Best time for landscape photogrraphy

Best time for landscape photogrraphy

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Bhavin
Bhavin
15 posts
new member
May 27, 2015 - 9:14 PM

Hi,

I am planning to visit swiss for 10 days with my family of 6 adults and a 18 month old child. We would want to visit places of scenic beauty and are keen on few hiking trips as well. I am also very keen on scenic landscape for photography for which I have already previsualised clear blue skies, green landscape with white mountains in the backdrop. Can you please suggest and itinerary and good time of the year for me? ...without cloudy and rainy time ;)

Thank you.

Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
May 28, 2015 - 4:59 AM

Hi bhavinashar,

With your wish list, I would pick the Bernese Oberland as a base. From there, you have many choices of where you'd go for the day: lakes, mountains in the background, go up to a peak, visit Bern, etc. In general, September is very nice, weather wise. But there are no guarantees and there is no season without rain in Switzerland. Any other month can be just as beautiful, but in your case June to mid-October would be best, with slightly better chances in September.

Bhavin
Bhavin
15 posts
new member
Jun 1, 2015 - 12:32 PM in reply to Arno

Hi,

I researched over the weekend to figure out the places whichI would want to visit during the two weeks in Switzerland. They are as below –

Lucerne, Engelberg region

Interlaken, Bernese Oberland region, Grindenwald, gimmelwald, Lake oeschinen, Schilthorn, Wengen, murren, Lauterbrunnen region, Diemtigtal nature park

Montreux, Areuse Gorge @ champ du Moulin, Chillon, Lausanne, Pointe de bellevue @ Chablais Alps, Rochers de naye, Vevey vineyards, Vufflens castle @ Morges

Zermatt, Lake Stellisee, Riffelsee, Gornergrat, Lac de fenetre @ st bernard pass

St Moritz, Appenzell

Scenic train journey like Golden Pass, Glacier Express, Bernina express (any possible?)

I have tried to group these as per my understanding of the geographical region. Can anyone help me with an itinerary to cover these places from a photographic perspective? I would like to do some night astro photography of any beautiful mountain (may be riffelberg, lacs de fenetre) so I am open to staying in the mountain huts as well provided it is doable with a 18 month kid and 3 adults aged 56 plus. If yes, which ones can be booked and how?

I have a budget of approx 1600 CHF per person (excluding the flight and visa expenses) for travel, accommodation, food (ready for self cooking as we are pure vegeterians). Is this doable?

Also, I would be interested to know if between 15 day swisspass or the self drive option which is more economical for my family of 6 adults. I am open to self drive too at least for a few days, if not for the entire trip, through the scenic alpine passes.

Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 2, 2015 - 6:01 AM

Hi bhavinashar,

CHF 160 per person per day is doable if you choose cheaper accommodation, don't travel too much and cook your own meals like you planned. Please see here for suggestions. It also helps if you don't travel too much. More budget tips can be found here.

Be careful with young children at altitudes above 2500 m. Please see the Gornergrat page, for example. Suggestions for hotels in the mountains can be found here.

Your wish list is quite long for 10 days. Moving to different places takes time and costs money. I understand you want to see a lot, but be sure to plan carefully: traveling times can be found in the timetable. These planning suggestions may help too. I know from experience you can make wonderful pictures if you just stay in one or two places, watch the weather for opportunities, and do local trips. You could base yourself in the Bernese Oberland and Zermatt for example. Just the Bernese Oberland would be fine as well.

Scenic train journeys are wonderful but not the best way to take pictures, because you're moving and the window separates you from the scenery. The Golden Pass line is easily accessible from the Bernese Oberland.

Last modified on Jun 2, 2015 - 6:03 AM by Arno
Bhavin
Bhavin
15 posts
new member
Jun 10, 2015 - 7:30 PM in reply to Arno

Hi,

I have finally booked my tickets to zurich :) I will reach Zurich on 29th August at 1930 hrs and I have return flight from Zurich on the 12th September at 2200 hrs that means I have total 14 days/13 nights in Swiss :)I have shortlisted places/regions/areas of interest with possible no of days in these regions as below.

