Burg Eltz & Geierlay
I don't get those Instaposts haters! These are by far the most beautiful places to be and to shoot. So why should I limit myself to those places that are still undiscovered?
Early this year visited the Eltz castle and the Geierlay bridge.
Both can be visited on one day as there is time wise only 30-45 minutes distance between them. Still at night I drove down to Burg Eltz and arrived way before sunrise. The road to the Geierlay bridge is very beautiful and runs along the Mosel river. It was a cold day in winter and the weather forecast was rather bad. Perhaps that is the reason why I had the whole place almost to myself, not only before sunrise but also after that.
It’s important for me to have the places that I shoot basically for myself. I don’t like overly crowded places and I particularly dislike ruthless tourists and photographers. But that does not discourage me from visiting those beautiful and photogenic places. I will write more about that later in this blog.
The castle is impressive and is surrounded by beautiful woodland. In winter the castle has its own charisma, but I’m excited to revisit Burg Eltz in autumn time frame and in foggier conditions. It is worth visiting the castle before sunrise as it is beautifully illuminated by night. Unfortunately, I had no sunrise at all, as it was a very grey and cloudy day. Anyway I‘m satisfied with what I got out of this scene and I think I came away with some decent moody shots. The castle offers numerous compositions and still the possibility to find your (almost) unique one.
Still early in the day I packed my things and headed to the next location. I arrived at Geierlay bridge in the middle of the day. Already by arriving in the parking place you could tell that this location is prepared for a huge number of visitors. And despite the bad weather the bridge was quite crowded. As I mentioned before I do not like it at all, but I accept that because I’m still at an amazing place and I rather share that with people then not visiting it at all.
Winter is not the best time to visit the Geierlay bridge. It might be a different scenario when all is covered in snow, but beside that I would recommend to be there in Spring or Autumn. There is not much color in Winter, except for some evergreen firs. The bridge is spectacular to experience and to photograph and I enjoyed being there. I hope to revisit it at least once more in better conditions.
My standpoint to the following question should already be clear by now.
Are Instaspots still worth the visit or should they be avoided?
There is a growing number of people (mostly more or less successful photographers) that talk and write about how often all the beautiful places have already been visited and photographed, how crowded they are and that mostly Instagram is to blame for it.
I agree! They are right! The locations are crowded, there is almost no unique composition left and Instagram has made all of these locations famous.
BUT! Why should that discourage me from visiting those places. I don’t care how many people have visited these places before me, I don’t care how many times these locations have been photographed. What I long for is to experience and shoot the most beautiful places by myself. Let’s be honest and clear: There is almost no place on planet earth that is undiscovered and not been photographed. I cannot understand that at all. If you have the ambition to create something unique you can photograph your pet, or the park bench next door. But in my case, this will never be as satisfying as to be in a very special place.
If you are rich and do your living out of photography, you might also be able to afford travelling to remote places and get your unique shot somewhere else.
But please don’t turn into haters and photography snobs. I’m thankful to Instagram and for example the German Roamers. Without them I would have never been aware of such beautiful places in Germany and around the world.
The Eltz castle and the Geierlay bridge in particular are often discussed among German photographers as being crowded, overvisited and overphotographed.
Of course this is the case but my advice to everyone is to visit those places anyway. They are beautiful, exciting and unique. And they are there to be explored and experienced by you in person. No matter how many pictures you've seen before. But please be aware of the fragile nature of the locations. Be gentle to the local wildlife, architecture, residents and countryside. Be sure to leave as few of your fingerprints as possible.
Update October 2022
Eltz castle was one of the first locations when I started taking my photography hobby serious. Since then I have evolved as a photographer and although its still kind of curious to say also as an artist. I've recently revisited the castle. This time I had the advantage of the fall foliage and a little morning fog on my side. The light conditions were rather boring though. But as I was in the field and later behind my PC it became obvious that I was far more able to manage the conditions when it comes to photography and far more experienced and skilled when it comes to post production. Furthermore my style and my taste have evolved too over this 5 year journey.