Photos of the Year: 2018

2018 is a crystal wave crashing on a starlit beach, breaking into tiny midnight pieces, each one an Ohrid-Prespa memory. Here are some of our most meaningful photos from January to December:

When we launched our Lake Day 2018 appeal for photographs to transform into the style of Japanese woodblock painting under the concept 36 Views of Lake Ohrid, we were stunned with the response: Over 200 pictures from 50 participants were received, many as absorbing as this one from Eli Delidžakova Drenik. You can see what we did with them here.

This action shot by Kris Decleer of Lake Ohrid’s shoreline wetland ecosystem in action reminds us of a time not so long ago that people denied it even exists. Nobody claims that any more.

Swan Lake with Horrid Hotels performed by a bin-bagged Bolshoi ballerina? Check.

In February, we said that Studenchishte Marsh would become the first Macedonian superstar wetland. In late April, that started to become true

Sharing photos of trash is never our favorite, but Ohrid SOS is seeing an upsurge in the number of people reporting dumping and expressing their disgust with it. Along with several well-attended lakeshore cleanups this year, it is a sign that things may be changing, our hope for 2019 and beyond. (Pic: Maja Cubric)

And if you were a swan, what better place to sleep?

When the Society of Wetland Scientists’ Europe Chapter (SWS) ended its 2018 conference in Ohrid, there were two very important points: 1) 40+ attending SWS members unanimously passed a Declaration on the Protection of the Lake Ohrid Ecosystem, which provides a blueprint for conservation of both the lake and Studenchishte Marsh; and 2) the Macedonian media attended in force. Wetland protection is now big news.

Several interesting actions took place in 2018 to make the Ohrid region’s World Heritage safer for the future, including a high-tech photography project at the Church of Sveta Sofia, which will provide an informational base for the future preservation of its breathtaking interior. Wow!

Protests rocked Ohrid in the summer, with residents demanding a moratorium on the tourism-focused construction that is destroying much of the lake’s coastal habitat and placing huge strain on its ecosystems. As the banner says: : “The lake doesn’t need tourism, but tourism needs the lake.”

Cyclotella brosh

Diatoms produce around 25% of the oxygen made by photosynthesis. At Lake Ohrid, many of them are not just world-originals but also the inspiration for new jewelry forms. In 2018, their artistic power unleashed.

Ohrid SOS is working continuously to raise awareness of what makes Lake Ohrid, Mount Galichica and Studenchishte Marsh so special. 2018 was no exception…

… but, although working day by day to protect Lake Ohrid in the face of huge and repeated threats to its habitats and ecosystems is difficult and tiring, some sights make it all worthwhile. We hope this picture of wild birds swimming in a many-colored lake brings the same beauty, inspiration and energy to you in 2019 as it gave to us in 2018. Happy New Year.

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