I had been looking forward to this press trip for a long time and finally the moment was there to pack my bags and drive to the airport. As a social influencer I was invited by the Austrian tourist agency here in The Netherlands to be part of this press trip to the eastern part of Tyrol. After flying to Innsbruck our final destinations are the Defereggental and Matrei.
Just like every other trip I do, I prepared myself by doing some research on the region we will visit. It's important for myself to know what I can expect during my stay and which places of interest I definitely want to shoot. For this i Use Google Maps and Earth a lot, but also other sources like social media channels and photography websites. Because this is a press trip I also have to be aware that we will have tight schedule with planned activities by the tourist board. For this I especially look to the moments around sunrise and sunset where I will have some time on my own and where the light will be at its best. Where do i want to be at a certain time and what material would I need. Since I don't own a lot of lenses I find the rental pool from Foto Konijnenberg (camerastore) a great and flexible solution to complete my backpack with the right material. For this trip I took three lenses, being; Canon 16-35mm F4 L, Canon 24-105mm F4 L and Canon 70-200mm F2.8 L. Since they all have the same ringside of 77mm I can change my (G)ND and polarization filters easily.
Arriving in Winter Wonderland
Thursday morning we're flying towards Innsbruck and experiencing a beautiful sunrise above the clouds. After an easy flight of about one and a half hour we're landing in between the beautiful snowy and misty mountains of Innsbruck. During the flight I was told that the pilots are getting a special training to land these big planes here because of the short landingstrip. Every now and than a pilot doesn't make it and has to make a go-around. Always nice people sharing this information just before the landing! After a safe landing we take our transfer to the hotel and I enjoy the scenery passing by behind my window. The low hanging clouds are swirling around the mountains which are covered with some snow. In this part of Austria the snow heights aren't that high, until we're coming closer to our destination. Coming out of the 'Felbertauerntunnel' the landscape changes immediately and we're welcomed by a true winter scene. In the past days/weeks this valley has been covered with a thick layer of snow.
At our arrival in Hotel Defereggental we're informed about the planned snowshoe walk for this afternoon, we're taking another route because of the danger for avalanches. But first we're digging into the lunch which the hotel prepared for us, the smell of the local delicacies like 'Kaisersmarrn' is making me hungry. After a great lunch we're of to our snowshoe walk, even this route is breathtaking. We're walking through the forest accompanied by the sound of water streaming through a little creek. Every now and than we stop just to inhale the winter scenery and clear air. My planned sunset is going down the drain when I see low hanging clouds entering the valley, so I'll put all my money on the sunrise next morning.
A colorfull sunrise in the Defereggental
No snoozing this morning, I set my alarm early to give me enough time to reach my destination. Since my legs are the only way of transportation here and I don't know what to expect with these winter conditions, I build in some extra time. It's a clear morning and the moon and stars are filling the dark blue sky. After a short hike uphill I reached a small village from which I have beautiful view towards both sides of the valley. I put down my tripod and point my camera towards the end of the valley. The white mountain peaks give a great contrast with the colorful sky which is slowly coloring from dark blue, to purple, pink and that orange Alpenglow.
What a show! Happy with the results of this session I walk back to the hotel to meet up with the group again. Today we're gonna do some skiing and snowboarding.
Using a polarizer for the best snow shots
It's a beautiful sunny day and I choose to use my polarizer, a Tiffen 77mm Digital High Transmission Polarizer, today because of the snow and bright sun. The polarizer will decrease the unwanted reflections and bring more contrast and saturation in my shots. By turning the filterring you can adjust the filter to any condition. Be aware that you have to adjust the filter at every camera movement. Besides that you have to take notice that with using a polarizer you'll loose 1-2 F-stop(s), resulting in a slower shutter speed.
Once my material is set up and complete I take the skilift up the mountain. I've chosen not to ski today but to shoot the group and beautiful landscape. I'm not an experienced skier and prefer to take the same flight back as the group! For the real wintersport feeling I will attend the après-ski before we move on to our second destination Matrei.