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Ljubljana's empty streets

The Covid 19 spread has stopped the world. People are mostly keeping themselves at home and majority of the world is affected by some sort of quarantine. Photographers are facing the governmental restrictions and we are mostly condemned to photograph the world from our window.

In Slovenia, restrictions are limiting people to cross the municipality borders, but we are allowed to go outside our apartments and walk in the streets and parks, while keeping the distance. And because all the places such as coffee shops, restaurants, groceries and souvenir shops are closed, after sunset, nobody is around the town anymore.

I took the opportunity, combined with the fresh April's green color in the woods and snap some photos around sunset and blue hour.

Ljubljana castle sunset
The Ljubljana Castle hill sunset

The Ljubljana castle hill have become a very popular place for the late afternoon as people are not allowed to go out of their municipality. It has several paths for walking and jogging and is a perfect place to watch the panorama of the old town as the sun goes down. The greens in this time of the year are absolutely beautiful and calming. I wanted to photograph the sunset with the roots in the foreground, but there were just too many people around, so I made a compromise and photograph the golden hour through the trees and making the starburst with f/16.

The holy door or the side door of Ljubljana's St. Nicholas Cathedral
Archbishops of Ljubljana

I proceeded towards the Ljubljana's old town. Some places are under construction so I could not take a shot. It is also impossible to photograph the Holy door - the side door into the St. Nicholas Cathedral in the season as people and tourists are coming in and out constantly opening the door and a big, ugly entrance fee notice stands attached to them. Now, as everything is down closed, without fee stand, nobody bothered if I took a snap a bit differently as normal. The people carved at the door are the six Archbishops of Ljubljana, who were serving in Ljubljana Metropolitan Archdiocese in the 20th century. The doors were re-designed by an architect named Mirsad Begić.

Ljubljana Old Town
Ljubljana Old Town

The streets are like the streets of a ghost town. Soon after the sunset, everbody who was jogging and walking around leaves the old part of the town, as there is nothing left to do there as everything is closed due to the lockdown. The streets and shop exhibitions are empty. Only few souls, including one or two photographers, were around the town when the blue hour started. And the garbage service.

City square of Ljubljana
City square of Ljubljana

When I reached to the City square, I was a bit dissapointed as few youngsters were drinking on the edge of Robba's fountain, so in meantime I took a photo of the city hall at the front side of the square. There was another photographer wandering around the empty streets and we were changing the positions to photograph. Luckily, the youngsters decided it is too boring in the old town so they left and went to find some party somewhere else. I took the rare opportunity and take a shot without any people. Even in the very early morning, it is almost impossible to take the shot like this. If everything is normal, here there would be dozens of people, street artists and others in the evening and all the shop delivery and city services early in the morning. For all the shots, my camera setup was Fujifilm X-T2 with XF 10-24mm f/4 attached with Polarizer and tripod. On the Triple bridge shot, I used gradient filter too.

Ljubljana City Hall
City hall of Ljubljana

The city hall of Ljubljana or "Magistrat". Here the mayor of Ljubljana has his office. It is nicely illuminated and situated next to the castle hill. The problem is that the building and the foreground is pretty big and even with an extreme wide angle (Fuji's 10-24mm) it is almost impossible to get it in one shot and then straighten the lines in the Lightroom. I didn't remember to make panorama fast enough.

Franciscan church of Ljubljana
Franciscan church of Ljubljana

Originally I wanted to make a shot from under the arches of the Ljubljana's Market place but when I came to the location early, there was a garbage truck with it's ugly yellow lights parked just behind the Prešeren statue and making the shot impossible. So I wandered the old town and took the shots above. On the way back to the location, hoping that he will go away, he was still parked but the empty streets give me the opportunity to photograph the Franciscan church and the Prešeren square with almost no people. I hate the shaft in the front (And did not want to erase it in PS) and the signs around the second shaft, but it will do the job.

Prešeren square in Ljubljana
Prešeren square in Ljubljana

Finally the garbage truck drove away. I was able to make the shot of the Prešeren square, Franciscan church and triple bridge above the Ljubljanica river. I didn't have this image of Ljubljana before. Because of the bright sky towards the west, I had to use the gradient filter. And reflections are improved with the polarizer filter.

On the way back I stopped at the National Library of Slovenia, designed by famous Jože Plečnik. It was dark already, but I had an idea of architectual photograph in my mind and I wanted to test it. Looks like it works, but next time I have to do it in the day or evening time. The black and white is only an emergency exit as everything was too dark.

All this images were also a part of revitalising our Photography Walk in the streets of Ljubljana in 2020 and 2021.

Leni and I will take you to this hidden corners and places where you can capture astonishing photographs while you are staying in the Slovenian capital.

Best light,


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