In part two of my three part photography series this month I want to share some photography stories from my first trip to Switzerland. As with Ireland, I was working directly with the tourism board through their Sydney office. My job is to promote destinations to Australians and it’s a job I absolutely love, especially when the locations are this easy to photograph!
Lake near Birg Station, I attempted a short hike from the midway station to Schilthorn and was rewarded with these spectacular views. Just jump out and Birg.
Every single shot that I’ve decided to share in this article has been taken with the help of a tripod. Whether that was for low light reasons, to increase depth of field, for creative effect or if I was taking a selfie, they’ve all required my camera to be mounted on a tripod. At the moment I am using a Gitzo carbon fiber mountaineer kit and I absolutely love it. It’s light enough to cart around all day but strong enough to easily hold my strongest camera/lens combination, even in portrait mode.
Schwarzsee Little Church, although I was at risk of missing the last cable car off the mountain I still took a minute to grab this shot in Schwarzsee.
One of the highlights of my trip was Zermatt and I was determined to maximize my full day there. Although I’m not a planner at all I actually sat down with a pen and paper and a map of Zermatt and I made a complete list of what I wanted to cover and some timings to ensure I managed it all. I woke up early with a sunrise out the front of my hotel, it was the best view of the Matterhorn at that time, then I hit the ground running and managed to get on the Gornergrat rack railway and the two main lifts up the mountain, even making it as far as the Matterhorn glacier paradise at 3883m above sea level. My bag was stuffed with food and water and I didn’t stop for the whole day. Those long lift rides were my meal breaks.
Schilthorn Window Open, despite having just taken hundreds of sunset photos from Schilthorn I still had to capture the view from my apartment before bed.
My top tip for Zermatt would definitely be to secure a full lift pass that allows you to go everywhere because each mountain is completely different and there are fantastic landscapes as far as the eye can see! My favorite spots were Rotenboden station off the Gornergrat, the very top of glacier paradise and the church in Schwarzsee. My visit to the church very nearly left me stranded on the mountain overnight and I had to seriously haul butt back to the cable station to make the last lift down.
Hotel La Couronne, Turns out the best view of the Matterhorn is from out the front of the Hotel La Couronne in Zermatt.
In a number of the locations I shot in Zermatt I elected to take selfies but not because I wanted to. Basically I will put any person in an image to avoid putting myself in but when nobody is around and the image will benefit from a person for scale then I’ll do what needs to be done. Haha. This is where a tripod particularly comes in handy as you can get your composition sorted, set a manual focus point and then pop on the self-timer and run into position. Some trips it’s the only exercise I get.
Quite a Run, I called this shot ‘Quite a Run’ because it was pretty tricky to get myself into the frame on a 20 second self timer.
I did manage to make it to a number of other destinations in Switzerland and my absolute highlight was the night I spent in Schilthorn. My host for the day and evening was the Sales Manager for Schilthorn Cableway but he was a busy guy and was due to host some guests in the evening. In order to keep me happy he decided I’d stay the night at Schilthorn in Piz Gloria. PIZ GLORIA! For those that don’t know Piz Gloria it’s a cableway station, viewing platform and revolving restaurant. Oh, and it was also the main setting for the James Bond movie ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ and now hosts the most ridiculously kitsch and fun James Bond museum imaginable. (Think fully computerised helicopters where you can fly in and out of the mountain and watch clips from the movie.)
Old Town Luzerne, I had a great time exploring the old town of Luzerne and managed to drag out all of my filters for some long exposure work on the waterways.
During my night in Piz Gloria I was literally the only soul on the mountain as the restaurant and station closes up in the afternoon. After a very surreal sunset shoot over the Swiss Alps I made my way back to the caretakers apartment to crash out early and nearly poo’ed my pants when a James Bond figurine caught my eye on dusk. It was hilarious!
Schilthorn Sunset, I got a lot of great shots from my sunset up at Schilthorn but liked the simplicity of this one best.
I started my Switzerland trip in Zurich and ended in Luzerne and must have caught dozens of modes of transport during my week there. The public transport is correct to the minute, to the second! Despite lugging all my camera gear and a fair amount of luggage around I managed to catch every train, cable, bus and boat on my program without a hitch. I hope that you’ll agree that it was a pretty fruitful trip photography wise but it was also just a fun trip. It’s rare for a destination to be so easy to navigate with world class service, transport, food and landscapes! I’ll see you again Switzerland.
Rotenboden Station, My first photo of the day in Zermatt was taken a few short steps from the train station I hopped out at. (Rotenboden off the Gornergrat).