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Best of 2015

With a few delays, here comes my now traditional (20142013, 20122011 and 2010) selection of the most significant images I have shot last year:

 

Claire Mercuriot flies next to Aiguille du Grépon at sunset, Chamonix.

Claire Mercuriot flies next to Aiguille du Grépon at sunset, Chamonix.

A spur of the moment shoot, we got incredibly lucky with conditions, allowing us two magical flights from Aiguille du Midi. Though I have many sunset shots, this one of Claire against Aiguille du Grépon in perfect light really stood out.

 

A team of women, led by Bettina Aller, on their way to the North Pole via skiing the last degree.

A team of women, led by Bettina Aller, on their way to the North Pole via skiing the last degree.

Going to the Arctic and skiing the last degree to the North Pole was certainly taking me out of my comfort zone, but I really enjoyed those six hard days on the ice, following an all-woman team during the inaugural edition of the Mamont Polar Cup. Here, Bettina Aller crosses a potentially dangerous water lead.

 

The Chamonix PGHM (moutain rescue service) in action, shot for Montagnes Magazine.

The Chamonix PGHM (moutain rescue service) in action, shot for Montagnes Magazine.

Though I haven’t shared many of those images yet, I spent a lot of 2015 embedded with the incredible Chamonix PGHM rescue service, following them on their daring rescues. Here at night, in a storm, on Arête des Cosmiques.

 

 

Tom Boyer climbs a short rock step below Camp 2 on the Abruzzi Ridge of K2, Pakistan.

Tom Boyer climbs a short rock step below Camp 2 on the Abruzzi Ridge of K2, Pakistan.

Along with the North Pole, the other big expedition of the year was to the second highest mountain in the world, K2. Though nobody ended up summiting this year due to poor conditions, it was still a grand adventure. Here, Tom Boyer on a short rocky step below the infamous House Chimney, on our acclimatization round.

 

A group of local villagers help Brant Didden and other members of a K2 expedition to cross a flooding river near Skardu, Pakistan.

A group of local villagers help Brant Didden and other members of a K2 expedition to cross a flooding river near Skardu, Pakistan.

Getting to K2 was half the adventure, and coming back an ordeal I won’t forget anytime soon. This was shot near sunset after hiking 90km of treacherous glacier terrain and flooding rivers in 2 and a half days, and driving 8h on the bed of a Land Cruiser on very sketchy roads. At this stage, crossing a flooding river/mudslide and escaping a near-riot of angry local villagers was par for the course.

 

Agathe Petrini dances in front of a sunset on the Mont Blanc range, Chamonix, France.

Agathe Petrini dances in front of a sunset on the Mont Blanc range, Chamonix, France.

I have done a couple of photoshoots with my friend Agathe Petrini, an awesome dancer and teacher from Chamonix. It was tough to choose only one image!

 

Jon Gupta and Will Harris climb the Traverse of Écandies in Switzerland's Val d'Arpette. Montane photoshoot.

Jon Gupta and Will Harris climb the Traverse of Écandies in Switzerland’s Val d’Arpette. Montane photoshoot.

And of course, throughout the year and in between big trips, I keep climbing in Chamonix. Here, shot for my oldest client, Montane, Jon Gupta on the fun Écandies Traverse.

 

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A PGHM rescuer gets winched from the EC145 helicopter on Aiguille de l’M.

Though I have many shots of helicopter winching, this one really stood out due to the great light and the presence of my beloved Drus in the background.

 

BMW and Salewa joint campaign photoshoot in San Martino di Castrozza, Dolomites, Italy, featuring Simon Gietl and Gerhard Fiegl.

BMW and Salewa joint campaign photoshoot in San Martino di Castrozza, Dolomites, Italy, featuring Simon Gietl and Gerhard Fiegl.

September saw me on a number of big photoshoots, including a joint campaign for Salewa and BMW. Juggling with complicated logistics and terrible weather created some very interesting challenges. It was also great to apply my lighting to real, high-pressure photoshoots.

Sadly, Gerry (on the right in this shot) died a few weeks after this was shot, while descending from a major first ascent in the Himalayas.

 

Aerial view of Aiguille du Tour after a winter storm, Chamonix.

Aerial view of Aiguille du Tour after a winter storm, Chamonix.

It’s always great to get new point of views on familiar terrain, especially right after big storms. Here, on a recce flight of the rescue helicopter, I managed to capture Aiguille du Tour looking very ominous. Probably my favourite landscape shot of the year.

 

Mich Kemeter freesolo climbs the crux 6b+ pitch of ORNI (Unidentified Crawling Object) in the Verdon Gorges, France.

Mich Kemeter freesolo climbs the crux 6b+ pitch of ORNI (Unidentified Crawling Object) in the Verdon Gorges, France.

Verdon is a place where I have shot a lot but never get tired. So when Mich Kemeter asked me to come photograph him freesolo climbing in early December, I didn’t hesitate for long. ORNI is one of the weirdest, scariest lines I have seen in a while, so freesoloing the very awkward crux with hundreds of meters of exposure certainly required a great mastery of the sport.

 

Paragliding flight of Vallée Blanche with Élodie Bobillon, Chamonix.

Paragliding flight of Vallée Blanche with Élodie Bobillon, Chamonix.

The final image was shot only a couple of weeks ago: as winter didn’t seem to want to arrive, we ended up flying a lot. And Vallée Blanche after taking off from Aiguille du Midi never disappoints!

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3 thoughts on “Best of 2015

  1. Pingback: Best of 2016 | Alex Buisse Adventure Photography

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