Sometimes a good picture isn’t a literal description of a place. Instead, the combination of simple compositional elements can work to make a picture magical. This image was taken from the highest cable car station in Europe, the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, which stands at a breathtaking 12,800 feet. From the viewing platform, the highest peaks of Italy, France, and Switzerland are visible on a clear day. This is where mountaineers depart in order to scale the Breithorn.
On this day, it was so clear that Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps, was visible. What caught my eye, however, was this scene. The scale is defined by the climbers who are tethered to their guide, following carefully in the footsteps of the previous climbers. The line they follow leads your eye through the frame and bisects the image. Putting the horizon toward the top of the frame and allowing the clouds to fill the top third gives a feeling of endlessness.
Although this is a famous spot for getting breathtaking panoramas of mountain peaks, I chose to crop all of them from my frame in order to illustrate the feeling of being in this place. There was very little color. If it weren’t for the bit of blue sky, this photo would be almost all white. It was very cold and windy but so beautiful, and with this particular framing, I feel that I captured what it would be like to be out on the massive, snow-covered glacier.
Photo Tips: What you don’t include in the frame is sometimes as important as what you do include. This elimination can give your image a certain abstract quality, and your photo will also become more of an adjective than a noun. Look out for the opportunity to not include color in a color photograph. Look for leading lines and pay attention to opportunities to show scale. Understand how your camera meter works so that the snow has texture but is still white.
Photographed with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon EF 24-105mm, f/4L IS USM lens. Camera settings: 1/1600.; f/6.3; ISO100.
See more photos by Susan Seubert on Instagram at @susanseubert.