A Photo Trip to the Dolomites

Last year in september 2017 my friend Anni and me decided to visit the Dolomites in Italy with focus on taking photographes. Now I am sitting here at home in my living room remembering that awesome week, while the weather is freezing cold outside, listening to old Cat Stevens songs.

Having visited the Dolomites for several times with my motorcycle some 20 years ago I was quite curious if I remember that outstanding landscape right and if it will be even more beautiful visiting it “on foot”.

Our first destination on the 24th of september was St. Ulrich (Ortisei) having a wonderful picture of sunrise at “Seceda” in mind.


On a small street outside of St. Ulrich we found a nice place to stay with our campervan with a view to the backside of Langkofel (Sassolungo).


After breakfast we packed our photo equipment and something to eat and started hiking up the hill, heading to Seceda.

Finding lots of motifs on the way it took us some time until we reached the last ascent to our favoured target. It was a cloudy somewhat foggy day with some sunrays that came through the cloud over sky by chance.


We decided to wait for the sunset up there in hope that the fog and the clouds may clear away later the day. So we visited the near restaurant for a cup of hot tea and a soup, just to warm up our already frozen hands.


Heading back to the place where we thought to have the best position for taking pictures  of Seceda, we became aware that we were not the only two photographers who had that idea. Some other 6 tripods have been placed there already. Our fellow photographers came all from Eastern Europe as we learned quickly and provided us with small cups of schnaps against the cold.

Alone the sun did not appear before sunset.


Today it was our plan to hike around Langkofel and to go up to Seceda again in the evening to have a bivvy up there.


After an extensive breakfast we headed to Passo di Sella. We started in direction to Langkofelscharte on a moderate ascent, but it got steeper quite fast. Having some problems with her tendon on the ankle joint Anni was coming up quite slowly, using all the workers along the path as an excuse and was talking to them extensively every few meters. But I also had no hurry at all, already thinking about to shorten our plan to hike around Langkofel with regard to the 4 hours evening walk we will have up to Seceda again.

Eventually we had a coffe at Dermiz hut and had a short look at the other side of Langkofelscharte, just to descend on the same side as we came up.

Back to St. Ulrich we had a short dinner and packed all our things for the night up in 2500 m height. After a four hours hike we eventually arrived at the top. Meanwhile it was 11.00 pm and 1 °C cold. We quickly slipped into our sleeping bags. Anni got up 3 hours later again in hope to get some pics of the milky way, but I decided to stay where I was, struggling to stay warm despite of the freezing cold.



We got up at 5:45 am, drinking the lukewarm left over tea from the night before. Unfortunately we forgot the ethyl alcohol for our stove, so we had no possibility to heat up some water.


Accompanied from eight other photographers, that came up the hill at dawn, we took pictures of every stage of the rising sun. A few hours later we packed our things, heading downhill to our campervan.


After the drudgery of the past night and this morning we decided to have a rest day on the next day. We drove to a place near Wolkenstein (Selva die Val Gardena), the Langental (Vallunga).

On the entry of Langental we had dinner and beer and got to sleep shortly after 6 pm.


Planning a relaxed day, we started our hike at the beginning of Langental with the option of a loop hike or turning around and walking back through Langental again.

After 500 meters of walking we left the more busy area through a gate. From there on we walked through a sheep-run with a lot of different sheep breeds, left all alone there.


At the valley end we decided against the loop hike, had lunch and started walking back slowly, paying attention to the loads of wonderful subjects for photos.


Beeing back at our van again we packed everything to drive in the direction of Marmolada. Driving back via Passo di Sella we stopped there because of a couple marmots on a sole rock taking a bath in the sun. An hour later and tons of pictures “richer” we continued our way to Lago di Fedaia.


First in the morning we had a look at the weatherforecast and found out that today should be a clear sunny day and more clouds and fog tomorrow. So we changed our plan and went to Karersee (Lago di Carezza) in hope to take some photographs of Rosengarten (Catinaccio), shining red at sunset.


An hour later we reached Karersee and had some troubles to find a place to park our van, planning to stay there over night. We had to learn that Karersee is a tourtist attraction with lots of people around, coming there with busses.

To be honest, quite understandable, because the lake has a very intense shimmering green, from deep turquoise to a light yellow green and an intriguing fairy tale where this colour comes from.


Having a lot of time until sunset we decided to look for the best place to take our pictures already and to have a short hike up to a rock labyrinth submontane Latemar crack.

Arriving at the labyrinth, we had the idea to come back before dawn tomorrow to take some pictures of the sunrise. But first we had to descent to Karersee again, waiting for the sunset.

On the way down I had a try to photograph some birds, Anni borrowed me her 150 – 600 mm lens, but to be honest, that is not an easy job…

Being back down at Karersee, we saw that Rosengarten was hidden under a thick cloud. So we decided to place our tripods in the direction of Latemar crack. After a while Anni had the idea to look, if the clouds on Rosengarten have dissapeared, and so it was.


We were lucky that day and got some nice pitures of Latemar as well as of red glowing Rosengarten at sunset.


After a short and uneasy night because of lots of cars driving by on the one hand and stags (deer) in heat on the other, we started hiking up to the rock labyrinth at 4.30 am.

Having a slightly scary time on our walk through the jet-black forrest (with the roaring stags on heat) we were waiting for the sunrise that never came. To much clouds and fog… but nevertheless an unique atmosphere.


Later that day we drove back to Lago di Fedaia that should be our last destination. Having found a nicer place than two nights ago we had a late lunch, packed our things and headed uphill to Rifugio Padon trough the fog that was becoming thicker and thicker.


Arriving at the Rifugio we literally did not see our hand before the eyes…

But, okay, no big deal for the two of us. We unpacked dinner, consisting of a bottle of red wine, chamois and boar salami, eating while waiting for the fog to go.

pic by Anni Wilhelm

Meanwhile the fog was coming and going as it liked. When the fog was down a little, we made photographs like crazy until there was nothing to see again.

As the twilight came I started descenting slowly, waiting for Anni after a while, not wanting her to be up there alone. Annis plan was to wait for a fox that unfortunately did not show up. Not wanting me to decent alone either she soon gave up the plan and hurried to catch up with me.


The weatherforecast was becoming worser and worser and so we decided to drive back home one day earlier than our original planning had been.

Just one short stop near Penia for a creek with wonderful cascades.

Even if the weather was not as we hoped for, this was an awesome and memorable holiday together with my friend Anni in the Italien alpes.


Wording inspired by the wonderful travel diary I got as a gift from my friend Anni. This was our second trip together and I hope we will have a lot more such adventures across the years.

Please have also a look at her homepage: Anni Wilhelm – Fotografie

2 thoughts on “A Photo Trip to the Dolomites

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