Italy’s Dolomite Mountains in Spring

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Northeastern Italy features one of the most distinctive and photogenic mountain landscapes on Earth—the Dolomites. Steeply vertical walls of pale gray rock rise to nearly 10,000 feet above forested foothills, deep valleys, sweeping meadows, crystal-clear alpine lakes, and charming mountain towns.
Small chapel in Italy's Dolomite mountainsThree hundred million years ago enormous coral reefs over 3,000-feet-high emerged from a shallow sea floor. The area was uplifted when the Adriatic and Eurasian plates collided and then eroded and carved over time into the craggy chains of superbly exposed peaks that characterize the landscape today. Due to its unique geology and breathtaking beauty, the region was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009—calling it an archetype of a Dolomitic landscape. In summer and winter, this stunning area unsurprisingly teems with hikers and cyclists or skiers. Visit in springtime, however, and the winter tourist crowds vanish as this alpine region silently emerges from the winter freeze. The vernal freshness of mountain air brings clarity to the landscape as exuberant wildflowers erupt across hill and valley as carpets of vibrant color. Shadows of billowing clouds drift across the pale rock walls and pinnacles of the Dolomites, providing dramatic graphic imagery. The light-colored rock is transformed by the changing light conditions from dawn to dusk. Below the peaks, forests of larch trees burst forth in rich chartreuse hue, a verdant glow that compliments the dark greens of the other stately conifers.
This trip can be combined with our Tuscany in Springtime Photo Tour May 27-June 7, 2022.
The Dolomites are often called “the Pale Mountains” due to the mixture of minerals in the rock that give them their distinctive light gray color. At sunrise the morning light sweeps the pale sculptural forms with photogenic warm shades of vivid oranges and yellows. At sunset, the rock is imbued with the rosy blush of alpenglow.
We have ten full days to photograph this extraordinary landscape. Lake Carezza at sunrise creates an iconic image. Here, reflections of rugged sunlight-swept mountains soar loftily over tall green pines that frame the gem-like quiet waters. At over 22 square miles, the Alpe di Siusi is the largest alpine plateau in Europe where panoramic landscapes appear at every turn of the road. We look for the ethereal early morning fog as it filters into deep valleys surrounded by a towering grand mountainscape. In Val di Funes, the charming small churches of Santa Maddalena and St. Johann sit gracefully in wide meadows while mountains soar above–and iconic images beckon. Enchanting Lago di Braies, the “Pearl of the Dolomites,” lies nestled among sheer rock walls. Near the resort town of Cortina d’Ampezzo, we have two full days for photography. Grand scenes captured from high mountain passes, reflections in serene alpine tarns, and the massive rock formations of Cinque Torri fill our days and our lenses. One of the finest photographic highlights of the region, the renowned three peaks of Tre Cime di Lavarado, provides a dramatic final photo shoot.

The Dolomites are truly unique among mountain chains around the world. The sheer rock walls rising abruptly well over 5,000 feet are some of the highest to be found anywhere. Commanding mountain massifs form sweeping panoramas, while isolated pinnacles tower monumentally high above talus slopes and gradual foothills. In June the vivid contrast of colors created by blue skies, pale rock faces suffused with changing light, and rolling green meadows adorned with wildflowers is at its finest. For photographers, the quiet season of springtime in the Dolomites is the perfect time of year.


