I love the Dolomites. Last summer, I’ve spend 18 hours there to capture their beauty at sunrise, sunset and night.
It is difficult to describe emotions, for me anyway. So I won’t talk too much and primarily let my pictures speak.
Passo di Valparola (2192 m)
One of many pit stops that I had, and certainly always a highlight. This area was heavily contended during WW1. A remaining fort has been made into a museum. Trenches everywhere.
Here we go
After a 5 hours drive I’m finally at Passo Giau which should be my starting point for the next 15 hours. I follow a little bumpy path, and with every step I sweat a bit more. The humidity was crazy. I was almost alone, just a few friendly hikers with red faces and partially shod with sneakers where crossing my way.
It is end of August, on my way up I wonder about the diversity of flowers that I get to see here. Together with this majestic view I feel like being in heaven.
A painfully long and very sweaty ascent is rewarding me with a phenomenal vista in all directions. Speechless and stunned I enjoy this raw unspoiled nature, but I’m also a little angry about my poor fitness, and I’ve sworn I will work on this hard. Well…
I did it! I was dreaming of this moment. I checked this place on Google and what not. And then I’m here. It feels surreal, but I’m just so happy.
The Eagle’s View (2430m)
I had spend 30 min with scouting to find the perfect place for a photo, and I found it. I thought I must be dreaming, seriously this was almost too much for me to conceive. It looked like I’m touching the stratosphere with those infinite views in all directions. Suddenly I understand ‘crazy’ mountain climbers, why the are risking there lives for this moment of euphoria.
Anyway, I’m on a mission. I know how quickly the good light fades and get ready for some camera shots. I was just about to sort my equipment when I noticed, not so far beside me, something big rising in the air. It was actually an eagle (99% sure). I was so intrigued that I had to watch this animal for a while. I wondered what prospect this bird would have and *bang*…it inspired me to try this dynamic angle. Yes, I knew exactly what I wanted. A picture in motion, that looks like as if I was flying over this ridge. Excellent idea Martin and even better, I’m breaking a rule in photography which is always liberating.
250m elevation gain below, I arrived at Hotel Car just before darkness, had a typical outdoor dinner and a problem. I only brought one T-shirt and a sweater. Both where soaking wet from the humidity and my poor fitness. I thought I can not spend the night outside with just a jacket, so I had the idea, in best manner of MacGyver to open the hood of my car and to dry them on the engine which was still fairly warm.
Of course it didn’t work well because I was running out of time. The spot that I scouted beforehand was 1 kilometer away and the Milky way won’t wait for me. Ok, no choice. A jacket and a sleeping bag should do it. I walked to another beautiful ridge that impressed me with spectacular views from east to west.
It was clear, the Milky way was up, battling with the unavoidable light pollution and I tried to set up my gear as fast as possible. That means, putting a lens heating on (impossible without when humid), connecting Camranger to remote control the camera which is a very good thing if you have to spend many hours in darkness, not knowing if everything is ok with the camera. It also helps to kill time when you can see the results on the fly. Sometimes there is a beautiful meteor right in the frame like it was the case here.
Three hours later I couldn’t take it anymore. My sleeping back, my backpack and most importantly my camera where so wet as if they had taken a shower (Great job Nikon!). Fatigue was overwhelming and I decided that I have enough frames and should get 3hrs of sleep. My journey wasn’t over. Ten kilometers away from here, in the heart of the Dolomites I wanted to capture the sunrise.
An adventurous bumpy little road goes up to Rifugio Dibona, the last part of my journey.
I’m so tired that I do not really know what I’m doing here. Photography became secondary. I enjoyed breakfast while my eyes where sweeping over this stunning landscape with it’s interesting bits and pieces. The light never disappoints in the Dolomites. The ridge to the right was where I took the sunset pictures.
Ok, after breakfast my energy came back, and I didn’t want to leave before I captured the shot that I had in mind. These mini trees make it look like if I was climbing high up on the top of some large trees, but the where just 1,5m tall. Again I was overwhelmed by the beauty of this place. I didn’t want to leave…ever
This was it, 18 hours of unbelievable fun in one of the most beautiful places on earth. On my way home I passed by other interesting places, and in my mind I already thought about my return.
As a landscape photographer nothing is easy. It is expensive, occasionally dangerous and potentially frustrating when the weather gods have a bad day. But this is what impels me, to move my butt outside and to try not to do what everyone does. It is very rewarding for me when I invest all I have into a photography that I haven’t seen before. The research, the scouting the adrenaline rush play a key role, but most important is the connection and deep respect to nature that I feel.
If I was able to convey a little bit what it takes to capture my personal dream shot I’m happy. Go outside, live, dream, and whatever it is that you aspire, don’t think too much, just do it!
A little sneak preview about the upcoming topics:
- How I saved a destroyed Monster image
- Best JPEG compression
- Nikon vs Canon
- Lightroom & Photoshop
- The Power of Luminance Masks
– Luminance sharpening
– Luminance highlights
– Luminance colors
- Lets talk about taste
- HDR Obsolete – but if, do it right
- Astro Stacking
- Vixen Polarie
- Common Mistakes