Tour Details | Italian Dolomites Photo Tour

• July 8 — 15 (7 nights)
• Group size: min 5, max 12
• Cost: $3,695, single supplement $495
• Tour starts and ends at Venice airport (Why not join us before for a four-night Photo Tour in magical Venice? 

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This area, now a region of Italy (Alto Adige in Italian and Süd Tirol in German), was once part of Austria, which is apparent in the architecture and food. We believe that this Dolomite photo tour exposes us to the best of both the Austrian and Italian cultures. The alpine architecture shows wonderful attention to detail and expert craftsmanship and woodwork. The cuisine is a happy blend of Austrian and Italian flavors and includes very good local wines, great coffee and tasty deserts (think “Strudel” and Sacher Torte).

SAVEUR Magazine writes the following about the Dolomites (a region they aptly call “Peak Italy” and not only for its soaring mountain tops): “. . . and really, unless you are anti-awe or Tyrolean-chalet-avers or constitutionally unresponsive to the self-evident charms of stunning pink-hued sunsets and green pastures fragrant with edelweiss and speck, the ubiquitous local ham, you should positively, definitely, without hesitation go to the Dolomites.”

Our sentiment exactly. Especially if you are a photographer.

The Dolomites span quite a vast area but we base our Italian Dolomites Photo Tour out of a very manageable and photogenic sub-region. The Val Badia is the geographic center for some the most iconic and beautiful photo ops in the world. We have the luxury to explore these vistas via van, foot, chairlifts and gondolas. This is probably the closest one can get to a breathtaking high-alpine experience without the physical exertion required if one had to hike up from the valley bottoms. In some situations we still need to walk a little ways once we get off of the lifts to reach our final photo destinations. (See the Level of Physical Difficulty under the Dates | Cost | Difficulty tab.)

Imagine riding a lift up to a 9,000 feet mountain peak in the first morning light and being treated to the beauty of  a high-alpine environment to capture with your camera. Then, leisurely stroll down through alpine meadows filled with wildflowers of every imaginable color and shape, pausing at a mountain refugio for lunch or an apple strudel and cappuccino before finishing the easy descent or taking the lift back down.

Join us for this seven-day Italian Dolomites Photo Tour for an experience of a lifetime in a region that you will not want to leave!

  • Two nights on the highest alpine plateau in Europe, the amazing Alpe di Siusi.
  • Five nights in a lovely hotel with delicious half-board in the village of La Villa, a central location that provides us easy access to the most beautiful photo locations.
  • Breathtaking photo opportunities abound.
  • Access via gondolas and chairlifts to magnificent alpine vistas.
  • Some of the best accommodation and food in all of Europe.
  • High mountain rifugios where we will enjoy rustic local cuisine and great photography.
  • We will also take time to share images and learn post-processing and in-the-field techniques.
  • In addition to great photography opportunities we will have time for photo sharing and critiques. We will also be lecturing on photographic topics including:
    • Composition
    • Digital Workflow
    • Panoramic Photography
    • Depth of Field calculation
    • Focal Blending
    • Blue Hour Photography
    • Filters, Neutral Density and Neutral Density Grads
    • Photoshop Tips and Tricks
    • Nik software

  • June 19: Plan on spending this evening near the Venice airport or in Venice proper. This will allow you to get some rest before the tour begins and to also insure that you arrive on time for the following day’s departure. If you are coming from the USA, you may have to depart for Italy on June 21. If you can arrive a few days earlier to acclimatize and explore Venice either on your own or with us on our Venice Photo Tour, even better. HOWEVER, YOU MUST BE IN THE AREA THE NIGHT BEFORE THE TOUR BEGINS. PLEASE DO NOT BOOK A FLIGHT ARRIVING ON JUNE 23 AS WE CANNOT WAIT FOR DELAYED FLIGHTS AND LOST LUGGAGE ETC. 
  • June 20: The group meets at Marco Polo Airport in Venice at 10 am for the 3.5 hour drive to our hotel on the majestic Alpe di Siusi, the largest high alpine plateau in Europe. This pristine alpine area is closed to car traffic. Only hotel guests are allowed to drive to their hotel but are not allowed to use vehicles to explore the plateau. Chairlifts, buses and foot will be our method of travel which makes for a wonderfully peaceful environment. This will be our home for 2 of the 7 nights on this tour. After checking into our hotel and an orientation, we head out to photograph the afternoon and early evening light (think “Alpen Glow”).
  • June 21: We will have the whole day to explore this wonderful area with our cameras. Sunrise followed by a delightful alpine breakfast, perhaps a nap under your down comforter, before heading out to explore the plateau. We will have a rustic and delicious lunch with the opportunity to sample local food products at a high-mountain refugio. The evening “alpenglow” is amazing up here. Magrit and I have found this to be one of the most serene and beautiful regions of all we have visited and photographed. Back at our hotel we will have time before and after dinner to stroll along the paths with our cameras.
  • June 22: Morning photography session on the plateau after which we depart for the journey to our next home base in La Villa near Corvara in the Val Badia. Along the way we will drive up the Val Gardena and through its numerous villages before cresting a high mountain pass and dropping into the Val Badia. We will have time along the way to stop and photograph and have lunch before settling into our cozy hotel in La Villa. We will spend the afternoon exploring this valley before an early dinner. We then head north for the 30 minute drive to the tiny village of Wengen where we will photograph the illuminated church of St. Barbara against a mountainous backdrop at sunset and blue hour.
  • June 23 – June 26: We explore the amazing valleys and high passes of the Dolomites via van, gondola, chairlift and on foot, gather for teaching modules on various aspects of photography and post-production and have opportunities to share photos.
  • June 27: 9:30 am we depart by van for the Venice Airport.

