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.
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.
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!
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‘.
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.
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.
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.
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.