Crocuses on frosty meadow and pre-dawn picture

During a recent spring sunrise in the French Alps, I enjoyed observing the crocuses spread out on the frosty floor. In order to get a picture of these crocuses, I had to lie down flat on the floor and shoot towards the sun. I really liked the backlit purple crocuses and how they contrast against the white background and the green meadows in the foreground. You can’t really see it on the photograph, but it was still quite frosty (late April at 1700 m altitude in the French Alps). I always find it amazing to think that while I’m feeling cold up there, these colourful flowers can live in such harsh conditions. When I arrived, they were literally covered by frost and surrounded by patches of snow.

While I was taking these pictures, I thought I could hear the sound of a stream or river when in fact I later realised it was a group of courting capercaillies right behind me (Tetrao urogallus, probably “major” but I’m not an expert…). There were around 5-6 of them dancing on a patch of snow and I felt privileged to be able to observe them. I didn’t have a lens with a long enough focal length with me on that day to take a good picture of them so I decided to “just” observe them, take it in and write about it later.

Backlit crocuses:

Crocuses at sunrise

Just before taking the above photograph, I arrived at the Col de Cenise (1724 m) in the French Alps and enjoyed that special time of day before sunrise also known as the “Blue hour”. I like it because of the mysterious atmosphere. At this time of day, the night has almost disappeared and daytime hasn’t quite arrived yet. Dreams are still very present in my mind and I try to express them through my photographs  taken in these early-morning surroundings.

I also like to feel like I’m the only person awake at that time of day (of course that’s not really true). The lights in the background of this photograph show that it’s still dark in the valleys below while the sun is starting to make its appearance on the higher summits. Passing aircrafts are often already lit by the sun and I can’t help but think that the view from up there must be quite stunning, especially for the pilots.

Pre-dawn meditations

I realised that I need to keep going outdoors as often as possible in order to catch more of these fleeting moments which in turn inspire me to do some more exploration. It’s really like a (not so) vicious circle hopefully leading towards photographic enlightenment. In reality, it often feels like chasing a carrot that’s dangling right in front of me. Often, I think that surely, there must be another greater or better photograph to be made just around the corner, accompanied by an amazing outdoors experience. And that’s a good thing as it’s a good pretext to spend more time enjoying life to its fullest.

Please feel free to share if you liked it and let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Thomas Bürkl

Thomas Bürkl is a blogger and photographer who loves spending time outdoors and escaping the strict rules of everyday life. His aim is to help people see the positive side of life through his photography and writing. Thomas comes from Bavaria in Southern Germany and now lives in the French Alps with his wife, daughter and son.

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Noémie - 18 May 2016

The photograph of the crocuses touches me deeply and reading your thoughts on both photographs make both of them even more special. I am looking forward to having especially the crocus photograph hanging on our wall one day – and to seeing more of your art!

Christie Osborne - 7 Nov 2016

Your work is incredible1 We need to get you out to the Sierra and Yosemite!

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