Passo Giau – The Dolomites, Italy

If you like driving, sightseeing, spectacular vistas and of course photography, Passo Giau would be one of your best bets while driving along the Dolomites. The pass is open year-around, but can be closed temporarily due to heavy snow fall. At this time of year, the conditions were perfect; some inches of snow at the top, the roads open and dry, New Moon phase, and some fantastic high-pressure-weather since the last couple of days, and best of all – almost no other people around. Who is stupid enough anyway to camp in the car/van at this time of the year?! From the parking area of the pass at 2236 m, I hauled all my gear up to a little ridge where I got a 360° view, with the photogenic mountain ridges of the Dolomites, the setting crescent Moon (which provided a little ambient light), and a great view towards the mundane city of Cortina d´Ampezzo, the famous italian winter ski place. After the sun set, the temperature dropped down to some minus 5°C, and with the upcoming wind from the west, which brought a weather change and some cirrus clouds, it felt like minus 10°C. I´ve been up there at 3:30 pm, got down in between to grab some food, went back and stayed up there till 12:30 am. After I had finished all the photographing I wanted to do, I packed my gear and was laying on my iso-mat, ready for the constellation of Leo to come up from the horizon and to watch the maximum of the Leonid meteor shower. Yes, I know, I´m some kind of different –  I felt to sleep while looking at the stars, and after one or two hours, can´t tell, I woke up and the whole firmament was covered with cirrus clouds. So I took my stuff, descended down to my Mercedes Sprinter, wrapped up the sleeping bag up to my nose and thanked God for another stellar night! Click to enlarge the images if you like! Enjoy!

Ra Gusela Mt., 2595 m (right), and Nuvolau Mt., 2574 m, with the Rifugio Nuvolau, 2575 m, to the left, at sunset…

Sun, snow and great vistas – what better….

The setting crescent Moon during twilight over the snow-covered Dolomites…

View from “my” ridge at the beginning of nautical twilight towards Ra Gusela Mt. and the pass road…

The Dolomites and the stars over Passo Giau; the Big Dipper is visible just left of Ra Gusela Mt….

5367 sec./90 min. single exposure star trails over Ra Gusela Mt….

After taking the photograph, processing can become a real pain in the digital darkroom – before….

…and after processing; composite image, 60 x 3 min…

The Milky Way to the left, Orion, Hyades, Pleiades to the right, and Jupiter in the middle…

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do, than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowline, sail away from the harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails and travel !”

(Mark Twain)


2 thoughts on “Passo Giau – The Dolomites, Italy

  1. Noeline Smith

    You have some absolutely stunning photographs here! As well as your skills I admire your determination 🙂
    Also, I have to be honest I’m not normally a fan of long exposure star trails but these are something else – maybe it’s the clarity and detail in the foreground …. lovely!


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