Tag Archives: Landscape

The Summit Cross

Summit Cross, Le Môle, France

If you’ve spent much time travelling around mountains, chances are you’ll have seen one of these summit crosses. They are all over the place in the French Alps, but I’m struggling to find a succinct explanation as to why they’re put there.

I have two theories, the first is that because you’re at the top of a mountain you’re closer to God. The second is that it’s believed that the cross looks down over the surrounding land and keeps it safe. Or perhaps there is a completely different reason and I’m way off the mark!

In any case they certainly provide an element of grandeur to the scene, and great foreground interest to give some perspective. This shot was taken atop Le Môle in France and was the first summit cross I’ve ever reached on foot. I’m hoping the first of many!

Do you know why these summit crosses are put in place? Care to submit a theory? Or maybe you’ve got some great shots of a summit cross from elsewhere in the world. I’d love to hear from you!


Flying High

Flying High, Lake Annecy

I spent a good couple of hours one Sunday morning just watching the paragliders take off from this spot above Lake Annecy. You have to be patient with the waiting in between, but for me it’s definitely worth it. Maybe one day I’ll try it myself!

I added an extra step in my post-processing workflow for this shot. After I’d finished in Lightroom I made a few adjustments in Topaz Detail which I’m currently using on a free trial license. It seems like a good tool to introduce a bit of extra ‘pop’ without going over the top.

The effect can be quite subtle, but when you see the before and after in full screen the difference is clear. I’m going to keep using it over the next few weeks before deciding whether to buy or not.

You can see my processing from the original shot, through Lightroom and Topaz Detail below.

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A Glimpse Of The Past

Mining, Grand Canyon, USA

Taken at the Grand Canyon a little over four years ago, there was something about this old mining structure which captured my imagination. It provided a window into the past, a brief glimpse into humanity’s impact on this great wonder of the world.

It was also a fantastic subject for a slightly different composition of the canyon, which I was quite excited about. I did a bit of post processing in Lightroom, opting for the preset “Aged Photo” before making a few minor adjustments.

Looking back it’s probably the most interesting image I captured on our day trip from Las Vegas. It was definitely worth the long bus ride, although next time I might opt for the view from a helicopter instead!

The Lines Aligned

Le Grand Bornand, France

I probably wouldn’t have got this shot if the pass around the mountain was open. I’d not really researched my route and stumbled upon the Col de la Colombière, which is apparently closed until June! So I stopped the car and went for a short walk along the still snowy road to see what I could find.

After I’d exhausted my usual routine of taking lots of photos with the road as a leading line, I decided to search around for something a little different. Looking up at this grassy bank I noticed that its horizon was almost perfectly aligned with that of the mountains behind. A lovely coincidence of nature and perspective!

Hiking Towards The Light

Hiking, Le Môle, France

I’ve been walking in the mountains before, but never anything you could really consider a proper hike. For some reason when I set off to reach the top of Le Môle in France, I was confident that it wouldn’t be too tiring. I couldn’t have been more wrong!

At this point in the hike I was just about to reach half way – Le Petit Môle – and I was absolutely exhausted. Fortunately I had my camera with me and I was on my own, so I didn’t really mind stopping every 5 minutes to take some photos (and catch my breath).

I loved the light in this scene, and after waiting a few seconds for this chap to make his way up the mountain a little more I took this shot. Actually I would have preferred him a bit further to the left, but this was the best pose I managed to capture with both walking poles on display.

Sculpted From Fantasy

Aiguille des Grands Charmoz, French Alps

There’s something special about this formation in the Mont Blanc massif. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but for me it’s just magical. As I was taking this shot I almost felt as if I was looking at a scene from a fantasy novel.

The misty clouds hiding the mountains beyond were the icing on the cake, providing the perfect opportunity to focus solely on the craggy rocks of the Aiguille des Grands Charmoz without any distraction. I couldn’t resist the black and white treatment, and boosted the contrast a bit to really show the distinction between the hard, unforgiving rock faces and the snow that surrounds them.

I think as peaks go it’s probably my favourite in the French Alps. For the time being anyway, I’m sure I have many more to discover! Do you have a favourite peak? Why does it stand out? I’d love to hear from you!

Over The Hills And Far Away

Le Reposoir, France

Taken just behind the quaint church I posted about last week, this was the lovely view I had all to myself whilst eating lunch in Le Reposoir. Beautifully serene, it really captured my imagination with the green hills giving way to the snow-capped mountains of the French Alps in the distance. I wanted to get closer to those mountains!

Alas, they were very far away from this spot. And those hills are much steeper than they appear! Unfortunately the direct driving route was still closed because of snow, so I’ll have to head back another time.

There was something about this composition that really appealed to me, with soft almost unnoticeable leading lines guiding you from left to right and the mountains that lie beyond. And for midday sun the light wasn’t too bad either!