I passed waterfall after waterfall tumbling down the valley carved by the Torrent de Sales. Following the river upstream en route to the Refuge de Sales was an incredible experience. It must be up there as one of the most rewarding hikes in the French Alps.
Over the course of the two hour journey from the Chalet de Lignon there are five or six stunning waterfalls waiting to greet you, each seemingly more impressive than the last. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes! It was a pretty exciting place to be with a camera.
These narrow falls can be found descending the valley walls toward the end of the hike. I was really happy about the cloudy skies on this trip, they created a fantastic mood and made shooting the waterfalls so much easier.
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 don’t often go for black and white with my landscape shots, but it seemed like the perfect way to highlight this daisy standing tall in the long grass near La Chaîne du Bargy in the French Alps. After taking shelter from a stormy shower passing through the valley I ventured out toward the woodland before coming across this beautiful scene.
I noticed a few daisies dotted around so started searching for a decent composition with one in the foreground. Fortunately I found this spot, and I took a few handheld shots at different apertures to make sure I came away with something acceptable.
I was slightly disappointed that the weather turned on me. I’d started out on a longer hike to Lac Benit but decided not to continue after the thunder started rolling in. Better safe than sorry! But after the worst of the weather had passed the cloudy skies were so dreamy, I didn’t stay disappointed for too long.
If you ever hike Le Môle in the French Alps you’ll come across this seemingly disused house about half way up. It’s got a great view across the valley, so I’m not sure why it’s unoccupied. I wonder if it has a use during a particular part of the year and I was just there at the wrong time.
It’s a great spot to have a breather, which if you’re anything like me you’ll definitely be needing at this point in the journey to the summit. With that beautiful cloud and the mountain ridge both converging on the house I couldn’t resist this shot!
Having said all that, the view from the half way point probably isn’t worth the effort unless you’re heading for the summit. So if you’re in two minds about whether to make the trip or not, my advice would be to either go the distance or give this one a miss.
This week I’ve been experimenting with HDR and Photomatix a little. I originally processed this shot of Lake Annecy exclusively in Lightroom, but wasn’t completely happy with the results even though I liked the composition.
I didn’t have multiple exposures of the same scene as you typically would with HDR, so I used Photomatix to create an HDR image from a single RAW file. It gave me some extra detail in the foreground and the mountains on the horizon which is just what I was looking for.
While I’m not a fan of the over processed, saturated HDR images you see a lot these days, I do appreciate the more subtle effect the process can create. I still don’t have the patience for taking more than one exposure of a single scene but I do think I’ll be using Photomatix a little more in the future!
Have you ever used Photomatix? Maybe you’re a big fan of HDR images? I’d love to hear from you!
Although I never found Lac du Roy as intended, this fantastic unnamed lake was right next to the car park at which I ended my hike. Before I left to head home I spent a while just taking all sorts of different shots around the water’s edge.
Unfortunately there was a chap just out of shot fishing, which made it impossible to get a great reflection. He clearly wasn’t very good because he kept creating ripples in the water. I’m no fishing expert, but I’m pretty sure that’s not the best approach!
This was the most balanced composition I found around the lake, but I’ve no doubt there’s a better one out there. The shot was taken late in the afternoon, but I still had some harsh lighting in the foreground that I had to correct in Lightroom by adjusting the exposure.