491 – Just In Time

Dobratsch is a mountain that we had quite often now and I won’t bother you again with the story of the catastrophe of 1348 (no, not the plague). If you have not read it yet, just have a look at these past entries.

Today when I was ready for photographing, it was already mid-afternoon. I could have gone out again to shoot power lines or farm houses but, knowing that it would be my last opportunity for a week, I decided to drive to Villach and up the mountain Dobratsch again. At about 4pm I parked the car, changed to winter boots, mounted the Sigma 10-20, took the Lowepro slingshot with my gear, shouldered the tripod, and then I began climbing the mountain.

Well, climbing is a big word. Actually there is a well prepared way up the mountain, but there was still snow, the summit is 300 meters above the parking area and several kilometers away. Sundown was predicted for 5:30pm, thus I had plenty of time. At least that’s what I thought.

I’ll show an image of the way up there tomorrow when I’ll be writing about a new tool I have. The whole way is on the shadow side (well, at least in the evening), and when you finally think that now you’ve got it, the summit must be very near, you realize that you have reached only a platform, and there it is, the summit, far away, impressively looming in a distance.

It took me 90 minutes to reach the big broadcast station (mercifully omitted here) and the ridge between the two churches. Yes, there are two churches up there, and I happily admit that I cowardly refused to follow the ridge past the cross and to the western church. This last image may give you an impression why 🙂

The way down was comparatively fast. The moon cast strong light, and even without my headlamp I would have had no trouble getting down, merely the wind was a tad chilly. Afterwards I heard on TV that the temperatures on Dobratsch had been at around -12 degrees Celsius, and that together with the wind this would correspond to -26 degrees. Oh well, so that’s why it felt cold 🙂

All images were shot with the Sigma 10-20 at 10mm and as sequences of seven bracketed shots. The merging to HDR and the tone mapping were made in Photomatix Pro, the final touches in Photoshop.

Oh yes, one more word about the temperatures. Most of the time I carried the camera in the slingshot, and when I had it out for a longer period of time without actually shooting, I had the battery removed and wore it near to my body. Batteries discharge much faster when in the cold. I simply did not want to take a risk. During actual use everything worked completely normal.

The Song of the Day is Nina Simone’s “Just In Time“. I have it on the “Tomato Collection“, a double CD compilation with somewhat mixed acoustic quality, that nevertheless is absolutely recommendable. Hear another, equally good version on YouTube.

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