The Dolomites

The Dolomites is a place that I used to visit on a regular basis for a number of years. Climbing in the mountains there was one of my favourite things to do. I haven’t been for a while now, and this video really makes me want to go back there again.

When I used to go there I would take a Nikon D70s with a 6mp sensor (and a Fuji Finepix compact for backup)- how things have moved on over the years. And, in terms of cameras for me, as I used that little Nikon for about 8 years before finally upgrading to a Canon 5DmkIII. I remember thinking that 22mp at the time was overkill for a camera. Since then it’s probably been overkill in cameras for me, to be honest!

The Dolomites is a very magical place to me. I have walked a number of the Alta via trails  (I think there are 8 of them) and used the via ferratas to get to some pretty spectacular mountain huts dotted across the range. The food is an interesting mix of Italian and German, which is great in towns like Belluno and Bolzano, but not quite so good up in the mountain huts (although it never ceased to amaze me how good the Strudel was up there!). Each day of trekking would end with a pint (or two….) of Forst or Birra Moretti, which always went down well.

Anyway, I found this great time-lapse video, which reminded me of how great this place is.

A few of my own images from a couple of trips to the Dolomites:

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Landscape work

Sometimes it’s just nice to do some landscape photography. Usually nowadays, I like to photograph what people are up to – usually on the streets. However, sometimes I like to step back and just enjoy nature’s light shows as they appear.

One of the things that I used to do a lot, and would like to do again, is long distance treks. I love putting on a backpack and walking long distance trails. Over 20 years of walking I have managed to hone my pack down (including an excellent 1kg Terra Nova Laser tent) to about 8kg, excluding camera kit (I am happy to post up my kit list if people are interested). I have always taken an SLR (film and more recently digital) on treks, as I have never been able to get along with the limitations of compact cameras.

I spent a good 6 years climbing all over the dolomites as part of my treks. Northern Italy is a place that I know quite well,and love, due to the stunning mountains there. I should perhaps put the photos of the treks together into some sort of project.

One of the things I like about trekking is obviously the stunning scenery. Spending a few weeks (or months on another occasion) in the mountains is quite an experience. Not only did I get super fit, but I also found that my view of life became much more simpler and clearer.

With limited access to the internet and other sources of technology, I found that things became easier. Each day was simply about setting a goal of getting from A to B, then doing it. Until my first daughter arrived 5 years ago, I only really used a camera for holiday snaps. I used to do wedding and some advertising photography some years before, with my main personal interest at the time being seascape work (living in Cornwall it was hard not to!). However, when I went off to study, I pretty much dropped photography for a good 10 years. As is typical with most people, having kids makes you get your camera back out!

I don’t tend to do landscape work that much at the moment. I have been shooting a project in Wiltshire called ‘Landlines‘ (it’s a poor edit, the previous one was better) on and off for the last few years, but it’s very slow going. I will probably reshoot the project over the next few years as I like the idea, but not the images. The main reason I don’t do much landscape work is that much of the stuff I see online is not very inspiring. I went to a local exhibition recently, and whilst the landscape work was pretty, I didn’t find it stood out from the multitude of shots that I have seen before. The main reason being that if I have seen Durdle Door once, I have seen it a thousand times, so why do I need to see it again with a slightly bluer sky or something?

The problem I find with landscape work is that people are always trying to create the iconic image – when I prefer nowadays to work with a series of images to create a narrative. When you have seen so many so-called iconic images, you get a bit numb to them. So, I think this year, particularly with the arrival of the large format camera (still need to get the lenses, etc…), I think I will revisit the great outdoors to do some landscape work – particularly as it seems a good topic for learning how to use a large format camera.

Any way, here are a couple of pretty pictures from my treks to round the post off with…

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Refugio Lagozoui, Dolomites 2011

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Swiss Alps, 2008