Best Photography Locations in Albania
Albania is a country that not many people would consider for Landscape Photography, but how soon that’s all about to change. If there is one destination to date that’s me surprised for both landscape photography and travel it has to be Albania.
Two huge passions of mine are travelling to countries less traveled and photographed, obviously they go hand in hand. My job is to bring quality content that makes people open their eyes and travel to these “less traveled” countries. Albania wasn’t hard for me to capture this, photographing 2000+m mountains, stunning coastlines, canyons and rivers just to name a few. From Northern to Southern Albania you will have every type of photography covered landscape, culture, street or aerial.
I’ve put together some of the best locations around Albania to make your life easier when planning a trip to Albania. If Albania isn’t on your list for photography I’m surly about to change that!
Albanian Alps Photography
These are the views where you will be just spoilt for choice, goodluck putting your camera down.
Komani Lake on route to Valbona is the first destination that will provide a ferry ride to remember. I recommend a standard zoom lens (24-70mm) for this journey to tell and portray a story through different focal ranges. I found there is enough light source to shoot with an aperture of f/5.6 to f/8 making sure everything including the ferry to the mountains in the background are in focus. No real need for a fast f/2.8 aperture on this journey, telephoto is hard to shoot because it was difficult to represent scale.
Valbona Valley is a place where I’m sure photographers will waste many batteries in the coming years. There is compositions to be found at every angle and at any time of day, once again I found shooting telephoto hard due to the mountains being so close. I went super lightweight only bringing a 24mm f/1.4 and 24-70mm f/4 which worked well for me, if I had a 70-200mm I’m almost certain I wouldn’t have used it. I advise saving weight and using your legs to find different compositions.
Theth Valley is similar to Valbona in the way Telephoto images were hard to come by. More well known with photographers is the famous “Theth church at sunrise” an image that I have wanted to capture for many years and has been on my top 10 images to capture around Europe. I found myself wandering around Theth valley wishing I had something a little wider than the 24mm. But to completely honest I was never 100% restricted by this focal range, in many ways I enjoyed the limitions of minimal gear and having to “make” the composition work.
Hiking in the Albania Alps I found the only way to portray scale was by adding a human element which I explained in my Vlog. I totally understand this isn’t everyone’s “cuppa” tea, by doing so I captured one of my best images from my Albania series. (below) Shooting a panorama in the mountains wasn’t easy I needed time, patients and skill to achieve this result. Shooting with the Fujifilm X-T3 at 24mm at F/7.1 stitching 5 vertical images together equated to a memorable image.
Albanian Riviera Photography
Where to even start with photographing the Albanian Riviera? Endless possibilities at every stop is the simplest way to describe this stretch of coast. I had everything from a Drone, x2 cameras (photo & video) and 15-300mm (full frame equivalent) to capture this beautiful place. But to be completely honest I still felt overwhelmed and under prepared. I made a short film “Best of the Albania Riviera” which highlights an incredible overall package of just how truly special this place is, it’s hard to represent the sheer beauty of the Albanian Riviera.
I’ve always had a huge passion for photographing mountains, lakes and rivers but this coast inspired me to shoot all day. The combination of shooting, relaxing and reflecting on the overall trip was balanced perfectly here! I recommend shooting sunsets along the coast due to the way the sun physically sets, with a wider focal ranges between 16-35mm to tell a complete story. Emphasize the foreground shooting wide whilst showing the beauty in the background. Tip: If you work hard on your composition the night before (eg. focal range, orientation and composition) you can really capture some beautiful sunrise but remember always pre-plan!
Photography Southern Albania
What if I said to you that my top 3 images in Albania are all captured from the road side? Would you believe me?
In Albania regardless of you fitness or photography level the reward for effort ratio is exceptional. Little effort for maximum return, sounds great doesn’t it! Not having to lug your heavy equipment up mountains, walk through canyons for hours or worst of all early morning hikes to capture sunrise. If you watch my video journal throughout Albania you will soon realize I didn’t break a real sweat, get “hangry” or look sleep deprived from photography. (I hope!)
After a month of traveling Albania here is what I wish I knew before I left. Choose what specific photos you want to capture and at what time of day. Whilst preparing for my trip I was trying to structure my photography itinerary to suit my travel Itinerary, this is where I found it hard to pin point where I specifically wanted to shoot. (hence why I am writing this blog) Due to this situation it lead me to back track or spend longer amounts of time in certain areas to capture a photo I really wanted for my portfolio. Spending 3 days to capture 2 photos sounds normal, but when you have a whole country to explore it can become annoying. If I’d planned better before arriving this may have happened less, I’m not saying not at all, but less, its the photography game just roll with the punches.
Below is a map of every location I photographed in Albania, clicking on the marker will give you the photo and also what time of day is best to shoot this location! (Doesn’t include drone photos because that would be just too difficult)