May 04, 2012
Photographer: Piero Armando
Summary Author: Piero Armando; Jim Foster
The photo above shows the snow-smeared Cottian Alps on the boundary between Italy and France. It was snapped early in the morning of April 17, 2012 from an altitude of 11,037 ft (3,364 m). The sky finally cleared after more than a week of precipitation in the Cottian Alps and nearby Susa Valley, not far from Turin, Italy. At elevations above about 10,000 ft (3,050 m), the precipitation was all snow covering the slopes with a deep, wet snowpack. Until this storm, the winter and spring had been rather dry. Note the avalanche tracks and run-out zones. Avalanches often result when heavy snow falls upon existing layers of large, loose snow crystals -- causing unstable snow conditions. In the foreground is Sacra di San Michele, a monastery built atop a promontory in the eleventh century.
Photo details: Camera: Canon EOS 30D; Focal Length: 300mm; f/6.3; Exposure Time: 0.003125 sec. (1/320); ISO Equiv. 100; Exposure Bias: none; Metering Mode: matrix; Exposure Program: landscape; White Balance: auto; Color Space: sRGB.