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

Landscape photographers: Never do what I did

Landscape photographers should always stick to their plan.
In particular, if you have to travel to get the image you want, it will take so much work and resources to get that shot that it would be silly to change plan at the very last second just because you suddenly see something potentially more appealing.
Basically, doing so would be equivalent to trading down days, weeks, sometimes even months of careful planning for an entirely new idea that crosses your mind out of the blue.

I was on Faial Island (Azores) to capture two images of the Bay of Caldeirinhas, the first at sunset (my main goal, click here to see it) and the second with the Milky Way in the background (click here to see it).

Long before I went to Faial, I wrote in a note that I should strictly follow two indications, so important to be considered rules:
1) Set up my tripod exactly as planned and never move it during the shoot (which is essential if I want to be able to blend several exposures to create my final image).
2) Start shooting with my camera in landscape orientation, to only switch to portrait orientation when done with the sunset picture (so that I could capture more of the sky in the Milky Way shot) .

These rules are the take-home lesson from this post, along with an extra one: do not trust photographers, as they often do not practise what they preach.
Especially me. I mean, in particular, you should not trust me. 

I could not take my eyes off an amazing cloud I saw behind me and, after I spent ten minutes staring at it, I took my camera off the tripod and shot it handheld.
It all happened well before I was done shooting my scene at sunset, thus breaking the second rule.

Was it worth it? Considering that I have rarely seen such a cloud in my life, well... it was probably worth it.
But what if I had missed the shot I really wanted? Would it have been worth it?
My answer is no.

I know what you think. The risk was low. That's what I thought too but, still... 

Would YOU have taken your camera off the tripod to shoot the cloud instead of THIS?
I am curious to know. Comments, emails, even smoke signs are welcome.

Cheers,
Enrico

Landscape photography: never give up until it's over

...or why bother playing the game?
It is a lesson I learned playing tennis all my life and it applies just as well to Landscape Photography.

At the moment it is cloudy, very cloudy indeed. What a pity. According to the weather forecast it should have cleared up already...
It is 10.00pm and I am pretty much done with my sunset shot of the Bay of Caldeirinhas.

The reason why I am still here is that I want to make the most out of my 1-night stay in Faial, which means I would also like to have a go at the Milky Way here and, hoping it is not too much asking, take a sunrise image of Mount Pico from Porto Pim.

One thing at a time. The Galactic Centre of the Milky Way (which is the brightest part of it) is supposed to rise above the horizon around 11pm.
Well, no doubt it will rise above the horizon around 11pm, I am just not sure at all I will have a chance to photograph it.

While I am waiting, two people park their car close to mine. The guy approaches me and politely asks - What is it so interesting in the ocean that you keep shooting? - 

Good question. I reply that I find the bay very beautiful and I hope I will be able to blend several long exposures to produce the image I have in my mind. Also, after this I will try to take a Milky Way shot of the same scene.

- The stars? Well, it's not gonna happen! It's cloudy, you see? -
Sure I see, but my answer is not just a yes.
- This is landscape photography - I say - A lot of frustration for a few priceless moments. -

There is always hope and there is always risk, but things can change very quickly when we are talking weather and light. Sometimes conditions change for the better, sometimes for the worse. It does not matter, really, since I am absolutely determined to stay here until I know the Milky Way will have moved so much to the right-hand side of the frame to kick my composition out of existence.

I stay because I simply have no choice, since I never give up until the game is over.
I would never forgive myself for having left too early and missed the opportunity to take the picture I wanted, especially since I do not go to Faial every week and not even every month.

So, this is why...

...I waited till 12.16am.

Baía das Caldeirinhas - Milky Way shot (25th July 2017, 00:16)

I have to thank my friend and great photographer Luciano Catozzi for the feedback he provided on the image, as that allowed me to produce a better final version of it.  

Sure enough, the morning after I woke up early to shoot Mount Pico from Faial at sunrise.
Guess what? I was not as lucky as the night before and that is OK.

Mount Pico only showed its peak for a one minute, which meant about four 16s exposures.
I wanted the whole mountain, but it did not happen.

Here is my shot:


Fábrica da Baleia de Porto Pim - Faial, Azores

Until next time.. ciao ragazzi!

Enrico