• Travel,  World at night

    Starry nights

    The nights in Ticino and now in Mürren were starry. The winter constellation of Orion is near sunrise in the south, which allows a “late” rising. This morning I was able to capture Orion with the red color of its nebula in the center of the dagger. So dark was it on the local helicopter landing site of Mürren. Somewhat to the left of the top of the Jungfrau one could see a faint zodiacal light.

    Starry night at Mürren (Sirius and Orion) © Julian Köpke
    Weak zodiac light over Jungfrau © Julian Köpke
  • Landscape,  Monochrome,  Travel

    Mürren II

    With the first cable car to the Schilthorn I started at 7:40 am in Mürren. Unfortunately, as a tourist I couldn’t go up earlier. On the terrace of the mountain station there were two cardboard figures with shooting irons in hand, which appeared to me on the pictures of the webcam as strangely motionless guests. The temperature at 0 degrees Celsius was not friendly for the hands, so I was mostly alone on the platform.

    How do you photograph mountains ? At distant mountains the colour disappears into a dull blue, which is why prefer black and white in these cases. Then a gripping dynamic may develop that draws you into the image.

    Snow field at Eiger (Alps of Bern) © Julian Köpke

    The technical side of a cable car has always fascinated me. cable car is a workplace for drivers, technicians, engineers and many others. The first ride in the morning is a cheerful encounter of these people, who have known each other for along time and take turns doing some work on the machines. That’s why we were allowed to listen to music for the morning gymnastics during the drive uphill.

    In fact, the construction of a mountain station on the Schilthorn before it became the location for the 4th James Bond movie starring George Lazenby was certainly controversial and economically questionable. After the movie, everything was clear. Today you can admire many scenes and their making of on a separate floor, as well as 10 minutes of impressive films about the local landscape and the film.

    Piz Gloria (Schilthorn) with 007 Café. Some scenes of the 4th 007 movie were shot there. It's been the headquarter of Blofield. © Julian Köpke

    It was only while processing the images that I noticed the many airplane tracks in the sky that had not been there for so long.

    The mountain range of Eiger (left), Mönch and Jungfrau also looks better in black-and-white technique. The imminent change of the weather is already clearly visible on the image.

    Mountain chain Eiger Mönch Jungfrau. There will be a weather change. © Julian Köpke
  • 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,  Travel

    Brione (Valle Verzasca)

    My hotel 1900 (Novecento) in Muralto was rebuilt by the new owners 20 years ago. Breakfast organic and with vegan spreads, a lightness of being. The house has a nice garden, where tea is served with freshly harvested sage. The only thing they didn’t consider was the Internet. Therefore, my blog or video communication was hardly to think about.

    On the last day I wanted to photograph the birch forests near Brione. The parking lot the day before was so crowded that had no chance to park the car safely. Arriving at half past ten o’clock there were no problems. Even a tree was allowed to provide shade.

    Morning at Brione © Julian Köpke

    You only have to search a bit to find an exit to the banks of the river Verzasca. You’re not the first to try. If you make it, you will be rewarded by the photographic options with magnificent water between diverse and colourful boulders.

    Morning near Brione in Verzasca valley © Julian Köpke

    The selfie has many variations. A variant shows the pride of the photographer on location. Or a shadow selfie.

    Equipment selfie at Verzasca © Julian Köpke
    Shadow selfie an der Verzasca © Julian Köpke

    The rocks in the water change their color with the daylight and the water color they reflect. This makes these objects interesting and varied photo motifs. Once you find a hungry shark, who has already taken one or the other photographers. Or in the shadow, a white stone that looks almost metallic.

    The shark © Julian Köpke
    White rock near Brione © Julian Köpke

    I couldn’t reproduce the delicate colorfulness of an autumn birch forest, the distance over the river was too great for that. The sun was still too high, it vanished far too soon behind ridge, and the valley lay in the shade. Maybe you can still guess early autumn.

    Birch trees above Brione © Julian Köpke
  • Landscape,  Travel

    Valle Verzasca II

    In the morning it is very cold in the Verzasca valley. Two hours earlier on site than the day before saved me the search for parking lot. Two photographers were just at their last pictures. Again, I was relatively late.

    First the rocks of Lavertezzo with the church, then the many puddles in the rocks with their reflections.

    Church Lavertezzo and reflection © Julian Köpke
    Early autumn in Lavertezzo © Julian Köpke
    Rocks and water colors © Julian Köpke
    Rocks and water colors © Julian Köpke

    After many photographic attempts to gain momentum from the waterfall, I took one last picture in which I look at it flowing down into the valley. Note the sun’s rays in the tree on the left, as the clouds slowly move away.

    Verzasca downstream behind Lavertezzo © Julian Köpke

    The bright house near Motta had already noticed me the day before. As good as it is preserved and as beautiful as it stands, it might be a holiday home.

    Bright house in Verzasca valley above Lavertezzo © Julian Köpke

    Waterfalls can be seen everywhere, in some places several waterfalls from different directions converge into large one.

