- November 28th, 2011
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Canon 5d mkII EF24-105 at 85mm ISO 100 f16 1/100 sec.
The true test of my resolve always seems to come on the first morning after a long flight. The lure of sleeping in to help recover is intense. But I know that missed opportunities are my biggest regrets, so I force myself to crawl out of bed in the pitch black at 4 or 5am for my first shots.
This morning it was in Schwangau, Germany – and St. Coloman Church. I sneak out to the rental car, scrape the frost off the windows, crank it up and head out to my chosen spot. It is officially minus 15 degrees – that’s centigrade, but all I know is that I’m glad to have my long underwear on – it’s cold!!
I’m undecided as to the perfect spot to shoot from. Not only do I have several options, but the sun (once it rises) is going to be blocked by a large bank of clouds and also by a very large mountain that is closer to this little church than I had thought.
As I stand beside the road in two feet of snow wondering what my next move needs to be I hear bells – sleigh bells. The first thought that comes to mind is “Santa Claus” – honest. I think it must be the jet-lag.
It turns out to be several farmers in their horse-drawn carts heading off down the road to the Christmas market – this seems so surreal. I can feel the farmers laughing at this crazy Yank standing next to a camera and tripod, up to his knees in snow in the middle of one of their fields at 6a. The horses even snickered – I would have too.
Off in the distance there is a glowing castle – yes this is Bavaria, and some beautiful snow-covered mountains. I decide to race off down the road and catch some other shots while waiting for the light to develop.
Once I get a few shots of the castle and surrounding area, I head back to St. Coloman church to see how it looks now. It’s better. I think it will get even better, but just in case, I snap a few shots wanting to get something in the bag. I leave once more for some snow shots in the trees, always keeping my eyes on the sky.
I’m now back in front of St. Coloman. The sun has just poked its way above the mountain range, the sky is blue with some wispy clouds. The scene that I’ve been waiting for suddenly develops in front of me – it’s magic. In about fifteen minutes time it’s all over. The sun’s a little too high now and the cloud cover returns – but I got my shot. Is it the best photo ever? Not by a long-shot, but it’s the one that I had set out to capture.
The jet-lag, early morning exhilaration, and successful shooting leaves me looking for some early morning hot chocolate. I head off toward the Christmas-card town of Fussen.