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Ski guiding in Meribel France with British ski instructors
Ski guiding in Meribel France with British ski instructors
Ski guiding in Meribel France with British ski instructors
Ski guiding in Meribel France with British ski instructors

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Sleep Is For Wimps

Posted on
August 3, 2014
Sleep Is For Wimps

When the heatwave started a couple of weeks ago, and the Tour de France TV coverage weaved its way through the Alps, I started to throw my toys out of the pram. It was too hot to sleep at night, and those mountains were calling out my name. Something had to be done. Sure enough, I made a mad dash back to Méribel. But it is one heck of a drive from Leamington Spa to Méribel, close to 800 miles in fact. So the evening I got to the apartment, I felt satisfied in getting to resort, but boy oh boy I was one tired chap. After managing to stay awake as late as 10pm, it was time give in and go to bed, but only after a final weather forecast check on the internet before a good, looooong, well deserved snooze.

A few hours later, the alarm went off at 03.30am! Why? That last minute weather forecast suggested there might be a cloudless sky at sunrise. This summer the weather has been somewhat challenging for those out in the French Alps, with huge amounts of rainfall and cool temperatures, which has been quite the opposite in the UK. That particular morning suggested a break in the weather, so if I wanted to experience and photograph a sunrise over Méribel during the holiday, it was then or never. A bit of fumbling around the apartment in the morning trying to find the camera bag, tripod and headtorch took some doing.

Sunrise-2.jpg

Some people might think that 03.30am seems a bit early for a sunrise, and they would be right, it was due to take place at 06.09am. But my chosen viewpoint wasn't going to be out on the balcony of the apartment sadly. The planned viewpoint was almost up at the top of the Roc de Tougne. Regular Méribel skiers might link this area with the top of the Tougnete chairlift at 2,430 metres altitude.

Sunrise-3.jpg

This meant a drive up to Mottaret, park in the highest car park available, then walking boots were deployed for the romp up. There was a quote from Del Boy many years ago in 'Only fools and horses' that kept repeating itself in my mind - 'Sleep is for wimps Rodney'.

The thin mountain air, my unacclimatised town boy lungs, and a heavy pack on the back made things challenging. However what an experience. A complete shock to the system, but well worth the effort.

Sunrise-4.jpg

Earlier in the summer I had attended a couple of seminars hosted by one of my favourite Landscape Photographers, David Noton. His images are of course stunning, as are the locations that he gets to visit around the world due to his work. One of the things he mentioned, and is one that I can really relate to is "If it wasn't for photography I would never get to see such incredible scenes in life, I would still be asleep in bed in the early hours of the morning."

Sunrise-5.jpg

Fabulous words and something I can resonate with. I spoke to him for a while at his second seminar, and explained that I was heading back to the Alps. "Great, what are your plans? You must send your images through to my office." No pressure then. To be honest I had only originally really planned to do loads of biking, walking, and the odd bit of photography. Hence this daft idea of a sunrise shoot came about. So daft in fact, I did it again two mornings later, because the lighting just wasn't quite right the first time round.

Sunrise-6.jpg

Rather annoyingly on the afternoon of the second daft sunrise expedition, I started to feel a bit rough. Yep, summer Man Flu kicked in, can't think why. Since the looooong drawn out recovery that is required for such a hideous illness, cloudless dawns haven't happened. However I've yet another daft idea in the pipeline as well, but that hasn't been possible either because of the weather. However that can be attempted during the winter as well, watch this space.

Sunrise-7.jpg

The images shown in this blog post are from both mornings, mostly looking due north towards Mont Blanc with Méribel down in the valley in the foreground. The next blog post will be about the other outdoor activities both my wife and I enjoyed whilst out on holiday in Méribel. If you enjoyed this post you might be interested in another article written last summer, click here for the link. Feel free to share away on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ by using the social media icons. Or leave a comment below. Don't forget to Live With Passion, 'Keep Exposing' (as David Noton tells his photography tribe), and of course 'Sleep is for wimps'. Martin.

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