The lake here is Ibon de Bachimana Alto at 2207 metres. About three hours later I was down at Banos de Panticosa. I slept at the hostel, the only option apart from an extremely expensive hotel a Spanish chap described as “horrible” and I agree. It’s a posh and incongruous place with swimming pool and luxury. Nice I suppose if that’s your lifestyle but it’s not the mountain lifestyle. I had a simple but satisyingly full meal making up for the last two days. I like to converse with people in the evening but can only do that in English or basic French. I sat with a pleasant Spanish group on a weekend trip. The hostel staff were attentive, explaining my vegetarian option did not consist only of my soup while the others had a substantial dish. A few years ago I was served salad at a mountain hut as if being vegetarian meant that’s all I ate and needed. It’s irritating and stressful when you realise people don’t understand that which is fairly obvious, in addition to the language obstacle, when you must have sufficient food. There were two loud and noisy chaps in an adjoining dormitory – why so inconsiderate?! – but in my room two chaps as quiet as I was. I slept well on the floor level of a bunk bed beside a window which I opened. I didn’t edit this photograph except for routine sharpening. Across to the left not too far away you have the peak of Grande Fache. I climbed it a few years ago before descending to Refuge Wallon in France. I tried to remember the view and make an imaginative connection with this outlook. I like doing that. On this occasion I couldn’t do it.

 

Pyrenees Photography: Ibon De Bachimana Alto

Sunday December 8, 2013

 
Notes From The Mountains: Photographic Composition And Light

Photographic composition is both an art and a science. The science part of it can be taught technically with reference to the Rule of Thirds, leading lines and the psychology of the gaze: what attracts your attention in a shot, where does your eye travel, and why? The art part of composition is more vague and nebulous because it concerns subjective feelings. Ultimately, as in art so with photography, we like what we like and there’s…


 
Notes From The Mountains: Authentic Photography And The Lake District

Difference between entertainment mountain material, and my experience mountain material. I will write about this. pic.twitter.com/WnzqSN6VPg— James Lomax (@james__lomax) February 7, 2014 I was recently struck by the above realisation. There’s a difference between writing, photography and video designed to entertain, and that which expresses something more personal and direct. Are you aiming for an audience or something more intangible? Trying to capture interest or inviting it? Serenity or action – and which is the more…


 
Notes From The Mountains: Photo, Video, Dreams

About fourteen months ago I bought a Sony RX100 for two reasons. I wanted a video tool and preferred the ergonomics of a compact camera rather than a video cam as such. I wanted a back up to my DSLR which would also serve as a useful extension for photographic work. This meant two things: a zoom range beyond my Canon L Series 17-40, and inconspicuous size useful for street photography. Any compact camera gives…


 
Eccentric Hills

Pre-dawn starts are the way to go. I knew it was going to be a good one as soon as I left the trees, the first faint traces of red backlighting gravid cloud. It peaked at 08:30 – and ten minutes later it was over. I’d seen the same thing walking through Inverness the previous morning, shifting layers of pink and red cloud lit up with pinpoint clarity; I could hardly take my eyes…


 
Robert Macfarlane, Nan Shepherd, The Cairngorms

I don’t think there’s enough poetry, philosophy, rapturous appreciation of the hills. Look at the books, and you find overwhelming emphasis on heroic battling and the claiming of summits. Look at the magazines, and you find a constrained format with a particular house style. Look at the big films and you find The White Spider, Touching The Void, Everest assaults and similar. It’s tedious. With my literary background I want a great deal more than the…


 
Cameras For Mountain Photography

I bought my first digital SLR many years ago after waiting for the quality to improve and the price to drop. It was right on the cusp of it, because prior to the Canon 10D reports suggested DSLRs were inferior to film and they were too expensive. The reason why the first sensors were cropped in size is because they were so expensive to manufacture. It was the same with full frame sensors concerning cost. Way…


 
Great Gable Cloud Inversion: A Lake District Walk

Through the summer, the landscape’s most frequent mood had been dim and gloomy. The damp air coming through the window was rich with the fragrance of rot and growth, and to the eye it had much the same shimmering dense quality as looking through a telescope. The burden of moisture in the air worked on perception as optics of poor quality do, distorting, expanding, and diminishing distance and altitude, altering the sense of mass moment…


 
A Walk Through The Alps: Mountain Photography And Manipulation

Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit – Edward Abbey Everything’s choreographed now, it’s fucking rubbish – Noel Gallagher We will teach our twisted speech to the young believers – Joe Strummer To conclude my reflections on the topic of photography and manipulation I’ll refer to the work of a former colleague. I’ll consider the term manipulation in more subtle and complex terms which are not confined to photography technique, but I use…


 
Mountain Photography And Manipulation (2)

In a previous article I referred to the aesthetic limits of traditional film photography and how they remain an important part of the digital medium. This is historic if you are interested in the cultural history of photography and pedagogic, aesthetic, and ideological as follows. Many young people have little or no experience of photography beyond an automated compact camera or iPhone. It’s peculiarly difficult teaching such people – and with adults too – for those…


 
Photography Twitter And British Hill Walking

Twitter and the Internet There was a recent internet debate about the authenticity of mountain photography in which I participated. I’m going to comment on what happened addressing the following points: social media, what authenticity means to me, and what it means for photography. It started at Twitter and I’ve since read this perceptive essay by writer Kathryn Schulz whose book Being Wrong is worth reading. She talks about her experience of the internet and “social media”…