I’ve been trying to capture the beauty of my homecountry Austria for some time now. So far with limited success. But two days ago, after many not so satisfactory attempts, I finally got what I had been waiting for so long. And here it is: my first blogpost about a shot taken in Austria.

Just a little over 2 1/2 hours drive from my home lies the Almsee, a gem of a mountain lake located in the green Almtal valley in the Salzkammergut region of Upper Austria. Despite its proximity and its reputation as an austrian landscape photography icon (at least for photographers living in the north-eastern parts of the country) the Almsee had long gone unnoticed to me. Earlier this year, in winter, I visited the lake with my fellow photographer friends at NatureHighlights.com. Back then, after another semi-sensational sunset shoot, I decided to come back in spring. A few days ago the time finally felt right: lowlands were filled with full-blown wildflowers and to add a little bit of extra interest, a fresh coating of snow had been forecasted for tips of the mountains.

It was a beautiful morning on the shores of the Almsee. The reflection of Zwölferkogel (the main peak in the shot) was crystal clear and I liked the soft light on the mountains and on the trees around the lake. The remnants of morning fog where drifting along at the bottom of the valley and although the sun had risen some time ago its light was still warm, making the fast moving clouds stand out against the clear blue sky behind. But as if all that wasn’t enough, I decided to push surrealism all the way with the help of my Lee Big Stopper.

Foggy sunrise at Almsee

Surreal Revelation

To me, this trip and the images I brought home served as an eye-opener in two ways. Not only am I seeing my more immediate surroundings in a different light now, they also made me think about my style of photography. Looking back at the shots I took during the past years, I realized that many of them heavily relied on spectacular light, epic locations or often both. While there’s nothing (at all) to dislike about epic locations and light per se, one I should be careful not to overrate them, because in some moments the wish for more epicness can easily distract from the essence of a place and spoil its subtle beauty. As much as I love travelling to the most scenic places around our planet to capture them illuminated by glorious light, I also think that to grow as a photographer (and that should be the ultimate goal in photography) I need to learn to make the best out of any situation..

Upper Austria

Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 IS USM @ 28mm
ISO 100, f/11, 30 seconds
Lee Big Stopper ND10
Gitzo GT1541T

14. May 2013