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Roland Gerth, Thal

Tremendous spectacle of nature

Between Lake Neuchâtel and the Val de Travers, on the border between the cantons of Neuchâtel and Vaud, lies the Creux du Van, a tremendous natural rock formation, impressively captured by landscape photographer Roland Gerth.

The rocky walls rise up vertically 160 metres from the valley floor, creating a four-kilometre-long stony arena that could not be more imposing. This popular tourist destination is home to chamois, ibexes, lynxes and marmots. The unique landscape, with its forests and Arctic-Alpine flora, is protected by a nature reserve spanning 25 square kilometres.

A picture by landscape photographer Roland Gerth was selected for the miniature sheet. He visited the Creux du Van on various occasions at different times of the year. For this particular photograph he spent the night there in order to capture the east-facing rocky cirque at sunrise. In Gerth's view, the fact the sky was not completely cloudless on this day contributed to the special beauty of the setting. "For my landscape shots I always use a grey graduated filter that darkens the sky somewhat and evens out the contrast", he says. "The human eye does this automatically, but a camera needs a little help."

Jürg Freudiger

Discovering the Creux du Van on foot

As spectacular as the rocky cirque looks, it can safely be crossed in around four-and-a-half hours. That said, you need to be fairly fit to handle the 950-metre climb. The trail begins at Noiraigue. Further information can be found at wanderland.ch, myswitzerland.com and neuchateltourisme.ch.