For Trip questions or to enroll give us a call at (206) 463-5383

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 
Depart from home.
Day 2 (Jun 9)
Arrive at the Venice Marco Polo Airport. Meet the group for our 3-hour drive to the village of Carezza in the Dolomites. We stop en route at Val Venegia, a photogenic mountain valley at the foot of the San Martino massif. After checking into our hotel we have time for sunset photography at Lake Carezza and enjoy a welcome dinner in a local restaurant.  (D)
Day 3
Before breakfast we return to Lake Carezza for a sunrise shoot. Known as the “Rainbow Lake” due to its clear emerald hues, the watery surface often reflects the surrounding dark conifer forest and the towering mountains above. From melting snow the water level is typically high in spring maximizing the potential for spectacilar mountain reflections on windless days. 
Following breakfast we drive to the Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm), the largest high-altitude mountain plateau in Europe. Our hotel is situated in an expansive alpine meadow at an altitude of nearly 6,000 feet with stunning views in every direction. The majestic peaks Sassolungo and Sasso Piatto rise to over 10,000 feet and we photograph as the warm light of afternoon illuminates the craggy mountains. (BLD)
Cattle taking a rest beneath Italy's DolomitesDay 4 
We have a full day to photograph the alpine meadows of Alpe di Siusi. After a hearty breakfast, we are out early hoping to catch the morning mist or low fog as it settles in the mountain valleys.  We discover photogenic wooden shepherds’ huts perched in green meadows and capture views of the spectacular peaks from different angles. In the afternoon we are again out in time for sunset photography. (BLD)
Day 5
Following breakfast, we drive northward, stopping en route in the village of Ortisei with its colorful wooden houses. Weather permitting, we take the Seceda cable car to the top of the mountain for spectacular views of the jagged teeth-like pinnacles of the Odles—known as the “White Mountains.”
After we return to Ortisei, we continue our drive into the Val di Funes.  We check into our charming family-run hotel located in one of the most scenic areas of the valley. At sunset, we photograph the colorful 18th-century church of St. Johann, sitting perfectly in the midst of a broad meadow with spring-green larch forests in the background while the pale peaks of the Geisler mountain group dominate the high backdrop. (BLD)
Day 6
We have a full day to photograph in the Val di Funes. At sunrise we return to St. Johann Church for an early morning shoot. We visit the photogenic church of Santa Maddalena, where Ruefen Mountain rises dramatically above, and St. Jacob Church, one of oldest in the valley. At this time of the year, throughout the Val di Funes, the vibrant new needles of larch trees compliment the deep greens of montane conifers and the light gray rocks of the Dolomites. (BLD)
Day 7
A break in the clouds in Italy's Dolomite mountainsWe depart for Brunico and Lago di Braies, one of the most beautiful lakes in all of Italy. Depending on the road conditions, we drive the hairpin turns over Passo delle Erbe, a scenic high mountain pass. A detour takes us to a charming mountain chapel before we reach the main road to Brunico. Atmospheric conditions permitting, sunset photography is at Lago di Braies, followed by dinner at our hotel. (BLD)
Day 8
We return to Lago di Braies for a full day beginning with sunrise photography from the edge of the lake set amidst high mountains. Depending on the light and time of day, the lake can reflect shades of clear emerald greens and turquoise blues. Following breakfast, we have an opportunity to explore the lake by wooden rowboat, to hike the trail around the lake or in a nearby mountain pasture, or to simply enjoy the tranquil setting. (BLD)
Day 9
Following a morning shoot at Lago di Braies and breakfast, we depart for Cortina d'Ampezzo, the ''Queen of the Dolomites,'' nestled in the valley of the Boite River. Cortina is a ski resort town that was host to the 1956 Winter Olympic Games—and one you may recognize from films such as The PinkPanther and For Your Eyes Only. En route we stop to photograph at one of the nearby alpine lakes, Duerrensee or Lake Misurina. Dinner tonight is at our hotel in Cortina. (BLD)
Days 10–11
We have two full days for photography in the stunning region around Cortina. Here we shoot grand mountain scenics from wildflower dappled meadows. Weather permitting, we take cable cars to a mountain hut at Lagazuoi, known for its extensive WWI mountain tunnels and/or into the impressive five towers of Cinque Torri. We photograph Tre Cime di Lavarado, one of the most distinctive peaks in the Dolomites. In Cortina, we can stroll the old town streets—or enjoy the ambiance while stopping for an Italian coffee or an Aperol spritz. (BLD)
Day 12 (Jun 19)
Depending on flight times, we may have time for a sunrise shoot before we depart for the Venice airport. (B)
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Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris Enrollment Information

Italy’s Dolomite Mountains in Spring

Jun 08, 2022 - Jun 19, 2022


A deposit and completed and signed Registration Form are required to reserve a place for you on a Joseph Van Os Photo Safari.


All prices are quoted in US dollars and all payments must be paid in US dollars. For deposit only, we accept Visa, MasterCard or American Express. Final payment of the trip fee is due 120 days prior to departure and must be paid by check or bank transfer. Trip deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable.

