The Dolomites again - this time in the Veneto, fall 2016

The Dolomites, without any doubt one of the most fascinating places in the european alps and definitly one of my favourite. Beautiful landscape, rich and complex history and a diverse culture, all in one package! A couple of years ago I started to cover this region valley by valley and I started in the West, the predominantly german speaking South Tyrol/Alto Adige. 

This year I moved farther to the east into the dolomites of the italian region of the Veneto.

My last visit (only a few weeks ago) had a very simple goal, some of the iconic peaks at sunset.

This time I moved into uncharted territory (I never was there) and the goal was a bit wider: villages, landscape and infrastructure. Two of the most iconic peaks of the dolomites, Monte Civetta and Monte Pelmo where the center of my journey. Both peaks and many more in this area are part of the UNESCO world heritage site "The Dolomites".
Overall I had just 6 days, I arrived on Wednesday during rain and left next Thuesday with the sun still shining. Not to many days, but I had to be back home as we had builders coming. I was a very busy week.

The Villages

Late fall is my favourite season to visit this area. The larches are golden to red, the first snow covers the peaks and the air is often crystal clear. The downside are often the villages. The dolomites are a prime vacation destination for summer and winter. In the month in between everything is closing down, the villages are dead, no light, no people, no life - not very picturesque!
During the last years I hardly found any restaurant to eat something in the evening and making pictures of the villages was quite useless, at least for commercial purposes. For several reasons I was more lucky this time. We had beautifull weather and it was a week with a public holiday in Italy, Austria and Germany, therefore there was a bit more life. Moreover the villages seem to have life outside tourism and some of them where unique examples of the traditional local alpine architecture.

The biggest surprise were the villages in the Val di Zoldo. I did lots of research before I made my itinerary and my "story book", but none of my guidebooks prepared me (and the alloted time slots) for the villages like Fornesighe or Coi (part of Zoldo Alto). In a few websites these villages where mentioned and one "best of the dolomites" page mentioned Fornesighe. As I had to sleep in the Val di Zoldo anyway, I picked a B&B  (Dormi&Disna, highly recommended) in Fornesighe as my base and never regretted this choice.

The mountain villages on the other side of the Civetta, high above Alleghe, have a very different look and my plan was to dwarf them with the Civetta rising up to more than 3000m as a background. After hours of studying my maps, watching street view clips and driving around, I went for some villaggios to try to create atmospheric shots with mighty Civetta towering over tiny little hamlets.

The little town of Alleghe was a destination on itself, basically just one view.

I arrived in the area with heavy rain around Civetta, therefore I got very different shots of the same location, very atmospheric. Alleghe as a town was very sleepy, nearly everything was closed and no real life on the roads, therefore no pictures....

Civetta, Pelmo and more

Of course, the iconic peaks of this region are the biggest attraction and therefore high on my shooting list as well. The colors of the forests were close to perfect and the weather was clear sometimes even to warm for this time of the year.
I choose a mixed approach to shoot the mountains. I looked for some viewpoints which could be accessed by car and included some nice hiking to viewpoints and interesting areas expecially in the mountain range of the Civetta. By the way all cablecars are closed at this time of the year.

Overall I am quite happy with the results. Besides Civetta and Pelmo I tried my luck with the Marmolada. To be honest I was a bit dissapointed, as I expected a more charismatic peak, I guess I have to do more research to find better views. At least from the places I tried I am not satisfied.
But you can judge on your own.

Mountain Passes and other Types of Infrastructure

Last year I invested much time to cover the famous mountainroads Sellajoch, Pordoi, Groednerjoch, Valparola, Giau and Falzarego. This year it did not work out well, for whatever reason. I guess I was more drawn to peaks and the amazing mountain villages than to the many mountain passes in this area. I did some work, but as I said not much.

Whats next?

Postprocessing! I am still working on the Faroe Islands and Greenland..... and I have to get ready for my fully booked workshop on the Falkland Islands. I do not plan any longer trip, perhaps a bit in Bavaria. Let's see what late autumn and early winter has to offer in southern germany. Moreover the long trips in 2017 have to be planned and researched, marketing for the next workshops has to be done and a few days relaxing would not be bad as well!

Munich, November 2016

My "From Patagonia to South Georgia and back again" workshop is now open for bookings. It is a unique opportunity to see the highlights of Subantarctica with Penguins, Elephant Seal, Whale watching and much more. Please forward this workshop to anybody (german speaking only) who might be intersted!

Check out the workshop pages !