It was a short message in our photographers chat. "Do you have time in the night from sunday to monday?". It was Christian Schipflinger, my photobuddy, milkyway-specialist, tour-planner and good friend. He told me about a location he wanted to do since a long time and after a short explanation i accepted. The weather forecast was very good, it was promised to be a cloud-free night. Because of some schedule-problems, we had to plan one day later, but that was even better. Another friend, Mario "Meatcap" Egger was able to join us because of that.
We decided to start on monday evening for the drive. Funny. When i tell interrested people what i did last night, or the last 24 hours, they often shake their heads unbelieving. But this 2 to 4 hour drives do not frighten me anymore, not at all. Maybe you just get used to it....
Anyway, we changed our plans a little. There was another location nearby, we wanted to do because we had enough time so we took two cars and made a longer hike, around the whole mountaingroup, its name i do not know. The plan was to park one car at the finishing point of our tour, and then drive to the starting point, make the tour, and go back to the starting car.
So thats how we did it. We even managed to be fast enough on location to catch the sunset right at the start of our hike. A little bonus, we were hoping for, but not counting on :-)
As you can see we were fast enough, so we took some pictures of this nice sunset, and the Monte Cernera in the background. But this mountain is another story :-)
We had no hurry after the sunset, so we hiked not too fast to our first "real" location, and Chris´ point of choice.
Our milkylocation was a small "pond" with a lot of swampy ground around it. A really awesome location to take milkyway shots. Perfectly planned by Chris but it was not my day... The swampy grounds always caused shakes on the setup and i underestimated that. So most of my shots are for the garbage bin. But there are two or three usable shots there, i can use i think....
The bright light on the mountainpeak on the picture above was not a star. It was a photographer who overtook us on our way to the lake. We think he was up there to capture the moonrise. There was another photographer arriving about 1 hour after us too, but he had to leave not much later, because of work he said. A well-known place it seems, but understandable when you think of the beauty of it.
After a lot of shooting i decided to get my second cam back. I set it up about 500m away to capture some startrails to the north, with the massive mountaingroup in the foreground. I took about 500 shots and thought that this should be enough.
The milkyway-window was almost gone and the moon was to rise in about 1 hour. I decided to make a timelapse of the moonrise before we leave and set the cam up in front of the lake, looking to the southwest to capture it. Too bad i was a little too impatient so it stops a little too fast after the rise...
At about 02:30 in the morning we started the longest part of our hike. The almost 5km to the "Lago Fedèra", where a sunrise-shooting was planned. This was the steepest part of our way around the mountain and it was a hard walk for me because of my quiet heavy backpack. I don´t know how my friends keep their backpacks as light as they are, but i always have about 15 to 20kg to carry. The mobile-picture shows Chris and Mario on the highest point of the track a little exhausted :-)
On the other side of the fence i decided to make some pictures of the mountain massive, and the well known village "Cortina d´Ampezzo" shining for us. Its a fixed point in the alpine skiing worldcup.
Next to the steep falling rockfaces lies the Lago Fedèra still a little far away. After a short pause we kept going, not that we miss the sunrise. The track was falling in a pleasent way so it turned out to be the nicest part of our trail.
Finally there, Chris, the as always perfect prepared leader of our pack, naturally knew where the best place for a perfect mirrorpics would be. So we went to the very end of the lake to set up our "basecamp"
And, at last, i was able to the test my "holy grail setup" to capture a timelapse of the night to day transition on the lake, including the rocks getting red from the sunlight. And it worked perfect for me. Maybe the 11mm focal length were not the best decision, but i like the result.
At this location i was feeling really good and i made my best pictures of the tour. The lots of people you can see on the timelapse were a whole bunch of asian people who obviously were sleeping at the nearby "Rifugio Croda da Lago". They came there for the really impressing sunrise.
We spent a lot of time on the lake because it took quiet long until the sun finally rose over the trees to the east. Enough time to take lots of pictures videos and making off´s
We finished our hike on the west-shore of the lake and saw that there were also very good spots for shootings. I think i have to return here sometime, very nice part of earth.
Now our way lead us to the Rifugio where we had some Cappucinos for breakfast, and made a long break, preparing for the last 3 kilometers of our way. My feet slowly became tired and it was time to come to an end. These sleepless nights were far easier 20 years ago...
We changed our outfit to a lighter one. The cold night was over and so it was time for shorts and shirts now.
The harder part of our walk should follow now. It became very steep now and was going down in serpentines to the parking place of our second car. Though it was a nice trail next to some small creeks, through the wood.
Finally we jumped into the car and drove back to the passo giau, searching for something to eat.
A last break on the restaurant at the pass height and we started our 3 hour drive home.
It was another gorgeous photowalk with like-minded crazy guys and wonderful relaxation for the mind. Thanks to Christian Schipflinger whos great work can be found here, and also to Mario "Meatcap" Egger who can be found on Facebook here. His homepage is heavily under construction and will be linked here, when its ready.
If you enjoyed my photoblog then feel free to share it with everyone you like, i appreciate that.