LOCATIONS: Plitvice Lakes | Trogir | Dubrovnik
Dates: August 25–30, 2019
Exquisite landscapes amidst rich culture and history…
For me, this is what Croatia is about. On this tour you’ll be challenged to dig deep into the very fiber of what makes you a photographer. Whether you’re a beginner and you’re starting to explore what that means for you, or if you’re a seasoned shooter, this workshop tour is for all levels of shooters. My goal is to inspire and challenge you to create a body of work that only you can create, no matter your level of photographic experience. There will be up to six students, and with that, there will be at least six different points of view on how to best photograph our locations.
There will be times where you’ll feel frustrated. That happens frequently when we strive for perfection. I’ve crafted this photo workshop tour to provide ample time for you to not only discover a fantastic nation and its people, but to also discover something new about your photography. We do this through constant questioning and review of the scene before us as we shoot all the way through how we process and communicate the images. And we can also have some followup reviews after the experience as well. The plan is to spend enough time at each location to give you the opportunity to focus and hone your approach.
I’d love for you to join me on this great journey as we experience the best photographic wonders Croatia has to offer, with a short bonus jaunt into Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina planned after the tour as well.
In short, the workshop tour starts in Zagreb and ends in Dubrovnik. If you choose the optional excursion we’ll end back in Zagreb instead of Dubrovnik.
What you'll learn
Camera stuff: I’ve been shooting professionally for over 20 years. No matter your camera brand I’ll be able to help you maximize your use of that little machine. If you feel really confident in your abilities, please email me ahead of time and we’ll explore ways that I can provide the challenge you’ll need to get the most out of this experience. I have experience with Canon and Nikon cameras the most, but if you shoot Sony, Fuji, Pentax, Olympus or any other, we’ll be fine. I might just have to spend a few extra seconds getting used to the different button layout or menu system 🙂
Shooting and post-processing: My go-to motto is to “get it right in camera,” as much as possible. With that said, I do try to keep post processing to a minimum, but sometimes you just have to go all out. We’ll be talking about the scene as we are shooting and I’ll help you understand how to shoot a scene according to what your end goal is. This may slow us down a bit. And to me, that’s just fine. I’d rather get it right, as much as possible, and focus on the meaning and purpose of the image over a “spray and pray” approach. We’ll then have opportunities to look at some of what you created and we’ll do everything from light weight editing in Lightroom to pushing the heavyweight adjustments that requires Photoshop. I’ve been teaching this stuff for 11 years, however, I’m sure all of us will have opportunities to learn from everyone else as well. That’s one of the great benefits of a workshop!
Composition: I love to encourage you to experiment and this gives us something to talk about. It’s good to analyze images and understand what works and what doesn’t. We’ll do this both as we’re shooting, and afterwards. As a bonus, everyone signed up for this workshop will get access to my forth-coming photographic design 1 course which should be released before this workshop.
Nature: We’ll be photographing waterfalls primarily, but along with that may be some macro opportunities as well as other landscapes and certainly some seascapes as well.
City/Street photography: We’ll be visiting many historic city centers. There’s bound to be a bunch of people around and we’ll celebrate that fact, and we’ll work to get shots without people as well.
Telling a story: You’ll find me asking you something like “what does this image say?” to you or “what do you want it to say?” to your viewer. Maybe certain images aren’t that strong and don’t live well by themselves, but they work great in a series. Creating a body of work that only you can tell will be our focus. My job is to help you decide what you want to say with your images if you haven’t figured that out already, and then how to best execute that.
Lodging: I’ve already got the hotels and apartments reserved. We’re looking at what I’ll call mixed occupancy. And by that I mean that sometimes you’ll need to share a room, sometimes you’ll need to be in a single room by yourself. Accommodating couples may be possible, please let me know if this is of interest to you. It might involve some savings, it might cost more. Just depends on the specifics. In general, this trip is geared towards independent folks who are willing to share a room with same-gender participants when we need to. Croatia is big on guest houses and flexibility is requested.
Transportation: Since I’m renting a van the major point to point transportation is covered. Local bus fares, Uber and the like are on your own.
