A winter weekend in the bavarian forest

Since my Wild Creature Adventure in the Munich wilderness I was not out shooting, as lots of things had to be prepared in my office. On the weekend 16/17 of January however, we took a weekend off and drove to the National Park Bavarian Forest. I took my equipment, but this trip was not ment to be a work trip. I shot lots of pictures, but more like a hobbiest. The camera stayed in the car, I did not upload the files to my computer, did not check the results, nothing, not even a tripod.....

And to be honest it was fun to have a short vacation and to shoot a bit. The weather was splended and the wildlife in the enclosures was very nice to us as well.

Tomorrow I will fly for two weeks to Iceland to guide my workshop. Lots of things had to be prepared and I finished everything only yesterday. Moreover I sent out many GB of files, which first had to be processed and keyworded, to my agencies to keep this side of my business running as well.

But today it is time to relax and I wanted to have some fun with real pictures again and decided to write a short blog. We had been very lucky, lots of snow, very cold, sun, clouds, fresh snow falling, as it seems the whole winter was compressed in just 4 days!

Today it is again 10 C and the birds are starting to sing...

The Bavarian Forest is a low-mountain area, densly forested and its core area is a national park. Part of the NP are two enclosures with wildlife like lynx, wolf, otters and bears, which once populated this area.

The enclosures are a well known hotspot for photographers and you will probably hardly find any place in Germany with more camera equipment crammed in such a small place. The exception to the rule are the matches of the German Bundesliga. I prefer winter to go to the NP, as there are less visitors and the enclosures look wilder and unspoilt, especially after heavy snowfall.

TAking pictures of the wildlife is not garanteed, it is not a zoo. The enclousures are huge and if the animals are hiding somewhere, you can wait for hours until something is showing up. Patience is key. But if you want to watch a lynx in the wild, you have to be out for years. In the enclosures you may wait for hours or maybe a day, but you will spot it eventually!

In winter the main attraction for me are the wolves, both packs show their behaviour regularly, something you will never be able to watch somewhere else, not speaking of making nice pictures....

The lynxes are a bit more boring, they are cats and you must be lucky, if they patrol their territory. Interactions are rare, as they are more solitary animals. But they are pretty cats anyway!

Most visitors (and even more photographers) focus on these two species (and bears during summer), but animals like otters, wild boars, moose, wild horses, heck cattle and many birds deserve at least as much attention. My favourites are wild boar and otters, but they hid during our visits. It was the first time, that I did not see and photograph wild boars, but at least we coud watch an otter for a couple of minutes.

The european buffalo and the eagle owl however was in a pretty location and I could take some nice pictures of the heck cattle (an attempt to breed back the extinct aurochs) in heavy snowfall,

The landscape was extremely pretty, LOTS of new snow, blue sky, dark clouds an amazing atmosphere. The hike up to mount Lusen was worth while the effort with great vistas and trees covered in snow. Once I ventured a few meters away from the track and suddenly was sunk in the snow up to my chest. To get out again I had to use my "beetle on the back" technique. I think nobody was watching....

I never visited the Baumwipfelpfad (canopy walk) before. It is an extremely attractive location with an amazing architecture, highly recommended, expecially when you have weather like we had! Sometimes you just have to be lucky!

Whats next? The destinations for the first half of 2016 are more or less decided, but first things first. Back to Iceland tomorrow!

I still have to sort out my travel documents and zip up my bag(s). Keep your fingers crossed for nice weather, northern lights and lots of ice in the waterfalls!

Munich, January 2016