One of the difficulties I face as a photographer, who also skis, is how to portray the vastness of the mountain-scape through which we travel.
One of the answers is to include fellow adventurers in the image. When fellow skiers or mountaineers are reduced to mere specks in the vastness of the ‘scape then the viewer gets some idea of scale.
This was taken from Gornergrat, the top station of the Gornergrat cog railway, high above Zermatt, and from where one get one of the greatest panoramas in the Alps. The mountains are spectacular, but once I have scanned the 360 degree view my gaze always shifts down onto the Gorner glacier – a white ribbon of snow, 2,100ft below. There are always images to find looking down.
To my astonishment, through the long lens (375 mms), I picked up this line of figures, on the far side of the glacier. A rough calculation suggests they must be about a third of a mile distant from me – invisible to the naked eye, unless you look extremely carefully. Who are they, where have they been, and where are they going? They are clearly ski tourers. On the big screen back home I can just make out their skis. They are heading from left to right down the glacier (although at this point their path suggests a slight incline) and my guess is that they must have been somewhere up very high near Monte Rosa.
I’ve visited this place many times and scanned this glacier many times but I have never before seen people on the edge of that glacier. And this is one of the joys of being a photographer in this majestic Alpine mountain-scape: there is always something new to find. Something special that makes the heart skip a beat.