Exploring the Balkans

squawk77squawk77 Big grinsRegistered Users Posts: 22 Big grins
edited July 1, 2014 in Journeys
Last fall I toured the Balkans solo on motorbike for a month. It was my first time using a DSLR and I ended up shooting mostly on auto. I'm still sorting through the pictures and trying my hand at post processing for the first time. I recently joined here to learn more about photography techniques and skills.

1. Bosnia
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2. Croatia
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3. Albania
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4. Macedonia
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5. Romania
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Comments

  • captnemocaptnemo Depth defying Bakersfield, CaliforniaRegistered Users Posts: 186 Major grins
    edited January 5, 2014
    Nice pics, whats the story of getting the bike on a boat?
  • squawk77squawk77 Big grins Registered Users Posts: 22 Big grins
    edited January 5, 2014
    Komani
    captnemo wrote: »
    Nice pics, whats the story of getting the bike on a boat?

    I was heading towards Kosovo through the northern "Albanian Alps" and my GPS must have routed me on a ferry. Turns out the ferry sunk in 2011 (found out later). This 3 hour "tourboat" ride is an amazing value at 400 Lek (less than $4) I think they charged an extra 400 Lek for the bike. It's a scenic cruise through rugged mountain terrain but some things cannot really be explained. Suddenly some young people hopped off onto a massive cliff in the middle of nowhere. Later a bunch of older passengers disembarked with sacks of supplies and started loading a donkey. That night I found a house surrounded by the rocky cliffs with "Camping" spray painted red on the wall. They put me upstairs with all the drying herbs and fed me home cooked supper/breakfast, offered me fresh tobacco, and asked for 500 Lek (under $5) Albania is much different than the rest of the Balkans and I could only handle a few days this time, but it leaves me with the most questions.

    6. Narrow passages
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    7. Living off the grid :oogle
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    8. You can spot a few people coming down the cliff to meet them :eek1
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    9. Herd of goats enjoying a scenic cruise
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    10. Wires for zip line or something headscratch.gif
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  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Administrators Posts: 21,704 moderator
    edited January 5, 2014
    Wires could be power transmission?

    Great photos so far. Can't wait to read more about your trip.
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
  • squawk77squawk77 Big grins Registered Users Posts: 22 Big grins
    edited January 5, 2014
    ian408 wrote: »
    Great photos so far. Can't wait to read more about your trip.

    Thanks! The wires looked odd and there were only fields on the other side, I'm not sure. The remote villages out there have only generators and car batteries.
  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Administrators Posts: 21,704 moderator
    edited January 5, 2014
    It's a kind of strange setup for sure.

    Carry on thumb.gif
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  • squawk77squawk77 Big grins Registered Users Posts: 22 Big grins
    edited January 5, 2014
    Sarajevo
    I'm not a fan of big cities but Sarajevo is touching to see. Bullet riddled apartment buildings confined between green hills full of red roofed houses and the iconic radio tower. The street cars are moving relics full of people checking Facebook on their phones. Mazes of steep old cobbled streets and café terraces with free WiFi. I felt compelled to stay and explore a lot longer, but there were many other places to see.

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  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Administrators Posts: 21,704 moderator
    edited January 5, 2014
    Such a beautiful city and one hell of a contrast between that and the wounds of war.
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  • squawk77squawk77 Big grins Registered Users Posts: 22 Big grins
    edited January 6, 2014
    1984
    The old Olympic venues

    16. Repainted Podium
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    17. Ski Jumps
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    18. Igman Hotel
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    19. Ski Lift
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    Realized after I could have framed just the pole with dark clouds to the left

    20. Incoming Storm
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    I was born during the Sarajevo Olympics. Hard to believe things can age so fast.
  • squawk77squawk77 Big grins Registered Users Posts: 22 Big grins
    edited January 7, 2014
    Bobsleigh
    The old bobsleigh track makes a colourful photo op and scenic ride above the city. Just don't stray off the beaten paths. The last big turn was used as an improvised defensive position during the war and the forest could be mined.

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    The first time I saw this track was actually a Red Bull promo race in 2008. You can search "hot run sarajevo"
  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Administrators Posts: 21,704 moderator
    edited January 7, 2014
    It's a shame to see what the place has become.
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
  • squawk77squawk77 Big grins Registered Users Posts: 22 Big grins
    edited January 8, 2014
    Sutjeska
    ian408 wrote: »
    It's a shame to see what the place has become.

    Not all is lost! Sutjeska was one of my favourite regions to explore. Peaceful primeval forests, lakes, mountains and valleys show little sign of dark history. During Tito's regime, hundreds of thousands of tourists would come here every year. This is apparently where the Yugoslav partisans began their campaign against the occupying axis. Today it is one of the few undisturbed forests in Europe with a bit of rafting, climbing and hiking tourism starting up.

