Hiking along the Grand Balcon Sud in the Chamonix valley was the highlight of my summer exploring the French Alps on foot. The 90 minute trek from the Index cablecar to Lac Blanc and the Lacs des Chéserys was full of incredible views no matter where I turned.
But the hike along the same path in the opposite direction was even better, with Mont Blanc in view almost the entire time. I took this shot just after I started hiking back to the cablecar station to head home. I really can’t recommend this route enough!
On the right you can see one of the Lacs des Chéserys, a beautiful collection of small mountain lakes at an altitude of 2111m. To the left in the distance is Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in Europe at 4810m. From here I spent a bit more time shooting at the lake, before continuing my journey back up the rocky face behind it.
When I reached Lac Blanc to find I was sharing it with only one other hiker, I knew the 5:30am wake-up call was worth it. This popular lake in the Aiguilles Rouges range of the French Alps is swarming with people for much of the day. But arrive early enough and you can have the place almost to yourself.
What’s the main attraction? The stunning views of the Mont Blanc massif, seen here reflected in the water. It’s been a bit of a dream of mine to see this lake. As I stood here looking out at what must be one of the most magnificent views in the Alps, I felt slightly overwhelmed by the grandeur of it all.
I thought I was aware of the beauty I’d find at Lac Blanc, but there is no substitute for being there in person. Seeing it with my own eyes, breathing the air and enjoying the silence. It made me fall in love with the mountains all over again. I wouldn’t hesitate to set my alarm for 5:30am and do it all again next weekend.
I’d been shooting with a wide angle lens all morning, but decided it was time to focus on the detail of the majestic mountains I could see in the distance. I sat down, switched to a long zoom lens and scanned the surrounding landscape for interesting features.
Something about this peak in the Mont Blanc massif caught my eye. I loved the leading line created by the mountain’s ridge. Following it from bottom to top I felt like I could imagine it climbing higher and higher as it was created, forged from the earth.
Mountains at high altitude often make great subjects for black and white photography. There’s so much contrast to play with between the snow-capped peaks, perfect blue sky and dark rock formations. I had great fun experimenting in Lightroom!