Photographic and Travel Expertise: You’ll get about five and a half days of instruction/mentoring by me, Brent Bergherm. We will plan to squeeze in two sessions of post production of your images but we must remain flexible due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather. Additionally, since we’ll be pushing it hard early mornings and late into the evenings, brief siestas may also be possible for an afternoon or two. I have been to Croatia twice before, and while I will shoot during this workshop, my primary focus will be on you.
Small Group: With a limit of six attendees you’re virtually guaranteed some quality time with me and the other attendees. We will get to know each other pretty well given how much time we’ll be spending together.
Physical Requirements: Please expect to walk up to 4 miles per day. Sometimes more but usually a bit less too. We won’t be doing any “long distance hiking” per se, but good walking shoes are certainly needed. The images shown below give you a good idea of the terrain we’ll be traversing.
Sunday, August 25, ZAGREB-PLITVICE LAKES
Arrival: Please plan to arrive in Zagreb by Noon on August 25. We will plan to drive directly to Plitvice Lakes at about that time. You may certainly show up earlier as you wish, but for the workshop everything starts today. If you’re flying in today I plan to meet you at the airport. If you’re already in town, we’ll just make arrangements to either pick you up at your hotel or other common area.
Drive to Plitvice: We’ll be on our way to Plitvice Lakes National Park as soon as possible after 12:00. We’ll arrive sometime mid afternoon and we’ll get settled in the hotel. Our first shoot will happen this afternoon. The park closes at 7:00 so we should get a couple hours in.
Monday, August 26, PLITVICE LAKES
5:30 a.m. I’ve reserved a farm-oriented bed and breakfast. We’ll meet early for a sunrise shoot. We’ll likely just walk out the front door and start shooting! We’ll be ready to get to the park at 7:00 or so and we’ll shoot until about 10:30 when the hoards of tourist day-trippers come in. We’ll be real hungry by then too so this is a perfect time to have our first meal. This is also a planned rest time for those that need it. Others can look over the day’s shoot with me and we’ll do what we can with post production. We may also head out to the countryside and see what we can find. The park will be overrun with tourists and trying to photograph in the mid day will be frustrating so we’ll do what we can to avoid it.
The Afternoon: The day-trippers leave starting at about 3:00 p.m. So we’ll get back on the trail after a good lunch and be out until the park closes at 7:00 p.m. The sun sets at 7:46 so it’s nice we’ll be able to get most of the good light.
Eating and evening: The hotels in the park have restaurants, but maybe we’ll want to head out to one of the surrounding towns for a bite to eat. If it’s clear maybe we’ll find something to shoot some night photos of. We will also be on the lookout for a fantastic location for another sunrise shoot for tomorrow morning.
Park Entrance: Entrance tickets are Included with your workshop fee. We’ll plan to get in on Sunday afternoon, Monday all day, and then again on Tuesday morning.
Tuesday, August 27, PLITVICE LAKES
Optional Sunrise Shoot We’ll want to wake up early enough (about 4:30) to get in place for our sunrise shoot we’ll plan be doing in the countryside. We’ll find a place to eat, or have breakfast in one of the park hotels.
8:00 a.m. or so: We’ll enter the park once again for a few more hours of photography, getting some of the places we may have missed or that we want to revisit.
Midday: We need to head to our next destination, which is the Split/Trogir area. Our exact time of departure is not yet determined. We’ll stay flexible depending on weather and other factors. We may even stop in Zadar or some other countryside location along the way.
Evening: We will either photograph the night in Trogir, a small island city that is dripping with awesomeness, or we’ll go to Diocletian’s Palace in Split. Whatever the group wants to do.
Wednesday, August 28, TROGIR–DUBROVNIK
5:45 a.m. Wake up and get moving for the day 🙂 The sun rises at 6:22 today and you don’t want to miss the first light on the city reflecting in the water. It’s amazing! If we think there’s a good chance for clouds we’ll head out a bit earlier. If it’s rainy, we’ll sleep in a bit and get some great shots of old town anyways.
