Follow the leader

Click the image to view a higher quality enlargement

Click the image to view a higher quality enlargement

Today’s two images were taken on the same day as the image in Wild Camping. Many of the images that I have taken in the Alps (which will be familiar to regular viewers of this blog) might be best ascribed to the ‘Chocolate Box’ or ‘Greetings Card’ type of image. Meaning they feature clear blue skies and saturated colours. Nothing wrong with them as a photographic genre; in fact they accurately portray (maybe ‘document’ is a better word) the Alpine panoramas to be found on a pure Summer’s day, but they can also look almost too good to be true and there will be many tourists out there who look at that type of image and are frustrated by nature’s failure to deliver a day that replicates what they feel they have been ‘promised’ as part of their holiday experience according to the travel guides and brochures that they have read.

Those perfect days do still occur but it is my belief as a veteran Alpine visitor that the prolonged periods of perfect weather that I recall from 30-40years ago are not occurring now as reliably as they did then. Or maybe my memory is becoming a little suspect with age.

Click the image to view a higher quality enlargement

Click the image to view a higher quality enlargement

I digress. Back to today’s images. This was a day of fleeting sun, and changing light. both feature walkers crossing snowfields en route to the Britannia Hut above Saas Fee in the Valais Alps. In the first image it is a single person, in the second a long line of them. It was early Summer but late Spring snow remained stubbornly in place, covering paths that by now, in other years, would have been substantially free of snow. Taken on a perfect day these images would have lacked character and interest, and probably they would not have been worth taking. There is an undeniable truth about ‘Chocolate Box’ images. Tourists snap ‘em up: they make good greetings card, calendar and chocolate wrapper images that sell Switzerland as a destination but somehow they will always seem to be a sanitized, utopian, air-brushed version of the truth. In short they often lack character. It takes light in all its fickleness and transience to breathe character into a scene. Scenes like today’s won’t sell holidays. But, in my opinion, they do make worthwhile images


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'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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18 Responses to Follow the leader

  1. ken bello says:

    If the tourists are frustrated they can Photoshop a dramatic sky onto their photos. I’ve seen some very clever work in this area and there are plugins that modify the lighting to be equally dramatic. Or, they can just remember the great time they had in one of the most beautiful areas in the world.

  2. Excellent images but I do love the second one. The line of people look like ants.

  3. The people add a real sense of scale to these images Andy. Nice work.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thank you Steven.I tend not to like people in ordinary landscapes, but in snow-scapes and mountain-scapes they do give a sense of scale and often can anchor an image

  4. ehpem says:

    I really like these. The first one for the lone person and the immensity of scale it imparts to the whole image – those clouds are suddenly huge when you notice the person. In the second one I like the line of people, but I am drawn also to the (dare I say) tropical postcard colours of the small ponds/ice. I think either would make an excellent postcard or giftcard of some kind, but then I am the type that looks for something other than the usual that you describe.

  5. I really like the top image. For the drama anyway. Nicely done, Andy.

  6. Hi Andy, lovely post! Both images are beautiful, but the sky drama and scale in the first one really speaks to me! 🙂

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Rachel. Yes, that first one is dramatic, I agree. Sorry I haven’t visited your blog much in recent weeks – life’s been hectic. I will remedy that absence soon!

  7. seekraz says:

    Plain and simple are often beautiful…it seems that we measure our “every-day” against them and there is no comparison, the natural wonder transcends the ordinary and becomes beautiful in doing so…even if it is plain and simple….. I enjoy both images, Andy…would love to be there.

  8. Love the light in these shots, Andy, it’s pure and true! Great images, my friend, that second one in particular really delivers a strong sense of scale there.

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