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Oeschinen Lake: The Mirrored Lake of Mystery

Oeschinen Lake: The Mirrored Lake of Mystery

February, 11th 2023

Switzerland, in general, is one of the most beautiful places in the world. All the villages tucked away in amazing mountain ranges, rolling hills and meadows, historic cities, waterfalls and much more. But, there is one specific place that stands out among the rest. A place that harnesses all the breathtaking beauty, history, fun and activities that should be a no-brainer on the ‘must see’ list.

It is absolutely one of my favourite locations in Switzerland, which I make an effort to visit regularly. And that’s Lake Oeschinen. What I personally have deemed as the Mirrored Lake Of Mystery.

Lake Oeschinen with its crystal-clear waters, surrounded by towering mountains and lush greenery, provide a breathtaking and picturesque backdrop. Easily making it one of the most beautiful destinations in Switzerland. 

This glacial mountain lake above Kandersteg in the Bernese Oberland, has a lengthy history from a clean village drinking water source, to pivotal bloodbath battle for sovereignty. This lake is a mirror of mystery where life just seems to stand still. Making it one of my favorite places to be and capture on camera. Let’s delve into this place a little more. Plus, I’ll try to explain why the mystique and serenity seems to wash over you when you’re there…

The Battle of Oeschinen

The battle took place in the year 1388, and was fought between the Swiss Confederation and the forces of the Habsburg Empire. The conflict was part of the wider struggle for independence that the Swiss were engaged in during the late Middle Ages, and it was a key moment in the establishment of the Swiss as a sovereign state.

The Battle of Oeschinen occurred at a time when the Swiss were emerging as a powerful political force in Europe. Despite facing opposition from larger and more established powers, the Swiss were able to use their strategic position and military prowess to assert their independence and establish a state that would endure for centuries.

Rooted in tensions between the Swiss and the Habsburgs, who were seeking to expand their influence in the region. The Swiss saw the Habsburgs as a threat to their independence and responded by mustering their own forces and engaging the enemy.

A true David versus Goliath story…

Fought in the mountainous terrain surrounding the lake, the battle was characterized as intense and bloody. Despite being outnumbered, the Swiss were able to emerge victorious and secure their place as a sovereign state.

Today, the Battle of Oeschinen is remembered as a pivotal moment in Swiss history and is celebrated as a symbol of the country’s independence and military prowess. The lake and surrounding area continue to be popular tourist destinations, attracting visitors from around the world who are drawn to the beauty of the region and its rich history.

The Mirrored Lake

It is pretty common for Lake Oeschinen’s water to be very still giving it that mirror quality.

Smooth and mirrored water evokes a sense of calm and serenity due to its stillness and reflective qualities. The perfect reflection of the surrounding landscape on the surface of the water can create a sense of symmetry and balance, which is very pleasing. 

The stillness of the water can also give the illusion of a vast and open space, which allows feelings of freedom and openness. Making mirrored water fantastic for photography and artwork.

I sat on the shore for quite a while and enjoyed the unique atmosphere and peaceful silence. This place has a way of allowing peace to wash over you like the loving embrace of a gentle mother.

The vastness always makes me feel calm and seeing a symmetrical ‘double mountain’ really opens up the feeling of being present. It is spectacular and always gets the creative juices flowing.

The Connection To Ancient Villages

There are three ancient villages that surround Lake Oeschinen. All of which have strong ties to the lake and an amazing generational history.

The first is Frutigen, located at the western end of the lake. This village is known for its traditional farmhouses, which have been passed down from generation to generation.

Next is the village of Adelboden, located on the eastern side of the lake and is renowned for its beautiful traditional architecture and stunning mountain scenery. 

Visitors can explore the ancient stone houses, traditional wooden barns, and other historic buildings in the village, which have been well preserved over the centuries.

Lastly, the village of Kandersteg, located on the southern shore of the lake. This village is considered by many to have a particularly strong cultural connection to Lake Oeschinen.

