Last Sunday I traversed the Gemmipass on snow-shoe. The pass connects Kandersteg in the Bernese Oberland region with Leukerbad in the Canton of Valais. It lies at an altitude of about 2200 metres, and the hike itself is 10 kilometres (6.5 miles) long with an ascent of about 550 metres (1800 ft). A beautiful hike and from a photography perspective worth your while. I got away with quite a few nice landscape photographs … and more …
Bearded vulture in flightA bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) in flight, captured in the Swiss Alps near the Gemmipass in Leukerbad, Switzerland.
At the end of the hike, I spotted a group of bird photographers, shooting from a ridge towards the valley. They were all very-well equipped with impressively cool exotic long lenses. My longest lens was my 24-70 f/2.8 … ouch! After shooting some landscapes from the ridge, I joined the fun and put my camera in fast mode.
Shortly after, the bearded vulture in this photograph decided to do a few flybys at close distance. So impressive! I fired away hand-held at the highest speed I had available (about 5 frames per second). To my surprise, I got away with a very decent series of tack sharp images … lucky me!
Bearded vultures are enormous by the way. They are between 95 to 125 cm (37 to 49″) long and have a wingspan of 2.3 to 2.9 metres (7.6 to 9.3 ft). Bearded vultures were once extinct in the Alps but have been re-introduced in the 1970s. They are still an endangered species in Europe though. Other names for the bearded vulture are bearded vulture eagle, lammergeier and lammergeyer.
Make sure to check out our Swiss Landscape Photography portfolio to see more photographs captured in Switzerland.
Cheers, Johan 🙂