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Tom Schandy - Mount Elbrus, Russia 01

July 1st, 2008 Posted in Eastern Europe, Uncategorized

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26 June, 2008

Today I went by cable car and chair lift up to 3.800m asl to spend the night on the slopes of the highest mountain of Europe – Mount Elbrus – 5.642m high. Yes, the highest mountain in Europe is not Mt Blanc, but Elbrus in southern Russia, in the Caucasus mountain range, between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea. Here the geographical Europe ends. On the other side of the mountains is Georgia and Asia.

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My task was not to climb the summit, like alpinists from all over the world do, but to photograph the spectacular range of the Caucasus mountains, Elbrus included. Arriving in the middle of the day in the end of June, was like going back a few months in time - to Easter in Norway: sun from clear sky, lots of snow and happy down-hill skiers and snowboarders. However, from a photographic point of view, the light was too bright and boring – so I had to wait and crossed my fingers for sunset and red light… In mountains you never know about the light. The only thing you can do is to be there…Fortunate, at Elbruz there are cabins to stay overnight, so there was no need for my tent.

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To my disappointment, the clouds came – and then the fog. Being sure that there would be no light at all for making interesting pictures, I went to eat. Half past nine in the evening I looked out: YES – a hole in the fog – and majestic mountains behind!! Just one thing to do – grab the cameras and get in position. Then the big master of light started to play with the light and the fog.

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Sunbeams came through holes in the clouds. Fog and clouds passed constantly in front of the mountains - simultaneously the light became more and more reddish. The scene changed every second for 40 minutes. 21.15 the last sunbeams faded away. The show was over! I checked my two cameras and found out that I had taken more than 500 pictures during 40 minutes. (Thanks for the digital revolution!!!). Few minutes later, the fog came and covered the mountains again.

For a while… An hour later – when it was dark – the sky cleared up and showed thousands and thousands of shining stars. Only in Africa I have seen so many stars! Out again with the camera – and with 1 hour exposure I captured the star trails over the top of Europe – Mount Elbrus. What an evening and night! Caucasus is the top of all European wonders, literally spoken…

I went to bed at 01.30 that night, and three hours later the alarm-clock woke me up so I could be ready for sunrise.. Being on a Wild Wonders of Europe mission is not a holiday to a nice location…


Please note that blogs reflect our photographers' opinions and not necessarily those of the directors of Wild Wonders of Europe.

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  1. 5 Responses to “Tom Schandy - Mount Elbrus, Russia 01”

  2. By Beve og Kjell on Jul 6, 2008

    Flotte bilder, Tom!
    Stå på!
    Take care!
    Klemmer fra oss

  3. By Jonathan Ashton on Jul 10, 2008

    Magical, mystical, superb!
    Jon

  4. By nathan on Aug 14, 2008

    I THINK THAT OUT OF ALL THE PHOTOS OF MOUNTAINS THAT I HAVE SEEN THESE ARE ARTISTICLY TAKEN MY PERSONAL FAVOURITE IS THE ONE WITH THE CLOUDS

  5. By Gergo Dioszegi on Dec 20, 2008

    Huh…just noticed!

    Amazing! Breathtakingly touching…wish I was there touching the sky!

    Gergo

  6. By Philip on Apr 18, 2011

    It’s funny how everyone thinks that Mnt. Blanc is the highest in europe.

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