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