Kandersteg has a long history of fishing and farming, and its residents have relied on the lake for their livelihoods for centuries. The village is also known for its traditional wooden houses, many of which have been passed down for several generations, and for its deep cultural and spiritual connection to the surrounding landscape.

In addition, Kandersteg is also a popular tourist destination and is known for its picturesque setting and outdoor recreation opportunities, such as hiking, skiing, and snowboarding. Therefore, this village is a hub of cultural and economic activity, with strong ties to both the local community and the wider region.

While all of the villages around Lake Oeschinen have a connection to the lake, Kandersteg is often considered to have a particularly deep connection, both historically and culturally.

All of these villages offer a unique window into the past and are a must-visit for anyone interested in the history and culture of the Swiss Alps. Whether you are an historian, an architecture buff, or simply someone who loves to explore the great outdoors and unique locations. These ancient villages around Lake Oeschinen are sure to captivate and inspire.

So, be sure to make your trip to the lake a few days long to see these three incredible villages! You’ll leave with some absolutely incredible shots.

The lake is easily accessible by mountain railway (cable car) and a short walk during the high season. But, it can be crowded during this time as you can imagine…

On my last visit, I chose a beautiful autumn day when the railway was already shut down. Without the railway, it’s a 1.5 hour walk to reach the lake. Apart from me, there were very few people and except for an occasional breeze, there was absolutely no wind. Allowing the water to be as smooth as glass and reflecting the surrounding mountains.

And of course, adding in the thoughts of the bloodshed from an intense battle that liberated Switzerland hundreds of years ago adds another unique and mysterious feeling. After some time, I hiked further and looked for spots to potentially do a photo shoot with a model. I wanted to gather ideas on how well I could capture a story or narrative from a place with so much depth. After finding a few spots that I felt would make incredible portraits, I made my way back as the evening began to turn.

Shortly before the descent, I turned around and watched the last rays of sunlight illuminate the mountain peaks. A truly unforgettable and grateful moment that I was able to capture with my camera. As much as I love the colours of nature and want to capture them in that natural way, I chose to take pictures in black and white. To me, it seems to capture the mystique around a place with so many energies. It also allows the viewer many avenues in which to interpret the shots.

Here are some thoughts that went through my mind while taking pictures at Lake Oeschinen and reasons why it should be on the top of your list of places to visit and/or capture in Switzerland…

  • Awe and inspiration. The stunning vistas of the Swiss Alps are sure to leave a lasting impression on anyone visiting the lake. Photographers are likely to feel a sense of awe and inspiration from the breathtaking beauty of the landscape and calming nature of the still water.

  • A desire to capture the moment. With such a stunning natural setting, you may feel a strong urge to capture the moment and preserve the memory of this place. Whether it’s an incredible panoramic shot of the lake and surrounding mountains or a more intimate study of a particular aspect of the environment. The desire to create a lasting record is likely to be strong. 

  • Attention to detail. With so much to see and capture, you may be likely to focus on the small details that make the landscape so unique. From the intricate patterns of sunlight and shadow on the water to the delicate blooms of wildflowers. There is always something new to discover at this place. That’s why I always want to go back…

  • An appreciation for nature. Spending time surrounded by the beauty of nature is likely to foster a deeper appreciation for the natural world. Whether it’s admiring the majesty of the mountains or marveling at the intricate details of a wildflower, expect to come away with a new appreciation for the beauty and diversity of the natural world.

Overall, Lake Oeschinen is a truly special place that offers something for everyone, whether you are an experienced photographer or simply someone looking to enjoy the beauty of the Swiss Alps.

You can hike, swim, explore the surrounding villages and just soak in the history of such an amazing area in Switzerland. 

When it was already dark, I arrived at my car tired, but happy and satisfied. After a coffee at the valley station restaurant, I made my way home.

Another great trip to one of my favorite places in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

Shots taken with Camera Nikon D850, Nikkor AF Lens, and natural light.

I hope you enjoyed the shots, this blog and are inspired to go see this place for yourself!

Below is a link to more pictures and information about the Mirrored Lake Of Mystery. 

Now let’s get out there, and shoot!

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