Photographing Zaosiri Beach
Part of my Great Photography Locations series.
At 1777kms long and boasting 1246 islands, the Croatia coast is a spectacle not to be missed. The northernmost part comprises the beautiful Istria Peninsula. Starting at the border with Slovenia, this peninsula separates the Gulf of Trieste and mainland Croatia. The Kvarner Gulf in-between is home to the first set of islands, Krk, Cres and Lošinj.
Upon my first ever visit to Lošinj Island I discovered a great little location called Zaosiri Beach, which is near to the little village of Cunski, just north of Mali Lošinj town.
My discovery was purely by chance. Lošinj Island had been the family holiday destination for my wife and her family when she was a child, so back in 2013 we decided to take our family holiday there with our little chap in tow.
High season, ughh!
Now, it was August; a time I abhor not only when it comes to going on holiday in locations such as this (too damn hot and crowded!), but also with regards to landscape photography. High summer means harsh light, too much haze and humidity and too many people in the way. It also means getting up too early for sunrise!
The other problem is high season prices. We always seem to make our decisions last minute when it comes to holidays, so of course everything was either booked, or outrageously expensive. I had been looking at apartments in the town of Mali Lošinj, which were in the region of 70-80 euros per night. It wasn’t looking good.
All was not lost
Just when I was about to give up, I stumbled upon one website with an apartment located in a little village called Cunski, which is just a few kilometres north of Mali Lošinj. “Well, we have a car so don’t need to be in the town itself” I thought to myself. So I banged off a quick email to the owners.
To my surprise the owner came back with an offer of a nice small apartment, available for the dates I’d specified, and at an unbelievable reasonable price, given the time of year. We snapped it up.
More good fortune
Upon arrival we instantly fell in love with the apartment. Not only was it perfect for a small family, it had a great little shady terrace and the owners were super friendly. But the best was yet to come.
After checking in we took a walk to see what was nearby. A sign pointing to Zaosiri led us down the cliffside to a small local beach with a pier and boathouse. Two islands sat offshore, known as Veli Osir and Mali Osir. It was stunning!
Upon first seeing this place, I immediately saw its photographic potential, and in particular one image popped into my head, it included the boathouse. I took in my orientation and realised that as the beach faced northeast, this was actually the best time of year to be here, because the sun would rise just to the south of the boathouse in summer, but outside of that would rise behind the island.
So it seems that there is some advantage to visiting in high summer!
Getting up not so early......
One advantage of being in southern Europe is that sunrise is a little later than in the UK. Even in August sunrise was around 6, so I only had to get up around 5am and trot 10 minutes down the cliff to catch the dawn.
A landscape photographer's worst nightmare
On the first morning I got some clouds, but the light was not that great. Then for the next ten days I got cloudless mornings. I managed a few shots, but the lack of clouds meant no dramatic shots, and my visualised boathouse image also included clouds.
If at first you don't succeed.........
We returned again in 2014. This time I had no problem going on holiday in August! Somewhat fortuitously this year was a bad summer, and July had seen some unseasonably bad weather. Although this had abated a little, it was still quite unsettled. Temperatures were a little cooler than usual, and the island was much greener due to all the rain.
What this meant for me was more dramatic clouds in the morning from passing storms! I was happy, and each morning trudged down to the beach, got great light and different shots. But my boathouse shot still eluded me, as there was, ironically, too much cloud or not quite enough!
But I got some great moments, including a morning of lightning over Veli Osir:
Lightning at dawn over the two small islands of Veli Osir and Mali Osir on Losinj Island, Adriatic Sea, Croatia. Photographed from Zaosiri beach near the village of Cunski, the main storm belt was primarily over the Istra peninsula but Losinj got the edge of it during the night. This was photographed as the storm moved southeast away from the Island.
On the last morning!
On the very last day I trudged down for my final chance. The dawn was uninspiring, with not enough cloud. My spirits were lifted however as sunrise approached.
Cloud started to build. I watched like an expectant child as the cloud built on the horizon, the sun rose above the mountains, the cloud edged ever closer, split apart and cradled that rising sun in just the right place. Mother Nature had rewarded my patience and perseverance at getting up at 5am every morning!
Everything fell into place. Not only did I get some great cloud effects, but that little crevice in the cloud was just the right size to create that sunburst.