#749. A photographic trip to the Dolomites

By Michel Pampaloni | Travel Photography

Jul 09

I recently had the opportunity to extend a business trip for a short weekend in the Dolomites. This region, located in the North East of Italy, is a very popular place for tourists. It is also much appreciated by landscape photographers for its photogenic potential.



Two days is for sure not enough and the weather was not very favorable. Mid-May in the mountains at 1000-1500m, is a little early in the season and June/July would have been much better. Nevertheless I was able to bring back some beautiful pictures.



My trip started on the shores of Lake Garda, a place I particularly like, then I headed for the Dolomites and Lake Misurina.


Lake Garda

Lake Garda


Only two and a half days to spend on the spot, I knew that time is always running fast. So I took good care with the preparations of my stay. I found a nice hotel (Quinz – Locanda Al Lago) offering a reasonable price, a good restaurant and a great location.


My Hotel


The view from the balcony of my room was a rare pleasure. I had plenty of time to capture the shades of colors from sunrise to sunset in the comfort of my room.From my base camp I could easily reach all the locations I wanted to visit. Due to the lack of time and because it was my first stay I decided to focus on the most touristic places.



Misurina in the morning

Misurina at Sunset


From a photographic point of view I recommend Lake Misurina, the Tre Cime di lavaredo (of course) Wilder Pragsee (amazing place), Arounzo di Cadouro. As for the popular ski resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo, it is probably better in winter or summer but of little interest in the off-season.


Arunzo di Cadouro

Arunzo di Cadouro

Pragser Wilsee

Pragser Wilsee


To echo a recent Dear Susan article about the best location for landscape photography , I don’t know if Dolomites is the best place in the world . But In the near future we might consider that the best spots are those which are not invaded by tourists and without an army of drones above our heads.



I particularly remember one evening when I was at the edge of a lake to take pictures of a sunset and to enjoy the calm and silence of nature. Two drones kept flying over the lake for at least 20 minutes and believe me they are quite noisy ! I left before sunset… Some regulation might be needed soon, if this market continues to quickly grow. The irony is that my wife and my son wanted to give me one for my birthday .



Compared with the French Alps that I know well, this place offers several benefits : A lots of mountains and peaks are very steep and photogenic, many lakes are easy to reach, there is a concentrate of beautiful scenery within a fairly small space. In a nutshell, I would say there is certainly much more to do and enjoy in the Dolomites and my first stay there really made me want to come back with my family for a longer stay.



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  • Dave says:

    Beautiful images Michael, Thanks for sharing.

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Sigh – my Italian love affair started in Australia and ended not far from Cortina d’Ampezzo, when she returned to the land of her ancestors and I returned to the land that my ancestors had adopted. I spent 3 months looking all over the place. Parts of it might be cookie cutter stuff (a lot of post war housing is, for example). But so many places were/are “to kill & die for”.

  • Scott Edwards says:

    Really stunning! Thanks for sharing. (What were you shooting with btw?)

  • philberphoto says:

    Lovely pictures, Michel! Thanks and congrats! Lovely locations, too, though that is true of so many parts of Italy…

  • michel says:

    Thanks for all comments !
    For this trip I used a Fuji X-H1, and 3 lenses , 10-24 / 16-55 and 50-140, and probably 80% of the pictures with the 16-55

    • jean pierre {pete} guaron says:

      After my last trip to Italy, Philippe, I decided that you could live there for a thousand years, and never see all of it. It’s an amazingly interesting country! 🙂

    • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

      Dunno what happened then, Michel – the comment addressed to Philippe (below) was actually posted to his comment, not yours. Never mind.
      Love the photos – Garda was Mussolini’s “bolt hole” during the closing years of WW2 – when the end became inevitable, he tried to do a runner up the west coast of Lago di Como, but didn’t quite make it – for the first and last and ONLY time the guns had ever been fired, the gun emplacement on the other side of the lake (built c. 1906, in preparation for WW1) swung its guns around from their usual north facing trajectory, fired west across the lake, created an avalanche that blocked the road as Mussolini fled northwards, and the “posse” chasing him up the side of the lake caught him. The rest, as they say, is history.
      I normally shoot primes, not zooms. When I switched from analogue to digital, I found the overwhelming majority of my photos were shot on the 50mm standard prime. Since my “conversion”, I’ve been keep spreadsheet records – and I’ve logged roughly 90% on the 50mm, with the w/angle and the tele trailing behind.
      That said – I’d love to have a really serious tele, for bird photography & astronomical stuff, as well as some long distance landscapes I have in mind – but the cost is horrific, unless you settle for rather crappy lenses, and if you do that, there’s no point in doing it anyway. Sigh!

  • Dallas says:

    The Dolomites are a lovely spot and a place I ‘m looking forward to visit again in February for a photo workshop. Your images are magic Michel.

  • PaulB says:

    This is terrible!

    Terrible, that I could not be there as well. I have always enjoyed images of the Dolomites, but have not had the time to get there on my previous trips.

    There is always an element of luck that light, location, and weather will mix well to give you interesting images. I will say you had a good mix. ;-).

  • Michel says:

    Thanks for the history ! did not know that story
    Well prime versus zoom lenses… an endless debate for me, I almost gave up on that. Yes I also prefer fix focal lenses. When I sold all my Nikon equipment years ago (for weight mainly) , I switched to a Leica M, and for 2 years only 3 lenses (24/35/75). It was fun and i have to say that being outside my comfort zone , I improved my technique, especially in composition. But it is also true that when I travel with my family , I have to be very fast, they are tired of seeing me stop every 5 minutes to take pictures. So a 24-85 f/2.8 is very very convenient .

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