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Tag Archives: mountains
Since seeing the Italian Dolomites on my first trip to Europe in 1979, I have always been captivated by the craggy, rocky peaks of the massifs west of Cortina d’Ampezzo. They are quintessential mountaineering peaks and form landmarks for skiers exploring the 500+ lifts of the Dolomiti Superski.
I had an opportunity to ski the fabled Sella Ronda, a lift-served route encircling the huge Sella Group. Our route took us from Arabba in the morning to Corvara and on to Selva before traversing the snowfields en route to Passo Pordoi and back home. Along much of the route we used the three peaks of the Sassolungo, or Langkofel, as our guide.
After an amazing day skiing some 25-30 lifts, I decided to take one quick detour with the Audi A6 to run the twisty, turny mountain road up to Passo Sello for one final look at the Dolomites. The sky was overcast so photography was unlikely. But as I neared the 2,239 meter pass, the sky began to break. All around me was this stunning landscape suddenly being painted with golden hour light – reflecting off the rocks and the snow. The wind began to howl and it became a very foreboding environment, but the imagery all around me was just too spectacular to leave.
It was virtually impossible to go with a tripod. I threw on my North Face GoreTex gear and stabilized the Nikon D300 as much as I could. This particular image came as the sun was setting over Sassolungo using my Nikkor 10-24 set at 13mm, f10, 1/400th at ISO 200.
This was one of my many favorites out of that truly memorable 30 minutes of photography on Passo Sella.
Having an entire 5,000 foot vertical, lift served mountain to ourselves was a dream. Rosa Khutor, site of the 2014 Olympic ski events, stands majestically above the river valley along the Georgian border. With canceled World Cup races, it gave us a chance to ski the new mountain and experience powder in the Caucasus Mountains outside Sochi.
My colleague Doug Haney knew the mountain, I did not. Doug picked a fantastic line coming off the top ridgeline. I was fortunate enough to capture him at just the right moment, with powder spraying behind him and storm clouds settling in the background.
It will be an amazing Olympics in 2014.
The restored Tate Barn is an iconic landmark in Midway, not far from our Park City home. It’s an often photographed landmark, but one that has eluded me through the years.
On an early fall day, after the first snow in the mountains, I had an early photo shoot at Soldier Hollow, the 2002 Olympic cross country venue. The early light was cast beautifully on the barn with snow-covered Mt. Timpanogos in the background – an idyllic scene and a great HDR opportunity.
This was an amazing afternoon! We were on a Sunday drive on the alpine loop between Cascade Springs and Sundance on the backside of Utah’s Wasatch Range. It was a stormy day with the skies opening and closing, back and forth.
Along the drive, we stopped at a scenic overlook with a view out to the southeast. The clouds were dancing with the mountaintops as brightly blooming wildflowers whipped in the breeze.
Despite the breeze, somehow I was able to capture the scene with a four-image HDR – requiring some special work on the wildflowers that weren’t exactly standing still. The fast-moving clouds were also a bit of an issue.
What was also impressive was the scene of the shoot. I was able to take partial shelter under the edge of the Audi hatchback, with the camera pretty much out in the elements – sheltered with a shirt to protect it ever so slightly from the driving rain.
Most notably, this photograph is my wife, Carole’s, favorite of the year. It was one of those photographs she encouraged me to make and knitted patiently in the Audi while I got soaked for 15 minutes. Her creative eye is often an inspiration and I think of her every time I view this scene.
On a drive back from Sun Valley to Park City, we took the scenic route, following ever changing weather patterns across the barren Idaho landscape. This old, stone house stood out on the prairie. The light was in and out on the house, but painted brightly on the mountains in the distance. Most importantly, the clouds billowed up into the deep blue sky.
My favorite photograph was a three-image HDR using a polarizing filter to deepen the blue in the sky.
It’s always a challenge an hour before sunrise figuring out whether or not it’s worth shooting and what location is going to produce some wonderful photographs. It was cloudy today – very cloudy, with a good chance of socked in overcast. But there was enough of a break that I felt it was worthwhile. It turned out to be a bonanza of opportunities!
It’s just a short drive up through Deer Valley Resort to Empire Pass and on to Guardsman. This time of year sunset is late – around 7:30 a.m. So there are always bike being unloaded from cars for the ridge ride.
Today I started at Empire Pass, scaring away a pair of deer hunters in a pickup. Shooting was good – very good. But it would get even better. Leaving Empire I passed another photographer with two tripods setup shooting south. The sky to the west over Guardsman looked especially inviting.
I stopped at four or five different locations, all producing great shots. But all of a sudden I turned around and looked east. The sun was piercing through the clouds shooting a bullet of light to Earth.
After shooting some closeup verticals of a single ray, the sky all of a sudden lit up with a series of sun rays.
The key to the photographs, though, is HDR – high dynamic range. This photograph is actually a series of three shots, each one exposure stop apart. It’s a simple HDR, processed with Photomatix, that worked very well – capturing the brilliance of unlit golden leaves with the menacing dark sky.
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There is nothing more breathtaking than morning light hitting a snow-capped mountain. This was one of those mornings to just take a break from the hustle-bustle of the opening race of the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup to just look around at the panoramic beauty of Austria’s Tyrolean Alps. The press center at the Soelden World Cup is the most scenic of any sport, anywhere in the world. High up on the Rettenbach Glacier, you can look down into the valley and pillows of fog, or scan the panorama to see glacial ice and snow bathed in low angle light.
The peaks of the Uintahs along Utah’s Mirror Lake Highway are painted in pink as the sun sets in the west over Mt. Timpanogos. (c) 2009 Tom Kelly
There’s something mystical about the Tetons. The drive from Jackson Hole up through Moran Junction and on to Yellowstone is breathtaking with jagged alpine peaks forming a knife-edged ridgeline that reaches up to the clouds. Every minute and each successive mile changes the canvas as the sun paints a picture of one of the world’s most notable mountain ranges. The light on this particular day had been crisp and clear – nothing notable. But as we prepared for dinner on the deck at Dornan’s, at the entrance to Grand Teton National Park, the show began. Across a 50-mile stretch, an hour-long light show mesmerized the senses with oranges and pinks ablaze in the sky. It was sun versus mountain for superiority, with the cragged rock of the Grand standing out brilliantly, silhouetted against the summer sky.