The Dolomites of Italy had been on my bucket list for a very long time .. it was a place I had wanted to visit the most out of anywhere, and the pull to photograph these mountains got the better of me in 2018 and I just had to go! It was a mind blowing experience .. peaks of a different kind so different to home .. beautiful Italian food .. and wonderful people.
I visited some of the most incredible places on my trip through the Dolomites and listed here are my Top 5 locations to Photograph. As always it was very hard to narrow it down to just five, but these are the ones where my favourite shots were taken and where I thought ... people must come here to see this spectacular view!
TRE CIME DI LAVAREDO
I am starting with this location, because it was my absolute favourite part of the Dolomites. I had seen many photos of the iconic three peaks from this area, but nothing really prepared me for the incredible mountain scenes that I got to experience along with this famous landmark.
If you want to get a feeling of the grandeur that comes with The Dolomites, then this is the place to go.
The hike is relatively easy with a well maintained 10km loop track that is mostly flat and easy to navigate.
We decided we would stay at Rifugio Auronzo which is where the main car park is and where the hike begins. We set off during the day so that we would be at Rifujio Locatelli late afternoon and golden hour. This is where I had researched the photos I wanted for my porfolio .. there are many other options and routes for photography, but this location is where most of my pictures came from. We stayed past sunset, ate at the Rifujio Locatelli which was incredible (!!!) and then hiked back in the dark to our accommodation.
For sunrise, we took a different track straight across from our accommodation at Rifugio Auronzo and headed towards the Cima Cadin mountain range.
This was one of the shots I had wanted to capture the most on this trip, and the view absolutely took my breath away. What a place.
ALPE DI SIUSI
Another location that was very high on my list to photograph was the rolling hills and mountain huts of the Alpe Di Siusi. This quaint little spot was not so little and like nothing I had ever seen before. Such a picturesque setting with towering mountains in the background, golden meadows and the huts scattered perfectly, it was like being in a fairytale, and a landscape photographers dream at the same time.
Getting here is a little tricky if you aren't staying in hotel accommodation along the mountain road that leads to the meadows. This is because the road is restricted to cars during the day except for those who are staying at accommodation on the road or are residents. We were lucky to be staying here and it was only a short walk from the carpark for us to get to the spot we wanted to be.
We arrived well before sunrise to a beautifully coloured sky .. just what dreams are made of! Once the sun came up past the mountains it created stunning light over the rolling meadows catching the dew and fog in its path. There are many compositions available as you can wander the meadows freely, and you can spend as long as you like here.
Seceda is one of those views that has to be seen to be believed. I had seen many photos of this famous landmark, and as is sometimes the case with famous spots, I was weary as to whether the photos do the actual place justice. My mind was completely blown by the scale of these mountains viewed through my own eyes! If it wasn't for the tiny giveaways that man had been here, it was like stepping back to the land before time. Rugged and jagged peaks that looked like they'd never been touched, surrounding mountains and valleys, towering rock faces .. a landscapers dream.
We visited Seceda in the summer season, meaning it requires a little more effort to get there than in the winter season when the chairlifts are running. We took the Col Raiser Gondola as far as it could go, and walked the rest of the way (approximately 1 hour to the top .. steady uphill but on a well maintained path). We walked down after sunset to our accommodation (approx 1.5 hours), then in the morning hiked back up for sunrise!
We arrived at the Seceda look out about half an hour before sunset and stayed until blue hour. There are quite a few compositions available from the look out and you can also walk along the ridgeline.
We hiked back up for sunrise to try and capture different light but unfortunately it was quite cloudy so the sun never quite made it through. It did however make for some beautiful coloured sky so I was pretty happy! From what I could see, the location works well at both sunrise and sunset .. I'd love to try again some day to see the suns light for myself.
LAGO DI SORAPIS
A hike not to be missed in the Dolomites is the Lago Di Sorapis trail. This beautiful spot is nestled high up in the mountains near Cortina and the 13km hike to the shores of this beautiful blue lake is well worth it. The view of the surrounding peaks along the way are incredible, with the end goal being even more spectacular.
We started the trail at around midday from the carpark at passo Tre Croci with the aim of getting there to photograph the sunset. The trail is fairly easy most of the way, with only the last part having steepish elevation and a more difficult track over boulders and tree roots. It only took us around 2 hours to reach the lake, so we had plenty of time to relax and photograph the astounding blue colours surrounding us and exploring the shores on all sides.
In the end we decided we would try catch sunset along the trail so that we weren't hiking in complete darkness on our way out. The best option for us was to stop and take in the view of Monte Cristallo for sunset, where a small stream runs towards the mountain. If I had to do it again, I would probably try and book a night at the Rifugio Vandelli which is situated near the lake .. giving plenty of time for sunset and sunrise. There is strictly no camping at the lake, so this is your only option for an overnight stay.
LAGO DI BRAIES
I have saved the most popular spot for last .. because you've probably already heard about it and seen the stunning photos that come from this little lake in the mountains. It's nickname is Lago Di Instagram and it's called that for a reason .. for it's a busy busy place and a lot of Instagram photographers come here. Still .. I think it's worth it to visit and see this scene for yourself.
Getting to Lago Di Braies is very easy! Just park in the parking lot (pay the fee!) and then it is a short walk to the iconic boat shed where most of the well known photos are taken from. The walking track leads around the lake and there are further hikes from this point on.
We visited Lago Di Braies at both sunset and sunrise. It was very busy at sunset with many people around enjoying the lake. Sunrise was less crowded and a more relaxed experience in terms of photography.
The mountain range receives the sun at both sunrise and sunset, so it's really more about whether you'd like to photograph with a lot of others .. or not. There are a good amount of compositions available around the lake and from the boat shed, and you can also hire a boat and get those instagram worthy boat shots! I was glad to have visited this spot, even with all the people.
Thank you for reading!
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