The Illuminating Lens

Plitvice Lakes National Park – Croatia/Slovenia Trip – 2023 – Part 2

We met our Croatian host at the Zagreb airport, picked up our rental cars, and headed to our first stop on our Croatian adventure, Plitvice Lakes National Park!

This Croatian national park is out away from the cities.  We drove through some areas that had seen some of the heavy fighting during the war of independence from Yugoslavia in the 90’s.  I was the passenger in the car with our Croatian host, so I peppered him with questions.   He had lived through all of that as a teenager!  We talked about it as we drove by abandoned houses with bullet holes visible!  As we got closer to Rastovaca we began to see a bit more rebuilt homes and businesses.

The main gate was much like the national parks in the US and even though it was “out of season” the parking lot was very full!  We found spaces for the 2 cars, grabbed our gear, and walked to the entrance.  As we walked out into the open we immediately saw what this park is famous for!  Waterfalls!

All of my images were made with the Nikon Z8 and the  Nikon Z 24-200mm lens unless otherwise noted.

Some of the waterfalls in Plitvice Lakes National Park. iPhone 14 Pro Max
Sign about the very tall waterfalls.

We started from Station 1, where the buses can take you to the other 2 stations further into the park. Unfortunately, we immediately saw that the bright sun was going to make shooting here a challenge as there were big areas of shadow and sun.  I decided that the more intimate landscape would be my method on this day!

Topographical Map of Plitvice Lakes National Park.

We walked down from the entrance to the lowest level of this multi-level park.  There are miles of boardwalks and stairs which most of the time have you walking over water and waterfalls!  The water was everywhere!

A “close-up” of one of the huge waterfalls that was partially in sun and shade!  Made from the observation area at the base of the waterfalls.


The lake at the bottom was pretty big and we saw for the first time the beautiful blue/green and extremely clear water that was something we saw everywhere in Croatia!

Beautiful clear but colorful waters of the lowest lake.  You can see some people on the boardwalk on the other side of the lake. iPhone 14 Pro Max


The next issue we discovered was that we were on the boardwalk or wooden stairs almost everywhere!  Most of the time it was only about 3-4′ wide.  And there were quite a few people “stomping”, oops walking, along the boardwalk.  Sitting down your tripod and getting a long exposure was impossible!  So we walked and climbed through amazingly beautiful foliage and water.

A view of one of the lakes from the boardwalk.


We came to a part of the lake that had row boats and electric boats for transporting people across the lake.  By this time we were tired (jet-lagged and all that climbing).  So we stopped here for a break and a drink.

Rowboats for rent.


While we were sitting at the snack bar I finally got to see one of the species of birds I was hoping to see!  A Chaffinch was hopping around the tables.



After a bit, we decided to head on out as we needed to get to the first Airbnb Kresimer had booked for us!  Before we left the area, Kresimer showed us where we would be going the next day, on a posted map of the park.  We walked up and up to Station 2 where we caught a bus back to Station 1 and walked to the parking lot.

Our first house was a log cabin, a bit rustic but it had everything we needed including a very friendly cat that kept trying to get into the house!

House #1 – Log Cabin complete with cat! iPhone 14 Pro Max

We had noticed that the skies were very clear and using my PhotoPills app I determined that the Milky Way should be visible from the backyard!   We went to town for our first authentic Croatian meal, visited our first Croatian grocery store to get breakfast foods and snacks, and settled in until it got dark.

It was very dark there especially when we turned off all the lights in the cabin!  It was not the best time of year (October) for the Milky Way in the northern hemisphere but we could not resist even though we were tired!

Milky Way from the backyard of the log cabin. Nikon Z8 with Nikon Z 14-24mm.


The next morning we got up early, ate a quick breakfast, and with some directions from Kresimer (who had to stay and get some work done), we headed back to Plitvice Lakes National Park.

This time we parked at Entrance #2 and walked past Station #2 down to the docks as we needed to take an electric boat to the other side of the lake.  While we waited for the boat I noticed some fall colors across the lake so I made this image!

Fall colors and the boats for getting around the lake.


Once on the other side of the lake, the trail headed up immediately!  The water was continuously flowing down from above.

Diagram and photo showing the levels of lakes in the park. There were waterfalls from every level down to the next.


Once again we found ourselves on busy boardwalks most of the time so long exposures were impossible.

A few of the hundreds of waterfalls.


We hit a section that was solid ground and I took advantage of that!

Solid ground along one of the lakes.


Long Exposure with a little fall color.


This day there were busloads of tourists also visiting and as groups got off the boats and walked down the boardwalk we stopped and waited until they went by so we could attempt to use our tripods and get some long exposures!  Patience paid off!

1/15 sec exposure finally!


My favorite image in Plitvice!


On one section of the boardwalk, there was an observation area, I waited there for about 20 minutes for all the people to go by so I could get this image.

Multiple Waterfalls. 6 sec shutter speed!


From some more solid ground, I found some more large waterfalls and even some bright fall colors!

Framed with color!


I decided to take some slow-mo video of this large waterfall!


Wide waterfall.


We were getting hungry so we headed toward Station 3 where there was a snack bar and a bus back to Station 2 and the parking lot!

The trail up to Station 3!


I had a good sandwich and some yummy strudel and saw 2 more bird species I was hoping to see!

Great Tit.


Eurasian Nuthatch


As we were eating, the weather started to get a bit stormy looking so we decided to call it a day and go back to the cabin.  The sky was too cloudy for night photography so we were glad we had stayed up the first night!

I very highly recommend visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park!   The amount of water flowing through the place is astonishing and it is just so beautiful!  Be ready to do a lot of walking, though!

The next day we headed toward the coast to the Sibenik area with a couple of stops on the way!  Look for my next post about those next couple of days of our adventure in Croatia!

For larger versions of these images and many more to purchase as prints or on other merchandise please visit my gallery: Plitvice Lakes National Park Gallery

That is all for now!


Lynn Wiezycki

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