Thursday, March 12, 2015

A visit to Gruyere, Switzerland for photos. Say cheese!

You have probably heard about, and hopefully tasted Gruyere cheese. I could probably live on bread and cheese alone, and this happens to be one of my favorite cheeses. I was excited to visit the small town of Gruyere, the home town of this cheese, in Switzerland.

Before leaving on our trip to Europe, my wife and I looked at a map of Switzerland and marked this as a place that we both wanted to visit. The countryside is really beautiful and we looked forward to some good food in the area. But, along with good views and food, I looked forward to capturing this picturesque town in photos.

(All of the photos taken in this blog post, except for the last one, were taken with the Canon 5D Mark III. I used a combination of the Canon 24-105mm lens and the Canon 28-300mm lens.)

Before stopping at the cheese factory, we drove around to check out the very small village. At one point, we came to the end of a small road and saw this view. Both of us hopped out of the car and took photos.

After making our short trip around town, we did indeed visit the cheese factory. We did not take the tour, but did get a chance to view the aging room, which is accessible to anyone. (Photographer's tip: When shooting through glass, it is best to find a clean spot and then put the lens right up against the glass. I removed my lens hood so that the lens was as close as possible to the viewing window. This will help you avoid reflections from behind you.)

Instead of eating at the cheese factory, we decided to walk up to Gruyere Castle and find lunch. I would recommend this, since the view is spectacular and the food is excellent. This photo was taken from the pathway up to the castle.

We sat on the outside balcony of one of the restaurants, and were treated to great cheese fondue and this view. It was a such an awesome day!

After our lunch, we walked around the upper area of the castle.

It is mostly shops and restaurants, but was still enjoyable.

While walking around the perimeter of the castle, I came across this view. Not only did I like the scene, but this is a perfect photo for teaching photography. Why? Well...most of the time, a good photo has a strong foreground, middle ground and background. Here, there were all three elements, which I found pleasing.

1. The staircase is a perfect element for leading the viewer's eye up to the castle.
2. I had a nice clean shot of the castle, which is the main subject of the shot.
3. I had the Swiss Alps in the background, setting the overall scene.

(Photographer's note: Most novice photographers and enthusiasts will take a photo of just the main subject. Just the castle, or just the mountains. But as you can see from this photo, having all 3 elements in the photo makes the photo more interesting. Next time you are taking a photo, think about your foreground, middle ground and background, and challenge yourself to include all 3 in your shot.)

After walking around the castle for a while, all I could think was "this would be a cool place to get a drone shot." My wife was less excited about this endeavor and did not want me fly the Phantom 2 Vision+ from the castle. On the drive in to the castle, I noticed a small road that went around the perimeter of the hill. So we left the parking lot and I drove along the small road until we came to a good spot to pull over. I set up the aerial camera and let her fly.

Once again, this was a perfect example why I love these aerial cameras so much. Without the Phantom 2, there was no way that I could get this type of shot!

I hope you enjoyed the photos from this location. Now you need to get yourself to Gruyere for some of that amazing fondue!

If you are interested in purchasing any camera equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. I would really appreciate that.

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danielkehoe said...

I'm sure you would have liked to be there during the golden hour, but on vacation you take what you can get. Good post processing to overcome the midday light though. I liked your little teaching bit in the middle of your blog. Might have a better impact being just one lesson. Keep up the interesting blogging.

Cynthia Brown said...

Dear Jeff, ~ Thank you for pointing out the need to include foreground, middle ground, and background as essential elements of a successful photo. Musicians use this also to continually monitor where they are in the fabric of a composition. Each level will have its own requirements as to dynamics and timbre. Thanks for 'taking us' to Gruyere!

Parkylondon said...

Bear in mind also, that the town of Gruyere is the home of the *amazing* HR Giger museum. Giger and cheese. Mmmhmmm....

John Smith said...

Wow Jeff! I am sure you had great time there! Gruyere, Switzerland has all the beauty that your eyes crave to see! And of course, with such alluring beauty, it is one of the most photogenic destinations in Switzerland. I cannot wait to explore this magnificent destination. Luckily, I have got my Swiss visa appointment fixed! Switzerland I am coming!

Ella scott said...

I have heard a lot about the cheese of Gruyere, it is a small town which is filled with greenery and cheese, and I will be travelling to Gruyere this time with my
Switzerland visa
as I am eagerly waiting for it. This place is said to be the best place for pictures and I am fond of pictures.

Sienna Brown said...

Jeff, I have always loved the idea of exploring the beautiful and serene Switzerland tourist destinations with loved ones, especially one’s better half. And I appreciate you for clicking and bringing out these amazing pictures of this quintessential Swiss town. These pictures make me wanna fill out a Switzerland visa application from UK to get our travel permits materialized. I cannot wait to get a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and head to Gruyere to capture some memories for life.