© 2020 ANDREW BONDARCHUK

VILLARET DU NIAL


Exposure: 1/100 sec, f/7.1, ISO 125

These tracks were nonexistent before we arrived.


This is the road (if I can call it that) we took down every morning and back up to get home at the end of each day. Often these tracks were buried in snow when we pulled up. And often it was completely iced over... Sometimes impossible to drive on without chains on the front wheels of our SUV. And if a car was coming in the opposite direction... Well that was sometimes a bit of a problem; with walls of snow on either side on some days, there was no space to work with and it was pretty much impossible to reverse all the way down this steep slippery winding slope. Not to mention doing the same thing going up.


You'd get a bit of an edgy feeling driving through here the first few times but that was balanced out by the fairytale vibe given off by this tiny Alpine village (or "villaret" as it was called in French, being too small to be considered a "ville" (village).


The difficult part of the shot was getting the perfect framing; catching part of the winding road (which appears much less steep here than it was in real life), a few of the houses, those tall snowy pines majestically towering over the roofs up ahead, and of course the mountain peak with clouds floating overhead. It was quite a challenge to get it all in without making the image appear overcrowded. So the framing had to be just right. My wide-angle lens was key to capturing all those elements; I shot at its widest setting of 11mm.


Why black & white? On an overcast day like this, with all the snow dominating the scene, the image was already pretty much monochromatic, lending itself nicely to a grayscale conversion. And this rendering suited the present mood perfectly.


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