Locations in Switzerland

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I put this question under "Larger Formats (8x10 & up)" only because I did not see a category for anything on "Tips On Location Shooting". And I will be shooting with my 8x10 Deardorff.

Anyway, I am going to Switzerland for two weeks of shooting in the Alps with the above-mentioned camera. I am doing extensive web research on the country and I have ordered several travel books that claim they can direct a traveler "off the beaten path".

My request is this: If you have traveled in Switzerland and gone off the tourist paths, I would appreciate very much any suggestions you wish to give on getting out into the Alps to where the grand vistas are and where the people are not.


Jason Kefover

-- Jason Kefover (jkefover@york.tec.sc.us), May 10, 2000


I was in Switzerland in 1993 for business in the town of Bad Ragaz. It's near the Austrian & Italian borders, and where the author of Heidi lived.

This area, and the area towards Italy are beautiful, but also rustic in some areas. This will get you out of the crowds. I was there in October, so the ski season hadn't started so the area was relatively free of people. The roads will get you right in the midst of the mountains.

It is a bit hard to get away from people in Switzerland because they've built right into the mountain areas, but this area will get you some of what you're seeking.

Enjoy your trip.

-- Charlie Strack (charlie_strack@sti.com), May 10, 2000.

If you want to see the Alps you have to visit the Kantons (states) of Graub|nden, Uri, Wallis or Bern. Graub|nden is considered one of the most beautiful places in the Alps and it's the biggest Swiss Kanton. Gorgeous vistas can be found in the Bern Alps but they're quite crowded and off the beaten path in Bern means climbing. Uri is not so crowded but it's steep and narrow and doesn't have that many viewpoints.

I would recommend Wallis or Graub|nden. Since I live and shoot in Graub|nden I know it very well, even from off the beaten path. If you're interested in special advices on Graub|nden write me directly.

-- Tom Castelberg (castelbergthomas@hotmail.com), May 11, 2000.

Everybody goes to the Alps precisely to see the grand vistas, so there is no 'off the beaten path' in any real sense. If you want standard views like the classic head-on shot of the Hvrnligrat on the Matterhorn the only way to avoid people is to put the camera on your back and do some serious hiking and mountaineering. If you give an indication of your experience as a climber/hiker I can recommend some nice spots in the Zermatt and Grindlewald areas.

If you don't mind the fact that Switzerland afficionado's will know the truth, a surprisingly little amount of effort will have most of your fellow tourists hailing you as a fabulously inventive photographer. The spectacular Saas Fee side of the Monte Rosa is well-known amongst hikers, and easy to get to, but almost all published photographs are taken from the funicular railway on the Zermatt side. Zillions of people take pictures of the Eiger from Kleine Scheidegg, but almost none head up to Grosse Scheidegg for the very different view you get from there.

-- Struan Gray (struan.gray@sljus.lu.se), May 11, 2000.

If you are in the Eiger/Interlaken area, I would suggest hiking out of Lauterbrunen for valley shots, and out of Wengen rather than Grindlewald to avoid crowds... no tour busses in Wengen. Probably the most overlooked area is the Apenzel region in NE Switzerland. The Churfirsten range, valleys and waterfalls, although not in the Alps, are very photogenic.

-- Glenn C. Kroeger (gkroeger@trinity.edu), May 11, 2000.


The suggestions above are all excellent, and you will be rewarded with wonderful images. I concurr that will be dificult to photograph scenes where no man (or milk/cheese), cows or buildings are in existence - but not impossible. There are opportunities if you take the time and explore. Graubunden is your best bet, and is also the home of the Swiss National Park. Also don't ignore some of the Castles and ruins... they help make a striking combination and makes your photos look like Europe. One areas to do this in is Tarasp which is in the Canton of Graubunden.

When I was in Europe in 1998 (shooting medium format) I asked about the availability of 4x5 film at one of the larger photo stores in Zurich (near Bahnhof Strasse - Photo Baren), and was told that sheet film is typically ordered by the individual photographer directly from the manufacturer. I cannot validate the truth about this, except I entered many stores to buy film and never saw sheet film available (*lots of 35mm and 120)... let alone 8x10. I would suggest you investigate its availability in Switzerland... you may wind up having to bring a sufficient number of boxes over etc...

Good Shooting!!! Steve

-- Steve Nieslony (sejn@pacbell.net), May 11, 2000.


Steve is correct in terms of the availability of LF film. The only place I could find to buy 4x5 when I lived in Geneva was a pro finishing lab that also happened to sell film. So, bring plenty along! Best of luck...

-- Mike Hildreth (hildreth.2@nd.edu), May 24, 2000.

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