It takes me weeks to edit a new collection of Pyrenees photographs, in this case from 2013. Each shot needs anything from a few minutes to thirty or more. Thirty minutes is rare, although I have done it seeking to adjust and compensate for difficult light. My routine is as follows. Check for dust, spot clean it, adjust contrast and saturation like using a filter, check the composition and crop to improve, consider a square or panorama format, consider a monochrome conversion, consider a neutral density filter or similar effect. The final stage is sharpening then I save an archive TIF from a RAW file and a JPEG for my web site. These modifications can be achieved in camera but you don’t have the leisure for it, and in my case the equipment, because of rucksack weight when I’m walking for two weeks or even a few days. There’s also the factor concerning fine aesthetic judgements and the weighing of subtle alternatives as you walk. You might be wind blown, cold, scared, lost, have to get somewhere quickly for food, safety, or sleep. Usually when I stop to photograph for twenty or thirty minutes I feel a growing sense of stress and urgency. Your time is important in the mountains. This shot needed about five minutes computer work. Digital photography is a very malleable process both in camera and in post production. I use the term “aesthetic limits” with reference to darkroom methods, to provide a conceptual framework for understanding it. The view here is from the Calberide ridge in the Spanish Pyrenees, looking towards France. The far distance is Spain and the Ordesa Canyon. Gourgs Blancs is along the ridge to the right. The GR11 route is down the nearby Estos Valley to the left; the HRP is the other side of Gourgs Blanc. Much as I love Posets, which appears in other shots I got from this summit area, this is possibly my favourite shot.

 

Pyrenees Mountain Photography Book: Calberide Cloud Inversion

Saturday January 11, 2014

 
Art Discussion: The Duration of Photography

The article Chris Townsend refers to below takes a valid point but twists it into hyperbole. I agree that photographs in a gallery don’t work as effectively as paintings. Photography is my real love but for different reasons to those underlying the pursuit and accomplishments of a photograph. They don’t compete; they are fundamentally different. It is therefore, I acknowledge, an interesting topic to consider them as both make an appearance in a gallery. townsendoutdoor</a> &quot;Paintings…


 
Pyrenees Mountains, Navigation, Ton Joosten's HRP Book

If you want the highest paths, the best Pyrenees views, the High Level Route is for you. That doesn’t mean you should adhere to it and at times I prefer the GR11 and occasionally use the GR10. I suspect the book which is most used for walking the Pyrenees mountains is the one by Ton Joosten about the Haute Route, or High Level Route. It was my first purchase. I then bought a few more…


 
Notes From The Mountains: Male And Female

A few years ago I read an article discussing ‘immersion’ in the hills and how women have the feeling but men don’t. It became silly with talk about the moon, water, and the ladies educating us chaps. Watch a lady swimming in the sea, one person said, and see and learn how she is emotionally enveloped. I’m going to talk about gender and the hills, not the moon and the sea. There is some truth that…


 
Pyrenees Advice: Travel, Towns, and Food

My first trip to the Pyrenees mountains was in 2007. I returned there backpacking in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. This summer I might go there for the seventh time. I’m considering a series of books, with photographs and notes from all my trips, and it seems I know something about the Pyrenees. Here’s a few notes about travel and towns. Travel There are various ways of getting to the Pyrenees. I can only talk about…


 
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…