Rest of the morning: We’ll shoot until we get too hungry and are forced to have breakfast. There’s tons of locations in the old town area to grab a great breakfast. As time allows we’ll take a boat trip across the harbor to one of the neighboring towns.
11:00-ish: After a good time shooting, we’ll load up and head towards Dubrovnik. This does involve a border crossing to Bosnia-Herzegovina so we’ll expect some delays. But this is a major highway that connects Dubrovnik to the rest of Croatia, delays shouldn’t be that bad. If you’re not a US citizen, please be sure to have all the necessary paperwork in order as needed. US passport holders don’t need a visa in advance, but others might. Please check into it. I’ll be happy to help as needed.
Dubrovnik: We plan to pull in around mid afternoon so we should be able to get some afternoon and evening shots without issue. We should be staying a few miles out of town so we’ll likely just want to use the bus to get around. The cable car ride is a good option for tonight’s shoot, but we’ll play it by ear, there’s so many great things to do in Dubrovnik.
Thursday and Friday, August 29 & 30, DUBROVNIK
5:30 a.m. Another early morning as the sun rises at about 6:15 today. The sanitation and delivery workers have access to the old town during this time of morning. I’ve found that I can still get some great shots of the empty streets though. We’ll wander the perimeter of the city for a bit. We’ll then take the van up to the overview where we can get a great shot of the old town from above. The sun comes right in at a perfect angle. If it’s clear it’ll be glorious. If not, we’ll find something else to do and we’ll get this shot on Friday.
Rest of the morning: We’ll want to get on the wall as soon as it opens. There’s fewer people there and we’ll have a better time. As time goes on, we’ll be up there at least three hours, it will be progressively more crowded. But the images we can create up there are amazing. Tripods are not advised. You can carry them, but they just get in the way if you try to use them.
Afternoon-Evening: Wandering the non-tourist part of the old town is a delight. We’ll find details and subjects that are the perfect setting for showcasing this beautiful city.
Options: We’ll have two and a half days here, and quite frankly, that’s not enough. There’s a reason why Dubrovnik is called the “Pearl of the Adriatic.” It is beautiful. We’ll look into going up the cable car in the morning as well, and then we can also walk to the historic museum that’s atop the hill as well. There’s also some great landscape opportunities up there. We’ll also look into getting to Lokrum Island, just off the coast from Old Town Dubrovnik. There’s an old French Fort out there which is excellent, as well as more great landscape/seascape options.
End of Tour: The Workshop ends Friday evening. Your hotel that I’m arranging will go through Friday evening. After that you’ll have to either find yourself a new hotel or I’ll take you to the airport on Saturday morning. (Dubrovnik airport that is.)
Optional Bonus Tour: Read on for a bonus add on.
Saturday, August 31, DUBROVNIK
Sometime in the morning: If you’d like, we can certainly have breakfast together. If you need a ride to the airport I’ll take you but also, the place we’re staying at has an airport shuttle. If you have an early flight the airport shuttle may be the best option as I tend to sleep in on Saturdays 🙂
You can also ride the frequent bus services that are rather cheap. Either option I’ll be happy to help you with. If you wish to stay in Croatia longer than this workshop please arrange your own accommodations for this evening. I plan to lay low the rest of the day. If you’re staying for my bonus excursion you’re on your own for today.
Sun–Wed, Sept 1–4, KOTOR-MOSTAR-ZAGREB
BONUS excursion to Kotor and Mostar. If you’re interested, we can continue further. Kotor is a small city down the coast in Montenegro and Mostar is in the central part of Bosnia-Herzegovina. If you choose to add this excursion your lodging in Dubrovnik for Saturday night will also be included. But please remember, as far as Saturday shooting and site seeing is concerned, you’re on your own.
