It’s been a great winter for images and I’ve been very fortunate to be at the very heart of it – skiing in the Alps for the best part of a fortnight during what many are describing as the best winter for 40 years.
The current unseasonably warm weather in the UK seems to be indicating winter is over. And so it’s now time, from this blog’s perspective, to leave winter behind; but not before two final posts celebrating Black and White photography. Some of the images I captured in the Alps have certainly suited conversion to Black and White and it’s been exciting for me to get stuck into B&W output that has always been my favourite medium.
Today’s post concentrates on images from the Ski Pistes.
For me, B&W is all about contrast, line and shape. Shooting into the light helps that. Highlights are bright, shadows are deep. Taken to extremes, solid blacks and blown highlights have long been the fashionable trademarks of some of the most respected photographers, and were very much in vogue in the 1970s and 80s when I was a keen B&W developer and printer. B&W tolerates these traits whereas colour doesn’t.
You might say that, on one level, the B&W medium is a bit of a wild child (breaking many of the rules) compared to colour’s perfectly behaved sibling. But that is a gross over-simplification.
On a flat-light day with mist, people are easy to isolate from the background – there is no background!
Sometimes it’s not the skiers that are the picture. When the wind blows, the snow is always on the move, shifting and drifting across the piste, redefining the landcape. Just like the sand in the desert.
There are days like this when you have to catch the light – it doesn’t last long.
But when the light is stable and you find ‘that spot’ looking up a piste into the light, then through a long lens – hand held – pick your focus, set both AF and shutter mode to continuous and press. And hope you catch that moment when the skiers perform that bit of magic choreography, and a fine mist of snow-plume hangs in the air. 1 in 30 frames might just turn up trumps! Here’s one I enjoyed.
On Thursday it will be Mountainscapes, as seen from the ski slopes. Don’t miss that final shoot.