Touring Tracks

The Ant Colony - Outdoor Photography Switzerland

mountain, outdoor, photography, skiing, switzerland

This alpine photo essay is a personal project inspired by a fear of avalanches and a great appreciation of the Alps.

Nendaz, Les 4 Vallées - Switzerland 2017
In the Alps, there’s an electrifying atmosphere after a heavy snowfall. The particular smell in the air, along with the calm sound of the last clouds being swept away by faltering winds. A yellow glow rises on the horizon, and the mountain is waking in full dress. Not long after the sunny salute, boot buckles are closing, backpacks are strapped, and the goggles are on.

Just like foraging ants, skiers and snowboarders spread on the mountain searching for powder. Following the hungriest ants, the paths with most potential get deeper, more trodden. When the supply is finished, the search moves to farther, more dangerous territories.

 What may appear as an untouched landscape is actually an ant-infested mountain. Trails form in the foreground, as the distant peak has been stripped bare by the colony.  Like ants on a hill, skiers and snowboarders spread on the mountain searching not for food, but for powder.

What may appear as an untouched landscape is actually an ant-infested mountain. Trails form in the foreground, as the distant peak has been stripped bare by the colony.

Like ants on a hill, skiers and snowboarders spread on the mountain searching not for food, but for powder.

TokyoInternationalFotoAwards2017_Frederik-vandenBerg_AntColony-2.jpg
 When ants leave their nest they lay a dotted trail of pheromones to help them find back home.  If an ant finds food, it lays down a continuous trail back home, signaling a viable source of food to other foraging ants.

When ants leave their nest they lay a dotted trail of pheromones to help them find back home.

If an ant finds food, it lays down a continuous trail back home, signaling a viable source of food to other foraging ants.

TokyoInternationalFotoAwards2017_Frederik-vandenBerg_AntColony-4.jpg
 For those who seek fresher foods, the rewards are great.  In the right conditions, even leftovers taste good.

For those who seek fresher foods, the rewards are great.

In the right conditions, even leftovers taste good.

 For the pioneering ant, the search is not without risks. Predators loom in the shadows and steep flanks of each mountain they climb.

For the pioneering ant, the search is not without risks. Predators loom in the shadows and steep flanks of each mountain they climb.

 When the nearby supply is finished, the bravest ants seek solitude and search for untapped sources.

When the nearby supply is finished, the bravest ants seek solitude and search for untapped sources.

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