On a recent photography trip to Germany, St. Albans Photography’s David and Kristina visited Schloss Neuschwanstein in the heart of Bavaria. You may recognise the location from the childhood classic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
“Our day started out on a coach ride along the autobahn, leaving the very flat landscape of Munich and travelling south towards the Alps, where, as the journey progressed the horizon filled with beautiful snow capped mountains. Suddenly in the distance, high up in the mountains our destination was in view. We arrived at the foot of the mountain on which Schloss Neuschwanstein resides.
Despite the Alpine weather providing us with a very wet start to the day and no forecast for a break in the clouds our adventure started on a bike! The bikes resembled the famous Boris Bikes designed for transporting oneself around the streets of London, not the heart of the Alps! We didn’t let this put us off though and after a wobbly start and a quick lesson in how to use gears (it’s been a while) we set off for a fast paced cycle ride through the valley. As we sped off down hill, sporting our high fashion see-through Ponchos, the fresh mountain air blowing through our capes and the rain putting our waterproof outerwear to the test; the image it conjured up… The bicycle scene from E.T! Unfortunately for you as the reader, I was unable to capture this image on camera. This would have meant letting go of the handle bars and although I had been adamant in trying to convince David I have ridden a bicycle before, the distinct lack of cycling in a straight line was demonstrating otherwise.
The cycle ride provided us with a taster of what was to come later in the day. We were still low in the valley; the clouds rolling in and out teasing us with the occasional glimpse of beautiful mountains and the fairy tale castle tucked tight into the rock.
After a hearty lunch in an Alpine restaurant and a rather unexpected Magic show from our guide for the day Brad, we got the cameras ready for the hike up the gorge to the castle. (For those who visit this castle in the future, hiking up a gorge in the pouring rain is optional and a warm comfortable bus is available at the foot of the mountain should you choose this mode of transport). We cannot be accused of not being dedicated to our art! With lenses at the ready, lens hoods on to prevent rain drops from ruining the shots and a range of water proofing techniques throughout the group (shower caps I have since found very handy for keeping the camera body dry) we we were off.
We climbed up the gorge at a fair rate, every look up providing us with a sheer waterfall forcing it’s way down the mountain through the rock. This area had experienced a lot of rain in the days leading up to the trip and continued to fall high over the mountains, the swollen streams simply had to reduce their load and send it down hill via the waterfalls. For us this provided a perfect opportunity to capture the power of the water on camera. At this point we were surrounded by steep rock faces and tall trees that had lined this gorge for centuries. We had lost sight of the castle.
Continuing to walk up the gorge and several hundred steps to make our travel easier we finally reached an opening in the trees. Turning to view the surrounding area, suddenly a magnificent sight was presented to us. The crisp white of the fairy tale castle towered high into the clouds, overlooking the villages below, shrinking them into a toy town with its presence. The enormity and allure of this castle set deep in the Alps cannot be described in text alone, it’s beauty must be captured on film and we had arrived to do just that.”