The Adventure of Taking Pictures
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It’s time for another adventure. Why an adventure, you might ask? The search for the perfect picture often comes with adventure.
I am Joni Hedinger, and I find that the combination of adventure and creativity is what makes photography in the mountains so thrilling for me. Today I’m going on a journey to the Ticino mountains with my friend Lukas from Berlin, and my Big Pilot’s Watch 43. Join us on our three-day trip around the south of Switzerland. Not only will I share some pictures with you, but I will also share what I pay attention to when taking pictures and my process.
— Joni Hedinger’s first look at Foroglio
— Sporting the Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Ref. IW329301
13:17 – Starting off in Foroglio
A good plan is key!
It’s a wet and brisk fall day, the Ticino Valleys are cloudy and it’s pouring down with rain. Nevertheless, Lukas and I set off on our trip as the weather forecast for the next two days looks promising. And we’re already off to a good start. The trail begins in a small, lovely village called Foroglio which is even more beautiful in the fall. Behind the village you can see the spectacular waterfall which looks even more impressive because of today’s rainfall. After a short pause, we continue our hike as a 1800m altitude awaits us. And finally, the rain wears off.
— Joni Hedinger exploring Ticino mountains
Unfortunately, I underestimated the whole journey and I already know at this point that it will be a struggle. Both of us have very heavy backpacks because of all our equipment – a tent, camping supplies, camera gear, etc. Nonetheless, we’ve started enthusiastically and gotten quite far. The trail is steep but the beautiful fall colors surrounding us almost make us forget how hard it is.
Around two hours into the hike, it starts raining again and we come to a big creek which we have to cross. Due to the heavy rainfall, it’s impossible to cross it from where we're standing. After a 45-minute search for a good spot to cross, we finally make it across the creek. We are now even further behind schedule.
I increasingly realize that my planning has been sloppy and we will have to adjust our plan to make it to today’s original destination.
Successful photography is dependent on thorough planning. Today I haven’t been successful due to different factors.
17:44 – The Rifugio Gradisc
We need to keep being spontaneous.
Already on the way up I check the map for different places where we could stay overnight. I find an alpine hut which we will probably reach before it gets dark. Now it’s time for spontaneity. Our idea is to go to sleep early in order to get up early and refreshed for our hike.
This hut has actually turned out to be a stroke of luck. After 4.5 hours we arrive at the rifugio completely drenched and exhausted. Luckily, we don’t have to put up our tent and we’re able to cook and later sleep somewhere dry. After dinner we even make a little fire to dry our wet clothes.
Now it’s time for bed as the alarm is set for 3:45 am. Of course, we drift off to sleep very easily after this challenging day.
Still, it feels like the alarm goes off way too early though we’re highly motivated. Everything is dry again and as soon as we leave the rifugio, I can tell that it’s going to be a good day as the night sky is clear.
— Joni arriving at the rifugio
— Joni Hedinger, photographer in Ticino
— IWC BIG PILOT’S WATCH 43 IW329301
7:55 – Sunrise
A spectacular place with beautiful light.
For my pictures I normally pay attention to two things: a spectacular surrounding and amazing light. There are two kinds of pictures that I love taking the most in the mountains. Firstly, adventure pictures, which – as the name suggests – come with an adventure that you get to experience as the photographer. Spectacular views with crazy light displays really get my heart racing. Secondly, I love simple subjects for my artistic pictures, which I then print in a large format. Spoiler: unfortunately, the latter is not going to happen this time.
The goal is to reach a view point from where you can see over the Laghi della Crosa mountain lakes by sunrise. Today we are again advancing slower than planned and aim for another view point than the one initially planned. On time for sunrise and after 4 hours of strenuous hiking, we reach the highest point of our journey. We are now 2465 meters above sea level and have climbed a total of 1790 meters starting from the valley. We proudly take out our cameras and photograph the magnificent scenery with one of the Laghi della Crosa beneath us, shimmering in the golden light.
Now it’s time to enjoy the journey. A beautiful day lies ahead and for once we have enough time to look for a camping spot for the second night. We haven’t met anyone yet and probably won’t until we are back in the valley. It is already quite chilly in the fall and therefore quieter up here. It has been an unforgettable day.
Spectacular views with crazy light displays really get my heart racing
— The perfect camping spot in Ticino
— On Joni’s wrist during his adventure: the Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Ref. IW329301
17:52 – The camping spot
We’re staying in the mountains overnight.
After being on our feet all day, we are on time and reach our camping spot for night two. We are still over 2000 meters above sea level and tomorrow we have to descend about 1400 meters. On top of that, Lukas has to make it for the plane back to Berlin, but nothing stops us from spending the night in this amazing place.
In the middle of some larches, which are still glowing in a beautiful orange, we pitch our tent. Of course, we can’t resist taking some pictures here as well. While taking pictures, some fog appears and creates a magnificent atmosphere. As a landscape photographer I am used to staying in the mountains overnight. You can only experience these moments when you spend enough time outdoors. The creativity behind taking pictures and my desire for adventure go hand in hand. That is the reason why I love being outdoors.
While lying in my sleeping bag and thinking about the tough descent the next day, I am already more than sure that I will be back next year. And then, with everything that we have learned over the past two days in mind, I will also be able to reach my originally planned spot. I am already looking forward to the next adventure.
All images by @jonihedinger