The Tre Cime di Lavaredo mountains are three distinctive battlement-like peaks in the Dolomites. They are majestic and one of the most photographed mountain peaks in the world. I visited the area two years ago during the day and was blown away by the majestic mountain landscape. I noticed the three peaks are positioned perfectly for Milky Way shots and decided I am going to return to the area and spent the night just below Rifugio Locatelli.
The road to Tre Cime di Lavaredo is very steep and picturesque and leads up to an amazing altitude of 2320 meters. The surrounding mountains are truly spectacular and it’s a shame if leave it out of your trip to the Dolomites. The weather report was great, the storm was supposed to move towards the east in the afternoon and clear sky during the night.
We arrived at the parking lot in the early afternoon. The skies were still cloudy and dark but fortunately, the rain already stopped.
Dark clouds were forming just above Tre Cime, creating a dark and gloomy atmosphere.
It was raining for the past two days and there were a lot of small ponds around the area, creating great opportunities for beautiful reflections. And as clouds started to move away the dynamic was just perfect for day photography.
Since the front line between Italy and Austria during World War I ran through the Tre Cime di Lavaredo peaks, there are a number of fortifications, man-made caves, and commemorative plaques in the area. To this day, the trenches, tunnels, and iron ladders around Tre Cime remind us of the fierce fighting witnessed by these peaks during the war.
The sky was getting clearer by the minute and the views kept getting more rewarding.
While scouting the area for good night shots I also found this little stream running towards Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
The stream and abundance of water also created this small ponds with a calm surface. Reflections were mirror like and something you don’t see very often.
Sunset was near and I went back to my initial spot. Shadows and light were playing a lovely game.
Tre Cime monoliths are famous for turning orange and red just before the sunset. The three giant rocks look fascinating in the evening light when the surrounding area is already in the shadow.
My brother posing at the plateau.
Besides the images, I also shot this time-lapse video at sunset. Enjoy.
Just before the sun went down for the day I noticed how the light created beautiful shapes in the mountains in the opposite direction. You can almost spot a fiery giant in the mountains.
Lakes just below the cottage Locatelli. The sun was done for the day and it was time to prepare for the night. We camped on a small stony plateau with a beautiful view over the landscape.
And a couple of hours later when Milky Way was already shining over the mountains.
I really wanted to catch a reflection of the Milky Way in one of the ponds as I knew they would be gone next day. It wasn’t easy to get a great composition and I moved around a lot, trying to find the perfect pond. 🙂
The last idea I had was to shoot from inside one of the bunkers to create a natural frame. On the way to the bunkers, I stopped for one more classic view of Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
View just before the entrance to one of the bunkers.
And view from the bunker. Standing in the bunker waiting for the camera to finish the exposure was pretty claustrophobic and you can only imagine how extremely difficult it was to fight in these conditions. Especially in harsh winter weather.
As the night was slowly saying goodbye I went back to the location I was scouting in the afternoon with a stream and a few small ponds. I made my last Milky Way shoot there and then went back to the tent for a short power sleep before the sunrise.
Sunrise was not as spectacular as the sunset since the sky was crystal clear but it was still epic to see how the sun was slowly lighting up the mountains.
And one last reflection.
I was pretty tired after 12 hours long photography session, but it was worth it. There was no time to rest though, we still had 1-hour long walk in front of us to get back to the car. And more photographic opportunities of course. 🙂
The last cottage on the way back to the starting point is Langalm. The smallest one, but they have great strudel. The path then leads you behind Tre Cime, back to the start. You can enjoy great views of the valley below, towards Cortina d’Ampezzo. If you look closely at the image, you can spot Lake Antorno and Lake Misurina.
A few minutes later we were back at the car. Walk around Tre Cime di Lavaredo is definitely one of the most beautiful hikes in the Dolomites. And it’s fairly easy with no steep climbs, so almost anyone can visit the three famous peaks. And food in all cottages is just great, even the pickiest will find something. Thanks everyone for reading my short journal and checking out my images. I hope you enjoyed them. For more trips, please check out my blog.
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