Spring has always been my favorite season. Abundance manages to fill all the trees with flowers, colors and scents, flowers bloom in every meadow and a smile of relief can be seen on all people’s faces. The warm weather has arrived and nature takes over the landscape, as it does every year. The snow is gradually melting, although where I live it remains until June, and the lakes are filling up with water again. And so, the desire to go back to taking landscape photos returns and we start planning treks to discover new Alpine lakes that we have never seen before. Before we know it, a mad desire to take photos under the slopes of immense mountains is immediately re-awakened.
Without any prompting, we’re ready to go out and enjoy all the wonderful opportunities that the warmer temperatures and melting ice provide. First of all – climbing! Although winter gives us ice climbing and skiing, the pleasure of rock climbing, pure and warm, is a necessity that increases year after year. The essentials of a good day’s climbing and photos includes friends. To climb with a rope, you need at least one other person to act as a belayer, but three or more people make it easier still, so that you can have a subject model climbing while you take photos. In the waning hours of the day, you can still explore new places and climb, and use the golden hour for some stunning images.
For this type of shooting, I recommend that you have a good relationship with your models/friends so you can position them in places that will create a beautiful visual composition, or maybe even plan the location of the shoot beforehand. This is a good practice to apply to any landscape photos you take during the year. Always try to study the location and lighting and determine the points where the subject would stand out even more from the surrounding landscape.
For example, two years ago I organized a trek to an alpine lake in my region, where we knew we would get some incredible shots thanks to the abundance of snow melt from the mountains that had formed a pool of water and in which the Dolomites would be reflected in the background. We also planned the shoot to coincide with the full moon. As soon as the sun went down, there it was, with the first stars, the moon rising. We used a small radio to communicate with the model: “Don’t move for two seconds…3, 2, 1 and done!” and captured some incredible shots. Another time, we took advantage of the brilliant green and brighter days of spring to visit a small lake nestled in the Dolomites and with a few tests shots, got a nice image with all the reflection of the mountains in the lake, despite the still bright light.
Of course, you can also get some wonderful shots at times without all the careful planning. I have a lot of photos in my portfolio that we ended up taking at the last minute because we decided to try out a new perspective along our trek. When you are in such vast and magnificent places as the mountains, a key thing to remember is to take photos from as many different perspectives as possible – maybe just comparing the subject with the mountains or other much larger elements.
During a hike with a group of friends, I suddenly realized that the sun was about to go down between the peaks of the Dolomites, leaving a small slice of light in the meadow. I didn’t wait a second to ask some of them to walk slowly along the poorly marked path and there was the shot: an improvised but successful photo.
My shot “On the Edge” was another example where I had tried putting the subject of the photo in an inferior position to the landscape. It had been a very long shooting day and we were on our way home when I noticed this isolated tower with a beautiful sunset view in the background. So we positioned the model right along the edge of the rock. Below her feet was a 300 meter gap, where she stood admiring the sunset.
With the arrival of the new season, I advise everyone to get out and shoot as much as possible! Sadly, this is not the year for travel, but consider getting out and about locally and making the most of the opportunity to shoot all the beauty this spring will bring!