Cape Planka (also known as Cape Ploca) near Rogoznica is the most prominent part of the Croatian mainland to Italy. In front of it there are no islands, but a magnificent view of the open sea. Geographically and climatologically, this cape divides the Adriatic sea on the northern and southern part, and it is in the area where bora and the sirocco collide, and the different ocean currents. Thus, it is a place of fierce and unpredictable storms, and in the past, many shipwrecks. Legend says that on Cape Planka, St. John, the heavenly protector of the city of Trogir, stepped into the sea and rescued sailors from a terrible storm. In his honor, on year 1324 people built small chapel of St. John.
Why Cape Planka?
For all these historical, geographical and meteorological characteristics, Punta Planka is also very interesting place for photography. There you can photograph raging waves, endless sea horizon, fantastic sunsets, and even – the starry sky. I have chosen Punta Planka, as the place for night sky and Milky Way photography, for several reasons.
First, it is a place where, as already stated, there are no islands off the coast – just the open sea, which is really hard to find on the Croatian coast (with some 1200 islands in front of it) unless you set off on some of the ‘external’ islands. Therefore, in front of you there is no light pollution from the cities, villages or streetlights, and, because it is a cape, light pollution from the mainland is ‘behind’ you, so Punta Planka is quite dark spot, suitable for astrophotography.
St. John’s chapel and Milky Way:
Second reason for going there was of purely photographic nature: interesting foreground – i.e. you can compose chapel, lighthouse, sea or rocks into the frame. Starry sky photographs are much more interesting when they have some ‘terrestrial’ – nature or man-made elements included. That’s also why Punta Planka seemed like a great location for this kind of photographs.
Third, and most important reason was that satellite images were showing clear sky (at least as clear as it can be in this extremely rainy summer) and – there was no moon. For photos of the stars and the night sky we need as dark conditions as possible, so moonlit night is not an option.
We set off from Split on July 28th, at about 11 PM. After about 30-40 minutes of driving from Split to Razanj, and some 15-20 minutes of walking along the coast, just before midnight, we arrived to the cape. Weather conditions were far from ideal, unfortunately. As soon as we arrived – clouds started to appear across the sky, there was gentle south wind and very high humidity. Wind and humidity, however, did not bother me as much as the clouds, which were gathering very quickly so I had literally couple of minutes to make photos I wanted. I set up camera and tripod immediately, and made some wonderful photos of the cape, chapel, the stars and the Milky Way, just before the clouds almost completely covered the sky. Even though the weather was not favorable and after 20 minutes had already been completely cloudy, I made some fantastic shots of Cape Planka in an uncommon light – that of a starry sky.
After taking shots of the chapel, I walked (or better to say climbed) down the rocks to shoot only lighthouse…
Chapel was left behind my back. You can see how many clouds already gathered. Also, there is a lot of light pollution on them from the nearby cities.
Here is my husband, sitting on the rocks, waiting for exposure to finish. And killing some time on the internet, of course. (What have we been doing before smartphones? Does anyone remember?)
Anyhow, even though I had so little time to photograph the sky, driving and stumbling over rocks in darkness paid off – I went home with a set of fantastic and rare Cape Planka night photos.
For those interested in technical details and setup, here they are:
- Camera: Canon EOS 6D
- Lens: Samyang 14mm f/2.8 (@2.8)
- ISO: 6400
- Shutter speed: from 10-20 seconds
- Tripod and shutter release cable
Features in media
And last, but not least, since images of starry sky from that particular location are very rare – better to say from Cape Planka they haven’t been seen yet, my photos became very popular, and I’m proud to say the article has been featured in many Croatian news portals. Here are some of the features:
Thanks to all of them!