Went for a week trip to canton of Graubünden and didn´t got bored. I brought back 5 years old memories and confirmed former assumption of Switzerland beiing my favourite Europe country - maybe partly due to it is not EU member - but mostly because of its high snowy peaks, deep forests, picturesque villages, vibrant cities and red trains... I tried to photograph during the days in harsh light when I did some hiking and not all photos came up as I expected altough I shot in RAW. At least I am pleased with the panoramic results and GF1s cropping capability.
Sunrise under the Imperial Crown of Switzerland - a half-arc of four-thousand peaks enclosing the Anniviers valley. The first rays of the sun are leaning on the summit of Ober Gabelhorn, while the striking Dent Blanche is already shining practically whole. It's hard to imagine a better morning after a drizzly night than in the quiet amphitheatre of the mountains covered in a fresh dusting of snow.
The best view of the Matterhorn is from Stellisee lake with its iconic stones in the middle of the water. Unlike in the evening, the water is calm and the sky is clear. No wonder so many photographers gather here to capture nature's most perfect spectacle. Long before sunrise, headlamps and tripods abound. The horizon first turns blue, then pink (in my opinion, the crowning moment) and finally the sunrays hit the summit of the Matterhorn and start to paint the mountain in red tones from above.
The Grindjisee lake surrounded by a larch grove offers a slightly different view of the Matterhorn. It is better to be here a little later after sunrise, perhaps an hour. You have to catch the right moment, though. Too early and the trees drown in black shadow, too late and the remnants of the soft morning light are gone for good. Compared to Stellisee above, there is a quieter and more mysterious atmosphere here. One could almost forget that it lies under the most photographed mountain in the Alps.
The perfect mountain, the perfect pyramid. Few peaks can act as such a powerful magnet, attracting attention, enticing and challenging. Never mind that the surrounding area is criss-crossed with a network of roads, railways and bizarrely monstrous cable cars. When the anticipated moment arrives and its peak is illuminated by the first rays of a new day, it's possible to forget it's not surrounded by perfectly pristine nature. The symbol of the Alps is simply irresistible.
Bivouac beneath the glaciers
The ascent through the end of the Val d'Anniviers is marked by rain. Perhaps a minute before the arrival of the biggest downpour we pitch our tent on the only relatively flat spot above the bend of the Zinal glacier. The night is haunted by the sounds of falling rocks and ice - it is the only way to know the high mountains are above us. In the morning an early alarm and a peek out of the tent. One hopes for a moment that it is foggy outside so that one can still sleep, but the mountains are there! They shine spectacularly as they have so many times, in a sudden indescribable silence under the last stars.
Pre-sunrise composition from the boulder sea below the Grand Mountet hut. A fascinating mountain amphitheatre - nothing but rocks and ice. The pyramid of Dent Blanche, the glaciers of Durand and Grand Cornier dominate everything. Moving by headlamp light and by slowly brightening sky. Flickering lights of climbers on the surrounding peaks. Stop for a moment and you immediately feel the mountain chill.
Matterhorn in sight
Evening in the mountains high above Zermatt. After a clear day, the clouds are coming in and slowly drifting over the highest mountains. The majestic Matterhorn resists for a long time and its peak remains visible. When the golden hour arrives and the golden evening light shines through the clouds, it too is hidden. I am intrigued by the deep red of the blueberries that characterise the approaching autumn and look for a suitable composition among the boulders.
There are not many places that I would say without hesitation look best in full daylight. Lake Oeschinensee is undoubtedly one of them. The bluish waters of the lake, cut deep between the slopes of the Bernese Alps, contrast with the green meadows. And since the best views of the lake are south-facing, the morning and evening atmosphere is interrupted by dark shadows. The whole view over the lake is crowned by a few lone trees contrasting against the clear waters.
The longed-for moment of every morning - when the sun rises just above the horizon and illuminates the highest peaks with first rays. It always comes slowly, the sun already seems to be touching the mountains, but it is only a reflection of the eastern sky. At last, when the whole surrounding world lights up with the new day, the first red rays fall on the mountain peaks. The sky loses its magical blue, but the landscape gains an extraordinary contrast of colour. Taken on the slopes of Eggishorn towards the Aletsch Glacier.
Golden alpine meadows
The evening sun bends towards the horizon and literally lights up the landscape with golden light. It highlights the texture of the rocks and lights up the bulbs formed by the ears of grass. I'm looking for a minimalist, clean composition, a detail of the rock structure framed by the mountains disappearing in the background glow and the golden streak of grass in the foreground.
The highest peak of the Lepontine Alps in the setting sun. The whole of the Bernese Alps at my back, while kilometre higher and more imposant, are not flattered by evening sun from the south as much as the distant peaks. Monte Leone and surrounding mountain slopes reflect the sun's rays in wonderful way. Here one can already feel the coming autumn with its golden meadows and evening chill.
The monumentality of the Bernese Alps and the Aletsch Glacier is only apparent from above, from one of the surrounding peaks. Falling depths surrounding you on all sides while the highest peaks rise a kilometre higher. The afternoon sunshine breaks on the edge of the mountains and creates long and bright rays.
I remember Susten Pass from my childhood, a flickering memory of lush green meadows, rain and glacial drips seemingly flowing down from heavy clouds. Much has changed, the glaciers no longer reaching where I remembered them. But the mountains here are still beautiful, remote and varied by Swiss standards. Eventually we linger here for night, a lacklustre afternoon is replaced by a glorious sunset, the most intense one so far this year.
Breathtaking sunset from Susten Pass. What starts innocently as an evening with dim light and sun hidden under a blanket of thin clouds finally turns into the most amazing sunset of the year. By the time the main spectacle of pink clouds fades, the sky darkens strangely and glows a startling grey. At last we head to a small lake nearby, to take advantage of its calm surface to create this perfect reflection.
Moiry dam waters
We take advantage of the free afternoon to climb to Lac des Autannes above the Moiry Dam. The little lake is a complete disappointment and the glaciated mountains above the dam don't offer many good compositions either, as the road winds along the surface like an ugly snake. However, the unique colour of the waters in the dam remains in my memory. A bright, shining light blue colour. The clouds floating over the dam cast dark shadows. I limit the angle of view to pure minimalism.
The sun is slowly setting over the highest peaks of the Bernese Alps, casting long shadows on the glacial drift. The distinctive texture of the glacial crevasses is highlighted as the sun continues to set and turns golden. How much longer will the longest glacier in the Alps last?
Vadret da Morteratsch
Glacial colors always fascinated me - notice the gate of the glacier. The most rapidly shrinking glacier in the Alps.
Nice to have a break on place like this, isn´t it? Afternoon sun just started prolonging the shapes and I had to capture tis panorama altough the sky was boring.
Lej da Segl
View towards Val Fedoz and village of Isola. Took this shot in the morning and just for the presence of the dead tree in the foreground.