About the Shot: Uetliberg 2:40pm

Buy a print of Uetliberg 2:40pm and make Richard happy.

My lasting memory of Zürich is visiting Starbucks, buying two coffees and walking out about AUD$20 poorer. Switzerland’s largest city is not a cheap place to visit, but it has a certain appeal. For one, there is its famous public transport system; two, the famous clock that keeps the famous public transport system going; three, the famous chocolates that keep famous Switzerland famous. There’s also a certain natural beauty to the city and its environs. 

The Uetliberg is Zürich’s local mountain. At 869m above sea level, it may be tiny in comparison to Switzerland’s commanding alpine peaks, but it is no less beautiful. Being the intrepid mountain explorer/photographer I am, I make an effort to visit all the nearby peaks when travelling, especially if they can be reached by a direct connection by train from city centre. Because intrepid.  

The Uetliberg is reachable via the S10 on Zürich’s S-Bahn. We (the wife and I) boarded the train at the rather striking Selnau station which lies like some kind of Bond villain’s lair underneath the river. Unlike other mountain railways in Europe, the Uetliberg railway line is a bog standard adhesion traction train line, not a rack railway or funicular type employed on other steep gradients.

For the duration of our visit, the weather in Zürich had not been particularly pleasant. When we spied blue sky and could see the summit of the Uetliberg from the hotel, we made our way to the underground station to board our magic mountain train.

At the risk of sounding like a 72-year-old woman, the ride was very pleasant. But the clouds kept on swirling. What had been a blue sky in Zürich town was quickly becoming a sea of clouds. By the time we reached the top station, a short walk from the summit proper, rapidly flowing clouds enveloped the mountain. The sun, low in the sky, did its best to pierce through the shroud. 

The 125 ISO Ilford FP4+ I had loaded in my Hasselblad in anticipation of a sunny day seemed wasted on what had turned to atmospheric misery. That was until the elements thinned out enough to create the eerie balance of light and cloud. I captured a whole roll on the way up the hill. The image at the top of the page, captured at approximately 2:40pm is my choice from the roll. 

The summit and surrounds had their own interesting features, some of which you can see in the images. The view was both superb and terrifying, given the 30m open observation tower we climbed to take it all in. 

We walked back down to the station, camera batteries and film depleted, and wandered into the self-serve restaurant nearby. Hot coffee from a machine had rarely tasted so good. Being almost winter and almost 4pm, it was almost dark by the time we made our way out to the waiting train. Days are short in Europe in November. It pays to make the most of them.

Buy a print of Uetliberg 2:40pm and make Richard happy.

Using Format