A Trip Through Switzerland

A Trip Through Switzerland

Recently I was fortunate enough to spend a week driving through Switzerland. No country has ever blown my mind as much as this place with it's stunning, surreal landscapes. With every corner I wanted to stop, get out of the car, take a photo, then continue around the next corner where I'd want to stop again. We explored from one end of the country to the other and found huge waterfalls, rivers, blue lakes and of course the most beautifully jagged mountains and valleys along the way.

My cousin Zac and I embarked on our journey from Geneva not knowing where we were heading. After force learning how to drive manual and on the opposite side of the road, we were finally on our way East. We knew one place we wanted to go, Zermatt in the Swiss Alps.

Our spontaneous circuit through Switzerland, starting in Geneva. 7 days and 1,171km later.

Our spontaneous circuit through Switzerland, starting in Geneva. 7 days and 1,171km later.

After navigating through the night and stopping off to sleep somewhere along the way, we found ourselves in the Swiss Alps. Our first day was off to a bloody good start. There is one mountain in Zermatt that everyone has to witness for themselves, The Matterhorn.

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The Matterhorn towers over the local ski village and can be seen from almost anywhere. After a baguette for breakkie we were off hiking to get a better view of this beast. 

"The Matterhorn" // Zermatt, Switzerland - available in the 'Landscape' category.

"The Matterhorn" // Zermatt, Switzerland - available in the 'Landscape' category.

The surrounding landscape and glaciers of the Swiss alps.

The surrounding landscape and glaciers of the Swiss alps.

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An unreal spot for a post hike swim. 

An unreal spot for a post hike swim. 

Hiking in the Swiss alps is one of the best ways of immersing yourself in that environment and gives you a greater appreciation for those enormous mountains towering over you in every direction. Stoked on our tour through the area we only had a taste for what was out there waiting to be found so we were off down the mountain and on to find the next location.

The beauty of having your own transport, and in this case a camper van, is you can stop wherever, whenever. We weren't only focused on getting to our next location but would also check out all the sights hidden away and missed if you were to be travelling by public transport.

Goms foot bridge suspended 100m high over the Rhône river in Bellwald. 

Goms foot bridge suspended 100m high over the Rhône river in Bellwald. 

On the road // Not knowing where you are going is an exciting feeling, we would constantly find ourselves battling up steep, windy hills to cross ranges like this and the consequent views we would find were always breathtaking. 

On the road // Not knowing where you are going is an exciting feeling, we would constantly find ourselves battling up steep, windy hills to cross ranges like this and the consequent views we would find were always breathtaking. 

We pulled into the remote town of Lavertezzo found at the bottom of a deep valley and on the Lavertezzo river. After a long day we swam in the crystal clear water of the river and found a quiet little restaurant/bar with a view of the valley to chill out at. Being such a remote and tiny town, no one spoke English so after a brief moment trying to ask for a beer, we scored a 2 euro pint of the local brew and my word the Swiss know how to make a good beer. 

"Lavertezzo Town At Sunset" // Switzerland - available in the 'Landscape' category.

"Lavertezzo Town At Sunset" // Switzerland - available in the 'Landscape' category.

The next morning we had the river to ourselves being up early in the morning. Swimming is a definite must however the water is the furthest thing from warm with the local glacial runoff from the surrounding alps.

"Lavertezzo Bridge" // Switzerland - available in the 'Landscape' category.

"Lavertezzo Bridge" // Switzerland - available in the 'Landscape' category.

Diving right into the clear blue waters of Lavertezzo river, probably the most unreal swimming spot we found during our time here.

Diving right into the clear blue waters of Lavertezzo river, probably the most unreal swimming spot we found during our time here.

"Lavertezzo River" // Switzerland - available in the 'Landscape' category.

"Lavertezzo River" // Switzerland - available in the 'Landscape' category.

Stoked!

Stoked!

Continuing our journey we were in search of Lake Crestasee. This small hidden lake at the foot of a mountain range had the reputation of amazing blue colour and clarity. After losing the road and squeezing through narrow forest tracks we found it. Unfortunately we weren't the only ones and many others had also discovered the lake, no doubt social media had a role to play with people finding these epic little spots. It was a popular swimming hole for the locals, and fair enough!

"Lake Crestasee" // Switzerland - available in the 'Aerials' category.

"Lake Crestasee" // Switzerland - available in the 'Aerials' category.

The iridescent blues of Lake Crestasee surrounded by forest.

The iridescent blues of Lake Crestasee surrounded by forest.

In search of new landscapes we continued our circuit now passing along the boundary of Switzerland and Austria. We had now found ourselves in the heart of rural Switzerland and probably the most photogenic farmland I've seen.

The rolling green hills and bloody good looking farms somewhere in West Switzerland.

