The Dolomites in Winter

There’s no doubt the Dolomites are the most photogenic mountains in Europe, if not in the whole world. Feel free to disagree, but that won’t change my opinion ;).

They become even more photogenic in winter, thanks to the contrast between the whiteness of the snow and the varying colors of the rocks, under different light conditions during the day.

Last winter, I once again had the opportunity to visit them, if only for a couple days. There was preciously little snow on the ground, thanks to an unusually dry winter, but those mountains never disappoint.

Funes

The first day, the sky was mostly overcast. Until the last minute, we hoped for a clearing that would allow the sun to light up the Puez-Odle group in Funes, but alas, no such luck. I still managed to get a half-decent shot.

The Puez-Odle Group from Funes, Italian Dolomites
The Puez-Odle Group from Funes

The forecast for the second day promised mostly clear skies, with some clouds and strong winds, so we started early in Canazei with a plan to drive around the Sella Group and over the four mountain passes that separate the valleys at its feet: Sella, Gardena, Campolongo, and Pordoi.

Sella

Our first stop was at Sella Pass, facing the majestic Sassolungo (Langkofel). We took some shots before sunrise, braving the freezing wind that made it a bit difficult to get sharp images with the long exposures necessary in those light conditions. I really need to get a sturdier tripod!

Sassolungo (Langkofel), Italian Dolomites
Sassolungo (Langkofel)

Gardena / Grödner

As the sun started peeking above the horizon, we made our way to Gardena Pass (Grödnerjoch). The view afforded from high up there is breathtaking and the first rays of light hitting the surrounding craggy peaks lit them up with pinks and oranges. A real light show!

Gardena Pass (Grödnerjoch) with the Gran Cir group, Italian Dolomites
Gardena Pass (Grödnerjoch) with the Gran Cir group
Sassolungo (Langkofel) from Gardena Pass (Grödnerjoch), Italian Dolomites
Sassolungo (Langkofel) from Gardena Pass (Grödnerjoch)

Piz Boé

From there, we drove down to Colfosco (Kolfuschg) and, after a nutritious breakfast and time enough to regain some warmth, we took the gondola lift to the foot of Piz Boé, on the Sella Group.

By then, the sun was pretty high in the sky and the light very unforgiving. Sometimes, all you can do is shoot in black and white!

Sella Group, Italian Dolomites
Sella Group

Falzarego

Our road then took us across the Campolongo Pass into Arabba. From there, we took a long detour towards Falzarego Pass, at the border between Süd-Tirol and Veneto.

Even though the light was still a bit harsh and the wind kept battering us and making photography an arduous enterprise, the majesty of the scenery in front of us meant we just couldn’t stop shooting for at least one full hour.

The Lagazuoi, Falzarego Pass, Italian Dolomites
The Lagazuoi, Falzarego Pass
The Tofane Group and the Ampezzo, Italian Dolomites
The Tofane Group and the Ampezzo

Pordoi

Before returning to Canazei, we still had to go over the Pordoi Pass. When we got there, the sun was about to set behind thick clouds, so we didn’t have many expectations, but just at the last minute, it peeked from beneath the clouds and created a light show the likes of which I had rarely seen! Perseverance paid off again.

View from Pordoi Pass over Fassa Valley and the Sassolungo (Langkofel), Italian Dolomites
View from Pordoi Pass over Fassa Valley and the Sassolungo (Langkofel)
The Sella Group from Pordoi Pass, Italian Dolomites
The Sella Group from Pordoi Pass
The Sella Group from Pordoi Pass, Italian Dolomites
The Sella Group from Pordoi Pass

This was the perfect conclusion to a very productive day. As the night was falling, we just had time for one more picture from the road overlooking Canazei. In this circumstance I managed to drop and lose my filter holder. I believe that was a small price to pay for such an amazing day.

Canazei, Italian Dolomites
Canazei

This October, I’m going back to the Dolomites for a week of pure landscape photography together with my friend and nature photographer extraordinaire, Pedro Kin. Would you like to join us? Click here to find out more!

Adventure in the Dolomites
Join me on the Italian Dolomites for an unforgettable experience

Acknowledgments

I’d like to thank Peter Wade for asking me to show him the beauty of our mountains and Davide De Nova for driving all the way there and back with me.

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