1. Chur or St Moritz or Davos - (Total 2 Nights)

2. Zermatt or Martingny with specific focus to photograph lacs de fenetre near st bernard pass (st bernard train possible?), matterhorn/riffelberg from lake Riffelsee, stelisee, gornergrat - (Total 3 Nights)

3. Bernese Oberland region (with interest in walks/hiking) - Lauterbrunnen, gimmelwald, grindelwald, stechelberg, bachsee, jaungfrau, Brienzer Rothorn steam - (Total 6 Nights)

4. Lucern, Mt titlis - (Total 2 Nights)

5. some chocolate factory

6. possible scenic train journeys - golden pass from Montreux, glacier express, bernina express7. Some beautiful lakes possibly in the lap of nature

On the day I fly-in to Zurich in the evening where shall be my night halt?

I am really lost while preparing the itinerary. Can you please help me make an itinerary to cover these places with suggestions on the night halts?

I am open to all suggestions.

Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 11, 2015 - 5:45 PM

Hi bhavinashar,

It looks like you're in the final stages of your planning now. Your basic itinerary is fine, and you can't plan to the detail anyway as most of it is weather dependent. Just have a list of plans for each base town and decide the prior evening.

Some ideas:

  • Nature is on your doorstep in St. Moritz and Davos. I think you like that more than Chur. I would pick St. Moritz in your case, then take the Glacier Express to Zermatt.
  • If you're serious about the Lacs de Fenêtre you should take a bus to Ferret and do a pretty hefty walk up there, and back down (a map is here). The St. Bernard Express ends in Orsières. All of this is hardly doable from Zermatt in a day. In that case Martigny is better I guess, but Zermatt is wonderful too. The choice is yours. There might be a slightly shorter trail leading to the lakes from across the border in Italy, but I don't have details on that.
  • Our website has lots of suggestions for hiking and attractions like cable cars, so you should be able to find more details there, and use the timetable to see how to get there in how much time it takes.
  • There are excellent airport hotels for your first night. You can have a look here: myswissalps.com/zurich airporthotels.

Don't forget to buy your rail passes in time, so you can do so online (cheaper).

Last modified on Jun 12, 2015 - 6:41 AM by Annika
Bhavin
Bhavin
15 posts
new member
Jul 2, 2015 - 6:42 PM

Hi,
I have finalised my itinerary as below.

1. After landing in zurich go straight to lucern. spend 2 days in lucern and see mt titlis, chapel bridge area, mt pilatus, if time permits.

2. Move to chur for next 2 days and from there want to do bernina route on one day by regular trains as I want flexibility of opening the windows for doing photography and on next day by postbus to bellinzona and go to lugano to see swiss miniature. But I am not able to fix these during my time in chur as these two trips are pretty long. Please advise how to do this And also if the regular train option has anything in particular which I should note apart from the fact that it will have a change over.

3. Take Glacier express route, again for the same reason as bernina, and stay in zermatt for 2 days. To do Gornergrat train n walk the 5 lakes walk.

4. Move to Grindlewald by train n spend the remaining week. Do mt. jungfrau, hike from first-bachsee-first, gimmelwald and other areas in the Bernese Oberland.I want to do one of the scenic passes trips by postbus as mentioned on their website.

Is it doable in my itinerary? Please suggest any improvements on this if possible.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2653 posts
expert
Jul 2, 2015 - 11:50 PM in reply to Bhavin

I read all that and got confused.

However, confused or not, it seems to me like a whole lot of travel in a short time.

Arno or Annika may have a more experienced perspective.

I shall note that some of the best pictures that I have taken in the Berner Oberland required that I visit the same location(s) up t0 4 to 6 times over a few years before I got good, clear weather for photography. See attached. Particularly in the Berner Oberland, allow a several days in case the weather does not do what you want it to..

For planning the itinerary, please look at the SBB web site -

www.sbb.ch/en/home.htm l

Please login to see the attached documents
Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 3, 2015 - 9:33 AM

Hi Bhavin,

Your plans look doable if you skip Bellinzona and Swissminiatur. It's too far away from your base towns. Of course the two day stays are risky weather wise. You need to have a bit of luck to shoot the kind of pictures that Slowpoke posted. So it's good that you stay a bit longer in Grindelwald. There's a photo opportunity just around every corner. Watch the weather, start the day early, do local trips, and I'm sure you will get some really nice pictures. And be sure to post some pictures in a trip report! I am looking forward to that.

