ViewBug community member and guest judge  jamesrushforth is an experienced and professional climber, mountaineer, skier and high-liner. An acclaimed photographer and four times published author who has worked with prestigious publishing houses, Rockfax, Cicerone Press and FotoVue. James has won 12 international photography competitions, the latest of which at the prestigious Siena International Photo Awards; published work for numerous magazines and papers including National Geographic, The Times and The Daily Telegraph; written tutorial and blog posts for a number of popular media platforms such as ViewBug and appeared as a judge in several global competitions.

Despite living in the UK James spends much of his time exploring the Italian Dolomites and has come to establish himself as one of the leading authorities on the region, particularly with regards to photography and extreme sports.

The storm approaches Alpi di Siusi by jamesrushforth

Where did you take this photo?

This photo was taking on the Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm) alpine plateau in the Italian Dolomites, looking west towards Sassolungo (Langkofel). Throughout the summer months there are regular thunderstorms nearly every afternoon in the Dolomites. This creates some excellent landscape opportunities as the skies darken creating an ominous and dramatic scene. This particular shot was taken at 2:30pm on just such an afternoon as the storm rolled towards the mountains.

Anything worth sharing about lighting?

The two huts provided an excellent foreground to the mountain backdrop creating a picture perfect composition. It was then just a case of waiting for some suitably good light to illuminate the buildings, creating a dramatic contrast between the ever darkening skies.

What equipment did you use?

On this particular day I was out walking with my partner. I’ve got into the habit of always throwing a camera and single lens into my backpack whatever the weather incase a suitably good spontaneous photo opportunity arrises. To this end I find the Nikon 28-300 lens perfect due to its huge focal range, allowing you a huge variety of potential compositions. In this instance it was paired with the Nikon D810.

What inspired you to take this photo?

Spanning an area of 6000 hectares (or 56 square kilometres), the Alpe di Siusi is Europe’s largest high-altitude alpine meadow and undoubtedly one of the most photogenic spots in the Dolomites. The vast plateau harbours some 800 different species of wild fower and is liberally studded with rustic wooden huts, babbling streams and small ponds. Set against the superbly proportioned Sassolungo group, an epitome of the Dolomitic ideal of what a mountain should look like, there is a nearly an infinite number of creative photo opportunities to be had here. This particular photo however was very much a spontaneous opportunity created by the dramatic weather rolling in.

Did you do any post-processing?

The processing on this shot was fairly minimal, just some minor editing to bring out the rock details on the mountain by lifting the shadows.

7. What equipment do you normally have in your bag?

I normally carry the holy trinity (14-24, 24-70 and 70-200) complete with tripod and associated paraphernalia. However in this case it was nice to enjoy the walk and travel light, taking just the Nikon D810 and 28-300.

8. Any advice for others trying to capture something similar?

Always pack your camera if you’re out and about, even if the forecast looks dire. You never know when you might get a sudden clearing in the weather, creating that fleeting but impressive scene. Just be sure to pack you’re kit in something suitably waterproof - a large dry bag to line the inside of your rucksack is particularly effective.

Liquid gold

Liquid gold by jamesrushforth

Cloud rolls in on the Pordoi Pass

Cloud rolls in on the Pordoi Pass by jamesrushforth