This blog post is about hiking up through the rain and hail, bringing the necessary equipment to produce some quality pictures and reaching the summit of the beautiful Rifugio Pisciadu Trail.

There are without any doubt pictures worth taking. This can be someone you love and care very deeply about. It can be a remarkable place or landscape you want to capture for generations to see, or it can be an arduous hike in the middle of the Italien Alps. Everything that matters is a subjective importance of a single image.

For some five minutes, as we were setting up the gear, the weather changed twice

Sometimes the only thing we need to do is to go outside and take that picture. On the other hand, there are times when a substantial preparation is unavoidable. A journey without any promises but a hope to produce an image worth investing time and money.

This time it happens to be a famous hike in Dolomites, Italy. Depending on how good or bad you are prepared it can take up to 4 hrs to reach the summit. While it is a short hike, it is definitely on a steeper side. Knowing that it is always good to travel with the least amount of gear possible. Although some types of pictures require additional light or another lens, it adds up very fast. The challenge when photographing in the mountains is to decide which gear to take or to leave behind. Therefore it is always good to give an additional backpack or two to your partners in crime, to avoid being exhausted after the first 5 minutes of the hike.

Climbing the Trail

Then there is the weather. Especially in the mountains, it can change very fast. Even though the weather forecast for that day was looking promising, after we started hiking, it became quite unpredictable. First, it was mild and a bit windy. Then it started getting cold, especially when the sun got behind the clouds. At some point, it began to rain. Going through narrow trails in the cold, I still was very optimistic. Then it started to hail.

Behind the Scenes

However, because it was windy, the weather changed so rapidly that only after a couple of minutes the sun came out and we finally reached our first spot to shoot on that day. It was a very tiny place. You could barely make a step to the side. Imagine standing on a small ladder, where you can barely move or turn. This is how it felt. Setting up the lights was a ballet performance. We carefully placed our trusty soft box to the side. We had so little space in fact that even standing and holding the lights was somewhat challenging. For some five minutes, as we were setting up the gear, the weather changed twice. Now the sun was hiding behind the clouds and coming out of them so fast; it was as someone was switching the lights on and off. Eventually, the weather has calmed down, and the mountains showed themselves in their glory. Almost instantaneously it became chill and pleasant, quiet and peaceful.

Then we had a great talent. A big shout out to Max Stadler who was a true natural in front of the camera. Dealing with the weather is one big thing. Having someone who can act the way you need is a game changer, especially because we had limited amount of time due to the weather.
It is like a puzzle; only if all pieces come together, you will start to see the whole image.

As we arrived at the summit, we did not have the challenge of steep trails anymore, however blazing wind and the cold were our challenges. Finding new angles in hard conditions requires being quite pragmatic. If something does not work, it is not worth investing the time. After finding another couple of spots, we managed to create additional content, thanks to Jutta. Then it was time to pack our bags, and we headed to the valley.

Despite the small challenges for that day we still have managed to pull through our initial plan of hiking the trail, arriving at the summit and producing the content along the way.

Thanks to Max, Jutta and my wife Anna, without them it wouldn’t be possible.

As always, stay tuned for more.

Cheers,

Alex