Sunday: We’ll do one more sunrise shoot in Dubrovnik then we’ll get on the road at about 10:00 a.m. heading for Kotor. We’ll pull in at about 2:00 in the afternoon, later if we stop and shoot along the way. We’ll walk the old town area and see what there is to see. Please note, I’ve not been here before. This is all about having a bonus experience and seeing more of this beautiful world. Normal workshop happenings will certainly apply as to instruction and the like. We’ll just be in exploratory mode since I’ve not been here before 🙂
Monday: After sunrise in Kotor, we’ll load up and head toward Mostar. It should take us about four hours drive time to get to Mostar. There’s some waterfalls that we’ll want to stop at, so we’ll likely get in to town later in the afternoon.
Tuesday: After sunrise and breakfast in Mostar, we’ll load up and head toward Zagreb. I have been to Mostar and know of some great places to get some great shots of the bridge. We’ll see about stopping at the Kravica falls once again so we can get the early morning images there, we’ll stay as long as needed really. Then it’s on to Zagreb! This is a bit longer of a drive so we’ll probably get in a bit late. If you’d rather, I can drop you off anywhere in between for extending your time in the country.
Wednesday: It’s all about heading to the airport and returning the van and returning home.
Disclaimer: This is an additional fee excursion and is completely optional. I reserve the right to plan to return the van in Dubrovnik and we’ll travel together via public transportation if three or less add this additional excursion. Doing so may also adjust the price downward. I will also look into renting a smaller vehicle from Dubrovnik as needed. The main point is that flexibility is key and it all depends on how many people opt for this additional excursion.
What's Not Included
Food & Drink: Meals, snacks, drinks, they’re all on your own. Bottled water is plentiful and can range in price from very affordable to downright expensive. It just depends on where you are. They advertise the drinking water as being safe for all, but I prefer to stick to purified bottled water no matter where I travel. A weekend in an Indian (as in the sub-continent) hospital has made me a stickler on that point. 🙂 We’ll certainly go to some restaurants, but since we’ll be shooting so much we’ll often “forget” to eat. So we’ll need to be prepared and keep some calories with us. Grocery stores and markets or bakeries are everywhere. Please plan for enough cash on hand to provide for all your own food and drinks.
Other Entrance Fees: I AM including the following entrance fees: Plitvice Lakes and Kravica Falls. Other places we may choose to stop are on your own. Any government imposed entrance fees for border crossings are not included (at this time fees don’t exist, I’m just grasping at straws here to be thorough).
Incidental Transportation: I am including major point to point transportation in the workshop fee through a van/car rental. But Uber rides, short bus rides and the like are not included and will have to be covered by you. Also, transfers to/from the airport are not guaranteed. While I’ll plan to greet you at the Zagreb airport or your hotel, maybe we’ll have to arrange for you to meet somewhere else. When we depart I plan to head to the airport to return the van according to the description above. If your flight leaves really early you’ll likely need to provide your own transportation to the airport. And certainly any time or travel on your own before and after the workshop is not covered or included in any way.
Insurance: Please secure your own travel insurance. Also ensure that your medical insurance is valid overseas. Please expect me to ask you to verify your insurance coverage. Both medical and standard travel insurance. What if I have to cancel the trip for some reason? That would stink, but there will be some fees that simply can’t be recouped (such as your airfare) and travel insurance will keep that from being a big issue.
Airfare and other “getting there” transportation: You’ll have to fly or otherwise transport yourself to Zagreb for the start of the workshop and plan for departure from the hotel Dubrovnik; or Zagreb if you choose the additional excursion. I’ll be happy to provide advice and guidance if at all possible to make your life easier. And again, I’ll plan to drive to the airport in Dubrovnik and take anyone with me that needs to also catch their flight.
Miscellaneous: If it’s not on the “included” list above, assume it’s not included in the workshop fee.
Last updated 9-9-18
What to Bring and Et Cetera
Money: ATMs are widely available in all the spots we’ll be heading to. These are the best options for getting cash. But what happens if your card goes bad? Or is lost? Bringing an emergency stash of cash is a good idea. But please be smart about it and carry it dispersed throughout your various pockets and places where cash can hide. Also, please bring at least two bank cards. The last time I was there one of my debit cards worked in the ATM and the other didn’t, and they’re both from the same bank! It was very frustrating and the bank couldn’t figure it out.
