Top-Down Magic: Planina Karst Field

There are few changes of perspective that reveal more than the top-down view, the one that is furthest removed from the ordinary human experience.

Lines of trees become broadly winding meanders, hidden landscape features are suddenly visible, secret dances of the shadows thrown by the setting Autumn sky are exposed.

The northern part of Planina karst field is a challenging place to fly a kite. Squeezed between the rocky limestone hills under which the river Unica disappears, the solitary outcrop of Jakovica and the eastern slopes of Hrušica plateau all conspire to trap the wind; usually just some rogue turbulence manages to descend and deceivingly pick the kite up – only to drop it a hundred meters away, its direction and strength completely random.

Cindy Delta just about managed to lift the camera

This time we were lucky: a rare stable western wind came smoothly down and blew with just enough force for a kite to fly a camera into the sky. Actually two kites – though our Cindy Delta (made by Dr. Agon Kites) struggled valiantly to lift the Nikon, she was more of a target than a shooter. The real star of this KAP session was the Rokker made by master Sandro Macchi – SMAC, carrying the Insta360 camera.

The Rokker went much much higher …

From the ground the north part of Planina karst field is beautiful. Lush green wet meadows – the river floods them a couple of times per year – and the tree-lined Unica river are a soothing sight. But the true spectacle of this unique landscape can only be seen from the air.

Unica makes its last meanders here before it disappears again into the mysterious Karst underground; the first sinkholes – called Katavotrons, enlarged and cleaned up by the father of speleology Wilhelm Putick in order to speed up drying of the karst field – are less than 100 m away.

Unica is a strange river. It emerges whole from the Planina cave in the southern end of Planina karst field, and is an apparition of one of the major wonders of Slovenian Karst: the River of Seven Names. The Karst highlands swallow the river a couple of times and divide it into seven sections: Trbuhovica, Obrh, Stržen, Rak with Pivka (these two join each other underground), Unica, and Ljubljanica. It is also a prime fishing spot! 😉

See the fairy rings?

There are other things visible only from above. See the strange circular patterns gracing the meadow on the photo above – these are fairy rings, circles made by fungi! A mushroom grows, spreads the spores, a new generation emerges in a small circle around the first one, another generation makes an even wider circle, and so on. The mycelium is nutrient-rich and plants love it – the darker, lusher, healthier grass replicates the fungal ring, creating a fairy ring.

Cindy in action!

And we caught another unusual thing, rarely seen from above: our Cindy Delta kite struggling to lift her camera in a wind too soft for her. The bump on the kite line is the Picavet rig with the Nikon P330.

All in all, the meanders of Unica and the lush meadows of Planina karst field are a great target for kite aerial photography, and ideal for setting the camera in the top-down mode. The Rokker really prove its worth, and Insta360 is a fantastic KAP camera.

A stitched panorama of the meanders

Kite aerial photos shot with Ista360 on The Rokker, and with Nikon P330 on Cindy Delta.

2 thoughts on “Top-Down Magic: Planina Karst Field”

  1. Wonderful KAP work!

    Love the shot of the delta kite below.

    Agree, the hills of Slovenia can be tricky. The only success I have had is to fly very high to reach stronger winds aloft.

    Keep up the excellent work!



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