    26. Skakavac
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    27. Tjentište Memorial
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    28. Valley of Heroes
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    29. Tjentište Memorial
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    30. Near the Sutjeska river
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  • squawk77squawk77 Big grins Registered Users Posts: 22 Big grins
    edited January 11, 2014
    Ustikolina
    I roll up behind another GS biker at a red light, and notice his Ontario licence plate. He is from Bosnia-i-Hercegovina but lives in Toronto. He invites me for a coffee and I end up off-roading with them in the mountains. On the way back down, I bent my shift peddle and had trouble changing gears. The closest BMW was hours away, and they said it could take several weeks to get the parts.. We found a DIY fix on YouTube instead and a local biker mechanic fixed it within hours. He wouldn't give me any price so I left him €50 for saving my trip and invited him out for beers.

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  • squawk77squawk77 Big grins Registered Users Posts: 22 Big grins
    edited January 11, 2014
    Montenegro
    36. Clear water
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    37. Piva Canyon
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    Wondering if I should adjust aperture for a shot like this?

    ISO 400
    Focal Length 18mm (27mm in 35mm)
    Aperture f/8
    Exposure Time 0.0125s (1/80)

    38. Durmitor
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  • squawk77squawk77 Big grins Registered Users Posts: 22 Big grins
    edited January 12, 2014
    Adriatic Coast
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  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Administrators Posts: 21,704 moderator
    edited January 12, 2014
    Is #40 some kind of snack shack? Wouldn't it be great to have a handful of cabins like that along say the Pony Express Route?
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
  • squawk77squawk77 Big grins Registered Users Posts: 22 Big grins
    edited January 14, 2014
    Yea actually I had been riding all morning without seeing a restaurant so that was a pleasant surprise to get a snack in the open with a view :eat Seemed like the couple were baking goods right there on a wood stove. Had my lunch and turkish coffee for pocket change and packed away some cheese spinach cevapi and cookies for later.
  • squawk77squawk77 Big grins Registered Users Posts: 22 Big grins
    edited January 14, 2014
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    This last one I lucked out because several attempts were just blurry
  • David_S85David_S85 Spotter of Dgrin Spam and Oddities ChicagolandAdministrators Posts: 12,944 moderator
    edited January 17, 2014
    Enjoying this, squawk. Keep 'em coming! This is a fine example of what all Journeys threads should be. Good background information and plenty of pictures.
    My Smugmug
    "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" - Wayne Gretzky
  • silvio000silvio000 Major grins Registered Users Posts: 170 Major grins
    edited January 17, 2014
    UAU, amazing journey. That needed some big dose of courage, guts or balls ^_^

    as for your post-processing, i would recommend you keep your horizon levels straight.
  • squawk77squawk77 Big grins Registered Users Posts: 22 Big grins
    edited January 17, 2014
    Thanks guys! I appreciate the feedback. I just figured out there is a straighten tool in Aperture and I fixed a few of the boat picture horizons. Hopefully I can learn some more things before my trip to Norway. mwink.gif
  • underthesurfaceunderthesurface Big grins Registered Users Posts: 22 Big grins
    edited January 18, 2014
    Great stuff, squak77. I delivered humanitarian aid during the war and spent a lot of time in Croatia, Bosnia i Hercegovina and traveled throughout other parts of the Balkans. I'm pleased to see some of the rebuilding and looking at the shattered buildings brings back a lot of memories. It's interesting -I wasn't prepared for this thread when I clicked on it. It speaks to the power of pictures -that's for sure. Thanks for taking the time to put these up.

    Best regards...
  • squawk77squawk77 Big grins Registered Users Posts: 22 Big grins
    edited January 20, 2014
    Thanks for the service.. A lot of Croatia and Bosnia seems to have been fixed up and I noticed especially Albania and Kosovo building up now. I was trained to deploy to Bosnia when I was 18 but I stayed in school instead. I kind of regretted not taking that opportunity to see the world but I never expected to just leisurely ride through the Balkans some day by myself either. Lots of beautiful places to see but the history is really a shame.
  • squawk77squawk77 Big grins Registered Users Posts: 22 Big grins
    edited March 3, 2014
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  • squawk77squawk77 Big grins Registered Users Posts: 22 Big grins
    edited July 1, 2014
    Roumania
    I visited Sophia and Niš but the crusade on my mind all this time was Transylvania and the Carpathian mountains. I finally crossed the Iron Gates and the Danube into Roumania late without a dime, into a rural region with horse drawn wagons. I was lucky to find a wild camp site beside a small waterfall for the night. The next day I rode through fall colours and quaint towns, and then above the treeline on the Transalpina mountain pass. A freshly paved winding road like this in America or W Europe would be littered in tourists and joyriders.. but here there were only few locals and some cows.

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