBYE
Today we return home.However, if you like to extend your stay in Slovenia, Better Moments can give you advice on what to see and do.
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We don’t want you to worry about losing money on your workshop booking. Therefore, you will receive a 100% refund of the workshop price – including your deposit – if we have to cancel any of our workshops due to coronavirus.
QUICK GUIDE GETTING THERE
Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport is the international airport of Ljubljana. The airport is located 24 km northwest of Ljubljana. Adria Airways is Slovenia’s national airline and connects to many other capitals in Europe. Direct trains from Munich, Vienna, Zagreb, and Zurich can also take you to Ljubljana’s railway station.
Slovenia is part of the Schengen area, therefore, EU citizens do not require a visa. You can find information about visa requirements for your respective country on the website of the Slovenian government. It is the responsibility of each traveller to obtain all valid travel documents and visas before arrival at this destination.
April is a good time to visit Slovenia since there are plenty of sunny days and moderate rainfall. Average temperatures reach up to 12°C (54°F) with average highs of 17°C (62°F) and average lows 7°C (45°F).
The official language is Slovenian. Two minority languages, namely Hungarian and Italian, are recognised as co-official languages. The most often taught foreign languages are English and German.
Check with your doctor which vaccinations or medications are recommended for this destination. Remember to plan well ahead with vaccinations. Allow up to six weeks to receive the full course, as some vaccinations require more than one dose, and some should not be given together.
From the soaring peaks of the Julian Alps and the subterranean magic of Postojna and Škocjan caves, to the sparkling emerald-green lakes and rivers and the short but sweet coastline along the Adriatic Sea, tiny Slovenia really does have it all.
With more than half of its total surface still covered in forest, Slovenia does more than simply claim it’s ‘green’, it really is one of the greenest countries on earth.
Ljubljana is one of Europe’s smallest cities – two million people live in Slovenia, and just 292,000 in the capital, which is also one of Europe’s greenest and most liveable ones. Car traffic is restricted in the centre, leaving the leafy banks of the emerald-green Ljubljanica River, which flows through the city’s heart, free for pedestrians and cyclists.
Crowning a 375m-high hill east of the Old Town, Ljubljana castle is an architectural mishmash, with most of it dating from the early 16th century when it was largely rebuilt after a devastating earthquake. It can be accessed via a 70m long funicula, an hourly tourist train or by foot.
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