Summer and Autumn 2014

 

I was quite lazy to add new content to my blog, but I was in fact quite busy with smaller projects. Our summer was a real desaster, all my plans where dronwed by constant rain in central europe. Bad luck!

It changed beginning of September and the weather became more stable and much nicer. Not only the weather changed, but also my workhorse for landscape work. My old trusted 645 D showed signs of age and I decided to change to the 645 Z before the value of my old body depreciated even more. Some of the projects where also tests to get used to the new sensor, new functionality and handling of the body (everything is much better, but not the handling...). One of the more important tests have been to test the ability of this body for wildlife, to be able to decide which bodies I will bring to my Falkland Workshop in January.

Karwendel

 

This trip started in Leutasch a little, very pleasant village between Wetterstein, Mieminger and Karwendel mountain range. After shooting in Karwendel I moved on to the NP Hohe Tauern. The days in the Karwendel where the first serious shooting for the new body.

The Karwendel Valley is a nice and picturesque valley, but long, very long. Next time I would bring my bicycle. Before I headed to Grossglockner I went up to the Karwendelgrube with the cablecar from Mittenwald. To be honest I was a bit dissapointed, but the quite new information center called Fernrohr (telescope) was a highlight. Have a look!

Wimbachgries, a very special valley in the NP Berchtesgaden

 

In the picture market the NP Berchtesgaden is reduced to Lake Koenigsee. It is a pity that other areas in the NP like the Wimbachgries do not get the appreciation they deserve!

Wimbachgries is a heaven for geomorphologists and in its dimensons unique in the eastern alps, moreover it is really pristine, wild and untouched. The erosion of the steep rock faces of Mount Watzmann and Hochkalter is constantly "drowning" the forest in the valley, water is only running during very heavy rains. If it is dry the valley floor is more like a desert! The valley floor is in a way in constant change, every heavy rain downpour is moving the gravel and the vegetation has to accomodate this change.

In the past I was there already two times, but never was happy with the results. I did not manage to bring the uniqueness and the dynamics of this valley to life. This time I am more pleased with the results, but just so, there is still room for improvement! Have a look.

 

To capture the magic and the dynamics of this somehow barren valley is a real challenge!

The Wimbachgries makes a nice and easy hike and the mountain hut in the Gries is a great location to explore the valley, but make sure you book well ahead as it tends to be really crowded in the high season.

 

 

Wimbachgries may be untouched, no traffic, only hikers and during evenings you are alone. The area of the NP Hohe Tauern next to the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse is the opposite. Thousends of cars, hundreds of buses and countless motorbikes are crossing the NP daily, not counted the vintage cars, tractors and all imaginable other kinds of motorized vehicles. I have never seen so many Ferraris in one place! Of course you also have mountain bikes, racing bicyles, bicycles with trailers for babies or equipment. You will never be alone!

But the landscape is beautifull and hard to beat!

The road itself has a certain beauty and it was fun to capture the contrast of the wild mountains and the piece of winding infrustructure with all its associated kitsch and glory.

NP Hohe Tauern - Grossglockner

 

But there is also an other side to this part of the National Park. At Franz Josef Hoehe you get very close to Mount Grossglocker, Austrias highest mountain, and if you leave the road and the parking areas it will be more and more quiet and suddenly you are in the middle of a true mountain wilderness. As Wimbachgries is shaped by fluvial erosion and sedimentation, the Pasterze area is shaped by the rapid, frightening breakdown of its glaciers, fascinating for geographers but really frightening! To all my fellow Geographers, its an Eiszerfallslandschft at its best!

The Marmots of Franz Josefs Hoehe

 

Marmots are cute little mammals and in true wilderness you probably can hear their alarm whistle and maybe you see their tail when they are rushing to their dens. Near mountain huts they are used to people and much more relaxed. But the marmots of Franz Josefs Hoehe are not only relaxed but more like actors working for their carrots. They are still wild animals but.....

 

It was the location, which I picked to test my new body and my longer lenses with wildlife, which is similar in size with penguins and even the shooting distance is comparable. Of course the penguins of the Falklands are not payed with carrots......

