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Skradinski buk in Krka NP

Skradinski Buk,
Krka National Park, Croatia
August 6, 2018​

The camera got wet

I woke up in Bosnia. The town of Mostar was empty at 6 am when I ventured down the stone streets in an attempt to capture the famous old bride, Stari Most, in isolation without (other) tourists marring the image. The bus I was taking back to Croatia left early, which admittedly also helped motivate me to get out before sunrise. I was successful in shooting a few people-free images of the bridge before I returned to my hostel, grabbed my gear from a room of sleeping Brits that came in many hours after I had fallen asleep after a night of drinking, and took the early bus back to Split, Croatia. 

A week prior, I had been in Split with my travel buddy Dirk (see May photo). We backpacked across Europe for about 3 weeks together before he flew home, but we were able to see Dublin - Nice - Cinque Terre - Florence - Venice - Lake Bled - Split - Dubrovnik and many areas around those cities. I continued the journey south into Montenegro to visited the Bay of Kotor before heading into Bosnia. Next, my plan was to work my way back north to Slovenia to meet up with a couple that rescued Dirk and I when we missed the last bus (my fault, I wanted to buy beer) from Lake Bohinj and had to hitchhike. The couple picked us up in the near dark, coming back from dropping their daughter with her grandmother so they could go hiking for the weekend (my people). They eagerly gave me recommendations for places to visit in Croatia which I wrote down to research later.

Once I returned to Split, I found some WiFi, I found the nearest location the couple had recommended, and then I bought a bus ticket and reserved accommodation nearby. Within a couple hours I was on my way. The bus dropped me off in the middle of the small town of Skradin and after a few false starts, I eventually found the address of my hostel. Except, it wasn't a hostel. It was a car museum. And a martial arts studio. And an adventure rental shop. I was confused. Eventually I found someone to talk to and explained my situation. They did not speak English very well, but it was much better than my Croatian. I said the website and they got excited, called someone over, and gestured for me to follow the very back of the complex of businesses, to a lonely door, which they led me into, pointed to a room, pointed to a bathroom, gave me a key, and walked away. Easily the sketchiest place I've ever "booked" but it was the cheapest I could find and it was right next to my destination: Krka National Park.

My main recommendations for Europe are often rent a bike and get high (for the views Mom). Within minutes of walking into town I was able to locate and rent a bike. I got a little bit of food from a grocer and headed to the park via an scenic gravel path along a pretty river. The main attraction of the southern end of Krka National Park is Skradinski Buk, a wide scenic waterfall that allows swimming near the base of it. It was actually the first thing I saw after I entered the park. However, it was swamped with people and the late afternoon lighting was still harsh, so I did a couple mile loop trail which led along the river and above the falls, showing smaller falls and the nature of area. By the time I completed the loop, I was quite warm and decided it was time to jump in the water myself. 

After I had cooled off, I spotted a small rock outcropping in the water and had an idea. I swam back to where I had stashed my stuff and pulled out my camera. I waded and swam holding my camera as high as possible to get to the rocks. I only had one close call where my camera was almost submerged. Once there, I used my camera strap and smaller rock to prop of my camera facing the falls and manually changed my settings to make the image as dark as possible - ISO 50, F/22 - to expose the shot for as long as possible. I made it to 1/5 of a second. While that doesn't seem long, it was long enough blur the falling water of the falls giving a clear blending flow, rather than a choppy spray. I've included an example photo of what a fast exposure of the falls looks like as well as a screenshot from my photo editor of all of the dust and water marks I had to remove because the spray of the falls made tiny droplets form on my lens and the using the F/22 aperture size meant dust spots became very visible as well. The camera was only a few inches above of the water which was fairly tempestuous that close to the falls. 

The camera lived to shoot another day and I had successfully captured one of my first blended water photos, which has since inspired me to shoot many more. Shortly before the park closed I was able to get another round of shots that almost have no people, but I liked the shot you see in the calendar more, as it was almost at water level and caught the golden hour lighting better. I made it back to the town before dark, returned my bike, and wandered back to the now deserted business complex that was my home for the night. I often have conflicting emotions when I travel, and at that moment it was a fight between the satisfaction of a great travel day and the paranoia of being a sketchy place by myself. I got inside my little complex, locked the door tight, and had a simple dinner of a tomato, mozzarella, and ham sandwich. I then retreated to my bedroom where I also locked the door tight. There I tried not to listen too hard to my surroundings as I drifted off in Croatia. 
Mostar, Bosnia
Stari Most
The Old Bridge in Mostar
Mostar, Bosnia
Krka Falls
Choppy Water
Dust_Water Spot Edits
Dust_Water Spots
Dust and Water Spots
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