Come explore the Bavarian & Austrian Alps

As a follow on from my infrared photography post, here is a longer story about a weekend trip starting in Bavaria.

On a recent weekend trip around the Bavarian and Austrian Alps, I had great success shooting colour and normal infrared film. In particular, the special colour infrared film delivered some great shots. 

I headed down to the Munich area to meet my school friend, Conor, who has the wonderful Pentax 67 as part of his photographic arsenal, and we drove a few hours down to 'Schonau am Konigsee', a picturesque town set next to a wonderful glacial lake.  

About the photos

We didn't have specific plans other than go look for some wide impressive landscapes, and that we found in abundance! We spent the afternoon at the Konigsee and enjoyed the short boat trip to a inlet area that has a small a church and amazing views to the surrounding mountain peaks.

We decided to go check out the Grossglockner Alpine High road on the weekend, which by chance was open for the summer period the next day after we arrived! And what a road it is, something like 50km+ of winding roads up into the Austrian Alps with spectacular views.

About the film

I still haven't decided what is the best film for landscape photography. One must also take into consideration the changing weather conditions and how bright it may (or may not) be. Adding snow to the mix makes it even more challenging, as this causes havoc to exposure calculations. 

Aside from the infrared film (from my previous post), I used Fuji Acros 100,  Kodak Ektar 100, and Kodak Portra 400 film. Regarding cameras, I used my Hasselblad 501c and a recently purchased tiny Rollei 35s camera.

The shores of the Königsee, which is said to have some of the cleanest water in Germany. As such, only electric boats are allowed. You can see how busy this place must get in the summer as there are so many pontoons for boats.
Just a small part of the lake, which is about 7km long. It was formed by a glacier and its deepest point reaches down to 190m! Wonderful colours in the trees.
The never ending vertical views are spectacular. Kodak Ektar 100 shot with my tiny Rollei 35s. I will post a review of this wonderful camera soon.
A view of St.Bartholomew's church from the boat, one of the key stops of the boat trip along the lake. This Roman Catholic Church was built in the 1690s.
A view of the mountains from the pontoon. I believe the mountain peak in the distance is the 3rd highest in Germany. As you take the boat through the glacier formed lake they do a wonderful showcasing of the echo effect the geography presents. This is odone by playing a trumpet and you hear back up to 7 different echoes, it is really quite interesting.
This is the view from the hotel room, not a bad view to wake up to I might add!
Traditional Bavarian architecture.
At the start of the Grossglocker Apline High road.
This gives you an idea of some of the many switchback turns along this wonderful road.
I really like the composition of this shot, it is similar to one I took in colour infrared. Wonderful landscapes!
One of the many impressive mountain peaks along the road.
Shot right above a large block of ice/snow - it makes for quite a curious angle. It is really hard to shoot in such bright conditions.
Conor hard at work composing the best shot.
As it was the first day of the road being officially open for the summer season, there were many snow ploughs around and plenty of snow left!
Conor's beast of a Pentax 67 camera pointed and ready to shoot!
Shot on Fuji Across 100 with an orange filter, I really like how contrasty this image came out.
Another experimental angle shot, it did not come out quite as intended but I decided to add it in as it is quite interesting.
Despite the streaks on the image (likely from my scanning), I quite like the composition in this image. Darker cloudless skies would have been better though.
I tried to catch the reflection of the mountain peak but did not quite get the angle right!
As amazing as it looks...!
Easily my favourite image of the lot. Amazing it was taken with the tiny Rollei 35s camera. And yes that is pollen (my worst nightmare!) coming from the trees, it was quite the sight.
Something about the various triangles in this shot caught my eye, a telephoto lens would have been better. I am more and more convinced a telephoto lens is better than a wide angle lens for landscapes as it really isolated subjects and patterns.
Bavaria40.jpg
Another moody black and white shot.
This would have been a great shot for colour infrared (or normal colour), it is a bit flat in black & white for my taste.

Overall observations

Sometimes having too much choice hinders creativity, and whilst I was happy overall with these shots, in future I will narrow down on film choice. The infrared photography was fun and very specific as it was infrared, but for this post I couldn't quite get a good rhythm of shots as I kept thinking which of the 3 films would be better.

Aside from my world world problems of film selection, I had a great time exploring the Alps and taking in such amazing natural beauty. All the better when you can enjoy a Bavarian Weissbier in the shadows of such amazing mountain peaks. This whole area of southern Germany has so much diversity to it with regards to landscapes, that I am sure I have many future posts to come.

Film wise, I actually prefer Portra 400 over Ektar 100, mainly because it is more versatile in both its ISO but also the way it renders colours. Ektar is great for landscapes but sometimes when you shoot a different subject its colours look a bit strange.

I hope you enjoyed the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them.

I have a few more posts in the works so plenty to look forward to !

As usual, all feedback welcome. Now get back out there and take some photos!

Neil