    Waterfall near Motta, Verzasca valley. This image is slightly irritating. © Julian Köpke
  • Long time exposure,  Motion Blur,  reflection,  Travel

    Valle Verzasca

    The valley of the Verzasca is famous for its clear water, which makes its way through rocks and takes on characteristic green colour. Correspondingly, many people are attracted to it. Actually, you’re here for hiking. The Postbus stops at manyplaces and spits out large groups of hikers.

    The first day I wanted to try out different locations to see what to expect.

    The bridge, named Ponte dei salti,  with the two arches is from Roman times and is good for many selfies. With a long-term exposure one can see the arcuate construction with its reflection in the water. And the many visitors who flock on the bridge are miraculously invisible.

    Arcuate reflection of Ponte dei salti, Lavertezzo © Julian Köpke

    Swirling water can be found everywhere, in a natural way picturesque photographs are created.

    Verzasca water play © Julian Köpke

    To my surprise, the sun was seen and felt in the valley for along time. It got really hot. Only in the evening, when the rocks gave off their heat, did it become less agitated.

    Light and shadow in Verzasca Valley © 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
  • Landscape,  Travel

    Valley view of Upper Rhine

    Two weeks ago I went to Lake Constance for business reasons. At 7 o’clock in the morning I could see a red sun rising in the fog between trees. That’s why I made a stopover at Lake Constance to take pictures there in the evening and in the morning.

    The morning drive two weeks ago might have made you think of ghosts and of course there is literature on this subject from the area. The evening when I arrived was wonderfully sunny and fogless. By car I made an “ascent” to Hohenklinge Castle in Stein am Rhein, to see the valley from above. The view reminded me of Renaissance painting.

    Sunset over rhine valley near Stein am Rhein © Julian Köpke

    There is no repetition for the landscape photographer. The natural light will never be like that again when you go back to a place. Where the sun was supposed to rise it was not foggy. It was cloudy. From here the Upper Rhine begins.

    Early in the morning, all of a sudden, two women drifted in the river. The two of them wished me from below a “good morning.

    Morning at Stein am Rhein © Julian Köpke

    Here in Stein am Rhein ends Lake Constance, which lies between the High Rhine and the Upper Rhine. Before sunrise you could see some discoloration of the sky, along with very little ground fog.

    End of Lake Constance at Stein am Rhein © Julian Köpke
  • Landscape,  Long time exposure,  Sylt,  Travel

    Sylt

    Two more days on the island. I had secretly speculated before the start of the trip to be able to make interesting longtime exposures of the sea. We went to the sea once very early and often late at night. On Friday, the 13th, the weather was particularly stormy. I felt that half a second exposure time was the optimal value to capture the dynamics of the sea’s motion and at the same time to get structure.

    La mer © Julian Köpke

    Many of the photographs I took with the quadrupeds, which were laid out as a coastal protection near Hörnum. Depending on the time of day and the weather, they are a fantastic backdrop. This image was taken early in the morning short after sunrise.

    Shape of tetrapodes, Hörnum © Julian Köpke

    At the time of the highest water level during the flood, these concrete blocks almost disappear underneath the water surface. The next image is a combination of different exposure values to express the power of the incoming tide.

    Tide is coming in at Hörnum beach, Sylt © Julian Köpke

    Without wind, the sea is so calm at low tide that you don’t want to imply anything violent to it anymore. To capture the calm of the low tide water I needed 30s of exposure time. However, the Moon would become blurred at that value. So combined two shots into one picture.

    Evening and waxing crescent Moon at Hörnum beach, Sylt. Longtime exposure 1s and 30s. © Julian Köpke

    Weather change is associated with stronger wind and light changes. This situation is often felt on the island in rather pleasant way.

    Thunderstorm building on the horizon © Julian Köpke
  • Landscape,  Travel

    Black as dominant color

    Black as a color is not so popular. In Iceland you always encounter a black, which only seems homogeneous at first glance. In fact, every black, whether in basalt or sand, is slightly inhomogeneous and interesting to the eye and not gap.

    My first encounter with the color black on Iceland was on the rocky coast near our hotel in Arnarstapi, which was easily accessible on foot. The power of the sea seemed to be best expressed in moderate long-term shots. Anyone who exposes too long will only get the average altitude of the sea level . . . .

    Black basalt coast at Hellnar (Arnarstapi), Iceland © Julian Köpke
    Black basalt coast at Hellnar (Arnarstapi), Iceland © Julian Köpke

    Occasionally black was also found in buildings. At farms or at the famous Black Church of Budir, which I shot from many perspectives.

    Black church at Budir © Julian Köpke
    Black church and Snæfellsjökull

    The reflection on the Vestrahörn was best achieved in the early morning at low tide on the damp black beach. The repeated flooding of the beach by waves disturbed the tripod and sometimes necessitated rapid escape movements, but they were also a prerequisite for good mirror images.

    Last but not least, black and red were the dominant colours in the hot lava of the Fagradalsfjall, which we were able to see more closely on the last day of our stay.

    Only a few kilometers further by car the sun began to shine and the clouds receded. In the southwest of the Reykjanes peninsula we felt the white of the lighthouse all the more radiant after our volcanic visit.

    Afternoon sun at lighthouse Reykjaviti © Julian Köpke

    Before leaving, one last look at the waves, which are radiated by sunlight and seem to contain more energy than usual.

    Waves and surf at Reykjanesviti, Iceland