Rimming the southern outskirts of Sofia, Vitosha Mountain serves the people of the city and surrounding area in many different ways. In most capital cities mountains are used as an escape from the smog, pollution and hustle and bustle of the everyday life. With Sofia being such a green city, Vitosha Mountain simply adds another incredible outdoor opportunity to an already wide range of natural escapes.
As we packed up our kit for our hike up Vitosha, I stared down at my bulging, purple, eighties looking backpack. Slinging it around my shoulder I confirmed my fear. I had packed way too much camera equipment. After arriving at the base of the hike and scrambling up the first incline on my hands and knees I started to question my sanity and ... honestly ... my love for photography. The steep incline was short lived and the trail finally settled out into a "normal" mountain hike. As we continued our ascent, the view of Sofia and the Bulgarian landscape began to grow around us in every direction. Our hiking group suspects that the natural rock flows featured in the landscape images are due to glacial retreat. These rock flows continue down the face of the mountain as if a huge finger has reached from the sky and drawn on the mountain as a child would draw in sand. Near the peak, we met one of our colleagues who frequents the mountain on a regular basis. She informed us of a bike riding competition that was starting in the city where competitors climb up Vitosha Mountain to a peak called Cherni Vruh, and then descending down the opposite side. We continued to the peak and spent some time admiring the view and photographing the riders.
The landscape images were taken looking back from our ascent up the mountain. I used a 17-40mm L4.0 Canon lens (with a cropped sensor body) to capture the view. The bicycle photos were taken at the end of our hike as the riders came over the peak for their descent into the valley. A 60mm 2.8 prime lens coupled with a Pocket Wizard/430exii combination buried in the grass (camera right) helped my to capture them as they rolled over the top of the mountain.
This was another one of those days when I realized that keeping your camera with you can be a pain, but it can also lead to some exciting opportunities. I am hoping that I can get in contact with some of the people participating in the event and/or the organizers to share the few photos that I captured. You can find more photos on my Flickr photostream if you are interested. Another great day in Bulgaria!