• Travel

    Alpe di Siusi

    The Icelanders‘ second season: „winter is coming“. In the Dolomites, the onset of winter is felt with the onset of autumn. The first snowfalls above 2500m are visible and the clouds also give it away.

    Winter is coming. Alpe di Siusi. © Julian Köpke

    In the course of a day, the light situation often changes fundamentally, which is what makes the Alpe di Siusi so special for photographers. Craggy rocks and autumnal pastures melt into an almost picturesque overall impression.

    Piz Ridl Alpe di Siusi © Julian Köpke

    White clouds float light as a feather in the late afternoon sun over the pasture area. It was getting warm once again and our own clothing is not adequate for the second time in the course of the day. Once again, summer unfolds its power.

    Cloud over Alpe di Siusi © Julian Köpke
    Tourist hike up to Schlern houses © Julian Köpke
  • Landscape,  Travel

    High above sea level

    In autumn in South Tyrol, the changeable weather is a series of photographic opportunities. On mountains above 2200m there is already a loose layer of snow. A little below that, autumn shows itself after a hot summer.

    Autumn starts at Alpe di Siusi © Julian Köpke

    The changeability unfolds a grandiose spectacle of clouds and peaks on the Dolomites around the Alpe di Siusi. All you need is a good seat in the café by the cable car to comfortably watch the light change and react to it.

    If it really does rain during the day, a visit to the archaeological museum in Bolzano is a good alternative to board games in the holiday flat. Digital registration is worthwhile, but less significant in autumn.

    The poor man who died 5300 years ago from a painful arrowhead in his left shoulder, probably in shock due to the rupture of the arteria subclavia, is a treasure trove or stroke of luck for science, which has made many research opinions have to be reconsidered.

    The artistic reconstruction of the body by Adrie and Alfons Kennis from the Netherlands does not reflect the finding situation of the glacier mummy. It appears fragile and vulnerable, almost old and tired. One should not be deceived by the physical impression of the fictitious reconstruction. His last ascent from the valley over extremely rough terrain up to the Tiesenjoch at 3210m within about 6 hours was a physical challenge and probably a masterstroke.

    Photography was allowed in the Museum of Bolzano if it was not organic material. This artistic representation made of silicone does not correspond to the finding situation. Ötzi's personal misfortune was a stroke of luck for science. © Julian Köpke
  • Iceland,  Landscape,  Long time exposure,  Travel

    Snæfellsness peninsula

    In the meantime, 0.8TB of photo data has accumulated. It will be a challenge to process all these photos. Fortunately, I am concentrating on a few compositions, each of which will be studied in more detail. The themes of geometry, lines and planes stand alongside the theme of colour contrast, which is easy to focus on in Iceland.

    The basalt rocks of Arnarstapi are ideal for this. With moderately homogeneous cloud cover, they lend themselves to long-term studies. The Phase One camera is able to do without the grey filter through frame averaging, which otherwise often leads to slight shifts in the composition.

    Arnarstapi basalt cliff. 2s, Automated Frame Average. LTE © Julian Köpke

    I’m still not sure whether the basalt rocks of Lóndrangar look better in colour or in black and white. We had drizzle and fog again and again, but also very brief sunny moments. Icelandic weather has returned to normal.

    Lóndrangar basalt cliff. 10s, Frame Average; LTE © Julian Köpke
  • Iceland,  Landscape,  Travel

    From Latrabjarg to Arnarstapi

    A low probability does not mean that something will not happen. For a brief moment, auroras could be observed at night at Hotel Latrabjarg. However, by the time the camera was set up, the phenomenon had already subsided. The night remained cloudless and starry, and the next morning the windows of our car were a little frozen.

    This very sunny day with cool air was the start of the return journey, which we shortened by taking a ferry in the evening from Brjánslækur to Stykkishólmur.

    The bird cliff at the headland of Latrabjarg was completely empty. Only a few seagulls were circling without landing anywhere. The puffins had already left for the Atlantic a week ago.

    Empty bird cliffs at Latrabjarg © Julian Köpke

    From this position you can see the rocks of the Westfjords of Iceland lined up one after the other.

