That Time I Went to Croatia: by Michael Zwack

In an aim to see as much of the world as possible, I tend to travel as often as I can.  Usually this consists of a few smaller excursions around America, but once a year I partner up with a close friend for an intercontinental adventure.  For the past two years now the travel spirit has brought us to Europe.  It was through these adventures that I realized I wanted to share the excitement of travel with my viewers; thus, I started a You Tube channel... and so began my journey as an online content creator and intermedia publisher.   Through my last 9 videos I've contemplated heavily the direction I wish this path to take.  A classically trained photographer thrust into the age of digital imaging, I continue to find my niche.  One thing for certain is all the videos I produce going forward will have an element of photography and travel incorporated, as this is where my passions lie. 

It's my mission in the coming months to grow my audience base and interact with a community of like-minded individuals.  To share my experiences and inspire subscribers to follow their path and live a meaningful life full of wonder and experience.  The best way to do this is visually, so as I produce more content I'll be focusing efforts on creating videos that fit my photographic style.

The following video on Croatia and subsequent vlogs in Budapest, and Oktoberfest were all shot with my Samsung Galaxy Edge 7.  As amazing as it is to shoot an entire vlog with a phone, my plan is to upgrade soon to a better video and editing system in order to produce the results I want.  So If you haven't yet stopped by my You Tube Channel be sure to subscribe and follow the journey...and on that note, enjoy Croatia!



Dubrovnik and the Dalmatian Coast, in the last few years, has quickly become one of the top tourist destinations in the world.  Do yourself a favor and avoid the crowds of summer and plan a trip for early-mid autumn; the weather is still beautiful and the number of tourists drop. Dubrovnik will still be crowded due to cruise ships, but that crowd mostly clears out by early evening. 

Old Town Dubrovnik:  1/30 sec @ f/14  ISO 400  100mm

Old Town Panorama:  1/30 sec @ f/14  ISO 400  50mm

The historic architecture is perfect for photos and golden hour light atop the city walls is perfect to capture Old Town.  For sunset take the cable car to the top of Mt. Srd for the best sunset in town.   

Another favorite photo from the trip came from Dubovica Beach just outside the town of Hvar on the island of Stari Grad.  A steep hike down, but peaceful and mostly least in late Sept.  Best lunch of trip...sardines, prawns, tomatoes, olive oil, wine...heaven.

  • Photo Tip:  When shooting moving water in bright daylight conditions, pack a 6-10 stop Neutral Density Filter.  Add it to your lens to cut the amount of light entering the camera and get incredibly smooth motion blur in water.  

Dubovica Bech:  .3 sec @ f/9.  ISO 100  16mm.  {6 stop Neutral Density Filter}  

The highlight of this leg of the trip had to be Plitvice National Park.  As stated in the video I had first heard about this park back in college when watching a PBS Nature episode titled "Land of the Falling Lakes".  At that time I would've never imagined I'd actually visit such an incredible natural landscape. The following Images are my favorites from the park.

  • Photo Tip.  Bring a sturdy tripod. I put my Manfrotto Befree to the test and had many unusable shots due to stability issues along the main trail.  Hoards of stomping tourists and a rickety boardwalk doesn't make for stable ground.  

Veliki Slap:  1/8 sec @ f/22  ISO 100. 105mm

Lower Boardwalk Waterfall:  .5 sec @ f/18 ISO 100. 16mm

Lower Lakes Waterfall:  1/10 sec @ f/18  ISO 100. 35mm

After reaching Zagreb, I was pretty tired.  I only had a few hours that night to capture photos, so ended up taking the following shots with my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge smartphone. 

Ban Jelacic Statue

Ban Jelacic Statue

Zagreb Art Pavilion

Zagreb Art Pavilion

Zagreb Cathedral

Zagreb Cathedral

And with that my Croatian adventure came to a close.  Early the next morning I boarded a train for Budapest.  Arguably one of the most beautiful countries in the world, Croatia has overcome rather tumultuous political strife as recent as 1995.  With a newly found independence Croatia has been able to quickly develop into a thriving independent state capitalizing on its beautiful coastal landscape, architecturally rich history, and unparalleled  natural parks.  It comes as no surprise Croatia is atop the list of tourism hotspots.  

You can find an up-to-date gallery of my favorite images along with all Croatia photos at 500px

Have you been to Croatia?  If so, any places I missed worth mentioning?  If so post below.  If planning a trip and would like more information regarding my itinerary, feel free to email me at and I'll do my best to answer your questions.  Don't miss out on the Budapest leg of this trip in my next post...Sign-up for my email list and be the first to see new posts.  Until next time, keep shooting and #BeTheChange.