Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Rheinfall, Switzerland - Aerial photos from the DJI Phantom 2 and photos from the ground with my Canon 5D Mark III

I am now back in Europe visiting France and Scotland. And as I was getting ready for this trip, it occurred to me that I never finished posting photos from my last trip to Europe in October. So...I am going to post numerous blogs from my last trip to Switzerland and France.

One of our first stops was Rheinfall which is close to the border of Germany and Switzerland. When we arrived in Zurich, the weather was pretty dreary, so I figured that photographing the falls would be better in this weather than photographing the city. We checked in to our hotel and then immediately hopped back in the car and made the one hour drive to the falls.

Rheinfall is the largest waterfall in Europe. Nowhere as big as Niagara Falls in between the US and Canada, but there were some cool rocks in the middle of the falls which were unique. This straight-on shot was the most appealing to me. I took this photo with the Canon 5D Mark III and 28-300mm lens at a slow shutter speed (3/4 sec) to show the motion of the water.

My wife and I walked around and I tried to find some other cool angles from which to shoot the falls. I saw this rainbow appear, and quickly set up the tripod and took some photos. Seeing that the rainbow was hanging around for a little while, I shifted to a better position to include not only the rainbow, but also the Swiss flag. I like having the flag in the shot, because it tells the viewers of this image which country the landmark is in.

I looked for other good wide photo positions of the falls and frankly didn't see anything that thrilled me. I did find this one tight shot which I liked, so I set up the tripod, went for a 1/2 sec exposure and took this. (Photographer's note: Whenever I take photos of waterfalls and rivers, I almost always use a circular polarizing filter. There are two reasons why this filter will make your photos better. The first is that this polarizer will filter out some of the light coming into your lens, making it easier to capture photos at slow shutter speeds during the daylight hours. Secondly, this filter will help to reduce the glare coming off of the wet rocks, which can be very distracting in the photo.)

All this was fine, but I really wanted to show off the falls better than what I was getting with the 5D Mark III, so I said to my wife "I am going back to the car to grab the Phantom 2 Vision+ aerial camera". She thought I was crazy to fly it over the falls, but I am glad that I did, because this yielded some really unique photos.

This is the shot that I really wanted, showing the really interesting rock formations in the middle of the river. I tried capturing these from ground level and it lacked the drama that you see here. Gotta love the Phantom 2!

I was standing on a ledge on the building you see on the far side of the Rhein river. In order to show the entirety of the falls and some of the surrounding area, I sent the Phantom up high and away from me.

This shot was taken on the return flight back to where I was standing. I wanted to get a shot of the rocks and the staircase leading to the top.

And here is a shot high over the Rheinfall building.

After shooting all this aerial footage, I flew the Phantom 2 back to me and packed it up. I took it back to the car, packed it up, and then went looking for my wife (who usually stays far away from me when I fly this thing!)

I was meandering around when she came to find me. She told me that she had been walking through a really pretty cemetery, and that I should check it out. And boy, am I glad I did! This had to be one of the most beautiful cemeteries I have ever seen.

The flowers which lined the rows of gravestones were just spectacular. Since I like dimension in my photos, I angled myself so that I would have repeating patterns within the multiple rows of gravestones.

My goal here was to capture the colors of the flowers, but also include the church steeple off in the distance.

If you are lucky enough to visit Rheinfall, make sure you find this cemetery, which is located adjacent to the main building.

If you liked the still photos here, you should check out the video I posted, showing this waterfall and other cool places, called "Flying over Switzerland" which can be found here.

Stay tuned for more photos from Switzerland and France.


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Cynthia Brown said...

Dear Jeff, ~ I'm amazed that this cemetery has such a beautiful display of flowers in October. Planting this way provides beauty and reduces the need for lawn mowing. The last photo in the series shows what looks like a broken or fallen stone which might actually be a stone book opened to the "last chapter".

Unknown said...

great shots Jeff

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