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Italy’s Dolomite Mountains in Autumn

Capturing the Dolomites Alpine Majesty

Northeastern Italy boasts one of Earth’s most captivating and picturesque mountain landscapes—the Dolomites. Towering, pale gray rock walls ascend thousands of feet above lush, forested foothills, cradling deep valleys, expansive meadows, pristine alpine lakes, and quaint mountain villages.

Three 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.

JShaw 191007 NIK 6847 - italy

In summer and winter, this stunning area unsurprisingly teems with hikers and cyclists or skiers. Visit in autumn, however, and the tourist crowds diminish, and a silence descends. The October air is clearer, and the sun sits lower in the sky. Shadows deepen on 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 turn a rich golden hue, a brilliant glow that contrasts perfectly with the dark evergreen conifers. An early snow can add a lacing of white to the lofty summits. In clear, tranquil turquoise-hued lakes, watery reflections of pale pinnacles and autumn-hued trees linger.

JShaw 191008 NIK 7237 - italy

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.

Over the course of ten full days, we immerse ourselves in capturing the splendor of this extraordinary landscape. At sunrise, Lake Carezza becomes an iconic subject—a mirror reflecting rugged, sun-kissed mountains that rise loftily above the tall green pines framing its serene waters. Our journey takes us aboard several cable cars, ascending high into the mountains, allowing us to create impressive “eye-level” images of these venerable massifs. In the still of early morning, we seek out the ethereal fog as it gracefully weaves through deep valleys adorned in autumn hues, surrounded by the majestic grandeur of the mountainscape.

20170507 ESE3610 - italy

In Val di Funes, the charming small churches of Santa Maddalena and San Giovanni sit gracefully in wide meadows while mountains soar above–and iconic images beckon. 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 fill our days and our lenses. One of the finest photographic highlights of the region, the renowned three peaks of Tre Cime di Lavaredo, provides a dramatic final photo shoot.

JShaw 191014 NIK 8920 - italy

The Dolomites are truly unique among mountain chains around the world. Their sheer rock walls soar abruptly to heights exceeding 5,000 feet, ranking among the loftiest anywhere. Majestic mountain massifs create expansive vistas, while solitary pinnacles rise monumentally above talus slopes and gradual foothills. In October, the vivid interplay of colors—blue skies, pale rock surfaces bathed in shifting light, fiery golden larches, and lush green meadows—reaches its peak. For photographers, the serene autumn season in the Dolomites provides a relaxed opportunity to create impressive images.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Depart from home.

Day 2 (October 1, 2025)
Arrive at the Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE). 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 photography session. Aptly nicknamed the “Rainbow Lake” for its vivid emerald tones, the water’s mirror-like surface frequently captures the essence of the encompassing dark conifer forest and the majestic peaks on calm, windless days. Following breakfast, we drive to Ortisei making photo stops at scenic overlooks along the way. This prosperous ski resort town is our base of operations for three nights. The town is surrounded by countless photogenic peaks made accessible by several high mountain passes. Our mountain landscape shoots commence this afternoon with a sunset session on one of those nearby scenic passes. (BLD)

Days 4-5
We explore the Ortisei area starting with a sunrise shoot at Passo Sella (Sella Pass) which is surrounded by eight photogenic mountains. This high mountain pass (7,277 feet, 2,218 meters) connects the provinces of Trentino and South Tyro. The Seceda gondola lifts us high into the mountains for stunning views of the jagged Odle peaks—known as the “White Mountains.” Here we have lunch atop the mountain before transiting down to the valley below. Passo Gardena and Passo Pordoi deliver us to breathtaking locales providing impressive mountainscapes and sweeping Alpine meadows. (BLD)

Day 6
We drive northward towards Passo delle Erbe. Our journey takes us via Val di Funes, a valley famous for two iconic churches. We photograph the iconic 18th-century church of San Giovanni, sitting perfectly in the midst of a broad meadow with golden larch forests in the background while the pale peaks of the Geisler Mountain group dominate the high backdrop. Next, we stroll the village of Santa Maddalena for an elevated view of the village and its church where Ruefen Mountain rises dramatically above it all. Later we check into our mountain lodge at Passo delle Erbe. (BLD)

