I knew I had to get out. The atmosphere around me was becoming more fearful, and I had a perfect opportunity. The pandemic was everywhere and was filtering through every screen. How could the world change so swiftly?
So off I went to escape the dismal state and instead focus on a different perspective to try and bring some colour into my life. My escape wasn’t about taking photos for the sake of it. Nor was my trip about pushing the camera or lens to the limit in some pristine environment, rather the trip was about finding myself and reconnecting back with nature.
This is why Switzerland was on my list. Switzerland is incredible. Imagine a place brimming with landscapes in every direction where you could lose yourself. That was the place I was heading to intending to find the light. The majestic white-capped Alps protrude from the horizon masking the next incredible scene. When you’re there everywhere you look is simply breathtaking. And when I did arrive, I wanted to set myself a goal to see the world from a new perspective. So, with this in mind and a Fujifilm GFX 50R in hand, I set off to commence my trek.
Staring into the distance, I could see the elongating shadows dancing on the sides of mountains. The ancient glacier was crumbling on the horizon. With a few long breaths, I thought to myself, how did the world become so disconnected from nature?
My lens was almost not wide enough to cover the blanket of snow, which frequently surrounded me. Fortunately, though, photographing with a medium format camera proved to be an excellent choice. The raw grandness of resolution was a reflection of the epic landscape. At each location, I felt like the first person witnessing the beauty. As I wound the manual dials of my camera rocky outcrops seem to jolt from the ground in idyllic locations. With a few slight adjustments of my tripod head, I was able to consolidate them in my composition.
And it was at this moment; I knew the photos I was capturing were going to tell a narrative. Not as single images, but rather as an emotional journey. Connecting with the landscape was unquestionably what this trip was about. And when looking back, I can recall the very emotions I felt when looking through the lens.
I had fallen in love with the landscape.
There’s something about being outdoors in the fresh air that ignites creativity. I know when preparing for this trip, I had in mind the sort of photos I needed to take; however, this all changed once I was there. When setting up the gear to take my images, I lay in awe. The panoramic views surpassed what I had dreamed of. Most of the time, instead of pressing the shutter button, I was more than happy to view. The stillness in the air held me close to nature’s beating chest. My thoughts grew in the frozen air. How could so few people experience this?
As I trekked each corner, I wanted to proceed to explore. I constantly felt I was finding something new as the landscape around me was changing daily. The breathable air, the silence of the wind, a distant call of a bird whatever it was, just kept me wanting more.
Frequently, I found myself capturing half-a-second exposures as the golden light bounced from the snow reflector onto the sides of mountains. Watching the clouds float left and right for the closing scene was something I never missed. Even if the rays fell short, there was an outstanding beauty which could be found in the grayscale. Contrasting shapes and colours cascaded in a pixel canvas for my trigger-happy fingers. I felt at home.
As a landscape photographer, there’s a sense of joy you get from being out in nature. It’s what drives us up these heights. Feeling the wind on your face, experiencing the cold and sleeping rough is all part of the fun. For outdoor people, there’s a rush you can’t get from sitting in an office or watching a movie at home. Being in the elements is what life is all about, and this trip was an excellent reminder of that. I was able to come away, feeling a new love for the landscape and gain a real respect for nature.
Positivity feeds the soul when taking photos and hopefully when you look at the gallery of images from this trip, you get to share in the emotional wealth. Photography, for me, is about encouraging people to explore nature. It’s about watching someone’s eyes light up when they view the details that only a photographer can capture. And after reflecting on it feeling a sense of awe. That’s my purpose as a landscape artist. Sharing natural beauty as moments in time and a window into another world.
- Camera: Fujifilm GFX 50R
- Lenses: Fujinon GF32-64mm F4, Fujinon GF100-200mm F5.6
- LEE Filters, Gitzo GK100T Tripod
- Tour organised by grindelwaldSPORTS and let by mountain guide Beat Wenger
Aletsch Glacier & Jungfrau Region, Valais, Switzerland, September 2020