Tuesday 26 April 2022

We've Moved

We've moved to WWW.MOUNTAINPHOTOGRAPHYWORKSHOP.COM. The archive blog articles will stay here but any new articles will appear there together with the new galleries with purchase options for prints. 

The new website has been designed to reflect the slow transition to a more professional approach and showcase the photos and advertise my photographic services.

Sunday 13 March 2022

Ten More Below Zero

I think we're going to have to stop going to Norway in the winter. Last time a pandemic broke out. This time a war. This isn't a good track record. Nevertheless, we had a great week of langrenn - the Norwegian for cross-country skiing - chalking up over 150 km in seven days, not bad for my sorry, nearly 54-year-old carcass. Where the skiing conditions were (mostly) great, I found the photography quite challenging. Even in the mountains, everything's somehow a lot lower to the horizon in southern Norway, making big open panoramas a challenge. I've found this before, but previously we've had some fantastic skies to make up for it. This time we had largely blue skies - the landscape photographer's nemesis. But this did mean we had some good evening and night conditions. And it wasn't as perishingly cold as our 2020 trip either; then our maximum temperature during the whole week had been -9°C one lunchtime, this time the day-time temperatures pushed above freezing once or twice, there was a lot less snow and we didn't get nearly as much hoarfrost as last time. I had looked forward to having the same conditions that we'd had on our last half-day skiing through the forest in the mist with frost on the trees. But what we did find more than made up for it. 

Even though this photo is actually from the very last evening, I'm going to post it here for the very simple reason that it was my stand-out experience from the week and the first image is the one that gets posted to social media when I share the link.

Northern Lights over Skeikampen || Olympus 8 mm, f/3.2, 2.5", ISO 6400 
The story behind this shot is that we'd settled down for the evening after our last supper together and one of our hosts, university friends who had moved to southern Norway when we first came to Munich, was innocently scrolling through Facebook when she spotted a local post of a photo of the Northern Lights that appeared to have just been taken. I was set up for an evening slobbing before returning home to Germany the next day. Last time we had been here I had done a couple of night shots on an evening where the Aurora forecast had been relatively high (there's an app for that) and had found a strange green band at the bottom of my astro photos. On the off-chance that Saturday's Lights might be a bit stronger, I donned my outside apparel and popped round the corner. My first reaction was one of disappointment. There appeared to be a band of greyish cloud low on the horizon, but no sign of the green Aurora. Just to be absolutely sure I pulled out my P30 Pro smartphone, put it in night photo mode and took a quick snap, and was blown away by the massive green cloud dominating the lower half of the sky. So I dashed back to get the others and grab my camera and tripod. After a first few test shots, I set up the Olympus for a time lapse and just sat back to enjoy the show. Here's a 45 min time lapse condensed down to 35 sec. If you're interested in the tech details, ISO 6400, f/3.2, 2.5" using the PL 8-18 at 8 mm (yes, I could have opened up even wider, but heat of the moment and all that...) The mountain (Skeikampen) is floodlit at night and a little blown out. I denoised using the new OM Workspace and batch processed the photos in ON1 Photo Raw 2022 and generated the time-lapse there too. If I´d had more time, I might have found a better composition, but I'm reasonably pleased with the outcome.

Anyway, that was the last evening. Now back to day 1. As mentioned before, the prevailing weather pattern was high pressure and blue skies. We'd only done a short løype in the morning and decided to take a trek up to the Bjørga, a nearby viewpoint overlooking the cabin settlement of Skeikampen and Austlid. We skied up before dinner hoping to catch sunset on the local peaks and my plan was to hang around to catch the blue hour before skiing down using my head torch. My guilty secret as a landscape photographer is that I really struggle with sunset photography, especially when there is low cloud cover - getting the exposure right is very tricky. This was just before the sun sank below the western horizon. I did end up waiting around alone for almost an hour and a half to catch the first stars, but with the clouds ebbing away I thought this was the better shot.

Sunset from Bjørga || Olympus 12 mm, f/8, 1/60", ISO 200 
Day two opened overcast, cold and windy and provided the best hoarfrost conditions of the week. We headed up over the back of the Skeikampen. Cresting the ridge we found the clouds lifting briefly, giving us hope that the weather might turn for the better. Unfortunately the reverse turned out to be the case and we actually found ourselves taking the skis off on the steep løype over the Prestkampen before finding shelter from the wind in the lee of the hut at Skardbua. We had originally planned to carry on into the hills, but the sense of gratitude that we all felt for having safely found the cabin in the mist recommended the more sensible course of skiing down and back to our friends' hytte.

