As regular readers will know I have spent the winter in the French Alps and Tignes (Tignes Les Brévières more specifically). This winter has been a different one to those I spent in Fernie, British Columbia. My workmates regularly tease me about how much I bang on about Canada and how I wish to return. That is not to say I haven’t enjoyed my time out here, it has just been a different season. 

What I have enjoyed immensely from my time in the French Alps are the photographic opportunities. Shooting in the mountains is not as straightforward as you might image. I wrote previously about how I struggled to photograph Tignes when I first moved here. What I really needed was a photographer’s guide to help me find the best spots in the region, hopefully this post can serve this purpose somewhat. Yet as time moved on and I explored more of this beautiful part of France, I’ve felt happier with my photography. As my time in the French Alps draws to a close, I wanted to share some of my favourite photographs. This photo essay is the result of four and a bit months living, working, playing and drinking in Tignes and nearby Val d’Isere

Where possible I have included information about the photograph, location and metadata. 

Tignes Le Lac

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Tignes Le Lac, French Alps Landscape Photography: Tignes Le Lac is situated at the heart of the Espace Killy ski area, with Tignes Val Claret to the right and Tignes Les Brevieres found six kilometres down the valley. Photograph details: 1/320 sec, F14.0, ISO100, 19mm using an Olympus OM-D EM5. This photograph is available to buy here. 

Tignes Les Brévières

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Tignes Les Brévières Landscape Photography: This photograph was one of the first I took when I moved to the small village of Tignes Brévières, I was impatiently waiting the start of winter, yet to receive my ski pass and anxious to explore. This photograph was included in a photo essay I wrote called Waterfalls of Tignes Les Brévières. Photograph details: 0.6 sec, F11.0, ISO100, 45mm using an Olympus OM-D EM5. This photograph is available to buy here.

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Tignes Les Boisses, French Alps Landscape Photography: The weather in the French Alps, like many mountainous environments, is constantly changing. This makes photography difficult but equally rewarding. This photograph was taken from Tignes Les Brevieres looking up towards Tignes Les Boisses. It’s a composition I’ve been thinking about for a while, the iconic church spiral with the huge mountain as the backdrop. Photograph details: 1/80 sec, F11.0, ISO100, 135mm using an Olympus OM-D EM5. This photograph is available to buy here.

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Tignes Les Brévières Landscape Photography: The turquoise water is in stark contrast to the slopes and trees in this photograph. As winter closed in these waterfalls froze and snow covered the slopes above Tignes Les Brévières, now as spring is rapidly approaching these waterfalls are slowly coming back to life. Photograph details: 1.3 sec, F9.0, ISO, 45mm using an Olympus OM-D EM5. This photograph is available to buy here.  

Winter in Tignes

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Tignes Landscape Photography: I’ve always been drawn to the mountains, the fresh air, the laid-back lifestyle and the abundance of beautiful scenery. Yet it has only been when I’ve had my camera that I have been able to appreciate the subtle details that reveal themselves in winter. This photograph was taken after a storm left Tignes Les Brévières covered in about a foot of snow. I was walking down the hill after work when I noticed these trees on the opposite of side the village. The snow was untouched, glistening white and inviting. The composition was relatively simple, I used a nearby tree and its branches to frame the tree in the distance. Photograph details: 1/800 sec, F5.6, ISO100, 150mm using an Olympus OM-D EM5. This photograph is available to buy here.

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Tignes, French Alps Landscape Photography: This photograph is one of my favourite from Tignes. Taken from the top of the Grand Prix. This is a spectacular part of the Espace Killy ski area, looking out into the Tignes backcountry. This photograph was taken on a bitterly cold morning as these three skiers made their way out to a backcountry hut. Photograph details: 1/250 sec, F11.0, ISO100, 123mm using an Olympus OM-D EM5. This photograph is available to buy here. 

