Photographing the Landwasser Viaduct in Switzerland

posted in: General, Photography, Switzerland, Travel | 1

A picture is worth a thousand words, but it does not tell the entire story about the Landwasser Viaduct.


Recently, I felt the urgent need to go outside and take some photographs. Looking for a subject, I came across the Landwasser Viaduct in Switzerland, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Sight. The 60m tall stone bridge stretching 130m across a gorge and leading the train straight into a tunnel looks magnificent. However, doing justice to a UNESCO World Heritage sight was way more difficult than anticipated. Additionally, there are so many people out there who already took a picture of it and I did not just want to copy someone else’s idea.

The Landwasser Viaduct in Switzerland - one of the most iconic UNESCO World Heritage sights in Switzerland.
The Landwasser Viaduct in Switzerland – one of the most iconic UNESCO World Heritage sights in Switzerland.

So I ventured on a Saturday to Filisur, which is very close to the Landwasser viaduct and where I slept in the Hotel Schöntal. Usually, I would have slept outdoors, but given I did not exactly know how cold it would be during the night I opted for the hotel. Leaving some gadgets in the hotel room, I left for the first southern look-out which is just a 20 minutes walk from the village. About every full hour 2 to 3 trains drive across the Landwasser Viaduct. I took some shots with the Sony A6500 and the telephoto Tamron lens 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 and additionally I flew the Mavic Pro drone.

Birds view of the Landwasser Viaduct in Switzerland on a moody morning.
Birds view of the Landwasser Viaduct in Switzerland on a moody morning.

Actually, I planned to shoot the southern outlook as well as from the bottom of the bridge, but given that I arrived quite late in the afternoon and it got dark by 7 pm I did not hike down. Hence, I did not know what to expect of the bottom of the viaduct when going there early in the morning.

Yet, at home I checked the path of the night sky and I was aware that the day before I arrived it was a full moon. If I made it down to the bridge by 3am, the path of the moon should go across the Landwasser Viaduct when viewed from a Southwestern perspective.

Going back to the hotel, I put a short clip on Instagram and went to bed by 11 pm.

🕪🕪🕪S O U N D O N !🔊🔊🔊 Quick edit from this weekend, I just cannot leave so many clips unused on my hard disk so I had to up my workflow😂. . 🚁DJI Mavic Pro 📸Sony A6500, Tamron 18-200mm f/4.5-6.3 📍Landwasserviadukt, Switzerland . . . #snow #rhaetiansensation #artofvisuals #liveauthentic #swissalps #leagueoflenses #agameoftones #landwasserviadukt #beautifuldestinations #instanature #welivetoexplore #globewanderer #river #landscapephotography #mavicpro #intotheforest #droneheroes #forestscape #theoutdoorfolk #capture #planetearth #inLOVEwithSWITZERLAND #earthvisuals #dronestagram #naturelovers #bestoftheday #landscapes #waterfall @djiglobal @mavic_pro @graubuenden @rhaetischebahn @srfschweizerradioundfernsehen

Ein Beitrag geteilt von Fly Fishing Tom (@expeditom_oconnor) am

The plan was to get up at 1:45am and being down by the bridge at 02:15. Yet, it did not come that far. I slept really bad and did not hear the clock ringing. Therefore I slept through until 05:30. I had never slept through as early as 5:30, but it can happen.

When I left the Hotel in Filisur, the milky way has disappeared already in the dawn of the new day. Given that the base of the Landwasser viaduct was a 40 minutes walk away, I made the best of it and took at least a night shot of the lovely village of Filisur. However, there were not that many stars left.

Village-scapes of Filisur early in the morning. The mountains in the background are lit by the moonshine.
Village-scapes of Filisur early in the morning. The mountains in the background are lit by the moonshine.

Down by the bridge, my planned shot did not work out and I had to figure out some different ones. However, most of them failed in various ways. For example, I missed the train and so on and so forth. Neatly put: I was not very successful.

This is a well-known perspective of the Landwasser Viaduct in Switzerland #copied
This is a well-known perspective of the Landwasser Viaduct in Switzerland but new without a train #copied

However, even less successful than me was another woman who got stuck with her car in the deep snow. I tried to help push her car back, but even with the help of 2 more people we could not get the car back on track. Given that the family had an event scheduled, they left the car and went away. I then had a chat with the woman, who lived in the house just below the bridge and she kindly offered me to sleep in a cabin at her place the next time I want to try to shoot the Landwasser Viaduct in Switzerland.

This view of the Landwasser Viaduct in Switzerland is more original by faming it with some scrub and trees from some distance.
This view of the Landwasser Viaduct in Switzerland is more original by framing it with some scrub and trees from some distance.

Given that I had some more time left, I decided to go somewhere else. During the train ride to Filisur, I saw the confluence of the Hinter- and Vorderrhein in Reichenau-Tamins which looked amazing. Therefore, I went there. Down by the river, the views were less convincing, but the water resembled the one  in Slovenia. Subsequently, I flew some rounds with the DJI Mavic Pro and returned home by train.

Plan B: The confluence of the Hinter- and Vorderrhein looks as if it was in Slovenia.
Plan B: The confluence of the Hinter- and Vorderrhein looks as if it was in Slovenia.

Take aways of photographing the Landwasser Viaduct in Switzerland

Obviously my prepared composition did not work due to no stars, but at least I could check the degrees where the milky way should stand to be visible for the next time. Remember to always have a plan B when going to photograph a sight where you have to travel some distance, which is usually always the case. Sometimes unforeseen things happen like the weather changes or you just slept in and missed your opportunity. The latter happened to me this time. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this trip and met some interesting people.

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Breakfast with the rhaetian railway locomotive at the Landwasser Viaduct in Switzerland - cheers!
Breakfast with the Rhaetian railway locomotive at the Landwasser Viaduct in Switzerland – cheers!
Drone composite of 3 exposures of the Landwasser Viaduct in Switzerland.Howver, all of them were too long in that the train was blurry. Bugger.
Drone composite of 3 exposures of the Landwasser Viaduct in Switzerland.Howver, all of them were too long in that the train was blurry. Bugger.

One Response

  1. […] try hard to not being trapped in four walls during winter undertaking photography trips. Yet, this is not always possible. Moreover, the short days and longer nights dampens my mood […]

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