Best photos of 2020

By Ian Middleton

My favourite photos of 2020

Happy New Year everyone.

While I wasn’t able to get out for photography as much as I’d have liked this year due to the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns,
I did manage to get a few good shots. So here is a small selection of my best photos of 2020.

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Lake Bled

Sun rising over Lake Bled and the island church of the assumption of Mary with the Karavanke mountains in the background, Slovenia.
I don't shoot this side view of Lake Bled as often as I should, and on this morning I was reminded of just how amazing it can be. I took this photo on a morning in February before the ensuing lockdown.
View across Lake Bled to the island church, clifftop castle and Mount Stol in all it's spring glory, Slovenia.
Lake Bled on a beautiful spring morning after the first lockdown. I had hoped for some clouds but it was totally clear, so I found these beautiful leaves to use as a frame instead.
Sunset over Lake Bled and the hilltop castle with the Julian Alps in the background, Slovenia.
This is another view that is often overlooked by photographers. On the eastern side of the lake when it's clear you can see the Julian Alps. Taken in January, it had been a day of completely clear skies, but an hour before sunset this beautiful cloud drifted in and whole sky caught fire.
This was taken from Mala Osojnica viewpoint early March, just before we were banned from leaving our municipalities. After hiking up, this amazing rainstorm blew over the Karavanke Alps and produced some amazing light.
View across Lake Bled to Mt Stol, the highest peak in the Karavanke Alps. Seen from Mala Osojnica, Slovenia.
This is Mount Stol, the highest peak in the Karavanke Alps. From Mala Osojnica you get a great view of this mountain and by zooming in I was able to capture this fabulous moment.

Saint Thomas Church

View from Rantovše hill across to Sveti Tomaz nad Praprotnim (church of Saint Thomas) in the Skofja Loka hills, Slovenia.
The church of Saint Thomas in the Skofja Loka hills. This amazing moment came after waiting 3 hours for the thick fog to clear.

A once a year event. Only in January can you capture the full moon rising over the mountains at sunset as close to the Church of Saint Thomas as this. Fortunately, I was blessed with clear skies.

Ljubljana

This moment was planned using Photopills and Photohound, and once again the weather was just right. Taken from a very special viewpoint in Tivoli Park.

Ljubljana Castle and city centre with a rainbow over, Slovenia. Seen from Neboticnik terrace cafe.
Luck plays a big part in photography, but the ability to react and frame up a photo is also part of it. Without this, you would simply make a mess of the moment. We were only up there for a coffee, but it was my son who pointed this out to me. Luckily I had my camera with me as always and had it setup on my tripod already, but it had looked like nothing special would happen. Just goes to show how you never know. I worked fast to take advantage of this fleeting moment, seen from the terrace of Neboticnik.
Christmas in Kongresni Square with view of the castle in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Ordinarily a scene like this at Christmas would be impossible. Every Christmas a huge stage is erected in this square for music and entertainment that lasts the entire Christmas week. Therefore this view is never clear. As all entertainment has been banned this year it at least presented a unique opportunity to get this photo, one that I hope I will never be able to get again after this year. This is Kongresni Square in the centre of Ljubljana with a view across to the Ljubljana Castle sitting above the Philharmonic Academy.

After a failed sunrise shoot on the Ljubljana Moors due to heavy fog, I headed into the centre of Ljubljana to finally shoot the one and only mosque in Slovenia. I’d heard about this but only this year did I finally do something about it. In the centre it was completely clear so I was able to get some lovely shots.

Ljubljana Moors

The church of sv. Lovrenc (Saint Lawrence) near Jezero on the Ljubljana Moors at sunrise (Ljubljansko Barje), a large area of wetland 160 square kilometres in size.
This fabulous view over the Ljubljana Moors is simply one of my favourites and is great at both sunrise and sunset. These two images was captured at sunrise in September.
The church of Saint Lawrence on the Ljubljana Moors at sunrise
Church of Saint Michael at dawn, Crna Vas, Slovenia.
Church of Saint Michael at dawn, Crna Vas, Slovenia.

A new view discovered

I love finding new views. While I have known about this castle for years, I never knew about this view until I went on a hike nearby. This is Smlednik Castle aligned with Storzic mountain, one of the peaks of the Kamnik Alps.