    Westfjord cliffs seen from Latrabjarg

    Our lazy day ended in Brjánslækur. This is where the Vikings first wintered in the 9th or 10th century. A historical plaque refers to boathouses and storehouses that had been built. It must have been a Herculean task to dig depressions in this stony ground. A few tree trunks anchored in the ground are left this. In the background line up the mountains of Snæfellsnes peninsula.

    Landscape at Brjánslækur with a white house and historic poles © Julian Köpke

    Today there is a boathouse here again, with two old boats in it that nobody seems to want to use any more.

    Boat shed at Brjánslækur © Julian Köpke

    On a gentle hill, at the foot of a perhaps nameless mountain, stood another small church with a red roof. These buildings seem almost like a toy landscape when the mountains make them small.

    Waiting at Brjánslækur for the ferry boat to Stykkisholmur Brjánslækur. © Julian Köpke

    The ferry ride was sweetened by a multi-coloured sunset. We drove between the small islands via Flatey to Stykkisholmur. The clouds, however, were to prevent the Northern Lights from appearing when we arrived in Boudoir.

    On the ferry to Stykkishólmur © Julian Köpke
  • Iceland,  Travel

    Winter is coming

    The drive from Flateyri to Latrabjarg is in sunshine with intermittent light cloud. Winter is coming: warm autumnal colours dominate. In Iceland, you walk at sea level and look at glaciers or year-round snowfields.

    Flateyri autumn colors. White hut. © Julian Köpke

    The cloud formations change more every day, appear dishevelled, a thin sun shines, the land no longer gets warm.

    Looking back to Flateyri (Arnarfjord) © Julian Köpke

    The second visit to Dynjandi made us stay down. The colours of the sea were strongly reminiscent of the Caribbean, still warmly outshone by the land in the late morning light around 11am.

    Sunrise at Dynjandi fjord © Julian Köpke

    After the short second visit to Dynjandi in the morning on the way through, we came across the well-known shipwreck of the whaling ship Garðar BA 64. The weather cleared incredibly quickly and we were able to capture the rusting material as HDR. With a fisheye lens, the wreck deformed slightly in an arc under the circularly arranged clouds.

    Wahler shipwreck Garðar BA 64 © Julian Köpke

    Shortly before the turnoff to our accommodation at Hotel Latrabjarg, the path led us to a red sandy beach. There are at least two of these, the other is on the south coast near Vik with the grave of a young Viking around 18.
    The red beach is called Rauðisandur in Icelandic. It lies far in front of the sea. Between the beach and the mountains is a marshland with farms, siels and cows.

    View from Rauðisandur to Snæfellsjökull © Julian Köpke
    Saurbæjarkirkja near Rauðisandur © Julian Köpke
  • Iceland,  Landscape,  Travel

    Glaciers

    Long days in Iceland with a time difference of 2 hours to Germany. It’s light here, while at home those who stayed at home go to bed.
    Early in the morning we started our tour to the lagoon of Hoffellsjökull. There is no tourist infrastructure, the car has to have a lot of ground clearance and the tyres have to be well inflated to reach the lagoon.
    A harmonious light situation awaited us today, light cloud cover making the sunlight a little more diffuse. The contrasts of the icebergs were clear.

    The constantly changing light through the clouds made the icebergs alternately light and dark. The consistent structures were brought to life by the permanent change of light.

    Morning at Hoffellsjökull glacier lagoon © Julian Köpke

    Changing the lens is not a change of perspective. Nevertheless, the change is worthwhile, because the higher focal length has the effect of enlarging a section. The change of light does its part.

    Morning at Hoffellsjökull glacier lagoon © Julian Köpke

    The drive to Skalafellsjökull via the F985 pass road was somewhat adventurous. Although our Japanese car kept making very different beeps and noises, the meaning of which we could not always identify, the car was technically usable for this road.

    At the top we found a base camp for glacier tours with snowmobiles. A short walk over rocks of all shapes and sizes brought us to the edge of the glacier. A cool, almost constant wind blew around our ears. Gloves were great for working with the camera. With a rather dull light I created a panorama of the early glacier.

    Glacier Skalafellsjökull at the end of F985 © Julian Köpke

    The most impressive structures of the glacier are found crosswise and lengthwise to the flow and are called „ogives“ resp. „band ogives“. We had already admired their charm many times on the ascent. We devoted ourselves to them on the descent.

