Mountain King

Homage to Germany's highest peak.

Mountain King

Homage to Germany's highest peak.

Mt. Zugspitze, highest mountain in German alps.

About the Location
This image of Mt. Zugspitze (2.962m) which is Germany's highest mountain was taken from the shoreline of famous Eibsee in southern Bavaria. You will find millions of images from this area since it is one of the most touristic spots in German Alps. Most compositions focus on the beautiful mountain lake with Wetterstein mountain range and Mt. Zugspitze as a backdrop.
Although the peak is the highest in the area its shape is not really outstanding viewed from ground level. And I have not seen a lot of images isolating the summit.
The image was taken in the afternoon in late May with nice weather conditions. There had been still quite a lot of snow left from winter while clouds had covered the mountain tops. Warm temperatures in the valley and blowing winds in the mountains created the conditions I had needed.
Thoughts on Composition
I had visited this area several times while I was living in Munich and I wanted to come away with something different. I was thinking for a portrait kind of shot focusing on the mountain top only. I had therefore used a telephoto lens at 175mm (APS-C) to get in close. The clouds created a beautiful frame when revealing the peak for a brief moment. Getting to this photograph had been a waiting game taking different frames while the clouds were moving through the scene.
I didn't want to soften the clouds by using a longer exposure time. Even though the clouds are frozen in position you can still perceive the motion of the clouds contrasting the majestic and snow-covered mountain.
Processing
This image is heavily processed on colors obviously. I was looking for a monochrome and dark finish. I had started with a black and white conversion and added a blue tint to the darker tones by using split-toning afterwards.
Also I have increased overall and local contrast quite a lot by decreasing luminance of the original blue tones. By further burning the outer areas of the image and dodging details in the center the attention goes to the peak while the blown clouds create a rough and dramatic atmosphere.
From this perspective you would usually see the cable car going to the top of Mt. Zugspitze from the Austrian side of the mountain range. To focus on the mountain and to get rid of man-made structures I cloned out the cables while the summit station was already covered by the clouds.
Camera Settings
Camera: Nikon D500 (1.5 crop APS-C)
Lens: Nikkor 70-200 f/4
Focal length: 175mm (approx. 260mm @full-frame)
Aperture: f/8
Shutter: 1/160s
ISO: 100
Taken on tripod
Here is another composition in portrait format showing more of the scene with the same post-processing applied. In this imge I like the zig-zag line created by the ridge starting in the bottom-left corner followed by the blown clouds surrounding the peak ending in the top-left corner.

Mountain King #2

Pink: Main focus
Yellow: Leading lines

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