If you are aiming to photograph the sunset, prepare yourself to run a mountain trail with a bag full of equipment somewhere in the Alps

Sure it is not a wonderful thing to do but sometimes it’s unavoidable. That is why planning is the trickiest and the most important part of photography.

Here is how my story came to be. Last December I met two amazing athletes, Peter Fankhauser and Thomas Farbmacher. Thomas won one of the hardest trail runs in the Alps called Ultramarathon last year. Thus they both are pretty good. My initial idea was to photograph them as long as it has not started snowing heavily. I wanted to capture mountains covered half with snow but with the surface still visible. The December was the most appropriate time for it this year because it has not started to snow yet. However, I also knew that we had just a week to pull it through until the whole area would be covered with fluffy powder. We have arranged one and a half days. The first one for location scouting, the other one for actual photo shooting.

We have found two locations on two separate mountains. In the morning we would photograph on the one mountain, in the evening we would get to another one, with a fantastic sunset view.

The biggest challenge was the time. Since it was the second half of December, the sun would usually get down very quickly. Covered by the mountains the sun would reach its golden hour at 3 pm, lasting only for another thirty minutes until it vanishes. That’s why location scouting is so crucial. Knowing these nuances will determine whether the photograph gets its ‘umpf’ or not.

BE PHYSICALLY PREPARED

Here is the funny thing. If you want to photograph on two mountains and you know you have to hike 2700m to the first one, make pictures, get down, drive to another one, hike again, and be there before the golden hour, be prepared to run. And you better be capable of doing so, because these athletes and the sun won’t wait for you. Also, don’t forget your bag with 10kg full of equipment.

Photographing athletes in their environment forces you to be prepared as well. Frankly, you do not want to be the weak part of the chain. It is a necessity if you plan to photograph action photography. It can be physically demanding if you want to keep up with these professionals. That’s one of the reasons why I train on a regular basis.

At the end of the day, we have managed to photograph everything we have planned. I also was able to make pictures as I have imagined them. The sun lasted only 15min. But it was more than enough to get the frame I wanted.

Once again, a big shout out to Peter and Tom without them I wouldn’t be a to pull it through.

As always stay tuned for more,

Alex