Looking out of the window of the 747 coming in over Salzburg all I could see was the white snow covered alps that I was about to call home for the next 2 weeks. Growing up in South Africa the only words I can use to describe my current state was excitement… but the kind you have as a little kid on your birthday morning. I just wanted to get out there and among everything. No story’s, books or photos could prepare me for what I was about to embark on. Every photographers dream come true.
After Landing in Salzburg I took a quick tour around the city with good friend and fellow South African Kenny Cowburn. We made our way towards Fieberbrunn where I met with Martin Hautz who is also a Time-lapse enthusiast and dear friend through work avenues that has set this whole trip up.
He has been commissioned by Austrian tourism Agency Kitzbüheler Alpen - Pillerseetal to produce a video which includes a couple exploring the Mountains on a holiday trip in Austria, which includes some time-lapses. We got straight into it, going over the storyboard and checking gear for the next couple days.
One thing I did not count on was the fact that we were at the mercy of weather all the time. Coming from South Africa with blue sky’s and puffy white clouds and the odd breeze, this was a first for me. A Lens warmer has never been part of my kit bag before.
First morning I wake up to probably the best weather I would have during the entire duration of my trip. I meet up with Martin and we headed straight up one of the hills in Fieberbrunn overlooking the mountain range. The first time-lapse I shot actually became the last shot of the edit. When I saw the contrast between the bright white snow and the tree line it was a no brainer and I knew I had to get that shot. With no wind at all, it was perfect conditions for shooting. In Tirol in the winter during heavy snowfalls, when you get a day of good weather you take full advantage.
Another thing I was never ready for was walking through 4 feet of snow with all my gear and since the landscapes are breathtaking in every direction it was a challenge for a first timer. Times like these I wish I didn’t own a stainless steel 4ft slider in a rifle size pelican case. The excitement did not fade away and the beauty that surrounded me kept my stamina going.
Next up, was a super wide shot overlooking the valley and onto the mountain range named “Wilde Kaizer”. Which translates to Wild Emperor. Story goes that Karl der Große (Emperor in 8th Century) has died on this mountain and his body is still up there. Personally I would like to think that it is because the mountain always looks angry and wild with the clouds that form above and around it, an eerie feeling. The next couple of days the weather turned bad on us, but It was a blessing in disguise as now I had time to explore the lay of the land a bit more and scout for locations. Martin put the Chains on the tyres and off we went.
We knew we had to as high up as possible and the best bet was Jakobs Kreuz, So after scouting and making all arrangements the sun decided to come out and play. Jakobs Kreuz has a full 360 degree view of the area around St. Johan. I spend 2 nights up in the actual cross monument. It was full moon, and from a time-lapse perspective it meant very little stars, but today it was not the stars that we were after, but the sunrise. With a blanket of clouds pouring in like a river though the mountains and into the valley this was one of the most epic scenes I have ever laid my eyes on. I remember feeling as if I was on another planet, the colours were mind-blowing.
That evening Martin joined me up in the mountains to shoot the “Snowcats” preparing the slopes for the skiers in the morning, and what looks like small lights in the distance moving up and down the mountain is actually truck size machines as wide as 2 average vehicles with the village way down below. The Emotimo 3 axes remote head panning across the valley became what I consider to be the most epic shot in the video.
Jakobskreuz was erected as a tourist lookout point over the Austrian Alps. This would be the first time that someone actually slept inside it and that someone was none other then a South African.
After the trip I flew back to Johannesburg and started working on the post production process and editing. Sitting in my apartment with the AC on looking at all the footage, I remember thinking to myself that this was without a doubt one of the best experiences of my life, I will remember these moments forever and if anyone ever get a chance to visit the Tirolean country side, do not hesitate! Thanks to Martin Hautz and Kitzbüheler Alpen for making this trip possible.
This is a re-edit of the footage that was filmed in Fieberbrunn.
Music Credit - Fracture Design : A Winters Tale
For the Original Video I edited for Kitzbüheler Alpen - Pillerseetal check out the link below.