It had been snowing for the last few days. This morning, an early Sunday morning in December, the clear, dark blue morning sky with a reddish colour gradient in the east finally heralded a wonderful, sunny day. The sky was a unique contrast to the freshly snow-covered landscape. The question of whether I wanted to go back to a warm, cosy bed or head out with my camera equipment was answered within a split second.

The world still seemed to be asleep, except for the hard-working helpers who had been working all night to clear the roads. What a valuable and yet hardly recognised job that many people do, even sometimes on a voluntary basis. I was particularly grateful, because otherwise I would never have got as far as the Appenzell region. Everything was so quiet, so peaceful. Even when a car drove past, the snow muffled the noise. It reminded me of the corona-virus era, when the roads were barely used and our planet was given a break. Not just it, but us too.


It often seems to me that we have missed the opportunity to recognise the qualities of this time and integrate them into our lives after corona. What would it be like to capture the good things of this time for ourselves and the world? It would take a little creativity, but why not think along these lines?

  • Car and flight-free days every year so that nature can at least recover a little.
  • A Corona Day as a statutory day off, on which we stay at home and remember everything that happened in 2020: lockdown, illness, death, peace and quiet, getting out into nature, lots of time in our own four walls, alone, together, quarantine, private projects, home schooling, home office, helping others, excessive demands, cycling, running, overcrowded hospitals, dolphins in the Gulf of Venice…
  • Introduce a care day on which you could perhaps do the shopping for your elderly neighbour.

I think there are some nice approaches that could be introduced individually or even as a community or country so that time not just ‚has been‘ , but that we can also get something positive out of it. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Now I’ve digressed a little. But this morning was so magically beautiful and calm that I had thoughts like this in my head, which I’m happy to share here. A photo is so much more than just capturing a moment. That’s why my blog ‘Behind the scenes’ exists in the first place. For me, it’s not about the technical settings on the camera at that moment. The situations in which pictures are created contain so much more than just visuals.

Back to the Appenzell region. It lies in north-east Switzerland and is known for its Alpine foothills, which are bordered to the south by the Alpstein. The Säntis, at 2502 metres above sea level, is our highest mountain in this mountain range and also in Eastern Switzerland. Incidentally, the region takes its name from the small town of Appenzell, which lies at the foot of the Alpstein and politically forms its own canton. Walking through Appenzell always feels a little surreal to me. As if I’m walking through a film scene. The building culture in this town is unique. Painted, historic houses from the last few centuries line the streets….
Oh, I’m digressing again. I guess, there will be a separate Behind the scene post on this soon. Back to my winter morning:

Imagine a gently rolling, hilly landscape with a thick, white layer of icing sugar. Scattered here and there are small houses with gabled roofs (they look something like this ^), here and there a small wood, and now and again a small village. I reached my destination, a car park, on a hill. When I parked my car, not quite in accordance with the regulations, I thought I would just take a few quick photos. I grabbed my camera and euphorically set off. The Säntis loomed in the distance in front of me. At the highest point of its jagged silhouette is a transmission mast and a restaurant. Neither of these are architectural highlights, unfortunately, but the view from up there is all the more impressive. I love distant views, but on this Sunday I was drawn to something else.

There were wonderful motifs in all directions, which were now glistening and sparkling in the rising sun. A few sparrows foraged for food at the edge of the forest and sang their morning song vigorously. The warmth of the sun caused snow to trickle from the trees again and again, landing with a muffled sound in the deep powder snow. Snow and ice transformed the otherwise rather dull, brown-coloured forest into a magical landscape. As I came to a path, a farmyard dog barked at me from a distance. As I started to photograph him, he suddenly stopped, sat down and turned from a yapping defender of his territory into a gentle model for the photo. During my time in the snow, I was intoxicated and photographed in many different settings with different lenses. How beautiful everything was! I could never capture it with paint and brushes. Good thing I had my Sony!

But all good things come to an end. And this was evident from my half-frozen fingers. I had left a note at home saying that I would be back at 10.00 am. It was already 11:00! I was so in the flow that I hadn’t even realised how quickly the time had passed. Do you know that wonderful feeling? You’re suddenly at one with yourself and the world. Even though I didn’t want to set off, my fingers wouldn’t let me delay. Back at the car park, I suddenly saw many more cars. They had all parked correctly in the spaces marked under the snow. Yes, that’s how it works here in Switzerland. But as my car was not obstructing anyone in its parking space, I only met friendly early risers instead of reprimanding, self-appointed police officers. One gentleman said to me: “Isn’t this just a breathtaking morning?” Yes, it definitely was.

If you wake up early on a Sunday morning and it looks like a beautiful day, I can only recommend that you resist the temptation of a warm bed and head out into nature. It will be worth it!