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Beacon On The Hill | by WJMcIntosh
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Beacon On The Hill

After a ton of scouting before my trip to Slovenia, I thought I pretty much had all of my locations figured out. There was one particular church on a hill that had caught my eye and I spent quite a bit of time making sure that I had uploaded my off line google maps and pins before heading over. Just to make sure I could continue to use Google maps , I purchased a sim card so that I could burn through all the data I needed while navigating to my spots as I shot.

 

After getting the church on the hill shot earlier in the week, I stopped to check my scouting photos and noticed that there must be a second church...one that lit up at night and stood like a beacon on a hill. Not being fluent in Slovenian, I really had no idea what I was looking for. I grudgingly gave up, but decided to take the scenic route back Lake Bled. And by scenic route...I mean SCENIC. Having planned this trip for October, many of the trees in the area were now at peak and I kept pulling over after every hairpin turn to shoot the color.

 

It was after I was thoroughly lost that I came around a corner with a stunning panoramic view of the valley below the steep hillside I was on. I pulled over and instantly noticed a small church perched on a hill which was set against the mountains behind. It suddenly hit me that this was the church I had been looking for. I dropped a pin and planned to come back for a potential sunrise before I left.

 

When I returned at the end of the week, I wasn't sure what to expect. It was a Saturday morning...but how many people REALLY knew about this church? Turns out...EVERYONE knew about this church, and they all knew about the potential for a sunrise with high clouds that morning. By the time I showed up at 5 AM, there were already 20 tripods lined up along the narrow country lane and more people were showing up behind me. I quickly grabbed a spot and struck up a conversation with a photographer next to me from Romania. This shot was taken right at the end of the blue hour and just before the lights went off.

 

If I haven't mentioned it yet, I will definitely be back to Slovenia and the Julian Alps some day, hopefully sooner rather than later. There just something about the churches that dot the hillsides on both sides of the alps, from Slovenia down into Italy and over into Bavaria that is just drawing me back. Seven days was far too short a time.

 

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Taken on October 20, 2017