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On our first trip to Italy, my wife and I spent a week exploring the Dolomites. We split our time between the regions around Castelrotto in the west and Cortina d’Ampezzo in the east, which I found more interesting. From there we visited Tre Cime di Laveredo, Monte Piana and the Rifugio Lagzuoi. I found that Passo Giau was a convenient and inspiring sunrise location. Only 16 km from town but a seemingly endless series of switchbacks up to the pass, it provided great views in all directions. I saw only one other photographer in the two mornings I shot there. We visited in late September. Even in the morning, the temperatures were moderate enough that a heavy fleece and cap were all that was needed for warmth. Cortina had only a modest number of tourists at that time of year and was a fun place to explore in the middle of the day.
The most unusually shaped peak at the pass is the closest, Gusela del Nuvolau (2595 m). At its base is a hotel. So for this shot, I chose to exclude it and the road and, from an oblique angle to the group of mountains, instead focussed on the highest peak in the group, Monte Averau (2648 m). Because the slopes at the base of the mountains were still in deep shape, I shot two exposures and manually blended them in Photoshop.
I found this part of the Alps to be stunningly beautiful and hope one day to return and see it in winter.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor