I left Italy and the Dolomites and visited a friend in Germany for a few days, then met my group for the Swiss Photo Tour (Strabo Tours) in the Bernese Oberland region, a stunning location for hiking and photography. I unfortunately caught a cold two days into the trip (who brought that with them?!) so I was not too energetic the first few days, but our local guide took on the role of charging up the mountain, so to speak, and I took a day off to rest up.
The weather was forecast to be rainy the whole tour, but it actually turned out to be too nice! Only photographers would complain about no clouds in the sky, eh?! Our first few days were rainy and cloudy, but those offered moody images of the mountains with clouds hanging low on the steep slopes; after that the sun came out and it was full-on light all day long so we were glad we got those cloudy, moody days. When you are in the mountains here, you have to be very high up to get sunrise or sunset light on the land and the mountains; sadly, the gondolas and cable cars don’t run late enough or early enough, even in summer, so in our next tour we’ll be including some overnight stays at higher altitude so we can create more than just the high mountaintops in great light.
So, we had to work around the strong light, but my Sony A7R II ‘rocked’ in terms of managing the high contrast of snowy peaks and darker pine forests and meadows. I was very pleased that I could protect those bright highlights and later pull out the shadow detail safely. Sony kindly lent me three lenses so I could be ‘all Sony’ on this trip. All the lenses have been performing beautifully, but their new 24-70 F2.8 GM lens is oh-so-sharp!
We visited a traditional cheese ‘farm’. Young Pedra and his girlfriend Isabela are working the farm the traditional way, and making yummy cheeses for Swiss consumption. This is not cheese you’ll find in the supermarkets outside of Switzerland – the country can’t produce enough alpine cheese for much, if any, export. What we get in the grocery stores is lower-altitude cheese.
Many of the villages have shifted their activities towards tourism, my only complaint. Gone are the traditional farms side-by-side with town shops and houses. The land has been sold for holiday flats. While the villages are still very picturesque, they are not what they used to be, and the towns are a bit overcrowded with tourists during high season. At night, the high country, car-free village of Mürren was very peaceful, with most daytrippers gone.
All in all, it was a stellar location for photography of the alpine environment, made accessible by funicular, gondola, cable car and our own two feet! Thanks to all who participated in this trip.
I’ve included a small gallery here, as I am about to head to Namibia to begin that photo tour and just finally got caught up with everything Swiss! I will be posting pics from Namibia next.
The next tour I do to Switzerland will possibly be in Autumn for the fall colors. Stay tuned.
Thanks for visiting!