Back from Switzerland : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hi All,

Looks like we've had some nasties visiting the site. They'll go play elsewhere, I'm sure.

I've just got back from two weeks of photography/hiking/camping in Switzerland with my 4x5 and I thought I'd share some things I learned in case anyone else care to go there.

First, it seems that June through the middle of July is a rainy season so August may be a better time to go.

Second, I anticipated that I would have to do quite a bit of hiking to get to where I wanted to go. This is true but not to the extent that I thought it would be. You can get to just about any town or village by train, bus, or cablecar.

Third, there is a big downside to the above comment. Because the Swiss have created such an extensive tourist transport infrastructure, it is difficult to do landscape photography of some of the most majestic mountains without including the towers and cablecars. That's a problem for me, but some folks may not mind it a bit.

Fourth, if you do go to Switzerland, get a Swiss Rail FlexPass from your local EuRail vendor. You may want to stay in one location for several days before getting back on the train. The FlexPass lets you have a certian number of days on the trains but they need not be consecutive. Also, join Youth Hosteling International ($25.00 approx.). Switzerland has fantastic youth hostels that give a great break between showerless days in your tent.

Fifth, go to see the area around Piz Roseg and the area around Grindelwald no matter where else you go. You will not be disappointed. Near Grindelwald, go up to First, then hike up to the big lake [the name escapes me at the moment, starts with a 'B'].

Anyway, Switzerland is a remarkably beautiful country and I can't wait to go back. Next time, I will bring the 8x10!

Regards, Jason

-- Jason Kefover (, July 17, 2000


I am a bit surprised by the third point. Working from Chamonix (French Alps), I found it pretty easy to exclude the man-made structures from the compositions, even when shooting from one of those structures ! Chamonix has to be the best location in the world for shooting high mountains with LF. You don't have to walk a lot or carry overnight gear, and the scenery is second to none. For some inspiration, look at Shiharara's book "The Alps". No wonder he began there.

-- Q.-Tuan Luong (, July 17, 2000.

"B" like Bachsee? Thanks Jason for suggesting. You where infortunate: we have had the worst July of the decade or more, with lots of rain and very cold (perhaps a side effect of El Nio?) and the weather just turned nice from today. Actually it is impossible to predict nice weather any time in advance, as it changes every year. The month of August is sometimes dry, but not a rule. To see the flowering Alps, usually best time is July though. What I can probably say is: a wet spring time-a nice summer time; a dry spring time- a wet summer. If I do not specify on what extent the dry and the wet are, I probably will be right anyway! I hope you have more chance next time.

-- Paul Schilliger (, July 17, 2000.

I'm glad to hear you liked Switzerland so far. Paul is absolutely right. This is by far the worst July I can remember. I hope you could use some of the advices that I gave you.

-- Tom Castelberg (, July 18, 2000.

Hi all

Just to give some ideas where to get LF sheet film: In Zuerich it is Studio 13 a pro lab at the Hafnerstreet and: But weather is in my opinion best at August-September!

-- Armin Seeholzer (, January 02, 2002.

I second the vote for the area near Grindelwald ; earlier this year we stayed in the Jungfrau region in a village called Wengen, in the shadow of the Eiger, Moench and Jungfrau ; by local train from here you can go almost to the top of the Jungfrau to the Jungfraujoch, a spectacular glacier area, and you stop off twice in the middle of the Eiger with views of its glaciers ; you can also go by cable car to Schilthorn, with panoramic views of the Alps in virtually every direction (absolutely breathtaking!) ; if you're lucky, the wild flowers will be in bloom, and they are possibly the most sublime sight of all. Went everywhere by train - no car required.

-- fw (, January 02, 2002.

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