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A photography adventure in the Dolomites

Written by George Fisher

George Fisher ambassador and photographer Carmen Norman, recently visited the Dolomites to capture some of the iconic views with her camera. In the blog Carmen talks us through each day and the kit that kept her going whilst she was out there... 

October 2019 and I visited the Dolomites on a photography tour.  At such a high altitude and getting cold at night but being a comfortable temperature in the day, it was important to have the right clothing.  I was out all day, I was walking up the mountains with a heavy bag so needed to be comfortable and have the flexibility of layers.

Day 1

We drove into the mountains and we would be shooting as soon as we arrived, so I wanted clothing that was comfortable for the drive but also suitable for shooting by a lake.  There is no better choice than the Fjall Raven Abisko tights.  So comfortable and they have reinforcement on the knees and bottom so kneeling or sitting on stones isn’t an issue. The reinforcement fabric is very tactile.  It wasn’t too cold on this first afternoon so I used the Patagonia down vest for a bit of warmth.

Our first location was the stunning Baita Segantini with the backdrop of Cimon della Pala 

Day 2

In the morning we headed to Passo Sella and then took a cable car ride to Sass Pordoi. The evening was a visit to Alpe di Siusi.  Being out all day meant the clothing had to be well thought out.  Again I chose the Fjall Raven tights but as we would be going higher onto a mountain top I needed to be warm and have a waterproof.  So I wore my Patagonia puff jacket and took the Haglofs Gore-Tex jacket. It was misty at the top of the mountain so I wasn’t able to do any photography there but the cable car was fun as it headed into the clouded summit and zero visability. Passo Sella was stunning and the mountain view there is spectacular.  The pass is high with tremendous views over the Dolomites.

The evening was a trip to Alpe di Siusi, the highest alpine meadow and with the sun going down it was getting very cold. So I was glad to have my warm jacket.

Day 3

There was snow over night which meant our trip up to the Seceda summit would be spectacular as the summit has an amazing ridgeline of nine towers.  It takes two cable cars to reach the top.  The towers were covered in snow and the cloud was clinging making the dramatic ridgeline even more imposing. Definitely needed my warm jacket and the waterproof for this day.

From Seceda we headed straight out for the evening to Santa Maddalena. A village nestled in front of the jagged and imposing mountains.  As we waited for the sunset, the temperature dropped, so more and more layers came on.  When you spend time standing around it is definitely a good idea to have layers that you can keep adding.  The sunset arrived, the moon came up and the view was very special.

Day 4

Another long day planned with a cable car trip up a mountain  in the morning and then an evening climb to Cinque Torri. Walking at altitude can be tough and even though the temperature is cold, you can get very warm.  So layers and quick drying clothing is important. The smartwool baselayers and Patagonia t-shirt were perfect for the walk.  My Patagonia jacket packs down very small so it isn’t a problem to carry that for the warmth once up the top of the ridge.

We were looking down over the valleys watching the sun set over the dramatic peaks of Cinque Torri which turned red in the dying sun.

Day 5

A very early and cold start to reach the top of Passo Giau. It was foggy but as we kept climbing, we found we were above the clouds and looking down on a full inversion, every direction we looked.  The sun arrived and the whole scene was magical.  The fog was cold and was swirling around, rising and then falling.  This meant the air was damp at times, so I was grateful for the waterproof.

Day 6

Today we visited Tre Cime di Lavaredo where you find spectacular views and the three distinctive battlement-like peaks.   It requires a walk of around seven miles at altitude, climbing up hill, carrying a heavy bag.  But so worth the trip. The mountain is in Tre Cime Natural Park and we were making our way to an iconic view over Rifugio Lavaredo. A mountain lodge with 360 panoramic views.

We climbed up to ledge to get a view over the lodge, the lakes and Tre Cime and waited for the sun to go down.  It got very cold as we waited so very happy to have lots of additional layers. There wasn’t much opportunity to move around on the ledge so was glad to have the warm Smartwool socks, my jacket and then the waterproof, as well as the baselayers and tshirts.  I think by the end of the evening I had six layers on.  My smartwool baselayer leggings were perfect under my trousers .

It was breath-taking seeing the light change, the moon rise and the evening colours develop.  We waited until well after the sun went down which of meant we had a long walk in the dark. But it was a fantastic evening, one I will never forget.

Day 7

Another cable car trip this morning to another snowy summit of Mt Lagazuoi.  I was prepared for the cold with my Patagonia jacket but the sun was very warm and actually I was just wondering around in a t-shirt.  From here we were heading back to Venice, with a stop at Baita Segantini for sunset.

At sunset Cimon della Pala turned bright red and as was pleased to have uninterrupted views of the mountain as the light faded and the mountains gained their glow.

It was a fantastic trip.  The tour was led by Nick Watson Photographic tours, it was a full and fun week. With every moment packed with photography, which is what a photography tour should be.  A great trip to a perfect location!

My top kit list


Camera kit

Nikon D850

NIkon 14-24 lens

Nikon 24-70 lens

NIkoon 70-200 lens

Gitzo Mountaineer Tripod

LEE filters