    Glacier Skalafellsjökull ogives and some band ogives © Julian Köpke
  • Iceland,  Landscape,  Travel

    Patterns and glacial flows

    This morning we were far from convinced to book a photographic sightseeing flight. Because the clouds were hanging 20m above the ground when we left our hotel. The closer we got to Skaftfell, the brighter it became, but still plenty cloudy. Only on the peaks of Vatnajökull was there plenty of sun.

    The experienced pilot was sure we would have fun. And so it came to pass. Because our pilot liked to take pictures from the air himself and knew exactly how to get the best light conditions in front of our lens in the clearing weather. How impressive it was may be understood by pointing out my rapidly aching hands, which from focusing, positioning the camera and releasing the shutter on both sides had me feeling the saddle joints after only half an hour.

    Our flight was a complete success thanks to this young pilot whose machine was more than twice his age. Only the engine was new, he said.

    Glacial flows and patterns on Iceland © Julian Köpke

    After crossing the first glacier flow, we reached the glacier itself. With the old Cessan we slowly crept up the glacier. I felt reminded of films where the altitude limit is reached and the hero has to dare to jump. The cold downdraft winds were hard on the plane, but the pilot still guided us safely up the slope.

    The sight of a glacier reminds me of frozen waves that take you up and down with power. The frozen glacier seems less dangerous, almost still.

    Flying up the glacier Vatnajökull © Julian Köpke

    We left the glacier area again to approach the glacier lagoon Jökullsarlon. From above, everything looks small, I didn’t even notice the many icebergs I would later find from the plane.

    Flight from Vatnajökull to Jökullsarlon © Julian Köpke

    In one hour I took 700 pictures, which is about 50 GBytes of data. At the end, the exhaustion of the hands and body was noticeable. We only had bananas and nuts for breakfast, as we had to leave the hotel before breakfast. Fortunately, we had gloves, scarf and hats to brave the cold that came in through the open plane windows.

    Glacial flows and patterns on Iceland © Julian Köpke

    Deep sleep had been indicated and possible before the evening excursion. With a small diversions via Hafnarnesviti lighthouse, we reached the Viking Café in Stocksness at 11 pm. Many cars took the same route. Northern lights at Vestrahorn were the final destination for all. For the first time I experienced polar lights with my cam under clear skies.

    Polarlights at Stocksness © Julian Köpke
    Polarlights at Stocksness © Julian Köpke
  • General,  Landscape,  Travel

    Iceland

    The prospects are good: with high probability northern lights are announced for tomorrow and the following days in Iceland. We had wished for northern lights, but in no way expected to see any, nor to be able to photograph them.

    Our first day of travel starts with a seven and a half hour delay of the plane. A short wait turned into a long day with lots of sun outside and little movement in the lounge.

    „Have camera, will travel.“ I can’t get this sentence out of my head. The prospects are good: beautiful Icelandic landscape and auroras with high probability.

    Have camera, will travel. © Julian Köpke
    Probability for Northern Lights
  • Landscape,  Travel

    Mürren

    The peace in Mürren is almost intrusive. It is not disturbed by traffic noise. Only the occasional buzzing of the cable cars is reminiscent of normal life. The starry sky is great because at night very few lamps illuminate the village.

    Jupiter Moon Saturn over Alps (Mürren) © Julian Köpke

    Autumn is already more advanced in Central Switzerland thanin Ticino. Temperatures in the shade are well below 10 degrees Celsius. The sun has a lot of power at 1600m, you can easily sweat when walking.

    While searching for a location for my tripod slowly upwards, meet individual hikers or groups of two. The large groups take the cable car to the summit and do not appear on the hiking trails. Surprisingly many fly into the valley by paragliding.

    Early autumn in the Alps © Julian Köpke
  • Landscape,  Monochrome,  Travel

    Lake Lucerne

    The cross-country trip to Lucerne with a 20-year-old navigation system took me along many country roads, which used to be the only connection to this city. It’s hard to imagine how the traffic might have moved then. That’s why the system guided me down from the motorway through beautiful Swiss landscapes.

    Mowed meadow near Affoltern

    A little tired I arrived in Lucerne and went to sleep. Just in time for sunset I made a tour through the old town to Lake Lucerne, on which wonderful sailboats were on the way.

    Lake Lucerne and Alps. Snow covered Tödi. © Julian Köpke