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View of the ruins of Smlednik Castle with Storzic mountain as a storm passed over, Slovenia.
View of the ruins of Smlednik Castle with Storzic mountain as a storm passed over, Slovenia.
Kamnik Alps with Krvavec Ski as a storm passes over, Slovenia.
Taken from the same viewpoint. Kamnik Alps with Krvavec Ski as a storm passes over, Slovenia.

Slovenian Coast

Summers are often spent down the coast in Slovenia. These were taken from Strunjan, which also has a great view of Piran Church.

The Great Storm

On this day down the coast a huge storm swept past us. It had been building all afternoon while swimming, and suddenly seemed as though it would hit. Everyone ran for cover, but I ran for my camera. The view is of the Church of Saint George in Piran, and the storm was moving that way and didn’t hit where we were standing.

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Neowise Comet

Neowise Comet This year saw the arrival of Neowise comet, which had photographers scrambling out all over the world to photograph. I managed to get out a couple of times but the best evening was when it coincided with a lightning storm over the Kamnik Alps. I couldn’t have wished for a more dramatic moment,

A hilltop with the best all round views

There is a place just outside Ljubljana that not many photographers know about. On a hill in the village of Prezganje is sits the Church of Saint Margaret. From this little hill, you get a superb panoramic view of all the Slovenian mountains on a clear day. Using a telephoto lens you can get some great shots of these mountains.

The church of Saint Margaret (Sveta Marjeta) at sunset in Prezganje in the hills to the east of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
The hill beside this church is where you can see it all from. I also love this image. It was one of my first photos taken with my Kase K9 filter holder and polariser, which has turned out to be an amazing filter system.
Sunset view across a hill in prezganje to the Kamnik Alps. The shrine on the first hill is to Jesus Christ, built to commemorate the first visit of Pope John Paul the second to Slovenia in 1996.
Sunset view across a hill in prezganje to the Kamnik Alps. The shrine on the first hill is to Jesus Christ, built to commemorate the first visit of Pope John Paul the second to Slovenia in 1996.
View across to the Sneznik mountain at sunset, seen from a hill in prezganje in the Jance hills to the east of Ljubljana, Slovenia
View across to the Sneznik mountain at sunset, seen from a hill in prezganje in the Jance hills to the east of Ljubljana, Slovenia
View across to the Mount Triglav and the Julian Alps mountains in the west at sunset.
And when it is really clear you can even see all the way to the Julian Alps and Mount Triglav in the west. Mt Triglav is Slovenia's highest mountain peak.
View across to the Kamnik Alps, seen from a hill in prezganje in the Jance hills to the east of Ljubljana, Slovenia
View across to the Kamnik Alps.
View across to Krim mountain at sunset, seen from a hill in prezganje in the Jance hills to the east of Ljubljana, Slovenia
View across to Krim mountain at sunset

Around the Ljubljana Airport

The Ljubljana Airport lies just a 15-minute drive north of Ljubljana. It’s actually a great location from which to photograph the Kamnik Alps. I often nip out for sunset or sunrise, and managed to get there a few times this year.

View of Krvavec at sunset, Slovenia. Seen from Brnik, near the Ljubljana airport.
View of Krvavec ski resort at sunset, Slovenia. Seen from Brnik, near the Ljubljana airport.
Sunset over Saint Ana church in Tunjice, Slovenia. Shot from a field in Brnik, near the Ljubljana airport.
Sunset over Saint Ana church in Tunjice
Mountain peak, Kamnik Alps, Slovenia.
Mountain peak, Kamnik Alps, Slovenia.
Interesting cloud formation over the Kamnik Alps, Slovenia.
Interesting cloud formation over the Kamnik Alps, Slovenia.

Bringing the mountains closer

One of the advantages of a telephoto is that you can work to isolate distant scenes, especially if you are confined to your home patch like we were many times in 2020. The following two photos are my favourite from these attempts.

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Clouds gather over Krim Mountain, on the Ljubljansko Barje, south of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Ljubljana Marshland (Ljubljansko Barje), a large area of wetland 160 square kilometres in size.
Clouds gather over Krim Mountain, on the Ljubljansko Barje,
Mt Grintovec, the highest peak in the Kamnik Alps at sunset, Slovenia.
Mt Grintovec, the highest peak in the Kamnik Alps at sunset, Slovenia.
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Video Slideshow

Alternatively, you can sit back and watch all photos in a slideshow with some nice music provided by Hooksounds.

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A practical guide to photography by Ian Middleton.

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