The rolling green hills and bloody good looking farms somewhere in West Switzerland.

After following unknown coordinates in our GPS we were led up a very remote country road until we were stopped by a local farmer. There was a difficult language barrier but it seemed like he wasn't going to let us pass and looked like the rest of our trip would be on foot. Still 2 hours away from our destination and only 3 hours of light left in the day we committed to walking, after all we had driven this far already. Hiking at this time of day had its benefits, we escaped the heat of the day and were treated to that ideal sunset light which falls over the landscape and creates a surreal backdrop to be walking into. We were now in the far North-East reaches of Switzerland and as far as hikes go, I think I will remember this one for a very long time.

Hiking to Lake Fälansee // Local farm hut with an epic view.

Hiking to Lake Fälansee // Local farm hut with an epic view.

"Swiss Country" // Fälansee, Switzerland - available in the 'Landscape' category.

"Swiss Country" // Fälansee, Switzerland - available in the 'Landscape' category.

Looking back down through the valley before being consumed by mountain ranges.

Looking back down through the valley before being consumed by mountain ranges.

"Isolated Farmhouses" // Fälansee, Switzerland - available in the 'Landscape' category.  Passing through this tiny community of farmhouses was a surreal experience. The local farmers were herding their cattle for the night, not on quad bikes or horses but running on foot. Stopping for a few minutes to take this shot, you could only hear the distant echo of hundreds of cowbells ringing down the valley. This place had escaped modern reality and the madness of the outside world and it was here where I truely felt lost, and I loved it.

"Isolated Farmhouses" // Fälansee, Switzerland - available in the 'Landscape' category. 

Passing through this tiny community of farmhouses was a surreal experience. The local farmers were herding their cattle for the night, not on quad bikes or horses but running on foot. Stopping for a few minutes to take this shot, you could only hear the distant echo of hundreds of cowbells ringing down the valley. This place had escaped modern reality and the madness of the outside world and it was here where I truely felt lost, and I loved it.

"Surreal Landscapes" // Lake Fälansee, Switzerland - available in the 'Landscape' category.

"Surreal Landscapes" // Lake Fälansee, Switzerland - available in the 'Landscape' category.

After a decently hilly hike we had made it to Lake Fälansee, and just in time for sunset. I have never seen anything like it, the landscape was so dramatic that it didn't feel real. We sat here in awe. Definitely worth it despite walking all the way back in the dark.

After a decently hilly hike we had made it to Lake Fälansee, and just in time for sunset. I have never seen anything like it, the landscape was so dramatic that it didn't feel real. We sat here in awe. Definitely worth it despite walking all the way back in the dark.

The following morning we woke up next to a pretty epic lake. Nothing like starting your day with a dip in a Swiss lake, of course entirely fresh water. We found a chairlift that was being run by a local bloke through summer so took the easy way up to see what we would find, you guessed it, more lakes.

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They've got it pretty good over there in Switzerland.

They've got it pretty good over there in Switzerland.

The easy way up.

The easy way up.

Lake Talalpsee // Not a bad spot for a quick lunch break. 

Lake Talalpsee // Not a bad spot for a quick lunch break. 

One of the good things about European summer has to be the amount of light you get in a day. Being able to do things from 5am until 11pm at night really lets you see a hell of a lot. We were now making our way back to Geneva and driving along roads like Klausenpass along the way was one of the most epic drives I have done. We were taken through valleys and over ridges, along roads dug in to the sides of shear cliffs and would occasionally duck away from the main roads to see giant waterfalls.

"Burglistüber Waterfall" // Klausenpass, Switzerland - available in the 'Landscape' category. We could hear the rumbling rapids of the waterfall from the road so decided to check it out. A steep muddy path led us to this..

"Burglistüber Waterfall" // Klausenpass, Switzerland - available in the 'Landscape' category.

We could hear the rumbling rapids of the waterfall from the road so decided to check it out. A steep muddy path led us to this..

Leaving the Eastern landscape behind, we came across Oberhofen Castle on lake Thun. Dated around the 1200's we marvelled at the historic structure right on the lakes edge.

One of our last destinations took us back up through the hills to a pretty special lake, Lake Blausee. The water was as clear as it gets however tourism had really peaked in this place as it was a national park and was a popular sight. I had the idea of going in with the underwater set up and see if I could take a few shots but I was only in there for a couple of minutes before being told off by an angry ranger. I guess not many people have taken photos from within the lake before. 

Swimming among the trout // Lake Blausee

Swimming among the trout // Lake Blausee

Managed to get a couple of shots before being told off, always looking for a new perspective.

Managed to get a couple of shots before being told off, always looking for a new perspective.

With our road trip through Switzerland coming to an end, we spent our last night camped up next to a pretty epic spot overlooking a lake and drank local beers with the sun setting behind the mountains.