Day 7
Passo delle Erbe (Herb Pass), stands apart as a tranquil and lesser-explored gem amidst the other destinations on our photo tour. Here, the imposing Sass di Puttia massif presides over expansive forests and wide alpine meadows, which come alive with a breathtaking palette of autumn hues. On this leisurely day, our lenses capture the grandeur of the landscape, immortalizing its serene beauty. (BLD)

Day 8
We depart this beautiful area and travel to the last mountain region of our photo trip—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 Pink Panther and For Your Eyes Only. En route we stop to photograph at several locations with grand sweeping vistas and colorful forests. (BLD)

Days 9-10
We have two full days for photography in the stunning region around Cortina. Here we shoot lofty mountain scenics as an eagle might see it.. 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 Lavaredo, 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 a relaxing break with Italian coffee or an Aperol spritz—when we are not shooting the areas spectacular mountains or mirror-reflective lakes. (BLD)

Day 11 (October 10)
Depending on flight times, we may have time for a sunrise shoot before we depart for the Venice airport. (B)

Tour Details

Sep 30 2025 – Oct 10 2025
Register Now
Fee: $9,095 from Venice, Italy
Deposit: $2,000
Limit: 12
Activity Level: Moderate
Single Supplement: $1,100

Tour Highlights

  • Capture breathtaking mountain landscapes with reflective alpine lakes
  • Explore charming quiet villages amidst the soaring Dolomite Towers
  • Light at dawn and dusk paints the imposing pale rock with brilliant hues
  • Trip timed for peak autumn—when the light is ideal, and the larch trees blaze in golden splendor
  • Explore during the peaceful interlude between bustling tourist seasons
  • Includes all meals, lodging, ground transportation, entrance fees, photo guide and instruction

Testimonials

The Dolomites are now one of my favorite places on earth. They were awesome. The guides took us to many wonderful, picturesque places to photograph.
– Lynne M.

The Dolomites were simply stunning; I knew they would be good, but did not expect so much photographic candy.
– Robert S.

Tour Details

Sep 30 2025 – Oct 10 2025
Register Now
Fee: $9,095 from Venice, Italy
Deposit: $2,000
Limit: 12
Activity Level: Moderate
Single Supplement: $1,100

Northeastern Italy boasts one of Earth’s most captivating and picturesque mountain landscapes—the Dolomites. Towering, pale gray rock walls ascend thousands of feet above lush, forested foothills, cradling deep valleys, expansive meadows, pristine alpine lakes, and quaint mountain villages.

Three 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.

JShaw 191007 NIK 6847 - italy

In summer and winter, this stunning area unsurprisingly teems with hikers and cyclists or skiers. Visit in autumn, however, and the tourist crowds diminish, and a silence descends. The October air is clearer, and the sun sits lower in the sky. Shadows deepen on 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 turn a rich golden hue, a brilliant glow that contrasts perfectly with the dark evergreen conifers. An early snow can add a lacing of white to the lofty summits. In clear, tranquil turquoise-hued lakes, watery reflections of pale pinnacles and autumn-hued trees linger.

JShaw 191008 NIK 7237 - italy

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.

Over the course of ten full days, we immerse ourselves in capturing the splendor of this extraordinary landscape. At sunrise, Lake Carezza becomes an iconic subject—a mirror reflecting rugged, sun-kissed mountains that rise loftily above the tall green pines framing its serene waters. Our journey takes us aboard several cable cars, ascending high into the mountains, allowing us to create impressive “eye-level” images of these venerable massifs. In the still of early morning, we seek out the ethereal fog as it gracefully weaves through deep valleys adorned in autumn hues, surrounded by the majestic grandeur of the mountainscape.

20170507 ESE3610 - italy

In Val di Funes, the charming small churches of Santa Maddalena and San Giovanni sit gracefully in wide meadows while mountains soar above–and iconic images beckon. 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 fill our days and our lenses. One of the finest photographic highlights of the region, the renowned three peaks of Tre Cime di Lavaredo, provides a dramatic final photo shoot.

