Klis Fortress isn’t visible from the Split waterfront where most travelers stay. To get there you have to take a bus, taxi or an Uber. We went there twice, once to scout the place out, and once to take our photos. The first time we took the bus (click here for the frequently inaccurate bus schedule), and the second time we split an Uber with fellow traveler Julie (Check out her Instagram) who we met a few days prior while exploring the city. It was nice to have some company on our day trip from Split, Croatia.
Having Julie around to help us turned out to be very useful since during our scouting trip (read tips on how we scout for Photo shoots), we discovered that the terrain is a bit rough for carrying a toddler, and a bit hazardous for a toddler to walk around. Everywhere you look there is a cliff with no guardrail at all. It was really nice having someone to else to keep an eye on baby Lisa while we were taking our photos. This post is a guide to photographing Klis fortress.
Exploring Klis Fortress
Because the paths through the fortress are such a maze, I’m not going to bother giving step by step locations for each of the shots. If you spend an hour exploring, you will easily find every spot we did. Instead I’ll focus on the different kinds of photos we took and the techniques and gear we used to get them.
The Elis fortress is old and very much a ruin, but perched on top of a knife’s edge of a mountain, the view can’t be beaten. There is a very small museum on the fortress, that houses a few print outs of scenes from HBO’s popular series Game of Thrones, which if you are big fan of the show, might already know.
I wanted a few photos of Dannie exploring the ruin with Lisa, so one place I focused on was this tunnel. It was pretty dark inside, so I tried lighting Dannie and Lisa in two ways. At one end, the soft light of a cloudy day was pouring in and it was easy to illuminate them. On the other end they were totally in shadow, so I used a speed light to fill them in a little bit, making sure to expose for the bright area at the end of the tunnel.
Another angle I wanted was a shot of Dannie and Lisa out in space, standing on one of the towers. To daw attention to how high up we were, I decided to climb even higher up the fortress and shoot down at them, cropping out the sky. Having the hillsides as the background, out of focus in the distance really isolates the subject and creates a sense of vast space. There are several places at Klis where you can get an angle like this, and they aren’t hard to spot. I used our Nikon 70-200mm lens to isolate Dannie and Lisa, and to place the city of Split, Croatia well in the bokeh.
Finally, I wanted a shot that included a large portion of the ruins, but also demonstrated the immensity of the scenery around us. We found this stairway that looked out over the valley, and I thought it was the perfect place to bring everything together. (Dannie was a good sport about walking down those stairs in such a long dress!) For a shot like this, a wide angle is an obvious choice, and I used our Nikon 24-70mm.
Finally, if you, like us plan on bringing a toddler with you, don’t bother with the stroller. The terrain here is rocky and uneven, so while you are walking around with the camera in front of your face, don’t forget to watch your step. Safety always comes first, and in a location like this it should be at the front of your mind. Beautiful pictures are great, but it’s important that the memories you capture are happy ones! Don’t worry, though. If you use common sense, the views at Klis will have everyone smiling for the camera.
Read our tips for photography with a toddler.
While you are in Split, Croatia
If you found this useful, consider following us on Instagram or signing up for our email list (bottom of the page) so you’ll know whenever a new photography guide is posted. Klis Fortress is an easy day trip from Split, and if you are in a the mood for more ruins, you could combine it with a trip to the Roman ruins of Salona. Another place we visited multiple times during our month in Split was Marjan Park. If you visit Dubrovnik while you are in Croatia (as many do), our favorite day trip from there was to the small village of Cavtat.