The mountains hold a special place for creative minds, especially for landscape photographers. There’s something poetic about capturing their grandeur, both in scale and impact. I can definitely see it in projects like the “Peak Hour” by Budapest-based freelance photographer and Sony Alpha Ambassador Gabor Nagy.
I consider it a visual love letter to the Dolomites, which he said he’s been attracted to for years. These peaks are sacred places for him, so he makes it a point to go back every autumn. During one of these visits, the weather limited him to shooting with a drone, but it still granted some great views of the famous mountain range.
Bathed in the afterglow of the sunset
In his project description, Gabor also shared the circumstances that led to shooting “Peak Hour” in October last year — a time that he specifically targets when shooting in the Dolomites.
“As the season progresses and the temperatures are getting lower and lower, I feel like my time has finally come. I love to document how the weather and the seasons affect the landscape, like on that day, when right before sunset, a big storm has just reached the area and suddenly there was no visibility on the passo at all. So I sent out my drone above the clouds to witness the remainings of the sunset — the rest is history.”
As his set shows, the afterglow of that sunset was enough to shine the spotlight on the Dolomites, even if most of them are hidden from view. With warm light washing over the jagged peaks, they stood out really nicely against the smear of clouds, fluffy fog and pastel skies. The project title itself is a pretty clever take on what went down during his shoot, with a reference to the Golden Hour thrown in for good measure.
Getting our heads in the clouds
Gabor’s set is also a great example of how camera drones have made it easier for landscape and adventure photographers to capture a different perspective — to get our heads in the clouds, as these photos do literally and figuratively. Despite the abrupt change in weather that day, shooting with a drone allowed him to work around the situation and still get beautiful results, even if it may not be what he intended.
As viewers, we get to look at the Dolomites in a different light, perhaps even tickling our imagination to see it as a fantasy world emerging from beneath the clouds. It may even encourage us to try out aerial photography as well to learn about the possibilities it can open to us. This approach, for example, allowed Gabor to bring something new even if he keeps coming back to the same place over and over.
A lifelong love for the mountains
According to Gabor, his love for the alpine landscape likely began at a young age, soon after realizing that there aren’t big mountains in Hungary. This passion, which first manifested in hikes, took on a new meaning when he decided to bring a camera along during these treks.
As noted in this series, his favorite seasons to shoot are autumn and winter — the time of the year when changes in the weather create subtle shifts in colors and mood. Apart from the Dolomites, he has also come to specialize in shooting the tall peaks of the Alps and the High Tatras.
All photos by Gabor Nagy. Used with Creative Commons permission.