Another holiday thread: The south-eastern corner of Switzerland (Val Müstair) 2019

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
124
Switzerland
Matt
This is not going to be as long and intense as last years thread, but some might find it interesting - because this time, I did the opposite: Instead of packing my most highly rated gear, I went with two compacts, the Panasonic FZ1000 and, again, the Canon G1X III, plus my father's Olympus XA with Fujifilm C200.

It's early days (literally - I arrived this afternoon), but it was very interesting to see that when out walking through the woods, the G1X III didn't come out once. The FZ1000 appeared to be in its element, and the images (RAW files at base ISO, so far!) look very nice indeed, considering we're talking about a first generation 1" sensor here. I was most taken with the long range, too - a number of my favourite shots from today's short walk were taken at the 146mm (400mm-e) end of the zoom. Honestly, I could have faked a couple of macro shots - easily; I zoomed in on the bee in the first image and was almost shocked at how detailed things looked at 100%; slightly soft, of course, but by no means unusable. Sadly, the need to shrink the images for upload because of the low bandwidth around here has swallowed must of that information; I still like the shot though ... I pulled back quite some of shadow detail in the second shot, too. All in all, I see no reason to regret my decision to take it easy after SiJy and use the most hassle-free camera I own. That said, I had one issue: There's no built-in ND filter - so no .way to pull shutter speed low enough for smooting. Not too bad (I'm usually not into that anyway), but a little disappointing; the G1X III could do this, of course ...

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The G1X III came into its own when strolling through the village - though light was so bad that I didn't get a lot of worthwhile shots, but the RAW files stay usable up to ISO 3200 (there's one shot here). That's a clear advantage over the FZ1000 (ISO 800 is okay, but ISO 1600 gets really ugly in terms of chroma noise - darktable can handle it, but that means a lot of detail lost).

I'll probably post daily - or at least a couple of times during my extend week's stay; shooting is fun so far, and quite rewarding in spite of the fact that the weather wasn't as fine as might have been.

M.
 

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
124
Switzerland
Matt
Second day, first hike uphill. Nothing special - but the FZ1000 performed very well again (in contrast to myself ...). A couple of random shots ...

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The FZ1000 turns out to be an amazing critter cam ...

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And finally, the famous 1250 years old chapel (Carolingian - a very rare thing in the Alps, quite significant) - with the inevitable tourists with their backs to it, of course.

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So far, when out and about, the FZ1000 obviously does all I need. It's not a camera I'd carry on a casual walk or when aiming for a more dedicated and focused type of shooting experience; for that, I quite enjoyed my little impromptu outing with the G1X III in the early evening. However, I only took fun shots with it ... Nothing to include in this post, really. Oh, and in spite of keeping the XA ready during the whole hike, I didn't take a single shot. I guess the FZ1000 and the other cameras don't mix ... So, from now on, I'll take either the FZ1000 or (one of) the others with me - horses for courses ... FWIW, that never happened when I carried the G1X III alongside my Leica M10 - they complement each other.

M.
 

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Kevin

Code Monkey 🐒
Nov 3, 2018
104
Pennsylvania, USA
Seems a beautiful area and great choice for a holiday! 😎

Being the curious type the wood in P1000710.jpg caught my attention... is that channel in the middle of the curved wood a natural formation or some type of old man made construction?
 

bartjeej

Hall of Famer
Nov 12, 2010
124
bart
I'm eager to see more of this! I am trying to figure out if an RX10 iii would really be worth the size and weight when used in addition to a large sensor compact (Fuji X100 in my case), so your experiences will be very useful to me :)
 

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
124
Switzerland
Matt
Seems a beautiful area and great choice for a holiday! 😎

Being the curious type the wood in P1000710.jpg caught my attention... is that channel in the middle of the curved wood a natural formation or some type of old man made construction?
It's an ancient technique for irrigation called "auals" in Ladin (the local idiom - a variant of Rumantsch); you find those all over the place if you know where to look. However, this one is the first curved one I've found - I'd say they carefully chose a suitable piece of wood, but didn't shape it any further (except for sculpting it, of course).

I'm eager to see more of this! I am trying to figure out if an RX10 iii would really be worth the size and weight when used in addition to a large sensor compact (Fuji X100 in my case), so your experiences will be very useful to me :)
I think if I owned a RX10 III or IV, I could actually do away with the G1X III (for this type of shooting, anyway) because it's sufficiently weather-resistant. The FZ1000 is not - but that's about it for downsides (the RX III/IV have more reach, but I'm really very satisfied with the FZ1000's lens).

M.
 

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
124
Switzerland
Matt
Took only the G1X III today (and the XA which, again, wasn't used). Made the mistake to take a light, but simple backpack with sub-par straps. What was intended as a little stroll turned into a three hour walk through the valley (down to the last village before the border to Italy, from 1450m to 1250mm above sea level and back again) with an additional roundtrip to the waterfall. I only took image on the way back up.

Tractor - though I promise I'll go easy on them from now on (mostly because they simply abound round here and would swamp everything if I went after them in earnest).

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The waterfall in a narrow gorge on the south side of the valley ...

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And finally, a shot of the other side of the valley; the farmstead up top is where I had lunch yesterday ...

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M.
 

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
124
Switzerland
Matt
Peculiar forecast today, and it was quite accurate: Sketchy weather in the morning, thunderstorms with heavy rain in the afternoon (and into the evening). I waltzed back down to Müstair once more to fetch a couple of things I'll need tomorrow (I'll have to get a bit of work done - nothing for it, and weather will be quite bad). So, not a lot of new vistas planned. I took the G1X III just in case - and found a couple of things to shoot. It's a neat little camera, and its weather-sealing came in really handy later in the day, as you'll see.

