Posted Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:52AM
//August 8, 2012
Re: the Alp at Albristen
Just a little update and some snap shots to whet your appetites for the Lenk Lypse. We have now finalized our list of 12 attendees. On Friday, October 12th, we will be dividing the group of 12 into two groups of 6 to go up to the Alp Albristen at 1750 meters altitude above Lenk. Although there is a road going up to the alp, we will fly each group of 6 up and back by helicopter provided by BOHAG (Bernese Oberland Helicopter AG).
The Alp hut at Albristen was built in the 1850’s, and is one of the last original huts where cheese is made over an open wood fire. The ground floor of the hut is a stable for the cattle when they are up there in the summer. The first floor contains the cheese making installation and two bedrooms. Our plan is to have the first group transfer to the alp by helicopter from the Park Bellevue hotel, and to spend the morning making cheese. Meanwhile, the second group will be down at the airport in St. Stephan working with paramedics on helicopter rescues. Both groups join together for an old fashioned Swiss farmer’s style lunch, and then reverse roles, making another batch of cheese in the afternoon, and working on rescues in the valley below.
After returning to the hotel, everyone goes up to the rustic Iffigenalp for a fondue dinner, with folkloric music, all covered by MR and PR so you can shoot away to your heart’s delight.
As you can tell from my snapshots, which were never intended to be IS quality since the room was really dark and I had to work with on-camera flash, there is a lot of material in the hut for you to work with. We will provide a total of four strobe lights (two sets), battery powered, light boxes and reflectors for the shoot. Plus a couple of young models as well.
So, if anyone is driving to Lenk and has extra strobe lights, we will be able to use them. We will have a total of 3 sets of strobe lights, 2 lights each set.
If anyone reading this has expressed interest in the Lenk Lypse, but now cannot come, please let me know via site mail. Alternatively, if you would like to attend as a social, please also let me know.
A collection of photos of Alp Albristen is on Google + at the following link:
or try this link...
/July 16, 2012
The Lenk Lypse is alive and well! In this regard, let me apologize for not posting any new information sooner, but we have been working on the project here, and now have it fleshed out in great detail.
I have been joined by Walter Zeller in my work. Walter has some 40 years of photographic experience and 250,000 files in his inventory. He is the local contributor to the Simmental Zeitung, submitting written articles and photographic material to the newspaper. He was born and lives in Lenk, and knows the valley and its people in detail. He is also an electronics engineer and a colonel in the Swiss Army, and former member of the general staff, with experience in transportation, the alps, helicopter transport, logistics and communications. Walter is also in the process of applying to iStock as a contributor, and is truly excited about the Lenk Lypse.
As with most other minilypses, we will have a core group of 12 attendees and the remaining number of social participants, based on those who have expressed interest to date. The 12 attendees will be broken down into three groups of four photographers. Each group will have an additional multi-lingual leader/photographer, consisting of myself, Walter, and a third leader whom we have already approached.
Lenk: The village is located at an altitude of 1,000 meters at the end of the Simmental Valley in the Bernese Oberland. It is surrounded by alps of up to 2,000 m altitude and mountains which reach close to 4,000 m. In moving the attendee groups from venue to venue, logistics and timing are an issue. We have blocked in the following schedule:
Wednesday Evening, October 10th
Welcome evening in the Park Hotel Bellevue accompanied by wine and cheese and a light buffet. Members of the Lenk town council and tourist office in attendance. Introduction and review of the program, based on “Real People doing Real Jobs and Activities” with a focus on “Alpkulture” and daily life in an alpine environment.
Thursday, October 11th
The three attendee groups travel by car and 4x4 Landrover to three different alpine farms / venues for similar (but not repetitive) experiences, i.e. farming, forestry, large and small animal husbandry, milking, cheese production, landscape photography and so forth. Farmer style lunch included. Evening: dinner, photography forum, and viewing of days digital images on a screen in the hotel bar.
Friday, October 12th - Alp Albristen and Iffigenalp, air field at St. Stephan
At 1745 m altitude and built in the 1850’s, this is one of the few remaining alp huts which makes cheese the old-fashioned way, with the milk heated in a large copper kettle over a wood fire. We have decided to take all 12 attendees up to the alp in two groups of six, for morning and afternoon cheese making sessions, approximately 3 hrs each, including lunch on the alp. We will have total access to the alp and the farmers who work there with both MR and PR. Additionally, we plan to have several models also available. The hut interior is fascinating, with a large fireplace, wooden cheese implements, low ceilings, etc. (Make sure you have a good wide-angle lens with you, and extra batteries for your camera). With a limited supply of solar powered electricity and wood for heat, it is a blend of the old and the new. The first group will be transferred to the alp by helicopter from the back yard of the Bellevue hotel.
Each attendee will also receive a wedge of cheese made on the alp.