Frozen Outcrop, Skeikampen || Olympus 18 mm, f/8, 1/250", ISO 200
Every now and then I get carried away with the photography (hey, it happens ok, don't pick on me!) and my people get away from me. This turned out to be one of my favourite shots of the week, just before conditions turned quite nasty. The reason I like it so much is that it really captures the moment and embodies the feeling that you experience being up in the Fjells in winter: Isolation, cold, beauty. The splash of light on the ridge on the right really brings the scene to life though.

In the Fjells || Olympus 18 mm, f/8, 1/160", ISO 200
The following day was windy and cold but the skies had cleared. The snow-sculptures left by the wind gave some great foreground for images of the surrounding peaks like this. I even managed to catch some spindrift.

Snowsculptures and Spindrift || Olympus 18 mm, f/8, 1/500", ISO 200
One of the things I always watch out for in the snow is stream beds. I love how snow 'covers a multitude of sins', making complicated and messy scenes simple. At the same time, a little variety spices up a vista and a dip in the snow marking a stream running under the surface will liven up a photo immensely. Taking this to monochrome in ON1 reduces such features to the essential elements. The tone curves of simple black and white reduce the images to their essential elements - tones of grey. I had another of these with the edge of the forest in the background. In the end, I decided to go with the 'less is more' principle and restrict the image to the meadow beside the track.

Snowfolds || Olympus 35 mm, f/8, 1/500", ISO 200
When we were here back in 2020, we had a memorable long tour out to the hotel at Fagerhøy, a 30 km round trip. It was a really cold day with strong cross-winds the whole time. It had been so cold that there was ice on the inside of the sleeves of my softshell jacket when we arrived. Back in 2022, day 5 turned out to be a lot milder and less windy and so we headed back out over the Fjells. Skardbua was a different place compared to two days previously.

Behind Skardabua || Olympus 12 mm, f/8, 1/500", ISO 200
The long views over Jotuenheim behind Fagerhøy were spectacular. I love it when the trees and bushes in scenes like this are outlined in snow, or at least a good casing of frost. Unfortulately that wasn't going to be the case today, but hey, at least I wasn't shaking ice out of my sleeves.

Fagerhøy and Jotunheimen || Olympus 29 mm, f/8, 1/400", ISO 200 
All skiing and no sightseeing makes Mike a dull boy. Towards the end of the week we decided that we could bunk off for the afternoon and drove down to Ringebu to check out their Stavkirke in the snow. This is one of Norway's 28 remaining wooden churches built using medieval techniques. I think we've saw five of them during our 2018 southern Norway road trip, including Ringebu, so we haven't chalked up another one unfortunately. I could easily imagine making a road-trip some time to try to take them all in. They're fantastic buildings, wonderfully photogenic under the right conditions and some of them sit beautifully in their settings - Lom immediately springs to mind. The low afternoon light really caught the colours nicely and the wispy clouds really help make the sky look a little less boring.

Ringebu Stavkirke || Olympus 16 mm, f/8, 1/125", ISO 200
Sharon spotted this scene on the cliffs above the løype on our last day out. Ideally I would have shot this earlier in the day with the sun low and illuminating the ice, but this was making the best of it.

Frozen Waterfall || Olympus 100 mm, f/4, 1/640", ISO 200
This next one is a shot that I've been trying to pull off for quite a while, though not yet as good as I would like (or as big - the longest focal length I had with me was 100 mm). It shows the new moon, but exposed to reveal the dark portion of the moon. The shot I'm really after is one where you can still see detail on both the lit and unlit portions of the moon and requires a little jiggery-pokery. The thing I've always found challenging is avoiding light-spill from the light side to the dark. Maybe I'll get it right some time in 2022...

New Moon at Austlid || Olympus 100 mm, f/5.6, 4", ISO 200
I'm going to throw in a last black and white, just for fun. I love the forms these streams leave in the snow and this one had eroded the drift all the way down to the water. Looking at this as I write I may have to re-edit it so that the diagonal leaves the image directly into the corner. The trick with these monochromes is to make sure that you use the whole tonal range from black to white in the image without blowing out areas, provided it's not deliberately supposed to be high- or low-key. There's so much to take in here from the soft curves to the spiky ice crystals on the stream bed, one of those images that the eye loves to dwell in.

