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#ThinkWINTER: A photographer’s view of the winter mountains

Tuesday 6th February 2024, 10:21am

Winter is an unpredictable season. One day there is no snow and then suddenly, the next morning, the landscape has changed dramatically, to reveal a white winter wonderland. There is something really special seeing the mountains with a layer of snow - simplified under a blanket of white, rocks covered. For a photographer, this offers incredible opportunities, but the challenge of reaching the mountain tops becomes more difficult. This is where planning is important. Once you’ve planned your route according to the weather and the avalanche forecast, the fun part begins - getting into the mountains, braking trail in the snow…all while minimising risk by using winter skills, experience and training.

The opportunities for photography in the winter months are endless. The snow creates depth in the mountains, as the cracks and gullies are more visible. The landscapes become more defined, and with the low winter sun, the light is beautiful throughout most of the day.

My favourite thing to photograph in the winter is sastrugi – parallel, wave-like ridges, caused by winds on the surface of hard snow – which almost looks like sand dunes. Sastrugi offers a unique foreground element for a photograph, and each day can bring different patterns in the snow depending on the direction of the wind.

The Scottish Highlands are a real paradise because of the dramatic change of temperature. I love how the landscape could be a white paradise one week and then, the following week, some of the snow has melted, leaving different parts of the mountain white while others are exposed. This creates a dynamic experience for hiking and photography, as no two days are ever the same.

The sunrises and sunsets become even more intense during the winter months, as the sun lights up the snow and creates a beautiful pink/red alpenglow, which is a photographer's dream to photograph. The excitement of watching the landscape illuminate beautifully when the sun rises or sets never fades. Being able to capture these moments with a camera is a special experience. It makes me look deeper into the landscape. It makes me want to explore more.

All images: Benjamin Barendrecht. Visit www.mountainlandscape.uk to find out more about Benjamin's work. 


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