Friday, 26 June 2009

Holiday butterflies

A small collection of butterflies that I photographed in the Alps during my summer holiday. The first photo shows my local field near Tschuggen, Belalp, in Switzerland, where I spotted most of these butterflies. Further from top to bottom:
  • Safflower Skipper (Pyrgus carthami/Witgezoomd Spikkeldikkopje); I have never seen this species before.
  • Wall Brown (Lassiommata maera/Rotsvlinder), well-camouflaged with folded wings in its natural habitat.
  • Mountain Ringlet (Erebia epiphron/Bergerebia) on ‘graphical’ leaves of Great Yellow Gentian (Gentiana lutea/Gele Gentiaan).
  • Purple-edged Copper (Lycaena hippothoe/Rode Vuurvlinder) to add some color to the series.
  • Almond-eyed Ringlet (Erebia alberganus/Amandeloogerebia), local on southern slopes in the Alps, but here at this time of the year the most ‘frequent flyer’.

Monday, 22 June 2009


A classic: Wide-angle shot of Alpine flora with snow-covered mountains in the background. The flower is Alpine Pasqueflower (Pulsatilla alpina/Alpenanemoon). The photo is taken at 2200m at Belalp, Switzerland. After taking this photo it started to snow, strange experience at (almost) the longest day. I used a ND4 (2 stops) gradient filter to suppress the clouded sky.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

No man’s land

Colle del Gran San Bernardo (or Col du Grand Saint Bernard in French) is the most ancient pass through the Western Alps, with evidence of use as far back as the Bronze Age and many surviving traces of the Roman period. The blocky rock structure on the foreground reveals the old Strada Romana. The pass runs northeast-southwest through the Pennine Alps at a maximum elevation of 2,469m. The road running through the pass, highway E27, joins the canton of Valais, Switzerland, to the Aosta valley, Italy.
When we cross this pass harsh almost polar circumstances ruled. Strong icy winds pushed the clouds from the Swiss side upwards to the mountain slopes. After crossing the ridges, the clouds literally fall down sharply and resolved on the Italian side. Our car registered an outdoor temperature of 3°C, but with the wind chill it felt below zero.
On July 21-st, at the 16-th stage of the Tour de France 2009, the peloton will climb this HC (Haute Category) pass! I hope for them that it will be a bit warmer by then.