Camera Gear: I usually risk it and only bring one camera on my travels. Two is just too burdensome. Bring the gear you think you’ll need, minus one or two pieces if at all possible. I recommend limiting yourself in your gear selection for two main reasons. 1). You can challenge yourself creatively by forcing yourself to make good images with the gear you have with you. 2). We need to be as light and mobile as possible. Carrying more and more gear will be counter intuitive to that notion. Be sure to bring your tripod though 🙂
Pack Light: I’ll be limiting myself to one Tenba DNA 13 messenger bag (or equivalent sized bag) for all my camera gear. My clothes and computer are limited to one carry-on sized bag or day-sized backpack. That’s it. I hope you’ll consider this a good example. If you bring more gear it may simply not fit in the van!
Please, DO Pack Light: I need you (and your fellow travelers need you to as well) to pack really light. Limit yourself to one carry-on size piece of luggage and your camera bag. And that’s it. We are only there a week. And we’ll have the opportunity to wash clothes in our rooms.. I will literally be bringing one pair of pants, one pair of shorts, three shirts, the necessary unmentionables and that’s about it. Other than that, it’s camera and computer stuff. I’ll bring three lenses, one body and my MacBook Pro 15″ computer with external HDs. If you need help packing light, please let me know. We’ll chat via Skype or something like that.
Medications and safety/health: Croatia is a fairly modern country, but you’ll still need your own medications. Please familiarize yourself with any of the alerts and warnings posted here at travel.state.gov. As of this writing there are none for Croatia, however there is a general travel warning for all of Europe. For U.S. Citizens, you can learn some important information here, also on the travel.state.gov website for Croatia. Or check out this link for information on Bosnia and Herzegovina. And check out this basic information page for Montenegro.
For your information (readings): If you’d like to read up on Croatia, I recommend the following books: Lonely Planet Guide; Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, written in the early ’40s, this book is loaded with practical history. But it’s over 1,100 pages long, about the first 350 pages are pertinent to the parts we’re traveling in. Croatia: Travels in Undiscovered Country, this book, while great, does focus on many areas we won’t be going to.
Weather: It’ll be somewhat warm along the coast. Expect the temps to be in the 80’s and 90’s. Evenings are cooler. It’s almost always sunny as well. Inland, such as Plitvice Lakes National Park, it can get cooler and be overcast more often. This can certainly help a lot with our waterfall shots, but in short, be prepared for anything, especially rain. When I was there last, the whole country basically shut down for a day due to the rain. If that happens to us we won’t be able to do much but either drive around or do post-processing. That was a once-in-a-generation type storm though, so I don’t expect it to be like that again. However, we’ll have our own van so we’ll not be dependent upon the busses and other public transport.
Anything else: If you have other questions please do let me know. I’ll get them in here as I’m sure others will have them as well. Don’t be shy! 🙂
More Money Matters: Croatia has their own currency, the Kuna. Bosnia Herzegovina uses Convertible Marks and Montenegro uses the Euro.
Last updated: 9-16-18
Limit 6 students.
Regular rate: $2,600. Save $100 if you make an initial payment (or full payment) by December 14, 2018.
Montenegro and BH excursion: $975. Save $25 with the early bird discount if paid by December 14, 2018.
Before and After
I’ll create a private Facebook group for communication and photo sharing and review. You’re encouraged to post images after the shoot for review by me and others that have attended. I’ll plan to leave the group open for several months after the tour but we’ll hope to see all review requests submitted within six weeks after the workshop. After that you’re still encouraged to submit images for review, I may not get to them in a timely fashion though 🙂
As we get closer to the workshop please feel free to ask about any equipment or other prep that we can all help out with.
- Plitvice Lakes: We’re staying at a pension which is a bed and breakfast style place out in the country side. It’s a “farm-like” setting which I think will be perfect for our early morning shots.
- Trogir: We are basically renting a small apartment complex. It’s listed as a 4-star property and it’s very close to the old town according to the map.
