At 06:15, I was sitting on the first boat to Dubrovnik from Lopud Island planning my next 24 hours of photography. After reading the "Lonely Planet's Guide to Travel Photography" by Richard L'Anson I was inspired and determined to make the most of my short time in Dubrovnik. Something that's often missing in my photography is planning, so this time I had composed a shoot list for my upcoming time in Croatia. I researched instagram, flickr and googled upcoming events and markets in Dubrovnik, as well as got some local advice from Barbara, my Airbnb host.
Leaving behind my big bag at Gruz bus station, I got the 1A bus towards my first destination of the morning. Place Gate, on the northeast side of the Old Town. Here, the sun was lighting up the walls and highest buildings with a golden glow from the morning sunlight.
From Place Gate it was a short walk to Gundulic Square, where I had read that a market would be setting up for the morning. Here would be a good opportunity to practice some street photography. This doesn't come naturally to me as I don't feel comfortable poking my camera directly in peoples faces. Some of my shots were therefore taken with my 70-200mm lens as I was sipping an espresso at a nearby cafe #lazyphotography.
I further explored the Old Town by walking the narrow streets. It felt like every time I rounded a corner I was hit with a new photographic opportunity. I made my way back out the gate I had arrived by bus this morning, and followed the coastline to scout out tomorrow's locations southeast of the Old Town. By 13:00 I had made my way through a park, along the main road and arrived at my Airbnb accommodation for a midday break.
What a day, it was close to 21:00 when I sat down at Mamma Mia Pizzeria just up from Place Gate. I felt deserving of a pizza and beer after a long day of photography. For the last two hours, I had been standing at one spot with a good view of the Old Town of Dubrovnik. In cooperation with Eduado from Malta, I’d found a great lookout on the hill northeast of the city walls. I met Eduado on my walk up the hillside in search for a good viewpoint. As I was walking upwards a quiet street east of the Old Town I noticed a "crazy" man who was bashing in and out of every property along Put od Bosanke Street. I soon caught on that he was on a mission, like me, to find the ideal place to photograph the Old Town from. Eduado just didn’t care about walking into peoples driveway to have a look, perhaps I need to get a bit bolder? Barely exchanging glances and a nod we had joined forces and continued to explore the hillside together. It wasn’t long until we had found a spot on some steps leading up to a busy main road.
Here we had great views over the houses on the hill and could see all of the Old Town, the sea and coastline of Dubrovnik. Technical jargon, composition and light were discussed as the last bit of the sun disappeared on the horizon. Eduado had dinner plans, but I intended to stay put for a night shoot of the Old Town, with my new mosquito friends.
Note to self: remember mosquito repellent!
After my pizza and a beer I wandered into Old Town for a combination of handheld high ISO shots and tripod mounted slow shutter speed exposures. The Old Town had really come alive by now with restaurants filled with people sitting outside along the narrow streets. I find that I really enjoy night time photography like this. The artificial lighting and darkness creates a mood that you just can’t replicate during the day. I would have stayed out much later were it not for the fact that my alarm would go off at 05:30.
The next morning I made my way through Gradaa Park, down to the bay and climbed the steps to the Lovrijenac. I’d been there yesterday on my reckie trip, and I thought it might be a decent place to shoot the Old Town from as the sun was rising over the northeastern hilltops. To fit it all into my composition I needed my 14mm Samyang lens, which meant no filters and manual zoom. I focused as best I could using the live view at 10x zoom and bracketed my shots, as the sun was slowly making its way over the hill.
I finished my morning by walking back to my airbnb along the hillside roads north of the Old Town and found a nice viewpoint (Lookout Dubrovnik) where I took my last few images of the city. I had an early checkout time from my room and I could now spend my morning in a cafe selecting my keepers and start editing the 901 photos I had taken in the last 24 hours in Dubrovnik.
I don't usually spend my time this effectively when I'm out photographing, but it was a really fun and valuable exercise of how much I can actually fit into a short amount of time. I've attached a map below to some of the viewpoints I went to that might be worth checking out if you're in Dubrovnik and want some location tips.
by Richard L'Anson
I bought this lens for shooting the night sky as it's fast enough to get decent Milky Way images, though I often find myself using it in cities as well when I struggle to get all the elements into one shot. Beware that its manual focus.
Please subscribe to receive notifications to new blog posts, videos and news, as well as get a free pdf booklet on tips for wildlife photography.