On the way up

Posted on Dezember 14th, 2014

I packed my rucksack, grabed my camera and was on my way up to the mountain, called Kitzbuehlerhorn. It was a steep way up and the sightseen was amazing.
It was clear and the humidity was not so high, therefore I had a good panoramic sight. I was fighting upwards and from time to time I was shooting a photo. After a while the peak looks very near and I was pleased to enjoy the panorama on the deserted peak. I walked around the last corner and … What is this???
There was a funicular at the other side and that’s not all, there was a road too. Not a dirty off-road, no a tarred street for cars. And there was also a restaurant and a whole bunch of tourists walking around with flip-flops and other not mountain proof clothes.
What a shock, no silent peak experience, I shot some images and walked the way back down.


Looking for the Milky Way – Part 3

Posted on Juni 19th, 2014

teaser3Today on the third part will come to the final end with the starscape image. on the first part I showed you the requirements for the best sight and on the second part I wrote about hiking up to the destination.

The work begins

on the top

Finally on the top, although Bubu seems to be still fit

As everything looked great I quickly went back inside toput on warm clothes, because outside was a nasty, cold wind. Bubu the little rascal was quite restless, as he was the whole evening. I think in the restaurant it was just too loud for him and he could not lie down to sleep.
But now
we went out and walked the short path to the lookout hill next to the building. Backpack on the bench, Bubu bound to the bank with the 10m leash, and off you go.
Build tripod,
put camera on it, and take a test shot at 6400 ISO with 30 seconds exposure time, to see what there is to see.


What a mood, before the sun get down

Wow, there it was, our galaxy, the Milky Way. It was still a little far in the east, but in the end, it should be directly above the Säntis at 2 o’clock. Right now, it could not be seen very bright because of light pollution in the region of Lake Constance. But we still have plenty of time.
Camera back down and mount the tracking
device for the real shots. Bubu is still whining. So, camera back on and off you go with a long time recording over 120 seconds.

Unexpected events

burning sky

The sky is burning, awesome!

While waiting, I noticed that my little furry friend still whines and shivers. What is his problem? Also caressing and cajolingdid not help. If he continues this way, it’s going to be a problem.
Wow, cool, I see it, the Milky Way. Still a little far to the left in the light pollution, but really good to see. And yet another
shot, this time for the foreground without tracking. And Bubu is still unhappy. I start realising that this dog isn’t really suited for mountain trips.
But I’d like to have at least one more nice picture. So I change the lens and mount the Samyang 14mm on the camera.. Now another 3 pictures of about 3 minutes. Slowly Istart worrying about my little friend.

hiding sun

The sun is hiding at the horizon

He’s still whining, so we start packing our stuff quickly and head for our two-hour return trip. Aaaand behold, as soon as we are walking on, everything seems to be absolutely OK for this little stinker! I think this little rascal had just been bored.
After two hours we were back at the car.
Thanks to my good hiking shoes my feet kept dry, but Stefan has gotten a big load of water and dirt inside as he stepped into a mud hole.


Nearly everything was correct, the weather was exactly as it should be, even at the right time. The viewing angle was also perfectly chosen. Were it not for someone who didn’t like the whole thing. Well, next time might probably stay at home. For sure!

So I wasn’t able to get as many pictures as I wanted, and the ones I’ve got are not as perfect as they could have been an hour later, but … just look at the results. No more words needed…

Ah yes, my furry monster spent the next 24 hours sleeping, except for a really short walk he didn’t want to do anything else :)

Looking for the Milky Way -Part 1
Looking for the Milky Way -Part 2
Looking for the Milky Way -Part 3

Milky Way

And now the great final: The Milky Way with the Saentis massif in the foreground


Looking for the Milky Way – Part 2

Posted on Juni 18th, 2014

teaser2Today in In the second part I will write about the hike up to the destination. Yesterday in the first part I showed you the requirements for the best sight and part three will come to the final with the starscape image.

Here we go


The clouds come and go

Finally, at 16:00 o’clock I went off . First pick up Stefan, and then head toward the Alpstein Mountains in the region of Appenzell. At about 17:30 we were on the Schwägalp our starting point to the Kronberg. Actually, there’s a cablecar up, but it only runs until 18:00. One can also stay at the Kronberg, but only on weekends, without a dog. As my friend Bubu was also with us, we had to walk up and down again.
So at 18:00 we went finally walking off towards Kronberg. The Santis was still enveloped by a huge black cloud. But in the other directions
we could see the blue sky between smaller clouds.

a broken bridge

A broken bridge in the middle of the forest

So no reason to be concerned.
The march went first on an alpine meadow and then continue
d slightly uphill to the Chammhaldenhütte. Then it went down moderately but the way is pretty muddy. Shortly before the Schutzenälpli it goes a little upwards.

