Ed Viesturs, the first American to summit all fourteen of the world’s eight thousand metre peaks wrote: ‘Getting to the top is optional, getting down is mandatory’. Anyone who climbs knows how easy it is to reach a summit and think: that’s the hard work done, the rest is easy.  You can never lower your guard in the mountains. Never over-reach yourself on the summit climb, and never under-estimate the mountain’s ability to bite back when you are tired and your concentration is lowered.

_DS76761_cropAs I was ascending, this rope of four was already on their descent, and very obligingly they followed the ridge precisely where they formed the perfect silhouette. The contrast between light/shadow in the foreground of the original image was intense and I worked hard in processing to reduce that – black snow never seems quite right. I’m still not entirely happy with the result but I think the image as a whole is more balanced in its tonal range as it is currently presented.


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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9 Responses to Descending

  1. Len Saltiel says:

    Love your shots of your climbs Andy. The silhouette adds great scale to the image.

  2. seekraz says:

    Very true words about climbing, Andy…I haven’t done a lot of summitting in my time in the mountains, but I’m always coming down steep trails from somewhere and have found that it is often more precarious than the ascent. Good words and very nice processing of the image. That’s a wonderful capture with the climbers in profile like that….

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Scott. This was a lucky capture. I was taking a brief rest on the shoulder of the mountain when this party came into view. I didn’t have to move an inch. Descending steep ground can be a lot trickier than climbing it – the grip is not so good. And then there are issues like tired legs, maybe a little dehydrated, it’s getting late and you try to move faster than you should, or the weather has changed. They all add up.

  3. I think this is an extraordinary image, Andy. The tones are perfect. And the silhouettes of the climbers are dramatic. You rested at a fortuitous point! I like it very much. I found you and I seem to be following, but I don’t trust WP to send your posts to my Reader. I am going to un-follow and follow again. 🙂

    • LensScaper says:

      Many thanks George fr your kind comments. It seems to me from people that I follow that posts don’t always appear in the Reader as promptly as they should. If I scroll back a couple of days I will always find posts that had not been there earlier in the day when I was looking at posts from the last few hours. If you have subscribed, then hopefully a copy of my posts should also be sent to your email address.

  4. What a cracking shot Andy!

  5. ehpem says:

    I really like this shot. These are photographs that you really work for – not only hiking a long way for the opportunity to be possible, and then all that post to get it looking just right. And it does look really good, the grey band works well.

    • LensScaper says:

      I probably spent about an hour working my way through different ideas to get the right balance in this shot. I’m still not entirely happy with it. Contrast at that altitude with snow can be a really tough problem to cope with. And no-one would want to shoot brackets up there with moving figures!

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