Alpine hiking is extremely popular in Switzerland, and for good reason. The Alps offer unsurpassed views and miles of trails, and in summer you might come across herds of goats, cows, or sheep wandering the Alpine terrain with you. This day’s hike was supposed to be along a short, three-hour trail that was almost a loop, ending at a gondola that lands you back in Zermatt in time for a quick shower and a leisurely meal.
Unfortunately, a combination of rapidly changing weather and much dillydallying for pictures caused me to miss the last gondola—by two minutes. If there’s one thing you must know about the Swiss, it’s that they’re quite serious about their schedules for transportation. The only way back to Zermatt at 4:45pm was to walk, or Wanderweg! As it had started to snow earlier, I was a little concerned, but the weather held off and I ended up having a beautiful hike down to the next village.
On the way, I came across a herd of blacknose sheep, the iconic animals of the Swiss Alps. This picture was made near the base of the Matterhorn, but the surrounding mountains in the background were starting to pick up some beautiful evening light, and clouds were moving rapidly, taking the mountains in and out of sight. These sheep weren’t wild but belonged to one of the local farmers, so they were very curious about what we were doing there. I knelt down, and this one parted from the herd to come and check out my lens.
Photo tip: Get low! This shot works because I’m at eye level with the sheep. I was also very aware of what the rest of the herd was doing—they all had their eyes on me—and paid attention to the composition, using the hillside to divide the frame and the mountains in the background to provide a sense of place and add depth to the photograph.
Photographed with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon EF 24-105mm, f/4L IS USM lens. Camera settings: 1/320.; f/5.6; ISO400.
See more photos by Susan Seubert on Instagram at @susanseubert.