Plitvice Lakes National Park, is the oldest national park in Southeast Europe and the largest national park in Croatia. The national park is world famous for its lakes arranged in cascades. Currently, 16 lakes can be seen from the surface. The sixteen lakes are separated into an upper and lower cluster formed by runoff from the mountains, descending from an altitude of 636 to 503 m (2,087 to 1,650 ft) over a distance of some eight km. The lakes are renowned for their distinctive colors, ranging from azure to green, grey or blue. The colors change constantly depending on the quantity of minerals or organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight. Through different climatic influences and the large difference in elevation within the protected area, a multifaceted flora and fauna has been created. The national park area is home to many endemic species. Those species that prevailed at the lakes before the arrival of man still exist.
I decided It was the perfect time to visit Plitvice National Park and I invited my friends Hazzy, Olja and Anita with me. I needed to take some photos for one "project" that I will work with another friend.
We planned to start from Duga Resa at about 9am but it was about 10am when we all got together and were ready to hit the road. On the they way to Plitvice we made a short stop at Rastoke in Slunj. (Rastoke is situated at the mouth of the river Slunjčice, which flows into the river Korana, A travertine barrier creates a series of small waterfalls, rapids and basins. Rastoke is also an architectural heritage, ethnographic and has a big historical value, as well as its natural beauty.) Our stop at Rastoke was about 45min to an hour, I took some photos and it was Hazzy’s first time there. We continued on our way to Plitvice lakes and soon we arrived.
One of the main reasons I wanted to go to plitvice in November, is that the entrance fee is half price, because it is out of season, but there is also some beautiful autumn colors what give it a magic feeling. We bought our entrance ticket and started walking into the park. It was a little disappointing because some parts of park were closed due to the high water and flood, so we planned to just avoid those spots. We entered entrance number 2 next to Plitvice Hotel the starting point was a little confusing for me ( I was at Pltitvice before but I always started from the main entrance ). At the lakes we first took a boat to the other side of Kozjak lake and we saw Gradinsko lake. There I took a photo of the waterfall which was extremely difficult, I had trouble with that photo for about an hour because I wanted a long exposure one. Light was just right giving me nice sun rays from the top of the waterfall, but the big problem was on the wooden bridge. There was a lot of people walking around , especially groups and with every step they shook the bridge and spoiled my photo, so I waited till everyone had moved on so I could get the shoot, and I also had problems with water, there was a lot of water in the air from the waterfall and each time the wind would blow it in mine direction, I needed to clean my lens and filter, basically I needed to clean it after every shot. My friends continued on till I was finished with the shot and later we met up and continued walking around together. Soon we came to our boat dock and we realized we had just made small circle around Gradinsko lake, skipping many of the lakes above.
It was already 3pm so we decide to take another boat that crossed Kozjak lake. After we got out of the boat I took some long exposure shots while my friends went to get some coffee in a nearby restaurant. Our next destination was Veliki slap ( Big waterfall ), and we had 2 roads to get there, I thought it would be nice if we walked next to lake but about half way there we saw a flood sign and the path was closed, I took a look down the road and it seemed ok so I decide to just ignore it ( and in case there is actually big flood, it will be my friend Olja fault ( it’s always her fault when something bad happens ). After 30 minutes of walking there was actually water on the road, we were short on time and we had gone too far to go back, and the watery part was small, maybe just 10 meters but enough to get our shoes wet Sunset was almost there and we were unable to reach Veliki slap but we made it to view point from where we could easily see it. I was lucky it was a very nice pink sunset and I took some photos. After I finished we took some group photos all together and just had some fun.
At the blue hour we had reached another viewpoint, I wanted to shoot some stars but there was also the moon in the sky, so I knew I would not get many of them, but I would catch some. I set my camera up in time for star trails and then we were supposed to wait till it was done. Waiting is usually the most boring part but this time it was extremely fun. I had a picnic blanket so we all sat and played Kings of Opera, a 4 players game on my iPad and time just flew by, but then it got more and more cold, especially with us having wet feet.
Going back to the car was really a new adventure. We were completely alone in the park. And still quite far from the Hotel where I parked. To reach the car we had to walk in the forest. It was a little scary but because the moonlight scene was pretty impressive it lit our way. It took us about 45 minuts of walking to reach the car, really fast walking.
It was a really nice day, and I am really grateful for my friends and that they have patience with me and waiting on me till I was finished with all of my photo shooting, I know that was not so easy for them :)