While one group of six is on the alp, the second group will be down in the valley at the St. Stephan air field working with the helicopter (see www.bohag.ch) and mountain rescue and emergency medical teams (plus additional models) from the nearby hospital in Zweisimmen. The helicopter company (BOHAG) is giving us both MR and PR. Estimated total helicopter usage is about 50 km over 1,000 m hight difference.
In the late afternoon, all will be transported back to the hotel. All attendees and socials will then be taken up to the Iffigenalp for a folkloric evening, featuring alphorn, a local folkloric trio, and a cheese fondue dinner - all covered by MR and PR for shooting purposes. End of the evening gathering in the hotel bar and slides of the days shooting.
Saturday, October 13th
Early morning shoots at the local butcher shop, bakery, and restaurants for food preparation shots and final food shots. In addition, there will be an opportunity to shoot the preparations of the Aelplerfest which takes place in the town square. A feature of the aelplerfest is farmers leading their cows through the streets of the village, their heads decorated with flowers, in celebration of the return of the cows from their summer homes high on the alps above Lenk.
At 14:00, the election of this year’s “Miss Lenk” takes place. Miss Lenk is the most beautiful cow in town! Lunch available in a large tent on the side of the square. Evening participation in the village festival in the large tent, with music, jodeling, local people dressed in traditional clothing (Trachten), etc. End of evening: farewell libations at the hotel bar.
Sunday, October 14th
Breakfast and departure.
We have organized lighting for each of the 3 attendee groups: 2 portable strobes, 1 largish light-box and 1 reflector.
The weather can be anywhere from warm and clear for T-shirts and shorts, to cold rain and wet snow. Or, it can be cold and clear! Given the nature of our program, please be sure to bring sweaters (the evenings are always cool) and layers of clothing to dress accordingly. Good shoes and gloves are essential!
Foul Weather Program (Plan B):
Since really bad weather generally does not last longer than a day, or part of a day, we are prepared to juggle our schedule around the weather, and also provide foul weather shooting venues as well.
There will be opportunities for air excursions by helicopter at your own expense on a voluntary basis. Additionally, we will have staff from the Lenk Tourism office available at the headquarters hotel (Bellevue) for information and assistance on rail and car excursions in the nearby Bernese Oberland, for example, to Gstaad, Interlaken, Grindelwald, etc. We also anticipate that a number of socials will also be able attend the attendee shoots as observers outlined above. There are also many additional walking tours available in Lenk, as well as rides on the local gondolas.
We are keeping to our budget of USD 500 (or the equivalent in Euro or CHF) per attendee to include helicopter fares and costs associated with the venues mentioned above, and lighting equipment. Payment via PayPal. I will send the PayPal instructions to you via site mail.
Social participant fees are on a voluntary basis, are yet to be specified. They will include food only function expenses, such as the folkloric evening on the Iffigenalp, wine and cheese, etc. More to follow in this regard, also, concerning reservations.
Since this will be a popular weekend, we have secured a block of rooms at the Park Hotel Bellevue, Lenk. The special discounted rates are CHF 75.-- per person, double occupancy and CHF 125.-- single occupancy. Continental Breakfast included. The block of rooms is from the period of Wednesday, October 10th through Sunday, October 14th for four nights. The block will be released by the hotel 30 days prior to arrival (on September 10th). Make your reservations at http://www.bellevue-lenk.ch/. Click on Booking, then online booking. Use the code “lenklypse” for your reservation during October 10 - 14, 2012 and/or a few days before and after. As I write this on July 16th, please wait a day or so before you try to make a reservation so that there is time to confirm that the reservations system is set up.
Swiss Rail Passes:
If you go to the Swiss Railway site at www.sbb.ch, you can book a round trip ticket from either Zurich or Geneva airports (both airports have train stations located at the airport) for about CHF 156.--. Depending on your anticipated length of stay in Switzerland, there are a variety of rail passes available online at www.myswitzerland.com. For example, a round trip transfer ticket will cost CHF 130.-- per person, from the airport and back to your destination of choice. These passes need to be booked from outside Switzerland, on line. They are not available to residents of Switzerland.
We will be covering all of your local transportation needs here in Lenk.
I look forward to seeing you in Lenk!
First of all, thank you to everyone for the great response for the Lenk Lypse to date! We now have a list of 28 interested istockers, and the list is below, in the order of when people contacted me.
I have also researched other minilypses on the forum, and have received valuable advice from echodelta, pidjoe, and EMPPhotography, among others on an acceptable number for attendees and socials, and just what you would expect to be included in the package itself.
Therefore, we will be using a target working number of 12 attendees, with the remainder of applicants listed as socials or, on a waiting list to be an attendee. The first 12 on the list below are in the order they have contacted me, and form the working list of attendees at this time.
