Sometimes it is hard!

As a landscape photographer and nature lover, I love to be in the mountains! The clean air, the rugged landscape and the tranquility make this one of the best places to be. That is why I’ll be writing a number of blogs about my adventures in the Swiss Alps.

In my previous post I took you up the mountain to a beautiful lake. Today we are at the incredibly beautiful Aletsch Glacier; a huge glacier (over 22 km long, 1.8 km wide, 900 meters thick and 11 billion tons of ice) surrounded by impressive fourthousanders!

The landscape around the glacier is a feast for the eyes!

Surrounded by silence

Our hike starts at the top of the mountain, so we take the cablecar up. It’s hot, very hot! Even when we get off at 2333 moh it is still hot. Before we take our time to look at the glacier, we first get away from the (relative) crowds. We want to enjoy the view in peace. Fortunately, almost everyone stays at the viewpoint and soon we are alone; surrounded by silence. The view is truly breathtaking and it is difficult to comprehend how big this glacier really is.

Just a few hundred meters from the viewpoint, we are alone and surrounded by silence. The view is breathtaking!

Boring and flat

It quickly becomes clear that taking a nice photo will be a challenge. There is not a cloud in the sky and though impressive as the glacier is, in a picture it becomes dull and flat. So I don’t take any trouble with getting my camera out of the bag. It’s early and we’re here all day. Our hike follows the glacier to a higher mountain top. A very beautiful route with small lakes, gigantic rocks and a fantastic view of the glacier.

Without inspiration

Despite the fact that the landscape is beautiful and we enjoy it to the fullest, I have no inspiration to photograph. It may sound a bit vague, but I have to experience the picture. I have to feel it. Only then can I take a photo with complete dedication. That feeling is not here now. But this doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying myself. On the contrary, the hike is fantastic and we are having a great time! When we have reached the highest point of the hike, we order a beer at the hut and have a nice rest overlooking the insane landscape.

The nice thing about these scopes is that the name of the mountaintop and the height are projected onto the image you see.

A feeling of stress

The first part of the route back to the middle station (the top lift goes until 6:00 PM), is the same route as up. The light is slowly getting better. This is because the sun is lower in the sky and we are approaching golden hour. I start to feel time pressure and the urge to take a photo. I want a nice shot of the glacier, but still haven’t found anything that inspires me though. During our descent we encounter a flock of sheep on their way for a place to sleep. It looks great with the low sunlight. In retrospect this would have been a nice shot, but I was more focused on a photo of the glacier itself.

Complementary colors

In order to take a nice picture of the glacier, I need an element that contrasts with the blue sky. A complementary color. Fortunately, autumn colors are starting to emerge and many plants are taking on a deep red color. Despite the dull blue sky, I expect these plants  to create enough interest in the image. So now it is important to find the right amount, a nice line and position. After I wile I am satisfied and it doesn’t take long before the image is taken.

As the last light falls on the mountain range in the background, I shoot this image; The Aletsch Glacier 22 km long, 1.8 km wide, 900 meters thick and 11 billion tons of ice!

Icing on the cake

Stoked that it worked out eventually, I pack my bag. The sun is close to setting and we still have to walk quite a bit to get to the middle station. On the way, however, my eye falls on the beautiful Monta Rosa massif, the soft pink tones and all the layers of hills and mountains that lie in front of it. When the golden light falls on a mountain village, I see a beautiful panorama enfolding in front of  me. I quickly setup my gear. I know I need my 70-200 for this shot because I need to zoom in as far as possible. I am super excited and love what is in front of me!! This shot makes up for everything. After taking this picture I have to run quite a bit to catch up with Joke. But in the end, this is all worth it!

In front of me, I see a beautiful layered landscape with the majestic Monta Rosa massif as the icing on the cake.

Thanks for reading

If you like my photography, please follow me on Instagram @harmenpiekema and Facebook. Check out my YouTube channel to see behind the scene vlogs, learn how to use certain gear and follow me on my adventures. If you want you can check out my webshop. Your support means a lot!


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