We must receive written notice of your cancellation, at which time cancellation fees in the following amounts apply:

If Written Cancellation is Received:
90 days or prior:
89 to 61 days prior:
60 or fewer days:
Cancellation Fee:
100% of deposit
50% of trip fee
100% of trip fee

No partial refunds are made for unused portions or services of a trip for any reason whatsoever. Trips are sold as a package only. This policy also applies to tour extensions and independent travel arrangements. Cancellation fees are not transferable.

Protect your travel investment and purchase a trip insurance policy that includes emergency evacuation coverage. A trip insurance brochure will be sent with your enrollment confirmation. A CANCEL FOR ANY REASON policy is available.

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris are within the capabilities of average people in good health. Some of these trips require the capability of walking for several miles over uneven trails, stepping from a small boat to a wave-washed rocky beach, flying in small planes and helicopters, and occasionally hiking at high elevations—all while carrying an assortment of camera equipment. If you have concerns about your own capabilities and/or fitness as it relates to a trip, please inquire with our office before reserving a space. By forwarding a signed Registration Form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other trip participants and you agree to inform our office in writing if changes in your health occur any time prior to the tour. We reserve the right to request a doctor's statement of good health. The company's or trip leader's judgment shall provide the ultimate determination of an individual's ability to embark upon or to continue a trip. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements. “Meatless” meals are normally available at most locations. Due to the remote nature of many photo locations, and the growing diversity of today’s dietary trends, participants requiring special food items are encouraged to bring their own.

Tour members are asked to refrain from smoking with or near the group.

Participants will receive three emails before the trip departs: 1. Initial Tour Information sheet confirms the deposit and provides pre-departure information. 2. Invoice/Practical Information provides clothing and photo gear recommendations, climate data, applicable health advisories and reading list. Visa information will also be included (if applicable). 3. Final Tour Information includes arrival instructions, itinerary revisions (if any), hotel addresses, trip telephone contact information and participant list. We provide the trip leader's telephone number(s) and/or e-mail address with final documents so you can inquire about special photographic questions you may have regarding your trip. We welcome your calls or e-mail messages to

Information supplied upon enrollment describes the specific costs that are included in your trip fee. Generally these costs include lodging in double room occupancy, all meals (specified in the itinerary as BLD denoting breakfast, lunch or dinner), ground transportation during the trip in vans or small busses, air transportation as specified, meal and baggage tipping, and guide services provided by the trip leaders. Not included are airfare or other transportation from your home to the trip staging location, airport departure taxes, insurance, alcoholic beverages and bar expenses (plus bottled water and soft drink expenses on international tours outside of North America), tips and gratuities to local guides abroad, phone calls, passport or visa expenses, laundry or items of a personal nature. Gratuities to Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris trip leaders are optional and always appreciated. Rates are based on group tariffs; if the trip does not have sufficient registration, a small party supplement may be charged.

Single accommodations are available for a supplemental cost in many locations; see the pre-departure trip information or call our office for details. You will be charged the single supplement fee if you desire single accommodations or if you wish to have a roommate, but one is not available. In some remote locations, clients with single rooms are infrequently compelled to share a room due to circumstances beyond our control. In such cases, appropriate per diem refunds will be made reflecting the direct cost of the single room at the facility where clients are required to share. There is no additional single supplement fee on ship-based cruises, if you request a roommate and one is not available.

Cost increases may occur unexpectedly due to rising costs of airfares, ground transport, fuel surcharges, accommodations and currency fluctuations, among others. Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. may be compelled to amend prices, and we reserve the right to do so without prior notice. An increase in trip prices shall not be sufficient grounds for any refund of funds paid for the trip other than as determined by the terms of our cancellation policy.

Whenever possible, our trip participants are lodged in comfortable, modern hotels. We select among the best available accommodations, but refrain from extravagance. Some interesting photographic destinations are far removed from modern amenities, however, and where necessary we will be accommodated in rustic country inns, cabins or tented camps.