Given the relatively small size of Switzerland, the availability of efficient public transportation, and the central location of Lenk (properly written as “Lenk im Simmental", there are many venues both here in Lenk and nearby which are great photographic opportunities. There is a wealth of information available on-line, and I will, of course, be happy to answer any questions you may have.
As your plans come together, please keep me informed of your intentions. I will cost out the package for attendees within the next month or so, as my plans come together.
List of Participants
We've been working on a minilypse for Switzerland in the village of Lenk, which is located in the Upper Simmental Valley in the Bernese Oberland. At an altitude of 1,065 m, Lenk is about 2 1/2 hrs from the Geneva and Zurich airports, and one hour from the capital city of Berne. Learn more at www.lenk.ch. It is the "Lenk Lypse".
The Lenk Lypse will take place on October 10 - 14, 2012, offering 3 days of shooting. The main attraction is the Aelplerfest Lenk, culminating on Saturday and Sunday with the celebration of the descent of the beautiful Simmental brown and white breed of cows from their summer pasturages high in the alps above the village. The Aelplerfest takes place in the village square, including lunch and a great party in a tent Saturday evening.
The Aelplerfest culminates Saturday afternoon with the election of "Miss Lenk", the most beautiful cow in the area. You will be able to cast your vote after inspecting all of the nervous, anxious and hopeful candidates in the town square!
Our partners in the Lenk Lypse are the local town government and the tourist office, along with the Swiss College of Hospitality Management Lenk (SHML) Learn more at www.shml.ch.
In addition to suggestions from the attendants, we are already working with the village in lining up "real people doing real jobs" in the community. The concept is to dig into the essence and people of this small dairy community. While Lenk has a tourist industry in the winter and summer seasons and is known as a family destination, it has resisted the temptation to convert any available patch of pasture into condos and apartments.
I will be happy to answer any and all of your questions, and look forward to welcoming you to the Lenk Lypse!
(Edited on 2012-01-13 07:01:41 by genekrebs)
Edit: Fixed up title of the thread
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Posted Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:13AM
Hi Gene. I am interested. One question. Switzerland is not the cheapest country on earth Do you think you can get some sponsorhip in order to reduce the costs?
Posted Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:37AM
Good question, and I am glad you asked. One of the reasons why we picked this weekend and event is because we want to keep it all as affordable as possible. As it turns out, the Aelplerfest Lenk is a genuine local event, run by locals for locals. It is not intended to be a tourist attraction. Most of the people from out of the area attending are day tourists, if you will, but they too are local from the larger Bernese Oberland area. The hotels in Lenk generally have rooms available and we plan to get competitive rates for iStockers.
But yes, the generally strong value of the Swiss franc does create the impression of Switzerland being an expensive destination. Everyone here is sensitive to that, and motivated to keep prices as competitive as possible. We are also working with the town government and local tourist office to put the program together, along with the local hotel school - SHML. Initial responses have been very enthusiastic.
I will post more specific information as I run the numbers on the event. I already have the expenses from other typical minilypses and intend to use them as a guideline.
Posted Fri Jan 13, 2012 8:49AM
I am interested, and would be able to confirm when costs are better known (hotels, lypse, flights)......I'll start looking at flights from Cananda
(Edited on 2012-01-13 08:50:48 by Daxus)
Posted Fri Jan 13, 2012 9:05AM
I will get some numbers for you within a week.
Posted Fri Jan 13, 2012 9:27AM
I would also be interested please add my name to the list
Posted Fri Jan 13, 2012 9:47AM
I'm interested, also from Canada... put me on the list!
Posted Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:30AM
Have not been to Europe and do want to go. For the time being, I'd like to put my name down!
Posted Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:42AM
I'm definitely interested...
Posted Fri Jan 13, 2012 11:19AM
Please put me down as interested, it sounds quite rich with possibilities.
Posted Fri Jan 13, 2012 1:36PM
Sounds good! Would need to know more about the costs and themes before committing 100% but you can put me down as interested also please.
Posted Fri Jan 13, 2012 1:40PM
Please put me down as interested in attending. I don't know yet if it will work but I would like to try to come.
Posted Fri Jan 13, 2012 2:01PM
I'm potentially interested.
Posted Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:07PM
Me too put me on the list. Price is important (this year).
Posted Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:23PM
put me on the list
Posted Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:22PM
Mom (Ceswan) and I have 'family' in Switzerland - so please put us down as interested as well - but last time we were there I lived on Snicker's bars because of the costs of other things we were doing.... would love to see what we could afford this time!
Posted Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:23PM
And - no kidding here - my 6 year old daughter's middle name is Aare because we loved the river and town so much!
Posted Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:23PM
Please add me to the list. I'm very interested and could put down a deposit to hold a spot right now if you like.
Posted Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:49AM
add me to the list please
Posted Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:17PM
I am very interested, please put me on the list
Thank you for all the work organizing the event!