The Classic Slovenian View
Saint Thomas Church (Sveti Tomaž nad Praprotnim) in the hills of Northern Slovenia is an iconic view, and one of many well photographed locations. This particular viewpoint is a popular spot from which to photograph it, and the exact location was given to me by Slovene photographer Luka Esenko, co-founder of Snapp Guides.
This stunning view is indicative of the many wonderful scenes you can find all across Slovenia. Everywhere you go you’ll see churches backed by towering alpine mountains like this. In this case though, the Saint Thomas Church sits on a small hill backed by the beautiful Kamnik Alps and is a truly unique scene indeed. The mountains behind it are Mount Grintovec
Once I had the location, I visited it many times in the mornings. It’s a morning shot, as the sun rises and illuminates the church from the right. In the early morning in winter, as the sun is further south, the first place it hits is the church itself. I wouldn’t have believe it possible had I not seen it for myself.
Unlike many great photographic viewpoints, this view is easy to get to and is a roadside shot. Quite useful for when you get there early: no need to leave much earlier in order to hike out. It’s a 45-minute drive from the capital, Ljubljana via Skofja Loka.
The viewpoint is a place called Rantovše hill. To get there go through Skofja Loka and head on towards Železniki then take the turn off for Spodnja Luša. Keep driving and you will eventually see a sign on the left for Rantovše. Head on up this twisty road until you see the viewpoint.
Saint Thomas Church is a morning shot, and best in winter but also good other times of the year. It’s best in winter because the sun is further south and rises directly to the right of the church. This is when it illuminates the church and hill from the side.
In late Spring and summer, as the sun moves more north, then the sun rises behind Grintovec Mountain.
Winter sunrise photos
Unfortunately the church is not lit at night
Unlike Jamnik Church, Saint Thomas Church is not lit at night so there isn’t the possibility of that classic shot at dusk or dawn. However, it can still look good at dawn in the right conditions.
Also before the sun hits the church itself
I used a polariser here to boost the contrast on the hill
Later in the morning
Okay so it looks great at sunrise, but a classic view like this also looks great throughout the day. If you can’t get there for sunrise, then it can still look great throughout the morning if the light is right.
Dont forget to look around you
While Saint Thomas Church and the Kamnik Alps as a backdrop is without doubt the focal point of the view, the Kamnik Alps, and especially Mount Storzic, alone can make a great photo., This viewpoint also boasts great views across to the Karavanke Mountains to the west. So make sure to point your camera is that direction on occasion.
For a more comprehensive look at photography, check out my free e-book here