Some addictions aren’t too bad to have. Mountain addiction is one of those. Once you go, you fall for them—and you can’t wait to go back. It doesn't matter which mountain range it is; anything above a certain height seems to possess something magical, something raw—something original; something that’s both quiet and wild. And it doesn’t matter where in the world you go, once experienced, you’ll feel a magnetic attraction to those rocky giants.
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The best time to get lost in the mountains depends on where they are. It makes sense, to build your routine around the opening times of the Alpine huts. Depending on the altitude, these are often only open for a few months each year due to the snow. Naturally, it’s always a little cooler at the beginning and end of the season, and while this might be a reason not to go for some, the reduced crowds make it a dream for others. In this regard, it depends on how important solitude and warm temperatures are to you. If your preferred mountain range is situated in a warmer climate, the season is automatically extended. As ever, for a good idea on the best times to go, check with your accommodation.
To make your photos as beautiful as your memories are, here are a few simple tips on how to take beautiful photos during your rides.
The first thing you need for good photos is a camera that can take them. And while it helps, this doesn’t necessarily need to be the latest SLR or a set up with interchangeable lenses and wide angles. A simple zoom lens with a focal length between 24 and 70mm will also do the trick. In this sense, you may even be able to use your phone if you don't plan to make large-format prints or professionally edit your pictures afterwards. Just be aware that the quality of your camera has a direct impact on your images and consider whether your current one will meet your needs.
Good photos are seldom the result of a snapshot. It’s better to take fewer photos (meaning fewer breaks) that are really good, than a bunch of photos you’ll only delete later. So, experiment a little to find the right shot, and consider whether your picture will still look good at home, long after the current feelings of elation subside.
All good photos fit the rule of thirds, a simple rule that leads to incredibly aesthetically pleasing pictures. To follow the rule, all you have to do is place the most important object in the picture (for example a human, a tree or a building) on the point where the ‘third’ lines intersect (see figure).
The most important prerequisite for quality photos is beautiful light. So make sure that your motif is not in the shade, but illuminated by the sun. The time of day also plays an important role: The sun should not be too high; it should cast a shadow of yourself that’s ideally longer than you are tall. Particularly beautiful photos are taken in the golden and blue hours, directly after sunrise and before sunset.
If you or other people are in the picture, you will remember your adventure even better later. But only if it doesn't seem strangely unnatural and fake. So let the protagonists do something that they do all day anyway, such as hike or drive, look into the landscape or talk to each other.
Check out this article to find out more about how to improve your landscape photos.
Just like a hearty breakfast, checking the weather forecast is an important part of your daily mountain morning routine. Often you will experience extreme heat, snow and thunder in the same day. When packing, check the weather and take equipment for every possible condition. During your trip, hut keepers are the most reliable source of information, as well as the alpine club website. When in doubt, asking people you meet on the trail can be helpful, too.
Rough terrain, narrow and steep paths, falling rocks – all are risks when traversing the Alps. Thorough preparation, suitable equipment and an honest evaluation of one’s skills are key to staying safe. If you don’t have any experience in alpine environments, it's best to bring someone who does.
Whether you are on a popular trail or off the beaten path, make sure to show respect toward other people and the environment. Beware of other people around – below steep slopes there can always be other trails, so don't kick down any rocks. Always leave a place as you found it and show responsibility towards your companions, people you meet and the environment.
Research and bring with you the phone number of the local mountain rescue. Make sure you aways have some battery left on your mobile device and be cognisant of where you are at all times so you can accurately communicate your location in case of an emergency.