A fleeting autumnal sun casts its soft light for a moment around Sdrbske Pleso before disappearing altogether. Not quite the sweet light, but sweet enough for me.
One last look at Studeny potok waterfall, near Hrebienok, before returning to our base.
We left the Chata (pri Zelonom Plese) in the early hours, hiking in the dark to reach Biele Pleso in time for sunrise.
A few seconds beforehand, the viewing platform at Lomnický štít (Lomnický Peak) had been buzzing with people and their point-and-shoots. With the last cable car of the day on the verge of leaving, he composed the shots for the people-free panorama image he would stitch together later.
Hoar-frosted leaves crunched underfoot early one morning as we left the green waters of Popradske Pleso behind us.
A medieval walled castle set upon a limestone clifftop, Spiš Castle dates back to the early 12th century.
There were cold, damp mornings when we could barely see for more than a couple of metres ahead, with or without head torches. The hoped-for shots of sun-dappled castles emerging from the mist after sunrise did not happen.
But there was always fun to be had, testing the various potencies of Tatratea, indulging in self-portraits, trying out new board games, or just faffing around.
Looking back over these sometimes shaky and unfocused images, I’m remembering that along the way, the priority was usually to have a rest and enjoy the regenerating effect of picnicking at a waterfall while taking in the view.
All good hikes come to an end.
[Shots handheld, using a Nex7 and Sigma 30mm 2.8, except for a couple of shots of Popradske Pleso].
Track to the Chata pri Zelonom Plese
Autumn colours and crisp air are energising, an unbeatable antidote to city living.
When we arrived, the place was enveloped in fast-moving mist.
The lake itself was frozen over – not so good for photographing reflections.
But there’s always something that catches the eye…
The Chata residents were friendly, and the local herbal tea a soothing relief from the cold.
By the time we had returned from our early morning hike the next day, the ice had melted enough in one spot for this reflection.
… and I had to go.
It’s not easy to reconcile hiking and photography. Backpacks filled with heavy dslrs, multiple lenses, filters and sturdy tripods, along with the waterproofs and other necessities, are probably not the best way to go. And going on trips with hiking – rather than photography – companions means that I’m constantly worrying about pausing too long to photograph waterfalls and mountain streams along the way.
For most of the people I know, it’s the sea that is calling, not the mountains.
So my week on the High Tatras in the Slovak Republic with a small group of photographers was definitely one of this year’s highlights.
Even the little town where we stayed was a treat, complete with a view of the mountains from my window.
Looking forward to the hike.
On the way to Popradske Pleso.
At Popradske Pleso.
Colourful crosses in memory of climbers who died on the mountains – at the Symbolic Cemetery beneath Mount Ostrva.