Alpine photographer Kamil Tamiola takes us to the heart of the Italian Alps, in Aosta, where he’s on location for a professional Alpine photo shoot. The landscape, action and sports photographer climbs with two experienced mountaineers 3,300 meters up Mont Blanc Massif, where the snow and glacier are unpredictable and altitude sickness is a real threat. Here’s how he captures incredible, dramatic shots when there’s no room for second chances:
There are many things to consider with climbing photography, especially when it comes to safety. You have to understand and minimize the dangers that come with shooting in testing environments.
On this shoot for the Guild of the Guides of Courmayeur, Tamiola is on Mont Blanc Massif with two professional local mountaineers who have been climbing all their lives. His goal is to reduce any risks as much as possible and since the mountaineers know the area well, they understand the conditions and dangers better than anyone else.
For Tamiola, the challenge of pushing himself to the edge is what motivates him. He’s going to be experimenting with 40-80mm to really capture the vast emptiness behind the climbers, while clearly capturing the dramatic detail of them chopping through the ice and snow. Tamiola is working with medium format IQ250 and the high dynamic range will bring out the shadows and tone down the highlights.
“My intention over here is to show the action. You can see the snow blowing around. I want to see the snow and the detail in their faces… I want to see expression on these guys and I want to see their hands working. I want to see them going deep into the snow.”
Tamiola is facing something called the Scottish conditions, which produces a very powerful Southern wind, but he works with it. The ice and particles drifting around provide a dramatic setting and he shoots wide-angle to enhance that feeling.
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