For those who regularly follow the blog, you may remember a piece I wrote about how I was struggling to photograph Tignes. Since then I’ve been making more of an effort to get out into the mountains, thinking about my compositions and taking the time to wait for the all-important light to hit. It’s not been easy, since the beginning of the year I’ve struggled with illness and injury. In fact, I’m currently writing this piece as I’m laid up in bed with a busted ankle… an injury I fear could end my season. 

However, enough self-pity. As I said, I’ve been making the effort to get out and photograph the mountains a lot more.  Here are my favourite black and white photographs from Tignes… so far.

Tignes, French Alps:

This photograph was taken at the top of the Grand Prix chairlift. The area directly behind the chair is a very popular and accessible off-piste ski zone. The wind was picking up slightly and was bitingly cold, I was able to compose this shot as the skiers made their way out to this small backcountry hut. The light was perfect, despite being close to midday, as the clouds keep the harsh rays of the sun in check. Photograph details: 1/250 sec (handheld), F11, ISO100, 123mm, shot using an Olympus OMD-EM5.

tignes-les-brevieres

Misty mountains of Tignes Les Brevieres: The Espace Killy ski area is comprised of Val Claret, Tignes le Lac, Le Lavachet, Tignes Les Boisses and Tignes Les Brévières and nearby Val d’Isère. This photograph was shot on a near white-out day, the snow was falling, the clouds were thick but as I was skiing down towards Tignes Les Brevieres, in the Aiguille Percee area of Tignes, the light kept creeping through. I skied off the groomed piste into some untracked and deep powder, it was incredibly hard not to keep skiing as the snow was superb. But I knew that if I was patient the clouds would part and the sunlight would stream through. 

Last light in Val d'Isere:

Last light in Val d’Isere: This photograph was taken from the balcony of the Canadian, a chalet complex which Ski Bonjour operate six chalets out of. I was there taking interior photography for the Ski Bonjour website. Interior photography is a new style of photography for me, I’ve done a couple of bits and bobs in the past for Fernie Lodging Company and the Raging Elk Hostel but I feel my skills have improved ten-fold since those assignments. The light, as in many photographs in the mountains, was the key to this composition. 

la-rosiere-from-tignes-les-boisses

La Rosiere from Tignes Les Boisses: This photograph was taken shortly after the one above. I was on the way back from Val d’Isere with the boss, when he offered to drop me off in Les Boisses for a quick sunset photography session. For those unfamiliar with the Tignes ski area, there are numerous villages which are all linked. Tignes Les Boisses sits above Tignes Les Brevieres and offers stunning views down the valley towards La Rosiere and Mont Blanc. 

tignes-black-and-white-landscape-photography

Tignes black and white landscape photography: This photograph is a different composition of the first photograph in this essay. In the first photograph, I zoomed right in to get a really tight composition, using the skiers and their tracks as a leading line to the hut. In this photograph, I wanted to show viewers how small the hut is; and the grandeur of the towering peaks in the background. 

You may have noticed a theme in my photographs from Tignes. Yep, that’s right, black and white. I get lots of comments from friends jokingly asking if my camera takes colour photographs. The reason why I love black and white photography is simple. The mountains in winter are often devoid of colour, the white snow contrasts with the dark mountains. I am a huge fan of colour photography but in these shots, I didn’t want the colour to distract from the compositions.  My black and white photography, like all of my photography, is a work in process. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 


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  • Jesse says

    Wow! these are some amazing photographs! keep it up 🙂


  • Michelled says

    Wow! what stunning and amazing photos. The snowcapped mountains are just breathtaking. I can only imagine how cold it was.


  • Eric || The Bucket List Project says

    Mike, your photos are amazing! First of all, I hope your ankle heals soon because though I hate the cold, I would hate being trapped amid all of that beauty. I know little of photography more than my phone but the way you use the black and white appeals to me far more than color. To think that a couple or at least 1 was taken from the balconey of your chalet! Amazing.


  • Halef says

    What a great black and white photos! I love snow and you captured the essence of the place. Thank you for sharing!


  • Ami says

    I think the whole Black and white pics makes the mountains seem daunting. It brings out the definitions better. I think I should try something similar out too. Thanks for the inspiration


  • Hannah says

    Beautiful photos but I have to say the first is my favourite. Really allows the viewer to feel how big the mountains are. Amazing work!


  • Charles McCool says

    Black and White imagery seems to lend itself quite nicely to the Tignes landscape. They are quite beautiful and I think that color would not add much to the storyline.


  • Authentic Food Quest says

    Black and White landscape has never been this beautiful.


  • Gracie says

    The photos are amazing and you brought out the definitions of each photo by using black and white. Well done!


  • Sridhar @InterludJourney says

    So gorgeous, hopefully one day I will be able to make my way to these places. Every photo makes it look like a photographers dream!


  • Nathan says

    I love b&w photography. I don’t know why I don’t shoot in b&w more often. Great pics and I can’t wait to see the rest of them!


  • Drew says

    Love the collection of black and whites. Really impressive. You clearly have worked hard on your photography, and the results are quite beautiful! Sorry to hear about your injury. That’s a bummer, but hopefully you have a quicker than expected recover!


  • Jennifer says

    I particularly like color shots of mountains in winter. The pop of color from a skier can really draw the eye to them in a shot. I can’t tell for sure, but it looks like you had blue skies too.


  • Sara Broers says

    These black and white photos are priceless. I’m not sure that I could look at these in color, now that you have shown me how amazing they are in black and white. If I didn’t know better, I’d think I was looking at sand.


  • Vicki Louise says

    Great composition! I love the black and white and it can be so hard to capture good mountain shots when the light is so changeable!


  • Jitaditya Narzary says

    Wonderful! Monochrome really brings out the best of snowy landscapes. I also did a lot of snow travel last month but I have not tried to make the images B&W. Will have to try that out.


  • Suma - Tales of travelling sisters says

    Wow, every single picture looks so stunning! I never thought about changing the snowscape pictures to B&W images, but looking at your pictures I know it is an amazing idea. For a second, I thought the first picture was of sand dunes hahah! Anyways I hope your ankle heals soon and continue to share many more beautiful snaps like these.


  • Holly says

    Wow beautiful photos. Gorgeous mountain caps.


  • Anita Hendrieka says

    Wow the black and white photos make the mountains looks so dramatic and eery. Love these photos! Will have to consider taking a few B&W shots next time.


  • Vicky and Buddy says

    I think that your photos are really nice and understand why you like taking black and white photos of the mountains. The contrast between the snow and mountains is pretty dramatic and I think your photos really capture that well. I hope you’re able to get out and take some more soon!


  • Lauren @BonVoyageLauren says

    I absolutely love black and white photography! I don’t think we see enough when it comes to travel photos. Thank you for capturing such a beautiful part of the world! Happy travels 🙂


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