Day 3/5

Passo di Giau

The beautiful light of yesterday evening tastes for more, so I return to Passo di Giau. Tonight I depart somewhat earlier to be able to photograph in a more relaxing way. Its only a half hour drive so that’s easy. I have actually decided to spend the remaining nights overthere. Keeps things simple and there are enough possibilities for nice photographs. Looking around for other locations only burns time and it remains to be seen whether it’s going to deliver.

After the various passes, I notice the peaks bathing in beautiful light appearing in between the trees. Then I follow that same lingering road going up until about the same location as yesterday. I think I’m even a bit lower, but the view is free from trees and the light is really sublime. Now the Lastoni di Formin are still illuminated and not hiding in shadows like yesterday.

The peaks of the Croda da Lago are barely visible in the back. From the valley floor they can be seen as a whole, but from here they are almost completely hidden behind that rock wall in the front.

Lets start taking the first one before the light changes unexpectedly. Its so beautiful right now.

Passo di Giau

A panorama shows a bit more, but the light is already weakening visibly. Good that I started with a single photo. Better one in the pocket than ending up empty handed.

Passo di Giau

Hereafter I drive for a couple of kilometers towards the top of the pass. Lots of clouds have appeared meanwhile and that explains why the light got weaker earlier. I continue down on the other side, back to the spot where I lost a beautiful photo yesterday. Now the waiting game starts again. Lets see whats going to happen.

After a while the sun has dropped to just above the mountain peaks in the west, but I don’t see the same lighting show on the snow I saw yesterday. I can be wrong but I think it’s going to go very fast now and that I better focus my attention on the sunset instead of on the snow. It’s different every night.

The sun is still quite strong so I shoot a lot of exposures to make sure I have all the information I need. The surprise is complete after combining all the photographs. The final image is even a lot better than I am seeing with my own eyes! The snow edges in the foreground are illuminated beautifully, something that’s almost not visible for real because its overpowered by the light of the sun itself. Hooray for the magic factor (-;

Passo di Giau

Zooming out a bit also delivers a nice photo.

Passo di Giau

Just before the sun sets completely I dare to try a telephoto aiming directly into the sun and that’s always risky. Because the light is amplified a couple of times, 6x in this case, it’s dangerous for both the eyes and the lens itself. I skip looking into it and trust the camera to focus correctly.

A couple of years ago in New-Zealand I looked a bit too long through a telelens towards the sun. The sun was just rising from the horizon and quite weak so I thought it wouldn’t be a problem, but the light became brighter very quickly. I remember very well. That were the first five photos on day 18.

I read later that it’s not just the visible light but the infrared light in particular that’s dangerous and you don’t see that but you do feel it afterwards as a kind of light head ache.

Passo di Giau

Quickly a final one before the sun is completely gone.

Passo di Giau

Then the light goes out. The clouds are almost covering the complete sky and then it’s over for tonight. Quite happy I return to the hightest point to be completely surprised by the mountain-range of the first photo bathing in a deep pink glow.

I stop the car and run onto the road. No time to loose, I will have only seconds. The color is already dropping. Quickly setup the tripod, attach the camera, aim blind in between the flag poles on both sides of the road and shoot. I have only time for just one photo.

Passo di Giau

I shoot the second one as well, but that one is clearly of less quality. Really nice feeling to see this and it sucks at the same time being too late. But then again, these emotions are part of the game.

Because I was standing on the west side of the mountain, I didn’t see this beautiful light coming. Yesterday it was not there and now I was either exactly there at the right time or just a bit too late. Would have liked seeing more of this.

In the end I’m quite happy with this set of photos. Succesful evening and I have collected more than yesterday. Tomorrow again!

Maps, Charts & Downloads

GPS Map with color coded altitude information

Color coded distance/altitude chart

Color coded distance/altitude chart, Dolomites Winter 2015, Day 3

Download the original gpx file here.