Friday, July 31, 2015

Mountain Madness

      The mountain landscape is, for many people, the most beautiful type of scenery on the planet. I personally really enjoy being out in the mountains. The unpredictable weather, the rugged geography and the immense size of some of these pointy rocks make for amazing landscape imagery. Couple these grand vistas with great light, calm lakes, and fast flowing rivers and waterfalls, you'll have photographs that will make all your friends ooh and aah.
     That being said, many photographers want to take it to another level. Hanging out of helicopters, kayaking over waterfalls, and being attached to sheer cliff walls by thin ropes tied to small screws, photographers are able to record scenes that few will ever witness with their own eyes. As a photographer, I am constantly amazed and inspired by these photo explorers; adventurers; nutcases. While I am all for exploring and finding new ways to photograph our wonderful planet, I will only go so far. Will I take a risk? Absolutely! The one mistake and your dead kind of risk? Never! Make a mistake and break bones? Not likely! Fall down and scrape up your butt? I could handle that.
     That takes me to the image below. Bow Lake and Crowfoot Mountain in Banff National Park, Alberta. Easy to get to and easy to photograph. There is a lodge that you can stay in just steps away from the shores of the lake. My car was about a 2 minute walk away from where I took this shot. Search the internet and you will find all kinds of images from this beautiful location......... but not like mine!
      When I photograph a scene I will usually try to find various ways to create unique compositions. Getting higher, lower, changing my angles and finding foreground interest are just a few things that I try to do to make the image more interesting. But after locating this particular spot I knew I needed to up my game.
      Reaching in to my pack to find my 50 foot nylon rope, I surveyed the scene above my head to find a strong branch on one of the many spruce trees along the shore (know where I'm going with this?). Rather than bore you with the details and give away some of my secret compositional techniques, let's just say that by using a complicated system of ropes, pulleys and carabiners, I was able hang upside down and find a unique view of a very popular scene. After a few minutes of swaying (note to self: do not use this technique on windy days), I was able to dial in my settings and focus point and nail the shot! About 45 minutes later, a passerby reached into his pack to find a knife,cut a few ropes and then help me back to my car (note to self: do not use this technique alone).

    If you would like to learn more about how to achieve great photographs using this rare and amazing compositional technique, sign up for my work shop. Oh, and bring a knife. Thanks for looking!


  1. Haha! Would love to have seen that!

  2. WOW - what a gorgeous picture! Really an eye-catcher! Thanks for the inspiration!