Frozen Heart || Olympus 34 mm, f/11, 1/400", ISO 200
And, did you count how many images? 😜

Sunday 16 January 2022

Finding My Photographic Niche with the Help of a Winter Excursion

We all have a photographic niche that is unique to us, an area where we can excel above all others. Yes, even you. You may not yet have the technical skills or equipment to exploit that niche, but the things that make you uniquely "you" mean that we all have an inherent niche in which we're uniquely qualified to excel photographically. What this niche is depends on our experience, our knowledge, but most importantly on our passions. It's very difficult to take a good photo of something without being passionate about it. I'm a scientist and work in a very fact/evidence-based industry; if it can't be measured then it doesn't exist, but I've noticed that in my photography, different rules apply. It's not just about getting the optimal settings and composition: If I'm shooting something that I feel strongly about  or have a connection to, and if I can transport those feelings and connection through the camera lens to the sensor, then 9 times out of 10 I'm taking a good photo. 

Ice Crystals on Snow || Olympus 86 mm (crop), f/8, 1/640, ISO 200 
So what part of ourselves can we tap into to find our niche? What do you know about your local area, what is your experience of those places? What is it about them that moves you? I've always been someone who struggles with a sense of my own worth and ability in almost all aspects of life - humility was more important than self-esteem growing up. If I say that I consider myself to be a good photographer, it's because I've slowly come to accept the feedback that I've received over the years - it's something I've been told repeatedly. There are also photos I've taken over the years that I am proud of. Accepting that I'm a good photographer (I still find it difficult to even type that) was one thing. Understanding my niche and accepting that there's a corner of photography where I might be uniquely equipped to share my vision with the world has (is) taken even longer, but I'm slowly beginning to feel comfortable in my skin and recognise that I have a contribution to make as a photographer or even as an instructor. I may never be a Nigel Danson or a Gavin Hardcastle, but I am Mike Page. I am an experienced mountaineer (but no Heinz Zak) with a comprehensive knowledge of the north-eastern Alps (and a few areas in between). I can recognise a good image out in the field and know which conditions would be good to return - my experience. I can take a decent astro-photograph, but I'm no Stefan Liebermann, I'm a competent photo editor, but I'm no Albert Dros. I'm passionate about being outdoors and I can write. That's my niche, or at least part of it. What's your unique set of talents and how do they relate to your photography?

The Mighty Guffert || Olympus 44 mm, f/5.6, 1/2000, ISO 1600 (don't ask!)
One of our favourite winter outdoor activities is cross-country skiing, a sport that has taken us all over the eastern Alps as well as to the hills of Norway. And so we found ourselves getting up in the dark yesterday morning to join our dear friends W&C to revisit the Guffert Loipe between Achenkirch and Steinberg am Rofan. It was a chilly -5°C as we were putting our skis on in the small car park whilst looking for the start of the trail. Although there are a lot of people who take part in this sport, not many of them can be bothered to lug a big camera around with them and not many photographers get out on cross-country skis to access these areas in winter - again, a part of my niche. There wasn't much snow left on the trees, but there was a decent frost on the surface of the snow and on many of the trees, especially near streams and in areas that the sun wasn't reaching. 

Winter Beech || Olympus 86 mm, f/5.6, 1/40, ISO 200
Hoar-frost is a very ephemeral phenomenon; unless it's really cold, once the light's on the crystals, you only have a few minutes to get the image before the sun's warmth melts the ice. A lot of the frost that we'd seen in the morning simply wasn't there any more when we came back in the afternoon, even though the temperature never climbed over the freezing point. The crystals on the wire fence are so reminiscent of tinsel that it's laughable, especially when we remember that the basis is actually the other way round.

Hoary Tree || Olympus 100 mm (crop), f/5.6, 1/8000, ISO 1600 (again, don't ask!)
Nature's Tinsel || Olympus 70 mm, f/16, 1/250, ISO 200
Needles on Needles || Olympus 86 mm, f/11, 1/250, ISO 200
Skiing past a beautiful wooden chalet our attention was grabbed by the tits and finches flitting in and out of a tree above a bird feeder. Fortunately the birds were accustomed enough to human presence that they allowed us to take a couple of photos, including this one of a crested tit, posing thoughtfully on the centre of the feeder. It's a very serendipitous image, but like I always say, a good photographer makes their own luck. Being out to capture the image and being in a position to monopolise on an opportunity when it presents itself helped me to capture this gorgeous little bird in exactly the right location.