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Tignes, French Alps Landscape Photography: This photograph was taken from near the top of the Chaudannes chair, looking down towards Tignes Val Claret. The weather was incredible for photography, the clouds kept shifting, creating new streams of light and shadows. This panoramic photograph is a stitch of five photographs, allowing me to really capture the sheer scale of the mountains. I particularly like how the clouds are sitting over Val Claret, much like a hat. Photograph details: 1/125 sec, F14.0, ISO100, 40mm using an Olympus OM-D EM5. This photograph is available to buy here.

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Aiguille Percee, Tignes, French Alps Landscape Photography: As I was recovering from my latest injury I caught wind that the French authorities were going to be undertaking some avalanche control work on the slopes above Tignes Les Brévières. They had earmarked the road would be closed from 11 am while they sent up a helicopter to inspect the slopes and drop some charges to bring down the unstable snow. I jumped on the bubble from Tignes Les Brévières and went up to see if I could record the avalanches. Unfortunately the cloud you see at the foot of this panoramic photograph lifted and hugged the peaks as the bombs were being deployed. Fortunately, I was able to get this, and a few other panoramic photographs of the peaks before the cloud socked us in. Photograph details: 1/125 sec, F11.0, ISO100, 40mm using an Olympus OM-D EM5. This photograph is available to buy here.

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Tignes Le Lac, French Alps Landscape Photography: This photograph was taken one evening from a small turn off on the road to Val d’Isere. I drive this road almost every day and in the evenings I had noticed the ski hill lights up the Lavachet wall. Looking towards Tignes Le Lac I was instantly drawn to this composition. Photograph details: 60 sec, ISO100, 12mm shot using an Olympus OM-D EM5. This photograph is available to buy here. 

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Val d’Isere. French Alps Landscape Photography: This photograph was taken one Sunday afternoon as I finished up a photography project for a client. I was out on the balcony of a new development, looking out towards the mountains when I saw this fantastic streak of light hitting the peaks. Without much time to compose a shot, my camera and got to work. Photograph details: 1/15 sec, F11.0, ISO100, 37mm using an Olympus OM-D EM5. This photograph is available to buy here.

Exploring further afield

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Moûtiers, French Alps Landscape Photography: This winter hasn’t all been about epic landscapes. I’ve been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to explore further afield. This photograph was taken in the small town of Moûtiers on a balmy afternoon in February. Photograph details: 1/30 sec, F5.0, ISO400, 53mm using an Olympus OM-D EM5. This photograph is available to buy here.

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Moûtiers, French Alps Landscape Photography: I wrote a post called Snapshots of Moutiers, it wasn’t a piece I thought would do that well. I mean, it’s a photo essay consisting of doors, windows and a hotel mural. Yet it seems to be a piece that resonated with some. Photograph details: 1/30 sec, F5.0, ISO400, 62mm. This photograph is available to buy here. 


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  • Megan Rose says

    These are some amazing shots! Most people do not like traveling in winter (myself included). But this area looks beautiful.


    • Mike Cotton says

      Hi Megan, I love living in places that have four proper seasons. As John Steinbeck once said: “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”


  • Katherine says

    Your blog always has the photos that make my jaw drop. Seriously, these landscapes are amazing. I can see why you love it so much though. I’m not a skiier because I’m woefully uncoordinated and would probably break every bone in my body if I tried, but the thought of being about to whoosh around these slopes make me think about reconsidering that 😉


  • Megan Jerrard says

    Wow such incredible photography – I guess what else would you expect from the French Alps! I love how everyone instantly thinks of city life in Paris when you say France, though really, there are destinations like Tignes which blow Paris out of the water!


  • Danik says

    Your photography from the Tignes area is totally amazing. Keep on snapping 🙂


  • Rhonda Albom says

    Wow! You may have struggled at the beginning, but you clearly got over it. These photos are so clear and exciting. Thanks for adding the camera details here. I also struggle sometimes with snow and winter. For me, it got better with an ND filter, a tripod, and Lightroom.


