I was scheduling my trip to The Alps’ most beautiful place Lac Blanc in the Haute Savoys towards a good weather forecast: an intermediate high, that should pass by from September 15th until September 18th. Additionally it was scheduled for a full moon for September 15th - a wonderful occasion for finest landscaping.
I left Munich with direction towards Geneva in dull and rainy skies. After passing the Col des Montets – the last high pass before entering the Chamonix valley – the skies opened and a magic white dome appeared under bluest skies: Mont Blanc, the highest mountain of Europe. I was very excited about this and hopes for a wonderful evening shooting rose.
After driving up the La Fleger / L’Index cable car I had to cross a rocky plain and nearly broke my legs slipping out on an instable rock. Fortunately only my tripod suffered, but still worked. Approaching Hotel Lac Blanc – my home for the next three days – the skies on the flanks of the Aiguilles Rouges, where Lac Blanc is located, covered with clouds crawling up the Chamonix valley. Now the waiting for the magic evening hours and the full moon opportunity began – and the cloud didn’t disappear! What a missed chance! Everywhere around there were sunny blue skies, only not where I wanted to photograph. I learned already three years ago at my first Lac Blanc visit, that this location has a difficult microclimate independent of any weather forecast.
Before sunrise the clouds disappeared and I could take some images at Lac Blanc with reflections of the peaks of Chamonix and Mont Blanc. But this location is a sunset location, which means the sun shines in at sunset. Then I decided to climb down some 100-altitude metres to Lacs des Cheserys – another picturesque location reflecting the Mont Blanc massive in hope of calm winds. The wind conditions proved well, but soon the clouds began to rise again. I only had a few minutes to get some shots with sun, reflections and clouds.
I climbed back up to Lac Blanc and had to wait for what the evening would bring. For this day the weather forecast expected the best conditions. If this chance was missed again, the whole trip could end in disaster (from the photographic point of view). But sometimes it is just luck and patience. In the afternoon the clouds sunk down into the valley and in the last bit of sunlight the Aiguilles de Chamonix, Aiguille de Idi and Mont Blanc began to glow orange, accompanied by nice (but not perfect) reflections on the lake. Additionally a small Ibex appeared as silhouette on the rocks, a nice add-on.
Throughout the sunset the clouds in the valley crawled up and down and I never knew if I got the images desired, until the show performed well.
My plans for today focussed on some more reflection images at Lacs des Cheserys. In the morning I got some nice images with nearly clear skies and perfect reflections of the mountains – a perfectly calm hour without any wind.
In the afternoon the hoping for the evening started again. Unfortunately the sky slowly covered with thin clouds – not bad weather but drastically decreasing the photographic opportunities. Fortunately the skies opened a little bit in the late afternoon and the wind was completely calm. So I got some images with perfect reflections and nice clouds that gave the images some additional depth.
But then the sun disappeared and didn’t show up in the evening.
One bad, one really good and one medium day. It could have been better and it could have been worse. A typical trip into The Alps: only able to be performed spontaneously in times of a crossing high weather system. From my point of view I was content especially concerning the small two weeks’ time gap I had for the trip: from the end of the tourist high season in mid September until the hut closure at the end of September. And it is not that easy to get the top images, because weather and wind must be perfect and only for ten minutes in the evening there is the best light.
Please note that blogs reflect our photographers' opinions and not necessarily those of the directors of Wild Wonders of Europe.