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Cascades of Light

Wednesday July 17th, 2013

by Maria Luci

Years ago, while a physicist, Kamil Tamiola came up with an idea for a photo shoot. Having a background in spectroscopy, the science of light, he was utterly fascinated by the reflective nature of water, especially in frozen form. And thus, Kamil dreamed of one day capturing photographs of frozen ice at night, brightly illuminated. However, at the time, Kamil lacked the expensive equipment necessary to complete such a shoot.

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Fast forward to the point where Kamil decided to leave his scientific career behind and turn his true passion, photography, into a full-time job. Now, he’s a successful adventure photographer and Nikon Europe ambassador. With their help, along with that of Elinchrom, Pocket Wizard and EpicTV, he recently set out to capture his dream image. Equipped with state of the art lighting, camera and climbing equipment, Kamil and his team—including professional climber Jeff Mercier—trekked out to a frozen ice fall and waited for night.

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Braving 3°F temperatures, they found themselves at the base of Cascate di Lillaz ice fall, in Italy. According to Kamil, this particular ice fall is, “one of the most classical climbs in the region,” while also being easily accessible from the top. This made it the logical choice for their adventure, as lighting could be accomplished safely while still providing a stunning backdrop.

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The goal for the shoot was to assess the structure and topology of the ice fall, and light it with super powerful flashes. Kamil believs that, “vertical ice formations are something truly special, emanating with great power and provoking deep emotions”—and he wanted to capture that feel in literally the best light. And, since Kamil knew, ” the color, consistency and consequently the optical properties of ice, change as a function of ambient temperature and exposure to sunlight,” he decided to extend the originally scheduled night shoot into the morning.

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He’s pleased he did, saying,

The outcome of the session was very good. First of all, it was a great learning experience for me and my photo partner, Lumi. Secondly, we were able to test and critically assess the performance and reliability of Elinchrom lights. And, on top of the aforementioned benefits, the photographs were syndicated by numerous tabloids and quite a few prominent magazines in Europe, including famous German Focus and Der Stern!

Watch a behind the scenes video from EpicTV on the creation of Cascades of Light:

Read more about Kamil’s “Cascades of Light” adventures on his blog, and see more of his work at alpine-photography.com.

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