Bhavin
Bhavin
15 posts
new member
Jul 4, 2015 - 7:43 AM in reply to Arno

Dear Arno / Slowpoke,

Thank you for your views. I am also not sure about how it could be possible to visit swiss miniature from chur hence I has asked for the valuable opinions here. In that I may only take a postbus upto Bellinzona and come back to chur.

Does my view about taking the normal train instead of the Bernina and Glacier express trains sounds good?

What about the scenic postbus routes that I wish to take? Is it possible on any of the routes I am taking?

Just for my information, do I require any special documents / Visa when the bernina express bus passes through Italy?

Last modified on Jul 4, 2015 - 8:39 AM by Bhavin
Bhavin
Bhavin
15 posts
new member
Jul 4, 2015 - 8:22 AM

Hi,For my itinerary, which swiss pass fits the bill? I feel 15 days swiss pass is required.

I am a bit confused about the swiss pass and GA travel card / half fare card? Are these same as 15 days swiss pass I am referring to?

Here are the links that I am looking at - https://www.sbb.ch/en/travelcards-and-tickets/railpasses/ga/adults.htmlhttp://www.swisstravelsystem.com/en/home/tickets/ticketfinder-en/swiss-travel-pass.html

Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 4, 2015 - 9:18 AM

Hi Bhavin,

You can enter Chur to Melide (the rail station next to Swissminiature) in the timetable. It's at least 3 hours of traveling one way. I would not recommended that as day trip, especially with a baby. It's doable, but a very long day.

Taking the local trains sounds like a good plan to me. Also check out the open panoramic cars available in a few trains from Chur and Pontresina.

Meiringen to Grindelwald is a very nice postbus ride. Note that most (perhaps even all) buses don't have large windows to open. So it's not the best photo opportunity, but it is a great experience.

Traveling with a Swiss Travel Pass requires you to travel with your passport. For the ride express Italy you'd better also take along your visa if you need one for Switzerland. I don't think you need anything else as both countries are in the Schengen area. To be 100% sure, you can ask whoever issued your visa. They should know.

You're (partly) looking at pass for Swiss residents. Please see here for all tourist passes: myswissalps.com/ train/ticketspasses. In your case it's pretty simple though: you plan to travel a lot, and you also need flexibility to go somewhere else if the weather dictates that. So the 15-day Swiss Travel Pass would be perfect for that.

Please see myswissalps.com/ swisstravelpass for all pass details. As you can see there, you can best buy it through either www.raileurope.co.in/ pass/swiss-pass or www.raileurope-world.com/ pass/swiss-pass. Be sure to get your additional discount.

swisscat
swisscat
18 posts
new member
Jul 5, 2015 - 12:01 AM

We stayed in Wengen last year (end July/beg. August) having flown in/out via Geneva. I love taking photographs and took 4-5000 digital images in a week!! Jungfrau, Schilthorn, Wengen,Harder Kulm, Lake Brienz, Murren, various cable cars etc all generated many opportunities for photos. However the place that I spent most time trying to get the 'right' shot was Bachalpsee, the angles, the light, the reflection in the lake, still or rippled, little rills, miniature 'shore' line etc etc - I could quite happily have spent hours there. Take the hike there nice and steady and if you're interested in macro photography look out for alpine plants on the banks. Enjoy!!

Bhavin
Bhavin
15 posts
new member
Jul 14, 2015 - 6:46 PM in reply to Arno

Hi,

I was checking about the train option from Chur to Zermatt. I am not getting the reservation on 3rd September for this route on the glacier express. Does this mean that I can not board and travel on 3rd from Chur to Zermatt? What I have interpreted is that the glacier express is running full on this day. That leaves me with no option but to travel on regional train via Andermatt. Please confirm / clarify if there is any way around to get on board glacier express.