  • Tony (tonyandkimoutdooradventures) says

    This is why I would love to be in your shoes. I love the late afternoon city light shot. Some of our Black and White conversions really bring the picture to life. Well done and keep up the great work.


  • Gokul Raj says

    I am a big fan of a landscape photography. Totally loved your pics esp the one with the lights on the mountain.


  • Indrani says

    Tignes looks so beautiful through your lens. Frankly I was not aware of the place and the this introduction has made fall in love with Tignes! You have framed the sights so well! I hope to visit some day.


  • Sonam says

    These pictures are absolutely amazing. i wonder how you managed it in such a freezing weather.


  • Marta says

    Beautiful photos!! How great to spend a season in the French Alps! Love that you included the photo settings too- very helpful 🙂


  • Harvey (H-Bomb's Worldwide Karaoke) says

    I’m not a winter or mountain person, but these photos are breathtaking. I especially like the waterfalls, and the image with just the tiny dots of light in the ski hills.


  • Amanda says

    WOW. Fantastic images. It’s interesting, I’ve never heard of Tignes yet somehow it has appeared everywhere this week from this blog post to a friend having a snowboarding holiday there right now. Seeing your pictures, I can understand why.


  • Edith &Juan says

    The photos turned out great! I like that you added the camera information because I’ve been thinking about the Olympus for landscape shots. It seems it takes nice photos.


  • Laura Lynch says

    I can see why you’d love it for the photographic opporunities. You obviously found some very interesting things there to picture. It looks really amazing.


  • Micki says

    I love landscape photography. It requires immense skill that I am still developing. I think the Tignes Les Boisses photo looking at the steeple (in black and white) and the last door photo are my favorites. I always appreciate how you list your camera settings. Thank you for sharing!


  • Elaine J Masters says

    Some of the best travel writing offers us a window into an experience. Thank you for that. Even though you missed home I’m so glad you were persistent in getting out and into the Tignes region for pictures.


  • Raksha Nagaraj says

    Spectacular shots, I love landscape photography and that’s the only kind of picture I take. Your pictures make me want to visit the Alps like immediately now 😀. And I love the fact that you have also written the various settings you used to capture them.


  • Wanderlust Vegans says

    Tignes does look like an ideal place for photography. British Columbia has a lot of beautiful nature as well. I sounds like you really enjoyed your time in France though. We never got a chance to see the French Alps but would love to in the future.


  • Vicki Louise says

    Love your photos! The alps can provide such an amazing backdrop for landscape photography, and it’s great you got to explore a little further afield too.


  • woodyworldpacker says

    Wow, that sunset in Tignes du Lac is absolutely gorgeous! And so are the other photos! as a photographer myself, I am always looking for photographers who inspire me, and this is definitely the case!


  • elisa says

    Great pictures, as usual. It must be difficult to take pictures of mountains completely covered by snow . . . Where to next by the way?


  • Chloe says

    How beautiful is the place! And your photos are just amazing…


  • Riely says

    The backcountry landscapes in Tignes are beautiful. I particularly liked how you photographed the landscape seeing a storing to capture in each shot. The photo taken at the top of Grand Prix is spectacular with the vast landscape and just a few dots of people navigating around the slopes.


  • Suma - Tales of travelling sisters says

    Stunning captures! I love the picture of the mountains with lights in the distance, it is simply gorgeous. The black and white pictures are also my favourites.


  • Rahul says

    I love the photos and the place looks so gorgeous. Awesome!


  • Harsh Gupta says

    Those jawdropping pictures are making me so damn jealous. Definitely can see how difficult it must have been capturing those alps but seriously rewarding. Would love to see French alps.


  • Samantha Sparrow says

    WOAH! This photography is blowing my mind. Seriously, photographing snow or low light is super tough, so I appreciate you sharing these pictures. I never realised how beautiful and rugged Tignes was.


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