Crested Tit || Olympus 100 mm (crop), f/8, 1/160, ISO 200
In some places, the ice crystals had really built up, both on the surface of the snow and on branches, giving rise to some really bizarre structures. I had my 60 mm macro lens in the bag, but found that I didn't need it to capture the level of detail I wanted to show. Maybe if I had been out on my own I would have taken the time to swap out the lenses, but I didn't want to keep my three companions waiting too long given the late hour. The day wasn't getting warmer any more. The M. Zuiko f/4 12-100 has a minimal focus distance of an incredible 15 cm, making it relatively simple to get up close and personal with the ice anyway.

Ice Crystals I || Olympus 80 mm, f/16, 1/40, ISO 200
Ice Crystals II || Olympus 35 mm, f/8, 1/640, ISO 200
Ice Crystals III || Olympus 100 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO 200
I'd expected the crystals to be more hexagonal, these were anything but, forming needles on the surfaces that they'd grown on. In terms of photo tips, shoot against the light where you can; light shining through the crystals - or leaves - will really show off the structures from within. If I'd shot with the light behind me, very little of this detail would be apparent.

Ice Crystals IV || Olympus 86 mm, f/14, 1/60, ISO 200
Ice Crystals V || Olympus 86 mm, f/14, 1/60, ISO 200
Ice Crystals VI || Olympus 100 mm, f/11, 1/200, ISO 200
Returning to the car we descended through this last part of the forest. The rest of the route had been well tracked, but the connecting Loipe to the car park was in need of preparation. A fitting last image of the day. 

Last Metres of Track || Olympus 24 m, f/8, 1/80, ISO 200
Well, almost the last image. The nearly full moon rising behind the log pile after we got back down was too much of a temptation despite the rapidly falling temperature. I would have preferred taking this with my super-zoom, but that's 1.5 kg too many for an outing like this.

Moon Stack || Olympus 100 mm, f/8, 1/80, ISO 200
So what's your niche? What's your unique set of knowledge, experience and passion that you're excited to share with the world? I'm genuinely interested to hear what it is - an even more interested to see the results!

Sunday 9 January 2022

Revisiting Old Haunts - A Winter Photography Guide to Füssen and Surroundings

I think we probably all have our favourite local places for photography. We're lucky where we are with my local little woodland and Lake Ammersee only 10 min away by car. One of my other go-to places for a day-long photo trip is Füssen, home to the (in)famous Castle Neuschwanstein. I've only been to the castle once, and that was before I was living in Germany, and I have avoided the area like the plague for a number of years, but as I've gotten back into photography, I've rediscovered the area and have gone back countless times, either to hike or just to blow away the cobwebs with camera in hand.

A Wintery Neuschwanstein || Olympus 34 mm, f/7.1, 1/80 s, ISO 200
I was at a bit of a loose end in the week after New Years, and one of the other photographers in the Munich Expat Photo Group reached out to me to see whether I wanted to join him for a day's shooting. We'd been trying to get together for quite a while and this seemed like a great opportunity to hit the trail, especially with the fresh snow and icy temperatures forecast. I think autumn and winter are my favourite times of year for shooting here, with the mixed forest providing some great colours and winter providing, well, none. 

Wintery Scenes || Olympus 35 mm, f/6.3, 1/15 s, ISO 200
We'd chosen our day well; it had snowed the day before, it was still cold and there was little wind to speak of, so there was a good chance of shooting with the snow still on the trees. Of course it's possible to shoot in winter without the snow on the trees, but I always find it to be too contrasty, unless it's something simple like a silhouetted tree against a beautiful sky. So fresh snow was looking good to (re-)capture some old favourites and take some new ones that have been on the list.

All of the photos shot here are within a 30 min walk from the respective car parks and should be well within the reach of most people. I would strongly recommend sturdy footwear, or even boots if you venture into the water as suggested below for some of the waterfall shots. 

Alongside your camera, a tripod, polarising filter and even neutral density filter help, as well as spare batteries if your camera is susceptible to the cold.

St. Coloman Church

One of the images that has been on my list for a while is the church of St. Coloman on the flat valley floor below the castles. The snow simplifies this image beautifully, as does the hoar frost on the surrounding trees. This image was also a very interesting object lesson in the benefits of the Olympus hand-held high-res (HHHR) mode. The sky was very tricky here - quite bright even compared to the snowy foreground. The single-shot didn't leave much detail left in the sky. Enter Olympus HHHR. This puts the camera into overdrive, it shoots multiple (16) 20 MP images and assembles them together as a 50 MP RAW file in camera (there is also a tripod high-res mode which boosts the size to 80 MP with fewer shots). The process is relatively slow and no good for moving objects (think leaves or grass in the wind), but for scenes like this it works nicely. The trees here had obviously lost most of their snow already, but they'd picked up a bit of frost overnight (subtly enhanced in post-processing), rescuing the photo.