Driving around Switzerland will resonate with me for life. The shear landscapes we witnessed have left me even more obsessed with travelling and especially photography. Being able to document these amazing places is my passion and getting a taste for what's out there has only made me want to explore the world more.

A Few Days North

A Few Days North

19.4.17

Leaving Sydney late the night before we pulled into Seal Rocks in darkness. After briefly looking for a spot to set up camp we called it a night and woke up to first light in a new spot of coast. Sugarloaf light house is a quick 5 minute walk through the bush and offers views back towards Seal Rocks, South to Lighthouse beach and North up to Blueys/Boomerang Beach and Forster. Waiting for the sun to rise it was a clear morning and we had it all to ourselves.

To the light house.

To the light house.

First light // Sugarloaf Point light house.

First light // Sugarloaf Point light house.

Looking South // Lighthouse Beach

Looking South // Lighthouse Beach

Sunrise // 6:00am

Sunrise // 6:00am

Looking North // Sugarloaf from the air.

Looking North // Sugarloaf from the air.

After checking out the Light House, we grabbed a coffee from ‘Single Fin’ a local bloke and his wife who run a coffee shop out of their van. And it was some bloody good coffee. We sat on the hill and took in the morning’s rays.

Seal Rock’s has some of the clearest waters I’ve seen so I was keen to get back in the water and do some shooting. 

 

 The water was as calm as it gets and there were a few little shoreys breaking along the beach, ideal conditions for some underwater work. These are toroidal rings, they form inside a barreling wave when the conditions are right and I am always so amazed to see photos of them, I have an obsession with how a wave looks underwater as it breaks. (Underwater Vortex // available in ‘Ocean’ collection)

 The water was as calm as it gets and there were a few little shoreys breaking along the beach, ideal conditions for some underwater work. These are toroidal rings, they form inside a barreling wave when the conditions are right and I am always so amazed to see photos of them, I have an obsession with how a wave looks underwater as it breaks. (Underwater Vortex // available in ‘Ocean’ collection)

One very crisp, refreshing Autumn morning.

One very crisp, refreshing Autumn morning.

I was busy chasing the fish around the point and this local showed up to see what I was up to. I couldn't be more stoked with my encounter with the sea turtle, definitely one of my bucket list animals to photograph underwater.

I was busy chasing the fish around the point and this local showed up to see what I was up to. I couldn't be more stoked with my encounter with the sea turtle, definitely one of my bucket list animals to photograph underwater.

After a fair while swimming around with this guy, I hadn't realised how far he had led me out to sea. It was a long swim back in to the beach but it was worth it. 

After a fair while swimming around with this guy, I hadn't realised how far he had led me out to sea. It was a long swim back in to the beach but it was worth it. 

After the swim it was back to the local shop for a pie for breakkie then exploring more of this magical place.

Seal Rocks from the hill.

Seal Rocks from the hill.

The reef all to herself.

The reef all to herself.

Seal Rocks main beach.

Seal Rocks main beach.

The point from above.

The point from above.

We drove South that arvo to Hawks Nest. Looking for a place to stay the night and refusing to pay for a camp site, we followed a sandy path into the dunes at sunset and found a little slice of beach all to ourselves for the night.

Home for the night // camping under the milky way.

Home for the night // camping under the milky way.


20.4.17

This is what we woke up to…

We were exploring a few of the bigger dunes and had noticed dingo tracks in the sand. Little did we know we were being followed by this dingo. It followed us all the way back to the car. Little survival tip, fly a drone at a dingo to scare it off..

We were exploring a few of the bigger dunes and had noticed dingo tracks in the sand. Little did we know we were being followed by this dingo. It followed us all the way back to the car. Little survival tip, fly a drone at a dingo to scare it off..

Mt. Yacaaba lies at the end of the Hawks Nest peninsula. The steep walk to the top takes around 1.5 hours but the views up there are something else.

Mt. Yacaaba // Hawks Nest.

Mt. Yacaaba // Hawks Nest.

View South to Fingal Bay.

View South to Fingal Bay.

View back to Hawks Nest / Tea Gardens.

View back to Hawks Nest / Tea Gardens.


21.4.17

The next morning we explored more of Fingal Bay, the peninsula reaches out to Fingal Island which is only accessible at low tide.

Fingal Bay peninsula.

Fingal Bay peninsula.

The intricate patterns and emerald colours the rising tide creates over the sand bar.

The intricate patterns and emerald colours the rising tide creates over the sand bar.

Finally we headed for Stockton Beach. We had done a bit of research but no photos can prepare you for what you see. We drove in the North entrance and spent the rest of the day driving the whole 20km length of beach to the South end. On the way we explored the biggest dunes we could find. 

Beach driving // Stockton

Beach driving // Stockton

Exploring the dunes.

Exploring the dunes.

