Photo professional Harald Kröher and a few members of the Rollei team went to the Swiss valley Val Roseg in March 2018 to carry out a spectacular ice princess shoot in a bizarre glacier cave and at the same time to test various Rollei products under the toughest environmental conditions. The story of the journey to the glacier, the ice cave shoot and the subsequent landscape photography excursion were very impressive. Great photos were taken in the snow. So let's start with the arrival …
Getting to Val Roseg
The participants of this expedition, because this shooting project, which is not entirely harmless and extremely demanding on people and material, must be described as a real expedition, just arrived with their cars at the entrance to the Val Roseg.g.
In this remote mountain area of the Swiss canton of Graubünden, private motor vehicle traffic is prohibited. To get to the hotel, the extensive material had to be stowed away in a minibus, which the entire team then drove through completely untouched and snow-covered nature to the only building in the entire valley brought..
Before going to the hotel, all the equipment was unloaded and stored in the snow. Due to the tight schedule and for safety reasons, the participants had to complete a snowshoe exercise including setting up an emergency tent..
The photo equipment and personal luggage survived the good hour in the deep powder snow at minus 26 degrees completely unscathed thanks to the excellently manufactured and optimally insulating Rollei backpacks. Even the batteries that we carried with us largely retained their high state of charge.
The helicopter flight
The next morning, after a quick breakfast, the troop left at 07:30 to snowshoe to a nearby makeshift helipad.
After just a few minutes, the helicopter hovered and picked up the first load of people and material.f.
For reasons of space, all of the equipment was packed in the outside bags and transport baskets of the helicopter and securely strapped down; for understandable reasons, the inside seats were reserved for the expedition members. Even the flight, which lasted only 3 to 4 minutes, exposed the exposed photo equipment to additional wind. Out of necessity, the backpacks were simply thrown into the deep snow on the spot after they had been put on, so that the helicopter could climb back up again, pick up the second tranche and bring it onto the glacier.
The landing site was about 50 meters below the entrance to the ice cave directly on the mighty Roseg glacier, which Harald Kröher had already explored on foot or on snowshoes.r.
Despite the comparatively short distance as the crow flies, the team needed about an hour to pick up the material and laboriously bring it up to the location with snowshoes.
Difficult weather conditions
The snow, several meters deep, was not only a physical strain on the members of the icy photo safari, but also the very dangerous snow holes, which even experienced mountain guides could hardly see, caused a significantly slower and very careful movement speed. These holes are caused by the partial melting of glacial ice. Subsequent snowfalls or drifts then cover the openings, which are not very wide, but offer little support due to the fine powder snow if you accidentally step into one of these treacherous pitfalls.
The journey to the ice cave wasn't a real walk in the park, even for the material. As expected, after the unprotected helicopter flight and storage in the snow, there was no prepared and well-insulated storage area for the valuable photo equipment in the ice cave. At minus 26.5 degrees Celsius, personal luggage and technical equipment found space directly on the ice floor of the breathtaking cave. However, neither the stable outer material nor the robust zippers of the backpacks took the really rough and literally cold-blooded treatment amiss or allowed moisture to get inside.ere.
The icy photo shoot
Arrived in the very dark and somewhat spooky ice cave, the people who had brought with them had to be brought along firstRollei HS Freeze 6 Studio flashes are unpacked, made ready for operation and placed. The only natural lighting was the sun's rays, which found their way through the cave's rather small entrance onto the reflective ice. Despite the millions of mirroring and reflections, one could only orient oneself in one-sixth of the entire interior without artificial illumination. A total of five flash heads went on the icy photo safari, depending on the subject and camera perspective, Harald Kröher planned three to fiveHS Freeze 6 to be triggered synchronously by radio on tripods of different heights and with the appropriate attachments.
The cool ice princess
The basic idea behind the shoot: to capture the contrast between a graceful, festively dressed ice princess and the archaic force of nature of the glacier as spectacularly and dramatically as possible. The female model not only had to stay in different outfits in the glacier cave and on the ice bridge above the entrance at minus 26.5 degrees, but also always look as natural and relaxed as possible..