Dates: June 20 to June 27,  2017 (7 nights)

Cost: $3,695 | single supplement $495

Take 5% off of the total costs of any tours when you sign up for 2 or more.

A $500 deposit will secure your spot. Click here to make your deposit »

What is included?

  • 7 nights lodging.
  • All breakfasts
  • All dinners.
  • Daily van transportation to photo locations and all chairlifts and gondolas.
  • Round trip shuttle between Venice and the Dolomites.
  • All entrance fees.
  • Jim’s & Magrit’s expertise in guiding and photographic instruction

Level of physical difficulty: 3.5 out of 5

One person’s walk in the park is another person’s challenge. With that said, the difficulty and challenges of this photo tour depend on each individual’s level of physical fitness and perception of difficulty. We rate this tour a 3.5 out of 5 as we encounter some uphill and downhill walking on uneven terrain to get to the vantage points for some photo opportunities. The maximum you can expect is a 30 to 45-minute walk with some uphill stretches on a trail. Other photo opportunities are close to the van, gondola or chairlift. Also keep in mind that with the higher elevations of up to 9,000 feet, the difficulty can be magnified for some.

One of the greatest benefits of participating in our Italian Dolomites Photo Tour is that we have access to magnificent high-alpine locations via chairlifts, gondolas and our van, which would otherwise not be accessible to the average person. Again, in some situations, we still need to walk, sometimes uphill, once we get out of the van or off the lift.

To get the most out of the tour we suggest that you prepare by walking every day for a few weeks before you arrive. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to the store, etc.

If you have any concerns please contact us directly. We’d be happy to advise you based on our experience.

For Terms & Conditions and insurance recommendations, please click here »

Join us before your Dolomites adventure for a 4-night photo tour in magical Venice to get your photographic skills primed and to experience a distinctly different flavor of Italy.

Take 5% off of the total costs of any tours when you sign up for 2 or more.

Personal Items and Weather Conditions

Temperature range for this time of year: 50 to 69º F

Average monthly rainfall for this time of year: 1″. We have experienced some torrential afternoon showers and thunderstorms.

On the Italian Dolomites Photo Tour we suggest that you think about the weight of all the items you want to bring. A few saved ounces here and there add up and will make your tour much more enjoyable.

While we have experienced whole weeks with stellar blue skys and warm weather, keep in mind that you will be in a high-alpine environment where thunderstorms, high winds and cold temperatures are possible. With that in mind, please bring these items in addition to your camera and lenses:

Light weight rain jacket and rain pants. You don’t have to go all out here, but if we have some wet weather and it is not raining too hard we can still go out and get some good photos. * I really suggest a rain jacket if nothing else. We have worn cut open Hefty bags as skirts and they work great when we did not have rain pants. The rain gear will keep you dry when walking in tall, wet grass.  Montbell makes an excellent parka and pants that are extremely lightweight.

– A lightweight fleece or down layer for underneath the shell

– A hat for sun and rain protection

– A camera backpack with enough room for carrying your camera equipment as well as protective clothing

– A lightweight stocking cap and a lightweight pair of gloves

– A lightweight tripod that will properly support your camera and lenses: Please contact us if you are unsure about your tripod or for suggestions about what to purchase. We have a lot to say about tripods as we have seen many inadequate models on our tours. We highly suggest a ball head that is Arca-Swiss compatible (this has to do with the quick release plates that you mount to your camera body and large lenses). We also suggest an L-bracket plate if you want to shoot panoramas in the vertical mode or, in general, often shoot verticals. Really Right Stuff and the cheaper Sunway are all good sources.

– A circular polarizer

– A 10-stop neutral density filter or variable neutral density filter if you want play with the effect of blurring fast moving clouds

– A headlamp: Home Depot has some quite adequate and inexpensive models.

Motion sickness pills if you suffer from windy roads while driving

Sunscreen

– Lightweight but sturdy shoes for walking: We use Salomon trail running shoes and do not worry about waterproof features.

– An extra pair of shoes or sandals for evenings

Pants made of stretchy quick-dry material (recommended)

– Small travel umbrella which can be used for rain and sun.

We find that the general-purpose zoom, 24-70mm on a full frame sensor, is the most commonly used lens. An ultra wide, 16-35mm zoom on a full frame sensor is useful as well. Anything longer than 70-200 is not recommended/needed.

For equipment recommendations, please click here »