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4-5 days in late September to take pictures

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2 posts
new member
Aug 17, 2016 - 1:53 PM

Greetings. :) I have a work conference in Paris the third week of September and want to stay on for a few days after that. I have never been to mainland Europe and while Paris is an amazing city, I'm a semi-pro landscape photographer and am much more comfortable touring the scenery taking pictures of natural locales.

I am trying to figure out where to go. One option I considered was the Provence area, but I'm not sure late September will be a good time for scenery there (lavender fields are past, etc.) But I thought maybe that September 22-27 or so might be a good time to see the Alps, because maybe the trees would have started to change, and perhaps there would be new snow.

I am a complete newbie and have no idea what to do, so any suggestions on locations would be much appreciated. I have not 100% settled on the Alps, but I'm a "mountain guy" and they have great appeal.

My current plan is simply like this:

  • Train from Paris to Zurich (Geneva?) on Sept 22
  • Rent a car and drive all over the place taking pictures, finding cheap accomodations wherever I end up.
  • Fly home from Zurich (Geneva?) on Sept 27 or 28

As you can see, not much of a plan. :) I guess my main questions are:

  1. Is this a good time to visit? What should I expect?
  2. How much can I reasonably expect to see in 4 or 5 days? (I should point out that for me a "day" starts an hour before sunrise and can go well into the evening, I pack a lot into a day.)
  3. Zurich or Geneva?
  4. Where should I go? :)

Thanks so much for any help. :)

16099 posts
expert &
Aug 18, 2016 - 8:17 AM

Welcome charlesk!

September is usually a very good time to be in Switzerland weather wise. Not too warm, not too cold and not too much rain. Of course you need a bit of luck as there are no guarantees, especially in the mountains.

I'm not sure if a car is the best choice for your plans. If you want to explore the mountain passes you certainly need a car. On the other hand, public transport is frequent and gets you to places a car can't go. And it doesn't force you to go back to where you parked in case you walk/hike for a while. Please see here for more details.

Towns like Lucerne and Interlaken are centrally located, offer great train connections to about anywhere, and let you choose between cities, lakes, valleys, high alpine scenery and more.

2 posts
new member
Aug 22, 2016 - 1:10 PM in reply to Arno

Hi Arno,

Thank you for the welcome and reply.

I had just read the long series by Kim and came to the same conclusion: my usual method of "get in a car and drive around" will not work in the Swiss Alps. Upon further investigation, I think I need more time to do this area properly, to take the cable cars and cool trains, and have time to hike. This is such a short time and I have to tack it into a work trip, I don't think it would make sense to tour such a beautiful area half-heartedly. So I think it will sadly have to wait for another opportunity.

Thanks again for your help.

16099 posts
expert &
Aug 22, 2016 - 2:48 PM in reply to charlesk

Hi charlesk,

Spending more time if you have the importunity would indeed be better. A few days of bad weather, which is not unusual at all, wouldn't spoil your trip in such a case. In case of only a few days, it works best to stay in one central place, like the ones I mentioned. Quite some people who visit Switzerland for a few days only use that time as an appetizer, and come back for more later :-)

Anyway, feel free to get back here when you have time for a longer trip.

Last modified on Aug 22, 2016 - 2:48 PM by Arno
7567 posts
Aug 24, 2016 - 1:36 AM in reply to charlesk

Hi Charles K-

Might be worth a trip to get the lay of the land, then come back for serious photography. Late September is pretty much the best time to visit. Weather patterns tend to be settled in an "Autumn Mode."

For years, I did that with my various "hiking cameras" then returned with my Mamiya 7-II to get serious.

These days, I use my 5D-III or my Oly EM-5 with some superb primes, and use Photoshop to help after the fact.

See attached, of various vintages.

By the way, some of the pictures above Wengen, on the Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg Hke ( referred to by old hands as the Grannies' Walk) were taken in the last week of September, 2009. Stunningly clear weather. Not sure if they are among the attached...film has problems with EXIF data from scans.

Go and have fun... Come back for serious photography.

Look at this thread, where I focused on mountains:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/photographer s-going-to-switzerland-in-december.

Scroll down for about 30 images of varying technical and compositional quality.

These two threads give some idea of the variety that is readily accessible if you use public transport and get out of your car...which, by the way, often cannot go where the trains go:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/the-swiss-path-and-southern-lake-lucerne

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/bls-sudrampe-trail


Last modified on Aug 24, 2016 - 1:41 AM by Slowpoke


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