Montenegro Express (3 of 4): Around Skadar

Situated in eastern Montenegro on the Albanian border, is the Balkan Peninsula’s largest lake, Skadar. Covering 400 square kilometers, Lake Skadar is a cornucopian fishery, not only for locals who ply its waters in search of carp, trout and eel, but also for hundreds of species of birds that migrate annually to its protected shoreline. During migration season, Skadar plays host to one of the largest groups of birds in Europe. Waders, skimmers, gulls and numerous other species flock to the lake for its clean water and abundant aquatic life, and for the biodiversity found in the surrounding marshland ecosystem.

Skadar Marshland
70mm @ 1/640, f/5, ISO 200

The lake’s hinterlands are equally plenteous, with vineyards and farms dotting the surrounding hillsides. Montenegrins living around the lake share cultural similarities with their nearby Albanian neighbors, and road signs in the region are often written in the languages of both countries. In general, there seems to be slower pace of life for those who make their homes around Skadar rather than in one of Montenegro’s city centers. Residents here work the land and waterways arduously for a living, but they don’t toil ceaselessly. Instead, they take time to savor the fruits of their labor, reveling in the natural beauty surrounding them and enjoying the rich bounty that the lake and countryside have to offer.

Planting Tobacco
24mm @ 1/100, f/5.6, ISO 100

Lake Skadar stretches out toward Albania on the horizon as seen from Besac Castle in Virpazar.

Lake Skadar from Besac Castle
5-frame HDR @ 16mm, f/5, ISO 200

A farmer in a field near Koštanjica hauls a load of hay to feed his livestock.

Hauling Hay
300mm @ 1/320, f/2.8, ISO 100

A ridgeline separating Lake Skadar from the Adriatic Coast also denotes the land border between Montenegro and Albania in the distance on the right.

Albanian Borderlands
5-frame HDR @ 29mm, f/5.6, ISO 100

A man sells homemade Rakija and red wine made with Montenegro’s national grape, Vranac, from a stand outside his roadside vineyard in Gornja Seoca.

Selling Vranac
24mm @ 1/250, f/5.6, ISO 100

Vranac grapes grow at a small vineyard that overlooks the mountains in Gornja Seoca.

24mm @ 1/250, f/5.6, ISO 100
24mm @ 1/250, f/5.6, ISO 100

A brightly painted boat lilts on the waterway flowing through Virpazar as the late afternoon sun drops behind the hills surrounding the small town on Lake Skadar’s western shore.

Virpazar Skiff
24mm @ 1/60, f/5, ISO 200

The verdant shoreline near Rijeka Crnojevića is one of the most picturesque areas around Lake Skadar.

Verdant Shoreline
70mm @ 1/250, f/4.5, ISO 100

A woman carries cut tree branches along the road near Gornja Briska.

Carrying Branches
300mm @ 1/160, f/2.8, ISO 100

Check out all the high-resolution photos from my trip to Montenegro in my album on Flickr.

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