Drama or Picture perfect?


The view from Zermatt

The Matterhorn is the mountain that draws people to Zermatt. That has always been the case and will forever be the case. And every one who comes to Zermatt wants to see the perfect picture – the chocolate box shot, the postcard shot. The classic shot of the mountain against the backdrop of a clear blue sky. It’s what everyone has paid to come to Zermatt for.


The view from Schwarzsee

But the perfect shot, beautiful though it is, lacks drama. Of course the mountain is dramatic in itself, and when you see it in the flesh for the first time it really does take your breath away. It stands so improbably tall in the sky.

Drama really happens when the mountain acquires cloud.Β  And it very readily attracts cloud – it is a cloud magnet. And when the clouds obscure parts of the mountain, and the view changes by the minute, then the mountain to my mind gains stature. It becomes mysterious, moody, and at times even angry. It feels as if it becomes alive.

As a photographer, the Matterhorn in a bad mood, is more attractive for me than the pretty picture postcard shot that is universal and omnipresent.


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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22 Responses to Drama or Picture perfect?

  1. Adrian Lewis says:

    Wow, the mono shot, what a dramatic picture! Tremendous photo, Andy. A

  2. You get another wow and a big thumbs up from me! The blue sky pic is great but the black and white shot is wonderful. As you say with the cloud cover changing all the time getting the right shot can be tricky. That perfect shot can be lost in the time it takes to get your camera out. However your timing was great and you pulled it off superbly. The cloud with the light bouncing from it adds tremendous drama to the image. I enjoyed seeing both shots in the same post. Thanks for sharing. Best wishes, Mr C πŸ™‚

    • LensScaper says:

      Many thanks Mr C. The light was particularly good on that occasion. Leaving aside the ‘blue sky’ days, I would confidently say that no two days are the same with the local ‘climate’ around the Matterhorn.

  3. bathory666 says:

    Great photos and what a beautiful place!

  4. Chillbrook says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more Andy though it probably comes as no surprise for me to say that given my own love of dramatic weather. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the Matterhorn in a bad mood is much more fun and appealing to a photographer. Sometimes we take the picture postcard shots because they are there. We don’t pass up a picture just because the sky is blue and your second shot is lovely but drama is what we crave and your first shot delivers it in spades. Wonderful photograph!

    • LensScaper says:

      The Postcard views are always worth a shot. They are diary points on our visual journeys, and always important documents (the emphasis being on the word ‘document’, because they are documentary evidence of our being there). But they are not ‘pictorial’ and they have little merit. Drama is what we crave and you certainly know, and have experienced that, in your travels. And drama and B&W are just superb bed fellows.

  5. Great to see. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Superb shot Andy, I completely agree with you. Nothing dramatic in a standard ‘chocolate box’ shot. The b/w is much much better, more ‘soul’ if you know what I mean.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks SP. Soul is a good word to use. Two hundred years or so ago, of course, there was strong belief that mountains were the home of Gods or Demons. When you see the Matterhorn in a bad mood, you can understand how that thinking was possible.

  7. I love the art of color potrayed from nature, great pic.

  8. shoreacres says:

    Of course the first photo is more dramatic — no question about that. What I wonder is — what would the second, postcard-perfect view look like if processed in the same way? Perhaps I’d even crop out the lower portion of the image, with the people and the handrails. It might not work at all, but it’s an interesting thought.

    What I do know is that the path leading upward along the right side of the second photo makes me want to put on my hiking boots — right now!

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks for that suggestion, Linda. I’ve been a bit slow in responding but life has been rather hectic in the last few days. I have converted the second (colour) image to B&W and got a good balance in tone between the rock of the mountain and the sky (harder than it might seem) but the image still lacks drama. The mountain stands out well and still looks magnificent but the sky is too bland. I followed that path right to the very foot of the mountain, to the point where ropes become a necessity. I will post images about that shortly.

  9. Dalo 2013 says:

    “the Matterhorn in a bad mood, is more attractive for me than the pretty picture postcard shot that is universal and omnipresent” amen to this ~ mood creates emotions and nothing quite like seeing the darker/brooding side of Mother Nature πŸ™‚

  10. Woaaah! So cool! πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘πŸ» I wish i could take pictures like that 😞

  11. Louise says:

    Fabulous both of them Andy , each with a different story to tell . The moody defiant Matterhorn under swirling cloud wraps is a very stirring image !

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks very much for your comment, Louise. An iconic mountain with a different mood every day and sometimes a different mood every hour. It never disappoints and always inspires.

  12. I love these both, Andy, for sure, but like you I have a preference for the drama and intrigue found in the mountain when it is skirted by cloud formations. Great shots, my friend, absolutely top drawer!

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