The fog... the world, as we know it, begins to fade away... as well as our certainties.
A widespread stereotype is "to make beautiful landscape pictures you will need a wide-angle!".
Well… the wide angle is just a tool, too often mistakenly associated with the very common trend to include all the scene in the frame, which does not make any sense, because photographing everything is equivalent to photograph nothing.
Rather it's important to improve our ability to make targeted decisions - first inside our mind, then using the camera viewfinder - carefully choosing & isolating well-defined sections in the immense surrounding scenery.
Clearly, this is not only related with minimalism, but, for sure, minimalism arises from this modus operandi made of well-circumscribed choices.
Technically, minimalist photos can be taken with any kind of lens, depending on the case and the final purpose we are aiming for.
At the artistic level, the most important aspect is the harmonic/geometric balance between the few parties involved.
The very idea of minimalism can be metaphorically well described by the aphorism “I’m sorry I wrote you such a long letter, I didn't have time to write a short one” :-)
Which means: getting into the essential may not be so easy at first.
But I am pretty sure that, in due time, only the act of trying may turn out in something stylistically healthy.
Personally, being a musician, I’ve found very useful and inspiring going back to musical compositions well known to me, such as the works of Arvo Pärt, in order to really focus, with all senses, the fragile importance acquired by every single element when the climate becomes increasingly rarefied.
It’s a work of introspection, a search for that "everything" concealed in that "nothing".
It goes without saying that I do not have absolute truths, what exposed is my way of seeing things, based on personal experiences in the field.
These are not meant to be photographs of a mountain, but rather photos of its shadow projected into the surrounding landscape.
I took this pictures during various sunsets and sunrises (from year 2010 to 2017) in the occasion of my many visits to the summit of Mount Rocciamelone (3,538 meters/11,603 feet), the highest and most stylish peak of Susa Valley, Italy.
I've seen around the Alps many shadows, any kind of reflection, endless play of light... but such a neat geometric form so far I've found only on the Rocciamelone, thanks to its perfect conical shape.
The first time I saw it I was setting things to spend the night at high altitude, going on the north side of the summit to get some clean snow to melt for water, looking east I saw this area, like a huge mantle, conical and dark... I thought "wow, the mountain is projecting itself into the valleys below!" ... and I got my first shot, at sunset, thanks to the low rays of the setting sun in the west, exactly behind me and my camera.
At dawn occurs the same effect of shadow projection, obviously with the cone pointing west due to the sun rising east.
This natural phenomenon, observed on such a large scale, made me think: no one would be surprised or enchanted to see his own shadow on the sidewalk, walking in the city :-) ... shadows are just part of our daily lives. Here the physical process is exactly the same, just applied to the immensity of a mountain. I think this parallel between the ordinary (we don't even notice anymore) and the immensity, leads to a sort of needed "rediscovery" concerning the laws that all the time are governing our ordinary life.
Usually I travel my expeditions in solitary, this is valid for the Rocciamelone as well as for any other mountain in the Alps (also the 4.000 meters summits).
With the weight of my professional photographic equipment (camera, 2 lenses, tripod), food and gear to spend the night at high altitude, it generally takes me 3 hours and half to reach the top, but everything is relative in mountain climbing.
Temperature can vary greatly, even suddenly. The presence of strong wind at high altitude usually does its part to drastically change the climate.
You can go from a comfortable sunny afternoon with even 10 degrees, to -20C, even a lot less, at night.
Technically these are sunset and sunrise pictures. I'm used to night photography, which tends to be more complicated, so I can honestly say that the act of shooting has never been complex in itself.
But... if we consider the act of climbing a mountain above 11,000 feet, the overnight stay, the temperature (by the way all things I see as absolute integral part in landscape photography!)... well, this, all considered, converts these photos into something very difficult to get... but definitely worth any single effort!
After all the experiences lived on the Alps I could not even remotely consider the classic afternoon hike, so losing what matters most: these mysterious play between light and shadows, the warm colors of sunsets and sunrises, the otherworldly mysticism of the night...
Mountains must be lived at all hours, without haste, otherwise what a waste!
This is the sixth time I visit Mount Thabor (3.178 m), Vallée Étroite, France.