It’s been a while since my last blog entry. I’ve had to take time away from doing what I love, and at my favourite time of year. I love the colder autumn and winter landscapes. Torn ligaments in my ankle have stopped me from walking for too long, from slopes and stairs, from uneven surfaces, and of course, from snow covered uneven surfaces and slopes. I made a few attempts to go out and although these trips into nature picked up my spirits, I think that they may have extended the recovery time.
In this post I’ll be writing about my latest trip to the Vosges. I’ve really missed going out, and I’ve missed writing about it, the longer that I haven’t done it, the more difficult it felt to get back to it. Luckily, I recently met a fellow photographer from the area and arranged a trip with him. This trip was the kick needed to get back out, and the kick needed to start new ideas and plans for this year. If all goes to plan, they’ll be a lot more to come.
The Vosges is a region of mountains, forests and wide open expanses, a place where I can walk for hours and see only a few people, where I can sit and listen to the silence of nature. At least that has been my experience until this past weekend.
We arrived at around 0630 after a slight detour, from past experience there were an unusual amount of cars already there, which should have given me a hint of what was to be expected. The sun was just starting to light up the sky as we made our way into the forest, but it was still dark enough to notice lights moving through the trees. Far from being the first in the forest as I’m used to, there were people cross country skiing and snow shoe hiking with head lamps in the moonlight.
After avoiding the groups and making our way across the cross country skiing tracks, we got to a place with a view of the cliffs to be able to look for chamois and which also had a view over the valleys and towards the alps.
The sky was turning a bright orange, contrasting beautifully against the dark blues of the night sky and the silhouettes of the alps and the hills of the foreground.
The first two images show this moment.
The reason for this trip was to see the chamois, but it was not going to happen. As the light came, so did the people, a lot of people. The chamois were no were to be found, although we tried for several more hours.
Still hoping that another location may provide a view of the chamois, we moved further up the mountain and across to another cliff face. Passing large groups on guided snowshoe tours, and more cross country skiers on the way the chance of seeing chamois seemed lees the further that we went. Although the chamois didn’t appear, the views did change and the sun continued to rise.
In a vain hope that we may see some chamois we headed over to a third location and now we could add kite skiing to activities we were trying to avoid. Although there weren’t any chamois, we did manage to find a relatively quiet spot to sit and admire the view a while. The sun now high up in the sky and the low clouds in the closer valley had dissipated.
I’ve included the last image for the illusion, well at least I see an illusion. The surface of the snow has been smoothed and polished by the multitude of people up there. From this perspective the structure of the surface of the snow in the foreground looks like ocean wave.
In the time that were up there, the amount of cars had gone from around 10-20, to a few hundred precariously parked along the street. I may try to avoid the areas of the Vosges around Hohneck during skiing season in the future!