Dramatic Rocky Mountain ridge near Banff, AB. Canon EOS 7D EF-S 10-22mm at 12mm f/11 1/320 ISO 100
The great rocks reach out and pull us in even while they dominate our senses and produce in us a kind of fear tinged with awe. We stand before them and we know that our mortality is a certain thing and yet our will to live, to experience them, just to stand and see them is so strong.
Finding a way to present a photograph of a mountain that is not tired and cliche can be a challenge. For landscape photographers they present an irresistible draw so finding a way to stand out from the millions of mountain photographs is difficult. When I saw this mountain ridge near Banff on a sunny afternoon I knew that I wanted a very high contrast black and white image with an almost black sky and a black foreground. I underexposed by one stop to darken the sky and took the image. I used a very wide angle, 12mm, to allow the range to spread out through the frame, giving the ridge lots of length instead of the traditional towering height that mountains often get in landscape photography. The image is made more dynamic by the strong visual weight on the left of the photograph and it pulls your eye to the right as the ridge diminishes into the distance. I brought the image into Nik Silver Efex Pro and applied a high contrast under-exeposed filter to it. This produced the black skies and the silver mountains that appear almost to float. Below is the unprocessed colour version of the photograph and you can see how much more dramatic, how much more powerful the image is in black and white.
Below is a more tradition composition of the same mountain with it rising higher in the frame. I feel that the first image with it’s space to breathe and the way it pulls your eye through the frame is a much more powerful photograph.
Mountains rising out of the plain near Banff. Canon EOS 7D EF-S 10-22mm at 22mm f/10 11/250 ISO 100