Alpine monochromes

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.


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'.
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16 Responses to Alpine monochromes

  1. Jane Lurie says:

    These are gorgeous in monochrome, Andy. You are right, people in the landscape give it perspective. I love capturing a “tiny” person in my landscapes. Well done.


  2. paula graham says:

    wow, dashing activities and a great photo.


  3. Really nice compositions, Andy, and the people add a lot of interest. Good range of tones, too. The more I look, the more I like these (and I liked them a lot to begin with)!


  4. Heide says:

    Wow, Andy, what stunning images! You’re absolutely right about the value of including people in these frames. And in the second frame, I especially love how the trail continues ahead of the climbers, trailing off into the distance. Spectacular!


  5. oneowner says:

    I don’t ski myself, Andy, but I really love the scenery, especially as you have shown. Monochrome is a perfect way to go for these images.


  6. Great photos and words, Andy. I, too, am increasingly becoming a fan of monochrome. It’s something new to try and I find I’m reasonably good at doing the colour -> B&W conversions.


    • LensScaper says:

      Hi Frank. Glad to hear you’re becoming a convert of B&W – is a wonderfully flexible medium. If you haven’t discovered Silver Efex from Nik, it’s a great Plug-in and provides a lot of ideas from a range of presets.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Dina says:

    The people in the landscape certainly makes a difference. A great set of monochromes, Andy!


  8. bluebrightly says:

    Yes, there’s something appropriate about snowy mountains in black and white, and people in those landscapes do really help us see the scale. These are great, Andy. 🙂


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