When I first started visiting the Alps fifty-five years ago, much of the photography that was on view in shop windows and on postcards was in black and white. The images had a starkness about them, the absence of colour suggested cold, and monochrome simplified the MountainScape above the snow line into blacks and white. Colour often seemed an intrusion. I never lost that love of Monochrome, and although I always shoot in colour these days, there is always a thrill in converting images to monochrome.
The image above is of the classic Aiguille du Midi arête featuring skiers descending it before stepping into skis and embarking on the Vallee Blanche ski-run, reckoned to be the greatest off-piste ski-run in the Alps. A few minutes later I was descending that arête. To view my blog entry about skiing the Vallee Blanche click here.
I am not a great lover of including people in landscapes: they are often an unwelcome intrusion, but when it comes to photography in the high Alps, then the inclusion of fellow skiers or mountaineers adds information. Their presence gives a sense of scale, an awareness of the hostility of the environment, or sometimes simply what we – as mountaineers – look like when we set out on a high climb in the early hours of daylight. Climbers in this image are setting out to climb the Breithorn, an easy 4,000 metre peak: roped up and well prepared, as we always should be when we set out on a climb.