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.
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.
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: 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: 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: 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.