║ APPAs 2015 - Chamonix Climbers
11 November 2015
The APPAs (Australian Professional Photography Awards) are over and I am very happy with the results of a really tough year. I posted the four images on facebook and a lot of people have asked about this particular image and so I thought it would be good to tell the story.
I didn’t take this image from a helicopter, plane or from a drone but from a cable car in Chamonix in the French Alps. I was traveling with my family around Europe and went there by chance… Chamonix is a ski resort and I was really impressed that you can actually see one of its glaciers from the town.
The next day we decided to get a cable car / chair lift to the highest point in Europe (Mont Blanc). It was a beautiful day and there were lots of climbers attempting the summit. The views from the top were amazing… The trip in the cable car is an experience in itself, I have vertigo and I suffered when the second cable car took us to about 3800 meters in 20 minutes which was a bit too quick for your body to get used to the temperature and pressure changes… I think my kids (3 and 5) certainly felt it because as soon as we arrived they started to go a bit mad. From the top you can take another cable car to the Italian side and I had heard that it was amazing so I convinced Lucy that since we were there, we should take it....
Well my kids, went absolutely nuts in the chair lift, fighting and screaming so loud that I thought we were going to go down … it was so stressful that I just couldn’t even look at the views of the peaks and glaciers. They are a bit like that but I think the altitude probably had an effect on them…
At that time when I was about to lose it too, I looked down and saw some amazing patterns on the glacial ice. Suddenly, I couldn’t hear any more screams, I had seen a picture and when that happens, I go into myself and I forgot about everything else, I go into my shell and nothing else matters… I could not stop taking pictures of the ice patterns and then the chair lift stopped for a few minutes right where I wanted. I knew I had something good and started to change lenses, and look for different compositions. I told Lucy that I had an APPA image here and when I went home and I looked at the “APPA folder” I selected a few images taken from the cable car but there was something missing in the image….
The image of the ice patterns was very beautiful but it needed something else. So yes, the original image didn’t have the climbers. I photographed them from the cable car as well but they were not crossing that particular part of the ice pattern that I liked and so when I was processing the image I called my mate and Photoshop wizard Adam Williams of the Light Collective who told me a very easy way to select the climbers using “blend if”. He actually did it for me and I am very thankful to him for teaching me a new Photoshop technique for selecting elements.