Halny | Zakopane, Poland

Somehow I imagined landscape photography would be easier to do. As a city child, I’m used to an urban environment, but I was often enough out in the nature. However, somehow on our latest trips to the nature, we had more adventures than we wished for. After we had to walk down the mountain under the howling of wolves and “Caution Bears” in the Romanian Carpathians and were almost stuck in a Czech moor, we imagined our trip to the Polish Tatra Mountains a bit more relaxing. But at this point, we didn’t know of a special event called Halny.

The first few days in Zakopane we spent exploring the area and identifying the best photo spots. From Gubałówka hill you can enjoy a beautiful mountain panorama, but during those days strange clouds were hanging over the tops. The clouds seemed almost to disappear on the peaks. More and more clouds were pushing toward the mountains but they didn’t make it across. Instead, on our side it was pleasantly sunny.

We didn’t have much further thought and were able to watch the spectacle for the next two days. We then headed on to Kuznice to take the cable car to take the cable car up to the Kasprowy Wierch (one of the peaks). Fortunately, the cable car was closed through renovations. Fortunately?

Yes, because instead we found a small exhibition in the park in front of the cable car station which explained us a little bit of what was happening in front of our eyes. It was about a weather phenomenon called Halny. Halny is a special foehn wind that occurs only on the Polish-Slovak border in the Tatra Mountains. First, clouds push in for 2-3 days on the Slovak side, bringing heavy rain. In the same time on the Polish side it is warm and sunny. After the 2-3 days, Halny comes to the Polish side. Hurricane force winds then come down from the peaks into the valley.

The photos in the exhibition that showed Zakopane after a Halny storm were not too encouraging. Although it was said that the tough guys are happy about Halny: It destroys everything of poor quality and makes room for new. However, a glance upward made us realize that we should quickly return to the hotel – and definitely not climb up any further.

Nico Trinkhaus

Nico Trinkhaus

Nico Trinkhaus is the mind-blind photographer, using cameras to create visions and memories that otherwise would be lost to him.

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