French Alps - any must dos ? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I have booked a week vacation in the French Alps near Morzine in the Summer and cant decide whether to take by LF gear or not. Are there any good photo guides to the region or portfolios/websites from LF photographers that might inspire ? Amazon is decidedly sparce unless skiing is what you plan to go for.



-- David Tolcher (, February 18, 2002


Choose & take the camera format that you feel most comfortable with. As for "must do's", just shoot what you like with the gear you like and forget about what others have done.

-- Dan Smith (, February 18, 2002.

Yes, yes and yes again, take the LF gear and use it!! I was in Chamonix (about 90 minutes from where you will be) in 1999 and wasnt able to take the LF gear. You don't really need a photo guide, opportunities just present themselves in this area. Just get a good road map.


-- James Christian (, February 18, 2002.

Thanks for the response - I have 2 passions in photography - 35mm based natural history work (particularly butterflies and dragonflies) and LF B & W landscape type work. Carrying both sets of gear will be a real challenge - even stripped down.

I have not really seen any B & W material of the Alps and wondered whether that was lack of opportunity / poor conditions for B&W or lack of photographers practicing the art. If you compare the material (books/websites etc) available compared to, say, what you can pick up for the US or even Aust/NZ then its a really barren area.

Best regards

-- David Tolcher (, February 19, 2002.

I was in Chamonix a while back and took the lift $$$ up to Aquille du Medi (not correct spelling) lots of good stuff. But be sure you go early as the clouds come in and obscure things. Its a glacier so there's snow year round. Geo

-- George Nedleman (, February 19, 2002.

The Morzine area is not a glacier area but you can get a lot of photographic subjects just walking around on your own on easy footpaths with no mountain gear. Now the recommendation to travel to Chamonix is good since it will bring you to a very different world. I would of course recommend the trip to the top of Aiguille du Midi from where you can continue to Italy crossing over the Mer de Glace glacier by a connected cable train.

Now if you want to go to a favourite place for a panoramic shot, the Aiguilles Rouges range just above Cham' (as French alpinists call their beloved "Mecca") is worth a try. The Lac Blanc lake is one of the favourite places.

Now on non-glacial parts between Morzine and Cham' I'd recommend the Désert-de-Platé and Cirque du Fer à Cheval, a limestone range of mountains with deep caves (probably not for you ;-) but, IMHO, a nice collection of photographic subjects, limestone cliffs and green pastures being as interesting as glaciers.

It is recommended to start early or stay late as everywhere in France in summer to get the best light. Beware however of thunderstorms, mostly in the afternoon, you probaby do not want to be caught up in the moutains in very bad weather.

The major difference vs. the US South West or the Rockies is ambient humidity, making lanscapes potentially less clear in summer than in dry areas. Spring or Autumn is often preferred at least on classical "calendar-like" pictures of the French or Swiss Alps. But the same would apply to Grand Canyon or Bryce.

As far as nice chalet houses is concerned, if you extend your travel to nearby Switzerland crossing either of the mountain passes, you'll find, simply walking around, all nice and old farmhouses you could dream of. But may be you do'nt really want to reproduce a Swiss calendar ;-);-) Something I've seen once in Switzerland near a chalet was a unique, incredible, masterpiece of a wood pile, precisely (of course) piled up at a certain distance of the chalet, standing up and roofed with selected wood "tiles" to protect the stock against rain. Because this is the Swiss tradition in this particular place. The owner did it like that, simply it *had* to be well-done like his father did it.

Have a good time.

Now as far as

-- Emmanuel Bigler (, February 28, 2002.

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