In my experience of walking in the Alps, close encounters with Chamois are not common. I’ve seen them from cable cars in isolated areas well away from paths, I’ve glimpsed them in the middle distance, and occasionally I’ve unintentionally startled one at closer range that has rapidly moved away.

So this encounter two summers ago was really rather exciting. I was descending from the Mischabel Hut above Saas Fee. I was on my own so there was no conversation to create noise. I rounded a corner and there he/she was. Standing on the ridge nearby: alert, curious and very photogenic. This was the first shot I took and this is the full frame uncropped image at 85mm; so you will have some idea of how close I was to the animal.

What a sight. I stood there and waited and watched. Other walkers were descending and I was able to alert them to the animal’s presence. Slowly a hushed group of us formed, shutters clicking as the animal cautiously circled round and across the path above us to settle eventually a few yards away on the other side of the path for a quiet meal.

This is an encounter that lives in my memory as one of those unexpected bonuses that are the icing on the cake towards the end of a great day out on the mountains.

click on the images to view a higher quality enlargement

About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'.
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17 Responses to Chamois

  1. Amazing images Andy! A very cool and professional job – I would still have been fumbling for my camera whilst the subject strolled off into the distance 😀


  2. athyfoto says:

    That must have been a special moment! The first one is fantastic, he/she struck a perfect pose for you.


  3. Len says:

    That first shot is killer Andy. Not only did you capture the incredible balance of him/her, you also got a gorgeous background that gives the viewer an idea of the magnificence of the area.


  4. ehpem says:

    Hi Andy – both shots are wonderful, but that first one is really is up there as a fantastic photograph. And what a fantastic treat for you – memories are made of these moments, and even without a camera this one would not be forgotten.


    • LensScaper says:

      Thank you. It’s so nice when the image is handed to you on a plate as this one was. it’s one of the rewards of trying to walk quietly in the high mountains, and on one’s own. Then animals are more likely to be ‘found’. Often they startle and are gone in a flash, but not this one.


  5. Andy I love these but that first image is just fantastic. You’ve captured such a wonderful expression on his face.


  6. Phillip says:

    What an amazing experience! Great shot Andy, I love the expression on its face. I can imagine how your heart must have been racing when you first realized the opportunity that you just walked into.


  7. janina says:

    She is so beautiful! I know she’s a she, ‘cos she has a smile on her face. Now I know where the chamois, the cloth, comes from! Love the top pic especially, great presence of mind on your part!


  8. seekraz says:

    I love those little surprises, Andy…very nice photos. This incident is similar to my moose encounters here in our canyons and mountains…even came across a porcupine a couple of weeks ago, my first experience of seeing one in the wild.


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