The petrol-powered heat packs intended as a warm-up opportunity gave up completely after a very short time in the face of the unbelievable cold. The model mastered the enormous challenges of the 2-hour shoot in an exemplary manner and honestly earned the crown of the ice princess. Photo professional Harald Kröher was not only impressed by the cool lady's stamina and insensitivity to cold, but also by the Rolleilei-equipment earned the unqualified respect of the veteran artist. During the entire shoot he exposed at least 300 times and controlled three to fiveRollei HS Freeze with the one mounted on the hot shoeradio transmitter.
Although even his high-end professional camera did not always release reliably, he was able to rely on the functionality and luminosity of theRollei flashes left almost blind. The batteries of the studio flashes that were used the most were not completely empty after the dismantling phase, the replacement batteries were not even needed for a flash head that lay directly on the freezing cold floor of the imposing ice cave the whole time.
According to his own statement, Harald Kröher had not been able to experience a comparable performance under such extreme environmental conditions in his previous and certainly very varied career as an internationally recognized photo artist.
Harald Kröher was particularly impressed by the high flash output of 600 Ws in combination with the very compact dimensions and low weight of the battery and flash unit. He was able to use all flash functions at any time without restriction. In the ice cave, he experimented with a kind of reverse HSS flash and completely immersed the actually very dark glacier cave in glaring light.ht.
The millions upon millions of natural prisms reflected the light in green and blue tones, the optical effect achieved by the professional photographer was described by the expedition members as truly stunning and surreal. Outside the cave entrance, he placed the model directly on the imposing ice bridge and flashed it against the sun in HSS mode. Regardless of the consistently inhospitable temperatures, all controls remained smooth-running and fully operational.
The spectacular uniqueness of this shooting and the results achieved is not only due to the professionalism of everyone involved and the incredible reliability of the material used, but also the changing global climate conditions ensure that fewer and fewer glacier caves are created and can then be entered safely..
The experienced mountain guide was not at all sure whether a comparable ice cave would form in the next season.
The final landscape shoot followed. In order to be able to correctly classify the impressions of the participants of the exclusive landscape shoot after the spectacular glacier cave event described below, a few explanatory words about the hardware have to be said:n:
The newRollei Extremium round filter have properties that fundamentally change the handling of screwable lens attachments. Until now, filters and lenses could only be joined and separated again if temperature differences did not cause the individual materials to contract or expand to different extents. In the worst case, the lens and filter were connected forever if you didn't want to risk breaking the glass. With the titanium rings of the Extremium round filters, these problems have simply been resolved. The extremely temperature-resistant titanium ensures that the filters can be screwed on and off again and again without hesitation, even in sweltering heat, freezing cold or enormous material temperature differences..
Against this background, the expedition members understandably found it somewhat difficult, at -26.5 degrees just such different filters from the warmer filter bags and then Rollei photo backpacks to take and to mount on the already very cold lenses. Or you can attach your favorites in the warm hotel and easily unscrew them again in the open air.
This unexpected flexibility made it possible for the photographers to look at the enchanting mountain world of the Val Roseg through the various filters under actually very filter-hostile conditions and to capture it on the memory card of the professional cameras they took with them. Especially in the face of an almost endless sky, the potential for improvement of as Premium polarizing filter very obvious: richer blue of the sky and crisper contrasts directly in the picture.
the ND filter of the Extremium family were understandably mainly used for long-term exposures. A few clouds then appeared punctually and served as ideal test objects in order to be able to experiment freely with the exposure time..
In addition, the very intense sunlight and the extensive snow areas also ensured that a fundamental overexposure had to be compensated for from different perspectives. Even proven professionals were more than impressed by the possible image variations, also in view of the extreme weather conditions, which normally require very careful handling of the material..
The quality of the results goes far beyond the unfiltered potential of even high-end cameras. Furthermore, not all effects can be achieved afterwards with digital image post-processing.n.
In the high mountains, it is still advisable to always use a suitable UV filter in addition to the creative filters, which can remain permanently on the lens as a protective glass without running the risk of not being able to part with it at all at some point.en.
Not only one participant was more sure when viewing the photographic yield in the evening that he had really been physically there - the qualitative differences and the enormous increase in visual intensity through the use of different extremum filters left none of the testers unimpressed..
The Rollei products that you took with you not only passed your ice baptism with flying colours, but were also able to fully contribute to the success of this really unique and memorable expedition to one of the most photogenic and at the same time most inhospitable regions of Switzerland.n.