The year was barely two days old when my friends and I ventured out in the woods of Luxemburg for a week long hike. We had hoped for snow, then feared the rain, but in the end, what we got was early spring.
A month or two ago, we planned our first winter hike of 2012. Previous years we’d had good winters, so we were looking forward to another great camping trip in the snow. But as January drew nearer, the winter refused to come. In fact, it seamed like October never left: the weather forcast spoke of nothing but rain. But when we got to Luxemburg, those nasty predictions failed to become reality and the weather gods seemed to smile upon us. Hardly any rain, temperatures well over zero, it felt like spring. We walked trough beech woods filled with gorgeous mossy rocks and tree stumps. There were mushrooms everywhere. We followed many mini canyons lined by with bizarre rock walls. We climbed trough narrow crevasses, along sparkling brooks. It was beautiful.
Strangely enough, a storm seemed to rage. At the bottom of the forest, we felt hardly any wind, but looking up, we saw the treetops waving around like mere twigs in the wind. There were fallen trees and branches everywhere. At one point, several trees had fallen across the trail, and while we were climbing over them, another tree only 30 meters away just fell over. But still we didn’t feel the wind. We just took care not to pitch our tents near rotten trees, and enjoyed the abundance of fire wood. Wet branches our not, my fellow campers possessed some mad fire making skilzz, so every night we enjoyed a roaring camp fire.
The advantage of the not-so-cold weather was that I didn’t have to worry about my Olympus XA’s battery. The disadvantage of the lack of snow was that my Colorsplash couldn’t quite get enough light on the 100 ISO film (let me tell you, scanning underexposed B&W film is hell). The lack of rain meant I didn’t have to worry too much about keeping both cameras dry. The beautiful surroundings ment I was in photography heaven. The XA was loaded with Lomography Tungsten 64 film, the colorsplash contained Lomography Earl Gray 100. What I particularly like about the pictures, is how they each make the trip look totally different. The B&W pictures are dark, grim, and make it seem like a tough hike in difficult circumstances. The tungsten pictures are rosy and have a sunny look. The forest seems light and springlike. Of course, the truth lies somewhere in between, as you can see from the following (boring old digital) picture.
Isn’t it amazing how a simple thing like the choice of film can totally change your perspective?
Next month I will go north, all the way to Troms, Norway. How shall I paint the snow there? Tungsten-rosy? X Chrome-green? Stark black and white? Orange redscale? Or natural C-14? What would you do?
Photos and words by Maaike van Stratum. Located in flat and crowded Holland, Stratski loves to go hiking in empty mountainous regions, especially when it’s cold. Read more articles on the Analogue Travels series.