The Bosnian photographer Dzenad Dzino experienced a lot of success in recent years in mountain and hiking photography after he made a life changing decision to pursue his long-cherished dream.
His story is inspirational for people that are unhappy with their current job and feel a need to change their lives. Talent, self-confidence, being passionate and dedication are the key ingredients to become successful and to follow your dreams.
Dzenad specializes in mountain and hiking photography and is open to share his rising journey.
Bosnia and Herzegovina as a Popular Hiking Destination
Bosnia and Herzegovina is ranked in the top ten best travel destinations in the world on Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Travel’ list. The Franciscan monasteries, many festivals, a hike through the Olympic Mountains, and skiing or kayaking on the most exhilarating European rivers make it great for tourists.
If you compare the costs of accommodation, meals, and transportation in historic cities to those in the European Union, they are still very much affordable in Bosnia.
But recently, the mountains of Bosnia and Herzegovina have become a really popular tourist destination for nature lovers and hikers.
The country has numerous peaks above 2000 meters above sea level, even though it may not contain great massifs like the Himalayas, Andes, or the Alps. According to statistics, there are a total of 78 of them spread throughout 12 different mountain ranges in the country.
The Rise of Dzenad Dzino as a Photographer
In the mountains of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dzenad Dzino has been recording surreal images for more than ten years. He is from a little town called Jablanica, which is midway between Herzegovina’s Mostar and Sarajevo, the nation’s capital.
Although Jablanica is not a large town, it is situated between Prenj and Čvrsnica, two of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s most picturesque mountains with lofty peaks and breathtaking mountain lakes.
”Photography came spontaneously through hiking. The scenes I saw in the mountains literally made me buy a camera and collect those photo records as a memory. Then I started sharing it with people and that’s how it all started”, says Dzino.
There is No Perfect Photo
His first camera was a credit purchase, he says. A man from Australia gave him a second camera, which was of much higher quality, shortly after as a gift.
Dzenad used to work at a petrol station in Jablanica. One day, the Australian man arrived at the gas station to refuel. He asked Dzenad if he was ‘that famous photographer’ after spotting a name tag on his work uniform. Dzenad confirmed and the man stated he would give him a camera to support his work. After a few weeks, the man sent him a fresh Nikon lens from Australia.
“I received it because the man knew that I’ve dedicated my life to photography and that such a step, with new equipment, can only be a step that I’ll jump faster with due to his support, and it really was. It was more or less a turning moment in my photographic adventure,” says Dzenad.
”The sky is the limit for you,” was the message from the man.
There are many good photos, but none of them are perfect for Dzenad. ”There is no such thing as a perfect photo.”
He enjoys taking pictures of people, places, and cities as well as weddings. He finds challenges in everything, each in its own way. His photographs taken in the mountains and in nature, though, are his best.
The Peaceful Vibe in the Mountains
Wandering and hiking through the mountains is the perfect get-away for Dzenad.
”The mountains are a place of peace, and that is where I always find myself again. The only person who can claim that is one who actually lives it. As I usually travel to the mountains on weekdays, I often travel alone. I use the weekdays to go trekking because the weekends are planned with weddings and other obligations.”
”It can be tough sometimes wandering through the mountains on your own, though. An unexpected thunderstorm once started while I was on a mountain in Prenj.” Dzenad clarifies, “when you are closer to the sky, it looks really scary.”
Dzenad is well aware of the peacefulness as well as the dangers in the mountains.
The Beauty of Hajdučka Vrata
One of the most beautiful symbols of the Čvrsnica mountain is the Hajdučka Vrata. They represent a natural phenomenon that has existed for centuries. It is actually a characteristic ring in the rock, and it is located on the edge of the Diva Grabovica canyon.
Hajdučka Vrata is located at 2000 m above sea level and is a popular destination for many mountaineers and nature lovers. This geomorphological monument of nature represents one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the mountains of Bosnia and Herzegovina. For Dzenad, this natural monument is an eternal inspiration to which he often returns.
”Every new visit to Hajdučka Vrata is special in its own way and I am more and more aware of the fact that the beauty of this mountain range is truly unrepeatable, unique and unreal. I photograph Hajdučka Vrata day and night, in the sun and in the rain, in good and bad weather.”
In his photographs, people feel the love for nature, mountains and Bosnia and Herzegovina. There is a constant heartwarming support from Bosnians living abroad.
”In addition to the camera, I also received a drone as a gift from people who follow me, which was certainly a springboard for video recording. It’s all just love and it’s a great feeling!”, says Dzenad.
When you live your work and love what you do, success will follow. And not only personally but also in a broader sense.
A few months ago, Dzenad was contacted by a man from Brčko, from the north of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who builds wooden houses. He was amazed by his photos of mountain Prenj and decided to build a house and give it to mountaineers.
He asked Dženad to find a location on Prenj where the wooden house would be placed. Dženad managed to include the local community, which helped with the transport and setting up of the house.
The mountaineers now have a great place to sleep or rest in the most beautiful valley of Tisovica on Prenj. The most hiking tours to the peaks start here.
”On the photo you can see our small and large bivouac, which we named ‘The Giant’s House’, (according to the verse of the poet Vladimir Nazor: ‘Prenj is not a mountain, it is a giant’s house’). Prenj and Tisovica got the ‘Giant’s House’, a small beautiful bivouac with a terrace and an open view of some of the most beautiful peaks of Prenj. I met a lot of new friends here,” wrote Dženad on his facebook profile.
Dzenad Dzino Photography: The Wolf of Prenj Mountain
Dzenad recently received the prestigious mountain trophy known as ‘The Wolf of Prenj’ in recognition of his tremendous commitment to the promotion of the Prenj mountain.
No one can help but be moved by his videos from the expedition to this mountain, which capture both the brutality and the beauty of winter ascents to Prenj’s summits. He described himself to me as a ‘married family man who loves what he does best while blessed with two amazing kids.’
”I like to find some new challenges and new goals for myself. New YouTube videos and the promotion of mountains along with introducing people to some basic information about tours and hiking, is the goal of my YouTube channel,” says Dzenad.
If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life
Dzenad believes that life is not worth spending on something that does not interest him. That’s why he quit a job that didn’t make him happy a few years ago to start doing a job he loves.
”I believe in my talent and I believe in myself. Gaining confidence in myself is the greatest success. I think that is enough for a step that can change your life,” he says.
Even though he has some plans, Dzenad says he didn’t set a clear path for himself at the moment. He just wants to keep doing what he loves and see where it takes him.
”Nature is beautiful everywhere, and happiness should be sought in the little things. In the flowers, the leafs, in the fog, in everything that surrounds us. We are lucky to be enriched with such mountain massifs and we simply have to be grateful for that.”
”The Balkans is a special destination for mountaineers that is still not sufficiently promoted. From Slovenia to Prokletije in Albania, the Viadinarica hiking trail is a challenge for many hikers around the world,” he says.
The message of Dzenad is to prioritize self-believe, to enjoy the little things in life and to follow your dreams in order to live the best version of yourself.
Your restless voyager,
*credits to Dzenad for the photos in this article.