JShaw 191014 NIK 8920 - italy

The Dolomites are truly unique among mountain chains around the world. Their sheer rock walls soar abruptly to heights exceeding 5,000 feet, ranking among the loftiest anywhere. Majestic mountain massifs create expansive vistas, while solitary pinnacles rise monumentally above talus slopes and gradual foothills. In October, the vivid interplay of colors—blue skies, pale rock surfaces bathed in shifting light, fiery golden larches, and lush green meadows—reaches its peak. For photographers, the serene autumn season in the Dolomites provides a relaxed opportunity to create impressive images.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Depart from home.

Day 2 (October 1, 2025)
Arrive at the Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE). 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 photography session. Aptly nicknamed the “Rainbow Lake” for its vivid emerald tones, the water’s mirror-like surface frequently captures the essence of the encompassing dark conifer forest and the majestic peaks on calm, windless days. Following breakfast, we drive to Ortisei making photo stops at scenic overlooks along the way. This prosperous ski resort town is our base of operations for three nights. The town is surrounded by countless photogenic peaks made accessible by several high mountain passes. Our mountain landscape shoots commence this afternoon with a sunset session on one of those nearby scenic passes. (BLD)

Days 4-5
We explore the Ortisei area starting with a sunrise shoot at Passo Sella (Sella Pass) which is surrounded by eight photogenic mountains. This high mountain pass (7,277 feet, 2,218 meters) connects the provinces of Trentino and South Tyro. The Seceda gondola lifts us high into the mountains for stunning views of the jagged Odle peaks—known as the “White Mountains.” Here we have lunch atop the mountain before transiting down to the valley below. Passo Gardena and Passo Pordoi deliver us to breathtaking locales providing impressive mountainscapes and sweeping Alpine meadows. (BLD)

Day 6
We drive northward towards Passo delle Erbe. Our journey takes us via Val di Funes, a valley famous for two iconic churches. We photograph the iconic 18th-century church of San Giovanni, sitting perfectly in the midst of a broad meadow with golden larch forests in the background while the pale peaks of the Geisler Mountain group dominate the high backdrop. Next, we stroll the village of Santa Maddalena for an elevated view of the village and its church where Ruefen Mountain rises dramatically above it all. Later we check into our mountain lodge at Passo delle Erbe. (BLD)

Day 7
Passo delle Erbe (Herb Pass), stands apart as a tranquil and lesser-explored gem amidst the other destinations on our photo tour. Here, the imposing Sass di Puttia massif presides over expansive forests and wide alpine meadows, which come alive with a breathtaking palette of autumn hues. On this leisurely day, our lenses capture the grandeur of the landscape, immortalizing its serene beauty. (BLD)

Day 8
We depart this beautiful area and travel to the last mountain region of our photo trip—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 Pink Panther and For Your Eyes Only. En route we stop to photograph at several locations with grand sweeping vistas and colorful forests. (BLD)

Days 9-10
We have two full days for photography in the stunning region around Cortina. Here we shoot lofty mountain scenics as an eagle might see it.. 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 Lavaredo, 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 a relaxing break with Italian coffee or an Aperol spritz—when we are not shooting the areas spectacular mountains or mirror-reflective lakes. (BLD)

Day 11 (October 10)
Depending on flight times, we may have time for a sunrise shoot before we depart for the Venice airport. (B)

Tour Highlights

  • Capture breathtaking mountain landscapes with reflective alpine lakes
  • Explore charming quiet villages amidst the soaring Dolomite Towers
  • Light at dawn and dusk paints the imposing pale rock with brilliant hues
  • Trip timed for peak autumn—when the light is ideal, and the larch trees blaze in golden splendor
  • Explore during the peaceful interlude between bustling tourist seasons
  • Includes all meals, lodging, ground transportation, entrance fees, photo guide and instruction

Testimonials

The Dolomites are now one of my favorite places on earth. They were awesome. The guides took us to many wonderful, picturesque places to photograph.
– Lynne M.

The Dolomites were simply stunning; I knew they would be good, but did not expect so much photographic candy.
– Robert S.

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