I am also not getting the point of why one would need Swiss Travel Pass + Half fare card? For my itinerary, are there any benefits in buying this combo? As suggested earlier, I am going to purchase the 15 day Swiss Pass. Please advise.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2653 posts
expert
Jul 14, 2015 - 7:08 PM in reply to Bhavin

RE- Travel Pass and/or Half Fare Card -

Here is what Arno said two posts back in this thread:

<<"In your case it's pretty simple though: you plan to travel a lot, and you also need flexibility to go somewhere else if the weather dictates that. So the 15-day Swiss Travel Pass would be perfect for that.">>

If you get the pass, you would not need the Half Fare Card unless you travel extra days before or after the pass is valid. Your schedule does not require that.

The Glacier Express does fill up. If you cannot get on the Glacier Express, ride the regular trains along the same route. You'll see the same sights. The windows may not be as big.

You will not need reservations.

Bhavin
Bhavin
15 posts
new member
Jul 14, 2015 - 7:27 PM

Hi,

I want to do night time astro photography and sunrise at the lake stallisee in Zermatt. I have understood that the only accommodation possible is at mountain hut fluhalp which I feel is very expensive and probably not worth it as anyways I plan to stay up for the night photography. Is it possible to safely camp near the lake stellisee? Also, please suggest how best to reach the lake and at what time?

Or If I were to do catch only the sunrise even then I will have to travel by the last possible train/cable car at previous night so that I can reach the lake to catch the sunrise. In this scenario, is it ok to sleep overnight on/near railway station or any public place in my sleeping bag?

Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 15, 2015 - 6:08 PM

Hi Bhavin,

I'm not sure of other accommodation near the Stellisee. Hotel Fluhalp is pretty cheap for Swiss standards: from CHF 79 including dinner and breakfast. Camping requires a lot of preparation, if it's even allowed there, which I doubt. Train and cable car stations close at night. You can't stay there.

An alternative is the Riffelsee, which is not that far from the hotel at the Gornergrat.

Bhavin
Bhavin
15 posts
new member
Jul 15, 2015 - 7:49 PM in reply to Arno

Thank you for clearing my confusion regarding the pass.

I was wondering whether it would make sense to buy a bernese oberland or Jungfrau regional pass along with 15 day swiss travel pass? I thought of this as I am staying in Grindelwald region for a week so would be exploring BO region mainly.

Also, as you mentioned earlier that there are some open air carriages option available on the chur to tirano route. Upon checking the RHB site, it seems that these are operational till August only. Is this true?

I have also read somewhere that the bernina express has 2nd class carriages which have the windows which could be lowered down. If it is then is it available during September? Is this true? On SBB site I can not verify if it has open air carriages.

On the Golden Pass site, I read that system will allocate the seat in case of reservation. Does this mean that we will need to occupy the seats as given by the system? Or is it just that you can choose the seat as you like?

Bhavin
Bhavin
15 posts
new member
Jul 15, 2015 - 7:52 PM in reply to Arno

Thanks Arno, I actually saw the rates for hotel pollux instead of fluhalp. Yes, the rates of fluhalp are quite good. is there any email address or online booking facility to block a bed there?

Is there any thread already in place on myswissalps which can help me plan this trip from Zermatt?

Last modified on Jul 15, 2015 - 8:04 PM by Bhavin
Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 16, 2015 - 3:09 PM

Hi Bhavin,

Buying an additional pass is only worth it if you use it extensively. You'd have to calculate that, but make sure to study the Swiss Travel Pass map carefully as there's a lot included for free: cable cars to Mürren, boats, etc. If you do buy an extra pass you will get a discount on it, see the pages about the Regional-Pass Bernese Oberland and the Jungfrau Railways Pass.

The trains from Chur to Arosa have open cars until late September, see the page I linked to. The other ones indeed only in Juli and August.

The Bernina Express is a panoramic train with air conditioning, so no opening windows there.

If you buy seat reservations for any train, you have fixed seat numbers. Of course you can sit somewhere else if those seats are not reserved.

I gave you the link to hotel Fluhalp. Didn't it work for you?

Our Zermatt page will be helpful: myswissalps.com/ zermatt. You can also enter your query in the search box in the top of the page. That will search the whole website, not just the forum section.

Last modified on Jul 16, 2015 - 3:11 PM by Arno

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