Maybe I should add "bring squid and shrimp" to the Falklands packing list.

The Pentax 645Z behaved remarkable well for a medium format system and the quality is simply outstanding. All the pictures where made the 645 Z with focal lengths between 27mm and 330mm (full format equivalents, the lenses have been: FA 150mm, FA 200mm and FA 400mm, A 35mm and FA 45-85mm)

 

 

Moreover I needed some instructional shots for the Falklands and it is more fun to make new pictures than to spend hours in my archive. The participants of my workshop will see many marmots, which is probably a good change to all the penguins and seals on the Falklands. Marmots are really cute and funny animals. It was real fun. The results are quite good for some hours work and the hiding of all the buildings and roads in the vicinity of the dens was successfull as well.

 

We had a great time among the marmots of Franz Josefs Hoehe, but if you go there, be prepared and bring many carrots, the actors at this location have their price. By the way they prefer organic carrots, we tested it, no kidding!

South Tyrol - I got what I deserved

 

I return from time to time to South Tyrol, great landscape, lots of cultural treasures and not to forget good food and wine. My summer locations have been swept away by constant rain and got postponed to 2015.

For fall I imagined a special set up, first snow covering the peaks and rock faces, golden larch trees in the valley and still green meadows around the villages. Finally the weather forecast looked promising and I crossed Brenner Pass in lovely sunshine. Yes, it snowed as forecasted, but I had constant snowfall for 24 hours, severe storms in higher altitudes, mountain passes where closed due to avalanches and broken trees. The snowline was about 1200m and everything was covered by snow, no green meadows and golden larch trees any longer! At least I had 1,5 good days.

 

To escape the storm and the wet snow, I decided to take refuge in the city of Bozen. I always wanted to take pictures of the famous Pacher altar in Gries, a suburb of Bozen. The opening hours of this chruch are quite limited and I never managed to get their in time. This time I made it and this piece of art is definitly worth the drive down there. This altar is more a three dimensional stage for the elaborate carvings of Mr. Pacher. It was interesting and demanding to capture it in all its dimensions!

 

South Tyrol, I will be back. No doubt about that!

 

 

Hungary - for a change

 

Probably most of the readers know that we have a little summer cottage in Szentendre and lived in Budapest for a while. As it is a summer cottage, it has to be closed for winter, the water pipes had to be drained and the garden had to be made ready for winter as well. Therefore this travel was more vacation than work, but of course the camera was always in the car!

In Szentendre I explored the low light capabilites of the 645Z. During the day we worked in the garden and when dawn started we went to Szentendre. Have a look:

 

 

After all the garden chores, we deserved some days to relax in one of the hot springs in Hungary (and you should know that the cottage has no heating, no insulation, only a simple gaz radiator...). We chose the hot springs of Hajduszoboszlo in the eastern plains of Hungary, also called Puszta.

For a photographer the Puszta is not an easy target, a flat plain that's it. You have the birds and all the migrants, but we had been a bit late for the geese and cranes. Hortobagy NP is UNESCO world heritage and famous all over the world. I decided to go for the iconic draw wells of the Puszta and some of the famous buildings.

some final words

 

The year is nearly over, I still hope to go back to the southern part of South Tyrol, but time will show. The images have to be processed, Falkland has to be prepared and so on.

Some words about the Falkland Workshop. It is fully booked since months and we still get requests from time to time. Therefore Juergen Stock and I decieded that we will very likely offer a similar workshop in the austral summer of 2016/2017, we even think of some more destinations.

If you are interested or know somebody who might be, check following page regularly or just drop an email:

Martin Zwick Naturfotografie Workshops

Juergen Stock: Insel Reisen

What' next: Of course the Falkland Islands, I am really looking forward travelling to this marvellous place again. For February/March, Iceland is already booked and lots of ideas for spring and early summer!

By the way can you find the witch on a broom in the pictures? It is not hidden at all!

Martin Zwick

November 2014

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