If there is something that I’ve been wanting to photograph since I got my first camera, that would be stars and starry skies… And this is something that somehow I can never do! Sometimes is the weather, other times it is the moon, and some other it is the tiredness after a long day hiking… there always seems to be an excuse! Well, now that I have a better camera and a better lens (with an aperture of f/2.8, my new lens is way more luminous than any of my others!), I want to learn and explore with new techniques. And night photography is one of them!
As you probably know, last weekend were the peak days for the Perseids, the meteor shower that always falls in August. And this year, all forecasts promised that it would be a great show, as it coincided with the new moon. That’s why we wanted to plan something special for that weekend: hiking in a remote area in the Alps and try to spend the night in one of the Berggasthaus (little hotels and restaurants in the Swiss mountains, normally only accessible by cable car or by foot)… Because we were waiting for the weather forecast before booking anything, we ended up not getting a room in any of the Bergasthaus in the area we wanted, but that didn’t stop us.
We wanted to watch the meteor shower in a beautiful area, but also a place that we knew we could return to our car at night with just a torch. So we chose a region that we already know: Alpstein, Appenzell (I already showed you some photos from this region: Seealpsee in winter and spring and the Saxer Lücke in spring). This time we explored it from a different trail, hiking up in the mountains from Wasserauen and along the ridge, enjoying the panoramic views of this magnificent part of Switzerland.
In our way, we passed along the now superfamous Berggasthaus Äscher (it was the cover for a National Geographic book a few years ago, and now is the most famous touristic spot in the area) and the Wildkirchli, a restaurant almost hanging on a cliff and a little catholic chapel in a cave that is still in use. Once we left behind these touristic spots and Ebenalp, we continued walking almost alone, with the only company of the pretty Swiss cows and goats grazing on their summer pastures in the mountain, until we arrived to Berggasthaus Schläfer and we saw in front of us the impressive peaks Altenalptürm and Ageteplatte and the others around it. What a view!! From there, the path became more difficult, as we started to descend along the ridge on a very steep and narrow trail until we reached another Berggasthaus, Mesmer, where we had dinner just before heading to Seealpsee to see the sunset from there. After that, we waited until the night came and the stars appeared… and then, we saw the meteor shower! Not a lot of shooting stars, but the few we saw were long and very bright and intense! And even if the day started cloudy and grey, the night was super clear and we could even see part of the Milky Way rising from one of the sides of the Valley…
What an experience!! The Alpstein region never disappoints with its abrupt peaks, deep valleys and beautiful lakes. It is a place where you know you’ll never get bored! And this time it wasn’t an exception! It was a magical day and night, enjoying the meteor showers with a dark sky full of stars in complete silence, only broke by the occasional sound of the cow bells in the valley.
Here are some photos I took during that day. What do you think of my night photos? I know I have to practice a lot more… this is just the beginning! 🙂