View from the top.

View from the top.

The mind blowing scale of the Stockton sand dunes. I had no idea we had such massive dunes so close to Sydney prior to this adventure.

The mind blowing scale of the Stockton sand dunes. I had no idea we had such massive dunes so close to Sydney prior to this adventure.


Gold Coast // Australia

Gold Coast // Australia

6.4.17

3am alarm, 6am flight to the Gold Coast, and in the water shooting before 8am on a clean 3ft morning at D-Bah // Tweed Heads on the NSW/QLD border.

There is no better way to wake yourself up than jumping in the ocean and watching waves break overhead and surfers squeezing in a few fun ones before work.

After a solid few hours, we treated ourselves to a coffee and an egg & bacon roll and watched the entertainment from the hill. 

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7.4.17

The next morning I went to check out a spot called The Spit I came across from the previous arvo. This sand pumping pier had a cool structural influence on the otherwise typical beach scape, and getting lucky with the sun is always a bonus. Running along side the jetty was the sea way which looked interesting from above.

Under the pier // 5:45am

Under the pier // 5:45am

Sunrise // The Spit 6:00am

Sunrise // The Spit 6:00am

The sea way from above // 6:15am

The sea way from above // 6:15am

The rest of the day consisted of exploring Surfers Paradise, both inland and beach side.

Behind the bustling city on Main Beach, the local houses are built on and around the rivers and man made canals. These waterways are used just as much as roads connecting inner suburbia to the rest of the coast. 

Main Beach was unlike any other beach I had seen. To have a whole city, including sky scrapers, built into the dunes of this coast and endless beaches stretching in each direction creates some unique beach scenes.

The busy morning was followed by a shoot at Straddie (Stradbroke Island) in some average surf conditions. As a photographer it is definitely possible to come up short and not capture the quality photos you're after. Although, getting out there regardless and shooting what the ocean throws at you is always fun and sometimes makes for some unique creative opportunities.

Shark Bait // Straddie - Despite the murky water and long lulls, composing this shot with clouds forming far out to sea and sea gulls fishing just past the breakers kept me entertained, and kept the mind off the sharks.

Shark Bait // Straddie - Despite the murky water and long lulls, composing this shot with clouds forming far out to sea and sea gulls fishing just past the breakers kept me entertained, and kept the mind off the sharks.


8.4.17

This morning's mission was to check out Burleigh Heads. Pandanus trees look out to waves breaking along the rocky point and the whole place has a very cruisy, laid-back feel. Unfortunately the clouds had rolled in and there was no more than a thin slither of orange at 6am while the sun rose.

Not overly stoked with the clouds blocking the sun or surf conditions, it was back to bed and a cruisy day to catch up on editing.


9.4.17

On a mission to find waterfalls and views, we drove out to Mount Tamborine national park just 30mins inland from the Gold Coast. After walking through some thick bushland and navigating down a stretch of river we came across Cedar Creek falls. Later, we parked up back on top of the mountain and looked out over the valley as the sun set behind the hills.


10.4.17

Oooo baby it was working!! 

Actually getting over to the surf spot is a bit of an effort. A lengthy paddle over the sea way on a surfboard is sketchy enough (as sharks love to hang out at these river mouths) so being loaded up with camera gear was a different story. To avoid being completely vulnerable to what swam below, I borrowed a bodyboard to paddle over and then it was just about getting to the other side as fast as possible. 

After a long session it was another long paddle back to civilisation and then a couple hours to cruise and sort out some editing. Still stoked on the high from the morning we went searching for a late arvo wave at Main Beach. This long stretch of beach is where the city literally meets the surf. With not a breath of wind we had small but very clean waves which were so much fun to be out in.

Where the city meets the surf.

Where the city meets the surf.

Lone cloud.

Lone cloud.

Sunset behind the city.

Sunset behind the city.

Glassy curls.

Glassy curls.

After many hours and long sessions in the water, you have a very salty, very burnt but very stoked photographer.

After many hours and long sessions in the water, you have a very salty, very burnt but very stoked photographer.

Dusk over Surfers Paradise // Miami Headland

Dusk over Surfers Paradise // Miami Headland


11.4.17

The final day was spent checking out Coolangatta. There were some unreal beach scenes at Snapper Rocks especially. Perfect 2 footers ideal for those out with a mal, the floating city on the horizon and locals loving life in the sun. If I didn’t have a flight to catch I thought I could have spent all afternoon cruising in this magical place. 

 

The floating city of Surfers on the horizon.

The floating city of Surfers on the horizon.

Perfect arvo for a mal.

Perfect arvo for a mal.

Not a bad spot to be on duty.

Not a bad spot to be on duty.

The lineup // Snapper Rocks.

The lineup // Snapper Rocks.

Cheers Gold Coast, you were unreal.