On the border between Bavaria and the Czech Republic lies one of the oldest national parks in Bavaria. With its wide variety of forest landscapes, mountains, wildlife, and waterfalls, the Bavarian Forest is literally a photographer’s dream. I’ve been striving to visit this spot since early 2018. That’s why I was extremely excited when I was presented the opportunity to explore the national park – of course, camera included!
With a vast array of choices (and frankly, not that much information out there!), it’s easy to get overwhelmed by where to go and what to capture in this breathtaking national park. The good news is: during my trip, I discovered my top 5 spots for some stunning photography in and around the park. So, before you aimlessly wander through the forest, buckle up and read on!
The Land of Wildlife
Spanning of over 250 hectares, the wildlife enclosure Lusen harbors over 40 different animal species in the Bavarian Forest. The drive to Lusen is an enchanting experience in and of itself, with tall pine trees engulfing the lonely, quiet road. At the enclosure, the tranquil sound of birds chirping and trees rustling is the perfect way to discover the vast wildlife in their natural habitat. Especially the lynx – which was reintroduced in the forest in the 1970s – is a very special and elegant subject for any photographer.
Pro-Tip: Bring a long lens and a sturdy tripod in your travel kit to photograph wildlife in the Bavarian Forest. The animals tend to be at a distance and frequently pace around. During my trip, I used the Fujifilm FUJINON XF 50-140mm with a 2x teleconverter and a Rollei C5i carbon tripod to capture my shots.
Hidden in the depths of a forest gorge, the Hochfall and Risslochfälle are mystical waterfalls for the adventurous traveler. The Hochfall (which literally translates to “high waterfall”) is the second highest waterfall in the Bavarian Forest and can be distinguished through its powerful current. The Risslochfälle cascade down the top of the Bayerwaldberg and can ideally be captured from multiple photography angles. When visiting the waterfalls, it’s important to note that during heavy snowfall, the path may be obstructed by fallen trees. Hence, the hike may be a little more challenging (as was the case with me!).
Pro-Tip: To get that beautiful misty look of water, pack your ND filters and intervalometer in that camera bag! Use your intervalometer to avoid camera shake and slide your ND filter on to bring dynamic movement into your shot. My favorites include the HAIDA NanoPro ND 3.0 and the Hähnel Giga T Pro 2 intervalometer.
In the Forest
A very unique location in the Bavarian Forest is the Baumwipfelpfad. The elevated wooden path leads through various treetops in the Bavarian Forest. For a photographer, the pinecone-shaped observation tower is particularly interesting. During the ascent to the peak, the winding path reveals multiple photography angles and stunning panoramic views.
Pro-Tip: This location is very popular amongst tourists and families. Therefore, to get the best shots of the spot, go early or during a cloudy day when it’s less crowded. Make sure to bring your wide-angle lens, like my favorite: the Fujifilm FUJINON XF 10-24mm
Fire and Flame
How many times in a lifetime do you see glass being made live in front of your eyes? With a long tradition of glassmaking, the Bavarian Forest is the perfect Photography Spots to encounter this art form. During my trip, I was fortunate to meet with family Eisch at their historic GlaSensium – a glassmaking site, which spans over three generations and has been around for over 70 years. The tour of the site provides a new perspective into the craft, its complexity and the creative skill that goes into it.
Pro-Tip: Get close to your subject: it might be scorching and scary, but your audience wants to see the fire and heat that goes into making these beautiful glass shapes. Use your long lens at a high shutter speed to catch those flames flying throughout the process.
Crossing Bohemian Borders
For the endless explorers – this one is for you. Namely, right across the border from the Bavarian Forest lays another hidden gem. The Bohemian Forest (Šumava) in the Czech Republic is very different from its Bavarian counterpart, yet equally abundant in forest landscapes. My favorite spot in the Bohemian Forest was the Stožec Chapel, located between two small, somewhat deserted villages (Hello? Anybody there?). With its wooden build from 1791, the chapel perfectly complements the Bohemian forest landscape.
Pro-Tip: Instead of photographing the chapel from the front, why not look for some interesting angles to capture it from? I used my Fujinon XF 10-24mm lens with the Fuji X-T2 mirrorless camera to contextualize the chapel in its surroundings.