St. Coloman, Hohenschwangau || Olympus 41 mm, f/6.3, 1/100 s, ISO 200 
I don't often include the beta images here, but in this instance I will. Below is the original photo before editing (compare the sky) as well as a non-HHHR image where I've attempted to tone down the sky in ON1 Photo Raw and just got a muddy blur.

HHHR Unedited
Non-HHHR, Edited
This is definitely a first-thing-in-the-morning shot. Sadly, our lazy asses had missed the first colour of sunrise, but I'm still very happy with this photo, especially as there are no other vehicles in sight; often there are cars parked off to the left of the church. This morning there were no such obstructions.

Castle Neuschwanstein

After parking at the Tegelberg car park, we first headed up the trail to the Rohrkopfhütte. There are two vantage points for taking good photos of Neuschwanstein; the Marienbrücke above the castle (presently closed, due to re-open in autumn 2022) and the path up to the aforementioned hut. Reaching the vantage point for this photo entails a 30 min hike along well-trodden gravel paths; you don't need to do the full 90 min trek to the hut (though it's culinarily worth it, the hut has a good selection of food). If you're not going to go the extra mile, once you've seen this scene twice on successive switchbacks, that's it; there are no further shots of the castle to be had.

Greetings from König Ludwig || Olympus 80 mm, f/6.3, 1/100 s, ISO 200
Because you're looking westwards, it's normally best to shoot this scene early-ish in the morning with the rising sunlight on the face of the castle emphasising the red bricks, Whether you shoot wide or telephoto is up to you, but do be aware that you may encounter difficulties selling shots of the castle itself - the Bavarian Palace Administration is fairly strict about permission for commercial photos. 

There are some nice images to be had here of the larger picture - Füssen itself or even just a catch of some valley detail. With my m43 12-200 mm lens (24-200 mm in full-frame terms), I didn't need to change lens all day and can take the larger vista or pick out details like these lines in the landscape very nicely.

Füssen from the trail up to the Rohrkopfhütte || Olympus 29 mm, f/8, 1/125 s, ISO 200
Winter Lines || Olympus 100 mm, f/8, 1/125 s, ISO 200
Returning to the valley we came across this micro-scene underneath one of the snow canons in action. I love discovering little motifs like this and get more of a kick out of an original shot than the big well-known scenes; it's the reward of originality. This may even be one of my favourite images of the day.

Winter Gems || Olympus 47 mm, f/11, 1/5 s, ISO 200
Working the composition; Photo Mike Didrich

The Pöllat Gorge

Descending back to the Tegelberg car park, we took a left past the Reith Alm towards the bottom of the Pöllat gorge - always worth the detour. I swear that the gypsum mill at the bottom of the gorge looks more and more dilapidated every time I pass by. We didn't stop this time but bypassed the provisional barrier at the entrance to the gorge (as everyone else does) to get to the mill race. The gorge itself is closed again at the moment as it is extremely prone to rockfalls, but the best photos (IMHO) are to be found at the bottom of the gorge, with my favourite golden rock and the green pool below. I don't know what it is about the rocks in the eastern Allgäu mountains, but the water here is almost emerald. It seems to react with the rock as well leading to quite yellow colours, a really pleasing combination.

The Mill Race || Olympus 34 mm, f/5.6, 1/15 s, ISO 200
One of my favourite shots here is to the left of the mill race; a pool below a rock spout. Admittedly I've taken a little liberty with the colours here, but more a nudge than a shove, if you know what I mean.

Golden Trail || Olympus 61 mm, f/16, 4  s, ISO 200
There's one winter scene at the bottom of the mill race that has always eluded me; I've shot it several times, but it's never worked for me. I've been trying to capture it using Joshua Cripp's principle of identifying the element of a scene that first catches your attention and emphasising that in the photo using all the tricks of the trade - making the image a caricature of that aspect of the scene. The iced-up fallen branch is a real attention grabber and I want to make it part of the image. My companion for the day used another principle - eliminate all distractions, cropping out the branch and seemed to get an altogether more pleasing image (this is my version of that). Neither of them are going to end up in my personal gallery though.

