Zermatt - two perspectives

In September we travelled to Zermatt in Switzerland with open minds as to what photographic opportunities would be on offer. I was distinctly aware that the well known photographic spots would be crowded with tourists, and unfortunately many a selfie stick. I was not disappointed. With this in mind the intention was to create a portfolio of images which included both film and digital shots.

Equipment was a carefully selected and with travel in mind, Zermatt is a flight to Geneva followed by the best part of four hours of train travel after, and in retrospect the kit selected was all used and provided pretty much what was required, with a couple of exceptions which I will touch on.

Film

Although I would have loved to have taken some medium format kit the fact we would be hauling gear around made it difficult. In retrospect I would probably in future take the Lomography LCA 120 with me which is about as light as a medium format camera gets but offers a lovely, if somewhat quirky, piece of glass. In the end I packed my Leica M6 TTL .85 along with 35mm and 50mm lenses along side my Olympus MJUii as a point and shoot carry around. Film stock was varied but I ended up using Lomography Lomochrome Turquoise (expired and shot at 400iso), Fuji Velvia 50, Kodak Extachrome 100, Silberra 160, Silberra Orta 50 (though not without issues) Kodak Ektar and Portra 400. Upon development all seemed to perform well, especially the Lomochrome Turquoise which was five years out of date. I did have issue with the new stock Silberra Orta 50 but got some results. I am aware the base layer on this film is tough and thin but did not envisage this being problematic. However I shot this in my Olympus MJUii and the film was obviously not agreeing with the camera. Auto frame advance was slow and noisy and almost sounded as though the film was struggling to extrude from the cassette. I expected to find the film had slipped and the maybe I would find the film overlapping and the 36 exposures ended up to be far more. In the end the film rewound automatically at 27 shots.

Cabin at the Gornergrat Observatory  one of the view shots taken here that did not need selfie sticks removed post!  Leica M6 and 35mm 1.4 lens.

Cabin at the Gornergrat Observatory one of the view shots taken here that did not need selfie sticks removed post!

Leica M6 and 35mm 1.4 lens.

Digital

Although I wanted to take the Canon 5DMkIII weight was definitely and issue so I ended up taking the Sony A7III with Sigma adaptor for Canon AF lenses. The glass I partnered was the excellent Sigma Art 35mm 1.4 (predominantly as my low light lens) and the Sigma Art 24-105mm F4 for a range of focal options.

I also took the excellent Moondog Anamorphic lens for my iPhone X and this became my main resource for capturing footage.

In terms of kit which went unused I can say I that the only thing that was obsolete was my GoPro Session camera which was completely redundant, mainly because of the above.

The Matterhorn   Sony A7III and 24-105 lens.

The Matterhorn

Sony A7III and 24-105 lens.

The footpath to the dam near Z’Mutt   Sony A7III and 24-105mm lens.

The footpath to the dam near Z’Mutt

Sony A7III and 24-105mm lens.

Images

Thoughts

This location is simply stunning, stunning in a different way to say Iceland which is raw and dramatic, The Matterhorn and surrounding local are dramatic but in a more cultured way and also with a greater sense of control and access. Getting around is simple, the Swiss reputation for watches and trains is legendary and well deserved and plenty of wonderfully comfortable trains which run on time can be found, along with an amazing cable car system, to get you most places. We actually spent most of our travel time on foot and this is truly the best way to get to see the quieter and beautiful spots which the tourist masses do not generally visit. I can particularly recommend Z’Mutt with its impressive dam and fine surrounding views of the Matterhorn and Glacial panoramas.