Floating Peak

Just as I was beginning to wonder where the next blog-worthy post would come from, my Flickr contact Ethan (cormend) regales us with this breathtaking view of Cho Oyu.

Floating Peak

A prime example of photographic subtlety and the use of layers, this picture is enough to stop one in his tracks (as I am quite sure the scene arrested the photographer), hence we benefit from it.

The immediate compositional aspect is the slightly crude use of chiaroscuro – the stark contrast between the sombre immediacy of the foreground and the brilliant divinity of the peak (well, Cho Uyu does translate to Turquoise Goddess). This provides foundation: context within which we can view the magnificence of the revealed mountain. That the tonal elements are also physical layers brought together with direction and revelation is a bonus; the incursion of the cloud layer over the left side of the foreground adding greatly to the sense of depth.

The curved leading line within the foreground is another factor giving the scene depth, and a sense of scale: without that detail, we would not know that the col itself is so large, so reinforcing just how the snow cap lords over all below it. (There is an altitude difference of 3450m between viewpoint and mountaintop – the scale here is domineering.)

But perhaps the most effective element of this image’s composition is reflection: the mirroring of the mountain’s shape in the form of the valley, even down to the secondary peak having a matching dip in the line of the foreground. Not perfectly aligned, but unquestionably linking the elements together.

Breathtaking.

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