Tag Archives: Photo retreats in the Alps

Behind the photo: Chamonix, France

Ok, this is an old one! It was 2007 and me and my wife were on a backpacking trip in the Alps. We started in Chamonix and decided to spend a few days there climbing, hiking and enjoying the jagged mountains before we headed to Switzerland. “Death capital of the world” – that is what people call Chamonix and it sounds quite scary for a place that holds such an immense beauty. It is a small town in a valley in the base of the highest peak in Western Europe – Mont Blanc.

Photo: Canon 40D and Canon 70-200 F4L / Iso 100, 172mm

Hiking all day really makes you tired, so after an early dinner on that day we decided to head back to the hotel and sleep. We were walking the main street filled with restaurants and shops. It was getting darker and already had my camera in my backpack. Suddenly I looked up and saw that the last light from the setting sun was hitting one of the peaks above and it looked magical. I got my camera as fast as I could and put on my Canon 70-200mm F4L that I used to carry around everywhere back than (no joke, I even climbed a few 4000m peaks with this one in the backpack). The moment lasted less than a minute – the clouds moved and the light was gone. I was so excited that I couldn’t keep my hands from shaking and the resulted photo (as nice as it is) came out a bit blurry 🙂

Moral of the story: always keep your camera close. You can never be sure when you will get a great photo opportunity! 

Behind the photo: Kitzbuhel, Austria

I love skiing and as a professional photographer I find it a great way to get closer to the mountains and find beautiful spots for pictures. I was recently on vacation in Kitzbuhel, Austria and as usual I had a camera with me at all times (yep even when I was skiing). This time it was my favourite travel camera – Fujifilm X-Pro2 and my Fujinon 35mm F2 WR lens (50mm equivalent on a full frame sensor). It is a great travel kit especially if you plan on taking lots of photos outside (even in bad weather), since both the camera body and the lens are water resistant.

Kitzbihel, Austria / Fujifilm X-Pro2 with Fujinon 35mm F2 WR / Iso: 200, F16, 1/1600, Exp. Comp.: -1.0

So, this particular morning I was skiing alone and there were very few people on the slope around me. It was easy to stop and take pictures whenever I found an interesting subject or nice light, or even better – both. The sun was slowly going up and the light was near perfect. I was skiing on one of the longest runs in the area and after I got to the bottom, I sat on the lift to get back up. A few minutes after we started I saw a great photo opportunity that I unfortunately missed, since my camera was in my backpack (big mistake). I barely managed to not go crazy during the long ride up and after reaching the summit, skied as fast as I could back down, hoping I can still manage to get the shot I imagined. I took my camera out and got on the lift again this time ready to get the shot! I wasn’t sure if I would have the same conditions, but I held my breath and “prayed”.

As you can see from the result I was lucky enough that the sun was still in the right place. I was sitting in a moving lift, so I didn’t have lots of options composition wise. I tried to visualise the shot before I reached the spot, I set my camera and I was ready. I knew I wanted a dramatic looking photo, so I chose to underexpose the scene to preserve the highlights.

For those of you who are interested here are the camera settings: Iso: 200, F16, 1/1600, Exp. Comp.: -1.0

Moral of the story: Know your settings and keep your camera close. And please don’t give up trying even if it looks very improbable that you will get the shot you imagine.