Amber Storm. St. Hilaire du Touvet, France

storm hovers over the mountains in St. Hilaire du Touvet, France

 This image was taken in St. Hilaire du Touvet, France. It looks across the valley to the mountains on the other side. A storm was forming above them just as the sun was lowering in the sky, which caused this lovely orange glow.

The geology of the place where I was standing was actually much more interesting than the mountain in the photo, but of course, you can’t see a mountain if you’re standing on it. This region is in the western side of the French Alps. The mountains may not be as prominent as nearby Mont Blanc (the highest peak in the Alps), but they are interesting from a geological perspective. St. Hilaire rests in the middle of a long ridge. The ridge has two “steps” of  steep cliffs, and the town sits in a flat area between them. This second image was taken from Crolles, at the bottom of the cliff formation. The white cliff face that’s peeking through the clouds is part of the upper cliffs. Each of these ridges on their own are a sight to behold, but stacked on top of each other, the scale was staggering.
If you look at the lighting in this second photo, it’s not actually ideal from a photography perspective, but I want to use it to make a point about the landscape. This shot was taken early in the morning. The altitude difference is so great, that the top ridge was lit up by the sunrise, where the lower set was still in the shadows of the mountains miles away to the east.