Chatyn-Tau, Caucasus

Peter Schön has shot many beautiful ski, snow and mountain images (among others) on black and white film. Here he shares his story behind 'Chatyn-Tau, Caucasus' in the second post in our 'How I got this picture' series.

Chatyn-Tau, Caucasus

Chatyn-Tau, Caucasus © Peter Schon


Film Used – ILFORD DELTA 100

Format - 135 35mm

Camera - Contax T3

Lens – Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 35mm F2.8

Other equipment –Heliopan yellow filter (2x)

Location - SE couloir (55-60°, 1900m) of Chatyn-Tau (4310m). Svaneti, Georgia, Caucasus

Firstly, tell us the story behind this image. What inspired you to shoot it?

For years, I had been climbing and skiing in the Caucasus mountains of Georgia, with several first ski descents (Georgia is a deeply fascinating country, and now my second home). During one of the trips I saw the immense, 1900m high, SE couloir of Chatyn-Tau West (4310m), that had never been skied before.
In the image Trevor Hunt is ascending this line, prior to making the first ski descent. For such situations, I still use film, as it often brings a depths and scale to the image. It is so difficult to convey in an image what we see and feel on such ascents and ski descents.

Did you come across any challenges?

The process of taking an image when climbing a steep route (the route is 50-60 degrees steep) is always challenging. It requires motivation to do so, taking your hand off the grip of your ice tools (axes), moving your body into a position that may compromise stability and safety. Here a small but powerful camera like the Contax T3 is invaluable.

What process did you use ?

Heliopan yellow filter (2x) with exposure compensation.

How did you process it?

I developed the film in Paterson FX-39 and scanned with a Nikon Coolscan LS-8000ED.

What about printing?

I did not get around printing this image myself, but it was printed in the Ski Journal 10/2.