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In the face of what was to come, this struck me as somewhat redundant - the artificial rainbow was nice, though.

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It was amazing how the high mountains around the valley held up the rain for a couple of hours ...

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However, at noon, it started to rain; the sky cleared once again, though, so I chose to walk home again (instead of taking the bus). This is what I saw coming my way - and I heared thunder several times some way to my left.

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The path I was following is visible in the lower part of the next image. It only started to rain when I was already quite close to home (no downpour, either - just some light shower).

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However, the thunderstorms finally arrived about half an hour after I had come home, and there were a couple of tremendous blasts rolling through the valley. It subsided later - only to open up more or less the moment I decided to go out for dinner.

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The small brook behind the house where I'm staying had swollen to a wild stream in a couple of hours, carrying loads of mud, pieces of wood and the occasional boulder; it actually damaged the bank further down (I went back to have a look after dinner) - though I think that's kind of how it's intended to work, judging from the fact that it's made of sand and gravel in that area (you can see the stone walls that are in place higher up).

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(Rather grainy image, I know, but I tried to keep the mood ...)



@grebeman Close enough for you this time? ;)

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Lastly, weather forecast is so bad that I don't know if I get to shoot tomorrow - we'll see.

M.
 
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MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
124
Switzerland
Matt
As indicated, it's been raining constantly the whole day, so after hesitating for a long time, I decided to go for a stroll regardless. And while it wasn't comfortable, it was still nice to be out and experience things.

It's interesting that once it's raining, you're basically *in* the clouds (or just below them).





As some may already have discovered, one of the main factors in the valley is water - it's everywhere, but not always in the way people would like it to be. The main river, the Rom, is a fast-moving mountain stream at the best of times; now it was silted up and violent; the level had risen somewhat alarmingly as well over the last 24 hours, mostly because all those other streams and brooks bring ever more water down from the slopes. This is what it looks like if one of them bursts out of its bed (still flowing into the Rom, though, which just about manages to take it all). You can see the water coming out between the trees ...



Sure enough, the Rom's level is so high that it seems to want to overflow any minute; the water came right up to the side of the path ...



... and then I came to a spot where it actually already covered it; it was impossible to see how deep the water was, so I had to use a fallen branch to probe and help me get across.



All in all, quite an interesting little walk - very wet, too, but that was to be expected; I'm okay with wet as long as I can keep myself warm enough.

Again, if it hadn't been for the G1X III, no taking images in this kind of weather ...

M.
 

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
124
Switzerland
Matt
Today I went up to the source of the river Rom. Due to changing (and sometimes challenging) light, I did a bit more post processing than usual.

I failed to get a useable image of the source itself, but that's mainly because it looks just like sort of a small puddle - but contrary to many other streams in the valley, it produces a steady outflow of water, and it's a surprising amount, too. As soon as it reaches its proper bed, the river looks like this.

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A bit further down, it fans out - there's always a main river, but there are quite a few others; it's an intriguing sight - and the official path runs right through the whole system!

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It's beautiful place - I could have spent even more time there.

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Sadly, I felt unwell for a bit. After I had recovered, I tried a different way home, but had to double back, it was getting too risky ...

Speaking of risks, I came across that scene - that's a major rock slide that came down not too long ago (though probably not during the last couple of days); this was about 1km above the village ...

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Finally, last light in the valley (seen from my host's balcony).

 

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
124
Switzerland
Matt
Enjoying these Matt, but do stay safe.
Funny you should say this ... I went for a stroll - and indeed had to give up and double back because the flooding of the last couple of days had washed away part of the path, both times leading to a ford I would have had to cross. The first one was just manageable (had to go down on all fours for a couple of meters on my way up). You can see the high-water mark (that's where all the wood pieces have been left behind).

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On the second ford, the damage was even greater, and after checking the edge, it turned out that I would have had to jump onto very rocky and uneven terrain to cross - no deal for my aging joints ... though I found evidence that other people had done so. So, I had to double back again (after yesterday's detour); the risk just wasn't worth taking. Again, the high-water mark is visible - as well as the stone cauldron the water created right there ...

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A mess of mosses ...

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Finally, I only spotted the "foreground interest" when actually framing the shot - but found it hilarious enough to leave it in.

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M.
 

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
124
Switzerland
Matt
Last post for this year - and a rather peculiar one: When I was out walking this morning, I come up empty as far as images are concerned.

Then, in the afternoon, I felt like a little walk again - but seeing as I hadn't produced anything worthwhile the rest of the day, I left without a camera. So, when I came across things to shoot, I only had my smartphone (Google Pixel - first generation). No tricks involved (apart from pp), straight DNGs all the way.

The files aren't as robust as the ones coming from the FZ1000 and G1X III (highlight recovery is a big problem - though the same can be true even for the G1X III at times), but I'm pleasantly surprised what I could do with them. It's by no means the worst small sensor camera I've shot with ...











The last shot was particularily tricky and almost impossible to frame. Having to squint at a reflecting screen is really a terrible thing - the Pixel's screen isn't bad overall, but in such inclement light, it was hard to see anything at all.

btw. Footej Camera is a really cleverly made app - you can place your metering and focus points independently (tap anywhere in the frame for joint metering and focus, than drag the focus point to the place you want). That's quite a nice way of getting your basics right; and once mastered, it *can* be quick, too (not that I'm very good at this kind of shooting ...).

M.
 

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