A photographic declaration of love for the Swabian Alb
“A picture is worth a thousand words” would be an understatement to the recently completed “Wilde Alb” project by the Society of German Wildlife Photographers (GDT – Gesellschaft für Naturfotographie e.V.). The culmination of this three-yearlong project is in the form of a beautiful bound volume and a traveling exposition (dates and locations can be found here: www.wildealb.de/termine). I attended one of the expositions in Museum Bad Urach and was impressed with the selection displayed – from cliffs and caves to flora and fauna. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the full set of illustrations – and I did, marveling at the efforts required to bring this magical landscape to the public.
The project has been described as a photographic declaration of love for the Swabian Alb – and rightly so. The intense beauty and fragility of this wild landscape has been captured over many hours of patient waiting for just the right conditions – providing a glimpse of what we don’t always get to see on our weekend hikes. But the project goes beyond a declaration of love – it also beckons us to protect and maintain this unique natural treasure for future generations through its visual storytelling of the Alb’s formation.
The Swabian Alb is a part of the southern German escarpment that was formed by the Jurassic sea around 200 million years ago. (The Swabian Alb is also referred to the Swabian Jura – not to be confused with the Alps.) At the bottom of the sea were layers of clay, lime and marl that, over very long periods under intense pressure, formed the familiar limestone of the black, brown and white Jurassic. Post-Jurassic geologic processes resulted in tilted block faulting, thereby creating the basic form of the Alb: relatively flat foothills in molasse basins of the upper Swabia in the south to the steep steps with its deep valleys in the forelands at the northern edge. The water that formed the landscape seeped over millions of years into the porous limestone, resulting in one of the largest cave systems in the country that provided shelter to animals and early humans alike.
Click on the photos below for descriptions and photographer names – enjoy!