Infrared Bavaria


There are many beautiful parts of the world and the foothills of the Alps, in southern Bavaria, is most certainly one of those places. I had wanted to visit for some time and, in September 2016, I finally arrived in Oberammergau which was to be my base for two weeks of hiking, being a tourist and photography.

The area around Oberammergau is full of subjects for photography and I was to be shooting in the infrared spectrum for much of my visit. Here you can find the castles of King Ludwig II – Hohenschwangau, Linderhof and, of course, the most famous of them all, Neuschwanstein. All are set in beautiful countryside and are a photographer’s delight.

Some 3 hours’ drive to the east of Oberammergau is Berchtesgaden National Park, one of the world’s most beautiful locations; but its sinister past is ever present. During the 1930s Hitler bought a house, the Berghof, in Obersalzburg. This house effectively became Hitler’s secondary headquarters during the war. The surrounding land was taken over by the NAZIs either by compulsory purchase or, if the owners were reluctant to sell, by force and Berchtesgaden became a high security area with access becoming very difficult. Goering, Goebbels, Speer and Bormann all had houses built near the Berghof.

Also in the area, and not to be confused with the Berghof, is The Eagle’s Nest, The Kehlsteinhaus. This tea house was built as a birthday present for Hitler by Martin Bormann and features in photographs and films of the era although Hitler rarely visited.

On a photographic technical note any photographer shooting in the infrared should understand that, as the area is some way above sea level, there is a higher percentage of coniferous trees. The downside to this is that conifers are much less reflective of infrared light than deciduous trees and can render much darker in IR photographs thus losing some of that ethereal quality of infrared photographs.