Behind the Photo: Best of 2016 - Mountain Spring
Lac Blanc is one of the places I distinctly recall seeing photos of and thinking to myself, "I'll never see that with my own eyes." The first time I saw a photo of it had to be back in 2008 - I was searching around Panoramio and found a stunning photo of a lake with jagged peaks in the background at dusk - I saved it and stared at it for years.
When I was planning our trip to Chamonix in 2015, Lac Blanc was on the list. Unfortunately we didn't have the time for the hike, so I never saw it. This year I was determined and made it a point to set aside adequate amount of time to get here.
We hiked up to the lake on our first trip in July, but since we all waited entirely too late to get up here, I had to rush getting photos. We crossed a bridge that went over a stream - I was exhausted, so I sat next to the bridge and this was the scene I saw. I didn't have enough time to get a photo in July, but I took a mental note that I wanted to get a photo from here.
On our second trip in August, we had more time so the very first photo I made it a point to get was this one. I sat just below the bridge on a pile of rocks next to the stream, setup my tripod, mounted my camera and put on my LEE filter kit. I like when water has that silky smooth look, so I used my 10 stop neutral density filter to get a nice long exposure during the middle of the day - definitely a handy filter to have to cut down on harsh sunlight on those bright days.
I just loved the scene - a fresh mountain stream flowing from a lake carved out by glaciers, a rainbow of rocks leading your eyes down stream until you look up at the jagged peaks of the Mont Blanc massif in the distance. This very scene is one that captures the raw beauty of the Alps and, for me at least, serves as a reminder as to why I think Chamonix is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
This is an absolute must if you find yourself in Chamonix. I will tell you, if you do the hike definitely hike down from the Index chairlift. It's far easier, and much quicker, than hiking up from the La Flégère cable car. More info can be found here.