August 11, 2019; East end of Stellisee, Switzerland. Think of Switzerland and you think of the Matterhorn. Probably when you think of a mountain you think of something like the Matterhorn. The quintessential mountain. And this is the quintessential shot between two rocks at the end of the lake.
The Stellisee is about ten miles — line of sight — from the Matterhorn. People line up to get their shot from this exact spot. This makes this not only quintessential but one of the most clichéd clichés in all of clichédom. So why shoot it when it’s been done so many times before?
Because I hadn’t shot it. And now I have.
But I almost didn’t because in my excitement that morning I left my ten-stop neutral-density filter safe and secure in my room. I needed it: there was a breeze and the water had a ripple — not good for a smooth reflection. The filter would allow me a long exposure to flatten the water.
At the lake, I set up the shot, I reached for my filter, and it wasn’t there. I muttered — not too softly — a pithy expression of my disappointment, frustration, and yay, utter exasperation. Immediately there was a voice to my right: “Want to borrow mine?” Bob from Massachusetts came to my rescue. I breathed a thank you as he reached over and put his filter on my lens.
Thirteen seconds at f/16, ISO 64. Done!
And one item checked off the list.
A note on the sky: Photographers hate plain blue sky. Boring. No drama. But there it was. Blue. Hardly a cloud. Bah! Our schedule said this was the one day we could go to shoot the mountain, and as it turned out we were lucky: the day before and the day after both had very dramatically cloudy skies. So dramatically cloudy you couldn’t see the mountain at all. So, I’ll take the blue sky, thankyouverymuch. And the tiny wisp to the right.
(Nikon D850, Tamron SP 24–70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2. RAW processing in DxO PhotoLab 2.3; Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)