Passo Giau, Dolomites, Italy by Adriana Benetti Longhini

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In September of last year, I took some American clients/friends to what I think is one of the most spectacular mountain passes in the Dolomite mountain range in northern Italy.

Passo Giau is one of the most visited Dolomite passes and is located in the Dolomites Unesco System 1 of Pelmo Croda da Lago. What makes it unique is the wonderful landscape that can be admired from the altitude of 2348m and is easily reachable by car. It is located at the center of a vast mountain pasture at the foot of Nuvolau (2,574 m) and Averau peaks with a view that extends across the pastures and woods of the Agordine Dolomites with many famous high peaks visible such as the Marmolada, the Civetta, the Sella Group, Dolomites of Cadore and Ampezzo, Tofana, Antelao, Cristallo and Sorapis mountains all offering stunning vistas.

In September, the autumn colours are not fully developed and it is not really a favourite time of mine to visit these areas as there are also too many tourists still around. On this particular day, the temperatures were beautiful, so with my clients we decided to walk up to this small pond that provides water for cattle that graze here during summer. Much to my delight, there were no other photographers/tourists around, so we had to place to ourselves.

We had a small bagged lunch prepared for us by our B&B so we just lay in the sun and immersed ourselves in this utterly magnificent landscape. Time constraints did not leave us much time to stay for the sunset, which knowing the area very well is always stunning. I prefer as a landscape photographer to shoot during the classic, dawn, dusk, golden hours of the day, but in this case, could not. A calm day without wind enabled me to have a decent reflection in this small pond with the Ra Gusela tower of Mount Nuvolau clear in the water.

In the far background to the right, at the base of the Nuvolau range are the famous 5 Torri towers, and standing tall to their right is the magnificent Tofana de Rozes massif with her crimped shaped rock formations.

For this photo I used a CPL filter including a 0.6 ND Soft Grad filter as the light was quite harsh and a tripod.

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