But now it’s getting hairy

heavy loaded

15kg of package pays its tribute

When we arrived at Langälpli there came the first problem, as a bull was standing in the middle of the pasture and we were with Bubu on a leash! If this is gonna work out …Thankfully it went well. But then the way got harder and harder. Now it goes uphill steeply and I had my heavy backpack full of equipment. Why do I always have to carry so much stuff with me? Eventually, after what felt like 10 hours, we arrived at the top, but I had to be extremely careful not to stand on my own tongue.

Finally on the top


A cow idyll with sunshine

Now we had earned us a big dinner. Although we could not stay over the night, we were allowed to use the guest house.
After a
n opulent meal, I could make a few beautiful shots of the sunset before the dessert. However, there hung still a thick cloud over the Säntis, it did not look good for the Milky Way. After a little dessert and we had to wait until 23:00 when it was quite dark.


Bubu enjoys the view from the peak to the valley

Then I went outside for a short weather check to look at how bad it was with the cloud situation. And what was that? I could see the beacon on the Santis and and yes, YES are the stars around it! Just as told by the weather service earlier, the sky over the Santis was perfectly clear!

Read tomorrow in third and final part, whether we found the Milky Way or not.

Looking for the Milky Way -Part 1
Looking for the Milky Way -Part 2
Looking for the Milky Way -Part 3

Looking for the Milky Way – Part 1

Posted on Juni 17th, 2014

teaserToday in the first part I will show you the requirements for the best sight. In the second part I will write about the hike up to the destination and part three will come to the final with the starscape image.



The signposts are showing you the way

This year I have decided to take more pictures of the milky way. But this is not so easy, because it is hard to see a lot of stars here in Central Europe.
First, the immense light pollution
is really annoying. The I can deal with it here in Switzerland, by going to the Alps. But this has to be well planned. Because the most interesting part of the Milky Way is the center and this part can only be seen just above the horizon. So it’s not a good idea to stand in the valley directly in front of a high mountain.


Thereby we can think about images of the Milky Way, there are some requirements we have to consider.


It is important to know where to look. The Milky Way is not always seen in the same direction as the Earth’s rotation pushes it about midnight from east to the west over the South Pole. So we need a view towards south. After searching a bit, I decided to go for the Kronberg, which lies directly in the north of mount Säntis, so we will see the Milky Way rise over the Santis.

Earth’s axis

Hiker with dog

Before you reach the peak you have to walk

Then we come on to the next problem, the Earth’s axis. Only if the direction of the Earth’s axis against the Milky Way is favorable, you can see the middle part also during the night. It doesn’t help anything when the middle part would be visible only during the day, then you see nothing. Anyway, in the northern hemisphere we can see only half of it. And the farther north you are, the less you see.

Light conditions

Säntis massif

Looking back to the Schwägalp and the Säntis

And on it goes with the conditions. Because the Milky Way is not very bright, no moonlight should interfere, which limits the time to a few moonless nights a year. Between early May and late July, you can see the middle part, so I have 4 new moon phases. The best way to see the movement of the Milky is to look it up using a star map. I did that with the great app “Star Walk”, which is available for iOS and Android. And I’ve found that the Milky Way is most beautiful between midnight and 3 clock in the morning. Thus, we have only a small time window in which the moon may not shine. There are a few days in either direction of the new moon that give the opportunity to meet these optimal conditions.


Clouds over mountains

Sometimes the weather was not looking very friendly

Everything considered OK, but then it can still go so wrong! Wait a moment, didn’t we forget something? Let me think sharp.Ah, exactly, the weather. And here we are at the core of all the problems: How often do we meet clear nights just when we need them? Rarely! Really really rarely.
And so it happened also during the whole time window
at the beginning of May. Also in the next time window at the end of May, it looked really bad. But then at the very last possible day was clear weather announced for the night between midnight and 3 clock.
So pack
the backpack, ask colleague who is surprisingly available, and this time we hope the weather service is right for once.

Read more tomorrow in part 2 about the burdensome way up to the destination.

Looking for the Milky Way -Part 1
Looking for the Milky Way -Part 2
Looking for the Milky Way -Part 3