- Dubrovnik: I’ve booked several rooms in the same building in the little town of Mlini. We’ll have access to kitchens if we want to use them and plenty of space. Some will have your own bedrooms, others will have to share a room but, you’ll have your own bed at least 🙂
- Bonus-Kotor: Our rooms are right in old town. Access to the good stuff couldn’t be easier.
- Bonus-Mostar: The building we’re staying in is a very short walk (about 50 steps or so) from the old town and all the items we’re interested in photographing.
- Bonus-Zagreb: The place is basic and along the same lines as the other places we’re staying.
- Final lodging thoughts: Croatia is big on private accommodation and guest houses. Plus, the regular hotels are very expensive and, quite frankly, largely booked already for the time we plan to be there. Everyone will have their own bed (unless you’re a couple, we may be able to accommodate) but sometimes we’ll have to share rooms, sometimes we’ll have separate rooms. However, if you want double occupancy guaranteed that may or may not be available. Please inquire if you are interested in such a room.
- Are these “luxury” rooms? Absolutely not. But they’re not going to be atrocious either. Expect them to be nicely appointed and clean. But not luxurious. If you need specific links to the rooms please inquire and I’ll send you the specific information so you can make a better informed decision.
- Thoughts on included breakfasts: Our shooting schedule likely won’t match the hotel/guesthouse breakfast schedules (most offer breakfast at an extra fee which would be on your own). I think we should plan to eat “on the run” so to speak. If possible we’ll take advantage of the hotel breakfast, but flexibility is encouraged here.
- Last updated: 9-16-18
As needed, I’ll be happy to clean your camera for you on site. I won’t bring everything with me, but I should be able to get most things cleaned (even your sensor) as needed.
There’s just a few stipulations/restrictions that apply to this workshop. They are…
- Workshop fees are non-refundable unless I’m able to find a replacement in time. I will refund your workshop fees minus a cancellation fee of $150 if a replacement is found. Should you need to cancel and we do find a replacement, I’ll handle everything. I’ll charge them the participation fee and refund you the appropriate amount. I need to do it this way because as I switch up rooms and the like additional costs may be involved which I will have to pass on to the new attendee. If you pay the deposit but are unable to make the final payment, let’s work together to find a replacement for you.
- Workshop fees only cover instruction, lodging, and major transportation as mentioned above. Other costs such as minor transportation, entrance fees, transfer fees, airfare or other fees to get to Croatia are not covered in the workshop fee.
- Food, drinks and other incidental items are not included.
- I reserve the right to cancel the workshop and fully refund any fees paid due to unforeseen circumstances. Please be sure you buy insurance. My total liability will only be refunding the fees paid less costs incurred that are non-refundable by me. Unforeseen circumstances include but are not limited to a death in the family, war, act of terror, extreme weather or other natural disaster or other serious issue.
- Registration Deadline: I need a minimum of three attendees signed up by March 31, 2019, or we risk cancellation. I’ll be in communication with anyone who’s paid fees by the deadline should we run in to this issue. By this point I won’t have paid any non-refundable deposits, so you would expect a full refund.
- Release of Liability. You’ll be asked to sign a form onsite. But also, by purchasing you agree to release me and my heirs, relatives, business associates and others from any liability for any personal injury, death, loss of valuables and safety risks, or any other malady that may strike due to your involvement in this workshop. You agree that you’re aware of the risks international travel presents and you’re taking these risks upon yourself. You agree to be fully financially independent should disaster strike and that I’ll be asking and verifying that you have insurance, both medical and travel. Attendees are not vetted before the journey. We will get to know each other via a Facebook group beforehand, but that’s not a substitute for true vetting and getting to really know a person. You understand the risks involved and while I will do all I can to aid and assist with issues that may arise, you agree to hold me and my aforementioned associates harmless due to any interpersonal interactions with fellow attendees and/or anyone we encounter along the way. If you are unwilling to agree to any of these terms listed here please don’t sign up for the workshop.
- I reserve the right to add to and/or modify or subtract anything on this description page as necessary and without warning. I will notify you if there’s a need to make a change and you’ve already made payment.
- If we have fewer people than 6 sign up, I will rent a smaller vehicle as necessary.
Last updated 9-16-18