Meals are always a special part of our trips for the camaraderie they engender and the opportunity they provide to try new foods from different areas. Depending on the trip and specific locale, participants order restaurant meals from the full menu or, less frequently, table d'hôte. Some trips include picnic lunches in the field. Fruit juice for breakfast and coffee or tea are included with the meals. Soft drinks are included with meals on tours within North America. Participants are responsible for their own bar tab (including bottled water, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages on tours outside of North America) at restaurant lunches and dinners.

Our itineraries are intended as examples only. Participants should allow for flexibility due to changes in weather, natural history or cultural events, or other logistical arrangements deemed necessary by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. or our leaders.

The second tour leader (and any subsequent additional leaders) listed for each trip on the website will be added as the group size warrants. If only one space remains on a trip, and logistics permit, we accept two persons traveling together, even if it exceeds the trip maximum.

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. and/or their Agents act only as agents for the passenger (trip participant) in regard to travel including, but not limited to, sightseeing, meals, lodging, transportation, and all other services whether by railroad, motorcar, motor coach, boat, ship or aircraft or other conveyance, and they assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity which may be occasioned either by reason of defect in any vehicle or for any reason whatsoever, or through the acts, bankruptcy or default of any company or person engaged in conveying the passenger or in carrying out the arrangements of the trip.

They can accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay, cancellations or changes in flights or other tour services, and by force majeure including sickness, weather, strike, war, volcanic eruption, terrorist acts, political unrest, quarantine, epidemics and outbreaks, or other causes.  All such losses or expenses will have to be borne by the passenger, as trip fees provide for arrangements only for the times and locations stated. Baggage is at the owner's risk entirely.

The right is reserved to 1) substitute hotels of similar category for those indicated and to make any changes in the itinerary or transport where deemed necessary, or caused by changes in flight schedules or equipment substitution; 2) cancel any trip prior to departure due to low enrollment, in which case full refund of the paid trip funds will be given, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. is not responsible for any other trip preparation expenses such as penalized or non-refundable air tickets, visa fees and medical related expenses; 3) At the company’s sole discretion, suspend or postpone any trip due to force majeure in which case the trip may be rescheduled, or a refund issued less any non-refundable deposits paid to tour component providers on behalf of the passenger, or a travel credit given, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. is not responsible for any other trip preparation expenses such as penalized or non-refundable air tickets, visa fees and medical related expenses; 4) substitute trip leader(s) for the leader(s) originally specified, in which case the substitution is not a basis for participant cancellation or refund other than provided by our normal cancellation policy; or 5) accept or retain any person as a member of any trip.

Trip prices are based on tariffs and exchange rates in effect at the time of publication and are subject to adjustment in the event of any change therein.

A Registration Form including the Enrollment Conditions and Release and Assumption of Risk sections must be signed by each participant prior to the commencement of the trip. Participation by any trip member will be declined in the absence of the signed Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section, with no trip fee refund. No modification to the Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section will be accepted.

Should Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., or anyone acting on their behalf be required to incur attorney's fees and costs to enforce this agreement, the enrolling trip participant(s) agree(s) to indemnify and hold them harmless for all such fees and costs. In the event a lawsuit is filed, the enrolling participant(s) agree(s) to do so solely in the County of Lewis in the State of Washington. Certain ship owners require the use of pre-printed ticket forms that limit the ship owner's and operator's liability. When such tickets are used, the passenger is bound by the terms of these tickets with respect to the passenger's legal relationship to the owners and operators of the ship, their agents (Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc.), and the ship's crew.

Italy’s Dolomite Mountains in Spring: Moderate Activity Level

Van transportation.  Photography from near the vans as well as hiking on worn trails and occasionally across uneven ground in alpine meadows.  Hiking as much as one to three miles per day (total) on a few days.  Midday lunch breaks at restaurants and country inns.

Trip Details
Jun 08 - Jun 19, 2022
Fee: $8,295 from Venice, Italy
Deposit: $1,000
Limit: 12 participants
Activity Level: ModerateModerate
  • Shoot stunning mountain landscapes and reflections in serene alpine lakes
  • Quiet villages tucked into gentle valleys amidst soaring Dolomite towers
  • Light at dawn and dusk paints imposing pale rock with brilliant hues
  • Trip timed for peak spring wildflower bloom in high alpine meadows
  • The quiet time of year between bustling tourist seasons
Tour Leaders
John Shaw

John Shaw

And local leader