Here is the Cerro Fitz Roy, and its vortex of steaming clouds, between two storms.
Also called Cherro Chalten, the smoking mountain... It seems so. It reaches 3405 meters high, and you probably recognize this shape because it is so well-known that you see it everywhere... But, the thing is... I think it is the craziest and most beautiful mountain I've ever seen... Actually, it is always changing... It is huge, colossal.
Here the framing is narrow, and sadly a bit classical, it is surrounded by some sort of fortress... Which we don't really spot here. All the violent disturbances coming in from the Pacific crash over here and overwhelm a bit all around in tumults to be remembered. It remains a mythic summit to climb, given the commitment and technique it requires...
Since I'm always looking for more evocative images while trying to disconnect from well-known visions... With this emblematic mountain right in front of me, I was somewhat trapped. If some more anonymous or unknown element allows creativity, a such famous summit, often photographed under this angle, makes it limited, I think.
The failure of the tour on the continental Hielo glacier which would have allowed us crazier alternative views... It quite blemished my moral for a while, that's true...
Yet we pretty well approached the mounts by sleeping this night at the Lago de Los Tres.
While climbing we suffered from an incredible wind, it shoved us sideways and violently threw snow all around... We did fear not to be able to plant the camp... And finally it all settled down. We were able to strengthen a wall by carrying many stones around the tent. It lasted at least two hours. In the meanwhile, the mountains were still steaming, it was quite fantastic to observe... The clouds come in from the back or appear at its level and rise on the summit's faces, it really looks like a volcano... And the cloud's speed is impressive. We could swear it was a real-time TimeLapse. I was a bit stressed, we had already seen that the wind here could move stones and also probably break the tent's lashes... But the night was exceptionally calm, still with those growing and swirling clouds among the summits.
Then came the full moon, which allowed so much brightness on this night picture.
Technically, I've used the 85 mm (proof that we aren't so far from the mountain itself), pretty crazy fixed focus because I can open to F/1.2 and keep a perfect detail. That's how I've been able to capture the peak and its starlit firmament... At full aperture, ISO 100 and a ten seconds pose, which almost shows a move on the stars and allows this fascinating clouds movement too. We can feel the motion, in the spirals in the centre. I had to take about twenty shots to get the most beautiful moves...
We all spent a good part of the night outside, with -10°C... It was probably the most beautiful night. Completely alone in front of a scene out of time and out of the real world.
Translation from french to english by : Adrien => thank you
To appreciate the image, I advise you a bigger vision just here : [link]
This mesmerizing landscape was ... One of the most striking vision from our latest Iceland ethereal journey .. We were crossing the island to reach the North... A new world for me , I've never been there before.
The arrival of autumn offered us a dark brown moss mixed with black ashes ... A vast, desolate landscape,
At this this moment the land was sweeped with snow and the mountains afar ... drenched with a pale light.
The vision was .... kind of .. coming out from a dream .. the shapes of the mountains were blurred by a veil of pouring snow ..
I enjoyed the double framing of the picture ... focusing on the progression from dark to light ..
This is the third time I'm coming here . In Iceland . . And I'm still wondering how this landscape can be so strange and beautiful at the same time .. It's fascinating.
Here the hills have good natural contrasts and a glimpse of light , revealing the golden tones.. and mixed with ashes on snow ( recent volcano ) .. creating a very interesting 'silver and gold" palette .
Extract from the Iceland Workshop 20-29 June 2011
Other pictures of this trip are beeing uploaded on my facebook page : [link]
Another place a bit too visited, but you soon realize why, when you get to face the mountains.
On this hill, we were in a very pleasant camp, rather deserted in this middle of autumn, and ideally placed in front of the mountains, near the shore of Lake Pehoe, full of islets and with its turquoise colour... Some rest for us after our travels in Argentina, toward Fitz Roy. We spent a few days there, hoping the conditions would be inspiring.
As soon as the first day here, I get my photo tripod stolen, within what little time I had left it in a corner... It seems crazy, but it's true. Manfrotto 190cxpro4 tripod, $500. I've still got a couple weeks to spend here, and I have a half- broken zoom, struck between F/11 and F/16, and no tripod. Uneasy. Given that I'm mostly here to take pictures. And I do love working on movements and night.
While looking for someone in the camp who could have found it, I find a big dome with scores of crazy equipment inside it, tripods (not mine, rather some monsters with the head of the tripod big as my skull)... I wonder what it is... It was the BBC ( ! ) doing a report on the puma. For me, they are a bit the gods of the impressive nature movie (Frozen planet, Planet earth... etc)... Well, of course, I didn't dare chatting too much, I just said "Wow, impressive" or some stupid thing of this kind, and I left...
So no tripod. For this image, Mathieu gave me his and I could quickly take about twenty shots but his awkward tripod head was hardly able to stabilize itself, and with the wind I had to be constantly holding the whole stuff during the five or ten seconds of the attempt. Many lack accuracy, even this one, there is no real detail. But in a way it contributes to a kind of broad rendering...
Yet, after a while I decided to choose this one, because there is this crack in the sky. We feel the clouds moving laterally, but there is this opening which, in the sky in fire, gives a bigger dimension to the frame. Always the same, we are more aware of that when standing "far" from it... There is also this shadow, on the left face, which slowly moves toward the lateral brightness.
It was during the sunrise, one of the most beautiful of our adventure.
What we see on the left, vaguely taken within the clouds with that shadow on the rock, these are the "Cuernos" (strange name) and strange shape too ! It reminded us of some sort of cake with an upper part of chocolate going in all directions... The smooth and golden rock down, then a visible crack and a quite different rock. The top is 2600m high.
First, I like to observe and realize what it does to me... It takes some time... And then comes a moment when I want to get closer, find details, turn around it...
That's what we did ; in the next days we will go trekking again for a few days in the inner valleys which rush down in this incomprehensible heap.
I will soon show you what we found there...
Oh... I am pretty likely to organize a photo trip around those mountains and forests in Chile. I am thinking about a project for two weeks at the same period. Beginning, middle of April, 2013. It would mix trekking in the inner valleys and the wild autumnal forests, as well as other more remote points for this type of views, for instance... You can already contact me to tell if you are interested.
An example of the musics which accompanied the adventure.