The natural barriers creating the Plitvice’s lakes are made of travertine, a porous carbonate rock formed by the sedimentation of calcium carbonate from water under specific ecological conditions. This is an ongoing biodynamic process happening constantly: Plitvice is an always-changing world and most of its fascination is due to this reason. Over the time the waters change their course leaving some barriers dry while others are growing up.
Natural phenomenons are normally very slow, but this is not the case of Plitvice, where the transformation of the turf and consequentially of the waterfalls is well evident just after decades or even less.
In this world dominated by waters also the woods surrounding the valley where the lakes are showing an incredible cobalt colour, are absolutely impressive. Not only the 80 hectares of virgin forest of Corkova Uvala, but also the rest of the mixed woods are ancient with very huge and old giants living close to young trees. And on the forest floor the dead trunks are slowly decaying preparing the ground for the young plants. The biodiversity here is rich with 1267 different species of plants including 75 endemic to this area.
The mountains around Plitvice are not very high and are mostly covered by a thick forest of beech, silver fir and spruce; no wonder that in such a place wolves, bears and a multitude of small mammals and birds still roam free.
While moving through the area, I was speaking with my guide Ante about water conditions (very good), woodland management, bears, lynx and much more. He works in the national park since the late eighties, so his experience is fantastic and it is a real pleasure to get so much information directly from him.
Close to Ljeskovac, a tiny village in the heart of the national park, he could see a couple of lynx during the winter some years ago and he and a colleague of him managed to follow their tracks in the snow for quite a distance.
On 7 October I spent a whole day, from dawn to sunset, close to Ljeskovac, getting a few scenic pictures in early morning while a gentle breeze was playing with the fog rising over the water surface and several close-ups by the lake’s banks. In the afternoon I went to the springs of the Crna Rjieka (Black river) a magical place where the clear water gushes out from the ground; it’s a dark, wet location with many moss-covered rocks emerging from the turbulent waters of the river. The dark mosses thriving on the bottom give the name to the river.
In the following days the weather has been constantly clear and mild, with temperatures up to 20°C and the air became more and more hazy. Not the best condition for getting great vistas, so I concentrated on waterfalls and details.
Ante’s experience revealed invaluable, as we could reach locations faraway from the beaten paths with great possibilities to shoot spectacular travertine barriers covered with mosses at close quarters.
Water in all its forms, rock formations, abstractions, details are my topics on this mission and this was what I had in mind every time we were on the way to a new, unknown spot climbing steep slopes or carefully walking on tricky turf barriers, almost completely concealed by a thick carpet of fallen leaves hiding dangerous, deep pools, where Ante sank once, the water reaching his belly!
The fatigue was always rewarded by amazing views; I particularly liked the cascades on Labudovac barrier, a fairytale place with massive mosses formations hanging on steep rocks, covering tree trunks and reminding me of scenes from The Lord of the Ring.
On 14 October autumn colours are still on the trees, but many of them have already lost their foliage; just a few days more and then time will come to go back home with the memory of an another full experience spent close to the unique beauty of Plitvice.
Please note that blogs reflect our photographers' opinions and not necessarily those of the directors of Wild Wonders of Europe.