Just, Scale...

December 9th, 2015, 12pm

It was 12°C with few clouds. There was moderate breeze.

There’s a building, in this picture. The structure is the size of an average farmyard barn. It’s discovery will give you the scale of these mountains against the size of us.

I took this photo after waiting an age for a snowstorm to pass, at around 3800m, complete with icicles on my face, and ice on my camera. It was a manual lens, and had stiffened in the cold; I’m certain an autofocus lens would have failed me in fact.

Writing this and looking at the photograph, sat in a warm apartment in Brighton, takes me back with a clarity of mind that is reserved for those moments well earned. I was so cold, and with a long way to go yet, back then. The elation and satisfaction of the day’s hardships melting out of me as I sat in front of my log burning stove, the darkness taking the valley into the nighttime. The surprise that my camera had actually worked when seeing the pictures for the first time.

I later found out that this was the coldest recorded day & night in the Chamonix Valley in 30+ years, with temperatures at night being cold enough to freeze the fuel inside my diesel BMW for two weeks afterwards. My place was inaccessible for any recovery vehicle, and I sorted the problem out eventually using a primus stove and unleaded fuel.

It was a few weeks of stories, all stemming from this day.

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Pete Barr-Watson

Writer, Photographer, CTO. More at http://petebarrwatson.com/

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