Friday, October 22


Today began with a cog railway trip, Le Montenvers up to see the Chamonix Needles, a sharp mountain summit with many narrow needle-like spires rather than a well-defined top. From the station at the top we took a hike still higher to see the glacier Mer de Glace (river of ice), as well as the Needles themselves. The Needles were one of two specific goals I had in mind for this trip. The climb was not terribly steep, but any climbing at 5500 feet is strenuous, especially when carrying a photo pack and tripod. There were many beautiful scenes of the Needles, and I think I tried all of them in various light, and from different angles.

The larches had turned a lovely golden color, before dropping their needles as deciduous trees do. It was fun to try to place them in good compositions. But it was the Needles themselves which captivated my attention. Yesterday's rain had fallen here as fresh snow, making the Needles even more beautiful than before. Of course, once the sun came out, the snow melted and there was just barren rock to photograph. That too, was beautiful.

Lunch was at the small restaurant at the top of the cog railway. We were able to photograph for about another hour, and of course, by now the lighting was very much different, permitting us to get another try at our previous photos, in a whole new light, which made different pictures.

The cog railway took us back down to Chamonix for sunset. There was little color at sunset this night.

We walked over to the Hotel Eden for dinner, which tonight was salmon. It was delicious.