I capture many of my mountain landscapes using conventional composition rules. So, mountains in the background with other elements in the foreground and/or middle to lead the eye to the peaks and to complement them. I do like to challenge rules though and love trying different approaches. One of the things I like to do, for instance, is to go to a higher altitude in the Alps and shoot the surrounding mountains with a birds-eye view of the Alps.
In thin Air, autumn snow in the Swiss AlpsA landscape, featuring the Swiss Alps of Engadin with first autumn snow and snow-dusted mountains peaks bathing in the morning light.
Using a wide-angle lens up on a mountain is fun, however, I often also use longer focal lengths to get closer and to create more “intimate” photographs. I usually point the lens downwards a bit, compose tightly and avoid including too much sky. I love the perspective you get by shooting in this manner. It provides a bit of a “birds-eye view” and gives the viewer the feeling of flying into the Alps. I published a mountain landscape photograph titled Come Fly with Me a while ago which had that same perspective. That photograph is another excellent example.
For the birds-eye view of the Alps in this photograph titled In Thin Air, I went up Diavolezza mountain. Diavolezza, which is Italian for “She-Devil”, is a mountain near Pontresina in Graubünden, Switzerland. I went up to an altitude of 2978 metres (about 10.000 feet), which gave me a spectacular view in various directions. The mountain in the foreground to the left is called Piz Alv and has an altitude just a bit lower than the height I was shooting from. The mountains in the back are a touch higher though.
I was fortunate that morning. The mountains were bathing in the soft morning light, and there was fresh snow on the mountain peaks. Besides that, there was fog above them to add some mood. I photographed this mountain landscape using a 70-200 f/2.8 Nikkor lens on a Nikon D800E. The settings were: 92mm, ƒ/10, 1/125s and ISO100. No filters were used. I hope you like it!?
Click on the photograph if you would like to buy a print or licence of In Thin air.
Cheers, Johan 🙂