Too Many Elements || Olympus 66 mm, f/18, 1 s, ISO 200
Simplifying the Scene || Olympus 100 mm, f/16, 15 s, ISO 200 

Icy Candelabra || Olympus 100 mm, f/16, 1/2 s, ISO 200

The Lech Falls

Mike (the other Mike) had indicated that he wanted to check out the Lech Falls whilst we were on site. It's not a subject that I'd normally shoot, but a while back I'd seen a cool shot of the falls with a cute wooden cabin above them. The falls are an artificial structure (probably why I don't relate to them very well), regulating the water flow through the narrow gorge just before Füssen. Don't forget to look down as you cross the bridge!

Into the Gorge || Olympus 12 mm, f/11, 1/15 s, ISO 200
We were surprised when we arrived to see a heavy flow of water coming over the steps, in fact there was so much that you could barely see the steps at all. Finding the angle to catch the falls and the hut proved almost impossible. I'll post the image that I managed to get here more for information than anything else. If anyone else can do better, I'd be very interested to learn where you shot it from (providing it wasn't a drone shot).

Lechfall || Olympus 12 mm, f/16, 1/2 s, ISO 200
The elusive cabin shot || Olympus 23 mm, f/16, 1/5 s, ISO 200

Stuiben Falls

The Stuiben Falls just outside Reutte (20 min away from Füssen by car) are one of my absolute favourite locations for a number of reasons; not too many people know about them, they're a bugger to find the first time you're there, but once you find out where they are, they're super accessible - just a 5 min walk from the car park over the bridge at the end of the valley. Lastly, the colours are superb, though I definitely need to get back here in deep winter with tons of snow and a bit more ice. To get the best out of these falls, you'll need a tripod and either a remote control / cable release or an on-board timer to enable you to take slow exposures, allowing you to capture the misty water flow. A special dark filter (GND) can help here as well. Depending on the effect you are after, I generally find a shutter speed of 1/5, 1/2, 1, 2 or 15 seconds gives satisfying results.

Looking down on the first section of the falls || Olympus 12 mm, f/16, 1 s, ISO 100
To get to the falls, walk behind the transformer field beyond the car park (over the bridge), cross the footbridge and you're there. The falls themselves break down into three sections in terms of photo opportunities; the first one is just over the footbridge. You can either drop down into the riverbed  and stone-hop to a suitable location (watch out for fluctuations in the water flow, especially if there's a storm over the Plansee) or shoot it from one of the platforms along the path. When shooting from the platforms, do watch out for any vibrations if you're using a tripod for long exposures. The grounding isn't as solid as it looks and if other people are walking nearby, you'll probably have to wait for them to pass before getting a crisp-sharp image.

Lower Falls Detail || Olympus 16 mm, f/11, 1 s, ISO 100
Section two is best shot from the narrow sloping bridge above the first falls looking east. Again, you'll need to coordinate with other people, whether fellow photographers or hikers. The bridge really is quite narrow and setting up tripods is not straightforward. A Gorilla Pod that you can attach to the handrail might even be a better option.

The Middle Falls || Olympus 21 mm, f/16, 1 s, ISO 100
Middle Falls Detail || Olympus 66 mm, f/16, 2 s, ISO 100
To get to the third section worth shooting, carry on up the trail for a couple of minutes until it levels off and you can drop  down to the stream. You'll then need to cross the stream (see caveat above) to look into a mini horseshoe falls. These work either as a detail shot or as a smaller element of the larger scene. Whichever it is though, make sure you have a polarising filter with you to cut out the surface glare.

Upper Falls - Detail || Olympus 31 mm, f/11, 10 s, ISO 100
Upper Falls - In Situ || Olympus 29 mm, f/9, 5 s, ISO 100

Other Locations

Under other conditions, it's often worth a trip to the Marienbrücke for a classic shot of Neuschwanstein with the Forggensee in the background.

Plan A for the day had been to shoot sunset over the water or ice at Hopfensee, a charming location, if a little overrun with Influenzas these days for my tastes. The clouds had already come in though, so we decided to cut our losses and run.

Driving down to Füssen along the B17 there are a couple of spots along the road with vistas overlooking the Bannwaldsee. Given the right conditions (morning mist, evening colour), these spots can be worth stopping at too.

There are nice panoramas of Füssen and the Forggensee to be had from the top of the Tegernsee Cable Car. Be aware that you won't be able to see Neuschwanstein from here though.