Getting the perfect shot for the cover of our brochure is always a challenge – when you have so many amazing trips on offer, picking a favourite to show on the cover can feel like trying to choose a favourite child! Luckily, one image this year really stood out. Resident Exodus photographer and videographer Olly Pemberton managed to capture the astonishing shot you see gracing this year’s brochure. We snatched five minutes with Olly and got the low-down on just how he got that one perfect shot and he gave us some great insight for you budding photographers.
Hi Olly! Where were you when you took the image? I took the image by a small mountain lake in the Brevent region of the Mont Blanc Circuit. Which trip were you on? I was actually climbing Mont Blanc but had a few days prior to explore and photograph some of the iconic walks that we do in the Chamonix Valley. So close to home, the Mont Blanc massive is one of the most breathtaking mountain scapes in Europe. I had always thought to truly appreciate this you had to stand on the highest point possible; however the second I stepped out of the Brevent cable car I realised I couldn’t be more wrong. Which day of the trip did you take the image on and what were you up to that day? I had landed at midday and turned on my phone to a message from our local operator saying “weather perfect, we head straight up on your arrival”. I was in Chamonix by 15:00 and immediately whisked on to the cable car as this was not a weather window to be missed. What a spectacular introduction to the region!
So – the bit we are all curious about… how did you get such a unique shot? The conditions to capture the majesty of the Mont Blanc Massive were absolutely perfect. It was around 16:30 and the sun had sunk to a position that didn’t create too much glare from the white glaciers and the sky was no longer the washed out blue that you get when the sun is too high. As we continued along the mountain paths a weather front blew in an interesting selection of clouds and I knew it had to be now. We needed an interesting subject in the foreground quickly and luckily spotted a mountain lake not too far in the distance that had a clear view of the mountains in front of it. This would mirror the white of the mountains, sandwiched by the green of the lower pastures. Perfect. We ran towards the lake in hope that the clouds wouldn’t blow through and just about had enough time for me to wade into the lake, position the trekking subjects in their vibrant colours and complete the shot.
What was the trickiest thing about getting the picture? In order to frame the shot correctly and get the right balance in the foreground I had to take off my boots, roll up my trousers and stride into the lake. I was holding an expensive camera whilst walking on stones covered in slippery silt. Time was always against us as firstly the weather could change at a moment’s notice, and secondly the last cable car back down was leaving in 1 hour and we were about 50 minutes away. Gripping as hard as I could with my toes I found a rock just about flat enough to steady myself. To get the right angle I was going to have to squat down, and to stop the ripple effect on the surface of the water I was going to have to remain perfectly still for the entire time. It took 5 minutes for the ripples to settle (although not entirely as a gentle wind was scuffing it slightly), and then 10 minutes to wait for the sun to reappear behind a rogue cloud and 5 minutes to perfect the jump of the trekker. So all in all I was in a squat position in a mountain lake for about 20 minutes, but it was all worth it. We even had a lone cloud symmetrically align itself in between the two trekking subjects just at the right moment. What gave you the idea for that picture? A combination of subject matter available to us and perfect conditions.
If you’d like to experience Mont Blanc for yourself, check out our Mont Blanc holdidays. For more exciting trekking trips, don’t forget to get your copy of our new Walking and Trekking brochure!