MountainScapes in Black and White

Skiers are privileged people – I keep reminding myself of that. We get to snow covered high places in the depths of winter that are unreachable to ordinary people, and often not easy to reach in summer either, as many of the uplifts are uneconomic to run for the summer visitors. For me, stepping out of a gondola, or skiing off a chairlift at the crest of a new ridge, never visited before, can be a breath-taking experience as a new vista opens up before me.

Unter Gabelhorn from the Rothorn, Zermatt - click to enlarge

Even somewhere visited many times before (like the image above) will present an entirely different ‘face’ depending on the time, the weather, and the cloud cover. On this occasion the Unter Gabelhorn was in stark contrast to the shrouded Ober Gabelhorn in the distance.

Today’s images, from this winter’s ski trips to Zermatt and Morzine, are all in Black and White. A medium that I think suits these MountainScapes. Under snow and harsh lighting, colour often becomes an irrelevance, and occasionally in the processing can introduce unwelcome colour casts. The distillation of the ‘Scape to a range of neutral tones enables me to focus on the essential elements of what I see – the compositional shapes and curves, the inherent contrast, and the recession through the image sometimes.

The distant horizon from Pointe de Chery - click to enlarge

Ansell Adams produced some magical B&W Mountain Landscapes, and I – like many other photographers – will always aspire to follow in that tradition, although we will never match it. But it shouldn’t stop us trying!

Above the valley mist from Pointe de Chery - click to enlarge

This was such a fabulous vista that I zoomed in on a section of it as in the image immediately above. The colour original of this image appeared in a previous post. Click here to see it. Personally, I find the B&W version more satisfying for reasons I have already discussed above, and in the recent post ‘On Piste in Black and White‘.

The Mont Blanc Massif - click to enlarge

A short while after taking those two images, Mont Blanc finally popped out of the clouds. This is not a perfectly sharp image but I’ve included it because is so typifies the long views that one is privileged to see.

High above Findeln, Zermatt - click to enlarge

And it’s not just the long views. This image looks down from high up on the Fluhalp Piste through the veils of mist into the floor of the Findeln valley.

The view beyond - click to enlarge

And it’s not just tall mountains either – there is beauty in the rolling hills too, especially when they are backlit. This image from above Les Gets in the Portes du Soleil ski area.

Dents du Midi from Pointe de Mossette - click to enlarge

But, for me the high mountains have a particular attraction. This is the view from the Swiss border looking down on the Swiss village of Les Crosets (bottom left), dominated by the teeth of Les Dents du Midi.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these. It’s sad to be leaving winter behind, but Spring beckons and the Snowdrops are out. Images of them tomorrow.

For a set of Black and White images of the Pistes themselves click here.

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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11 Responses to MountainScapes in Black and White

  1. Len Saltiel says:

    Wonderful scenes Andy. That first one is stellar (the others are pretty awesome too). I don’t ski and hate the cold so I probably won’t see these type of shots myself. Thanks for showing me what I am missing.


  2. Jim Denham says:

    Beautiful images and I think the black and white suit them perfectly!


  3. An absolutely stunning set!! Love the drama you’ve brought to life in the B&W study here, Andy, great set!


  4. Dave DiCello says:

    The views that you have are just outstanding Andy, these all are works of art. Ansel would be proud!


  5. Adam Allegro says:

    That first shot is fantastic Andy! Loving these black and whites.


  6. seekraz says:

    I agree with Dave above…I think Ansel would be proud. Beautiful photos, Andy!


  7. orples says:

    The black and white shots really bring out the depth of the mountains. Wonderful shots. Kudos to you!


  8. Those are fantastic photos. I don’t often use black and white and have a feeling it might not be that suitable for British mountain photography where the weather is more often claggy and grey and the light terrible. The times I’ve used it, it’s been for things like the old terraced streets of Bradford where my friend lives or things like Ravenglass & Eskdale steam railway scenes. I also quite like it for things like the Welsh slate quarries, e.g. Ffestiniog area.


    • LensScaper says:

      Many thanks for your comment, Carol. I think the reason images of the UK’s Hills and mountains don’t easily render well in B&W is because we don’t often get the contrast of snow and rock. It’s those highlights and shadows that work so well with winter MountainScapes like the ones in this post. Thanks for visiting my blog – do visit again.


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