My night in fairytale Rifugio Nambino

Luckily, there are still places you are only allowed to reach by walking and Rifugio Nambino is one of them.
Located in the Adamello-Brenta National Park (Trentino, Italy), the mountain refuge sits right by Lake Nambino, which is frozen and covered in snow in winter.

The easiest way to reach Rifugio Nambino is from Madonna di Campiglio. You first drive to where the refuge's cableway is located (which is also where the road ends) and then hike up from there.
We found the cableway very handy as we could load our luggage on it, rather than carrying it all the way up. People cannot use the cableway, it is just for stuff!

The hike is supposed to be about 25-minute long, but it actually took us 45 min to reach Rifugio Nambino, as I was carrying a crate with our cat Alya in it (8kg overall) and we were also happy to stop from time to time to enjoy the snow and let our Newfoundland dog Coda discover new smells in the woods.
By the way, a big thank you to the owners and the staff of Rifugio Nambino for being pet friendly

After relaxing a little bit in our room, I started to wonder around the frozen lake to scout for compositions. Looking at the photo below, you can imagine it only took me about 10 seconds to realise that, if they persisted, the low clouds would prevent me to get the shot I wanted. 

While it is true that I had a single night to get my image, I was sensible enough to book a room up there, so that at least I had the ENTIRE night to fulfill my goal.
Remember the landscape photographer's motto: Never Give Up Until it's Over!
Indeed, I did not lose hope at all when, at first, the low clouds seemed to be willing to hang around the refuge forever.

In the end, I did not have to wait too long. Around 9h50pm the clouds cleared up, leaving just a translucent curtain of snow, that was invisible in the foreground and middle ground (due to the small aperture I used) and just created a little mist in the background, which I believe even adds something to my image.

Did the mist still make me pay a toll? Yes, it did! From the other side of Lake Nambino, looking at the back of the refuge, on a clear night you can enjoy a beautiful view of the Dolomites. Due to the weather, that view was entirely precluded to me.
Am I disappointed about it? Not at all! The night shot of Rifugio Nambino I got is more than I could have hoped for. As I write this, I am even considering to add it to my Portfolio and, more importantly, I had a great time there with my wife Dania, Coda and Alya.

As a final note, I would have actually felt more stressed if I had known the entire night was NOT there for me to capture a night shot of Rifugio Nambino. Starting from 11pm it started to snow pretty heavily and later on they even turned off the lights!

To learn more about Rifugio Nambino, please visit their website: www.nambino.com

Click my image below to access my Portfolio Website, where prints and wall art can be purchased, along with digital versions: 

Rifugio Nambino in the Dolomites

Cheers,
Enrico

Tallest building in Italy

Thanks to its spire, the UniCredit Tower is the tallest building in Italy (231 metres). It is located in Milan - my hometown - and it was completed in 2011.


Sunset shot of the UniCredit Tower, Milano, Italy
Sony Alpha 77 Mark 2, Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di USD
300mm, 2.5s, f/7.1, ISO 100 (6-stop ND filter)

More than by the building itself, I was impressed by how well I could see the mountains in the background.
I must admit that I impatiently waited for sunset to warm up the scene, keeping my fingers crossed for visibility not to get any worse. Luckily, it did not.

Call me lazy, it is sort of a tradition for me to try to find a composition from whatever apartment, house or hotel I happen to spend at least one night. In this particular case, I took the shot from the balcony of an apartment I rented when visiting Milano last week.
 
As soon as it got dark and the tower was lit up, I took a second, long exposure.
While I am not at all a fan of black skies, I do still like the cold mood of the scene.
 

Night shot of the UniCredit Tower, Milano, Italy
Sony Alpha 77 Mark 2, Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di USD
300mm, 15s, f/10, ISO 100

I am not saying the two photos above are particularly good. What I am saying is that my habit not to snob compositions that can be captured from very accessible places helped me understand how photography is for everybody.
Sometimes we assume no good pictures can be taken without hiking like crazy or going somewhere very remote. Well, it is simply not true.

As a second reason, I find it challenging to try to find some beauty in things or scenes that most people view as dull, or even ugly.
I will give you two examples:

1) Another cityscape I captured in Milan last year (many people find the buildings in there ugly).

2) My most successful picture so far of the Brenta Dolomites (in terms of print sales and editor's picks, which was lazily taken from the balcony of a hotel).

All this being said, I am planning to go to a couple of outstandingly beautiful places in January and February 2018. Let's see what happens! ;-)

Cheers,
Enrico