Parco Naturale Tre Cime

Ever since I had bought my new Canon 5D Mark II in spring 2010 I wanted to photograph an iconic location in the alps. I did remember that as a child I saw a picture of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo in one of my grandfathers mountain-guide-books. When I had a few days of in June I decided to give it a shot.
I left Vienna in the morning and 6 hours later I had already parked my car as close as possible to the Tre Cime. I didn't take the most direct route to the hut I had planned sleeping at (Refugio Locatelli). Instead I walked more or less cross country, scouting compositions.

Tre Cime Sunset © Joerg Bonner

After I had checked-in at the hut I kept walking and exploring. As the sun started approaching the horizon I went to my favorite spot and positioned my tripod. I had found a spot with a few blooming flowers that I liked.

Tre Cime Sunset © Joerg Bonner

In the afternoon some massive clouds had formed blocking the sun for most of the time. The later it got the more it cleared up, but there must have been a thunderstorm in the valley right behind the Tre Cime, as I could hear echoing thunderclaps. Fortunately, there were no clouds in the east were the sun was setting. What I saw was nothing short of spectacular. The warm light of the sun illuminated the Tre Cime and the clouds in the background. Colors turned from yellow to orange to purple.

Tre Cime Sunset Panorama © Joerg Bonner

The photo above is a stitched panorama composed of seven individual shots. The final image has 44 Megapixels and has already been printed to 120x40cm. I used a graduated neutral density filter to tame the light - there was no HDR technique involved. It's needles to say, that the dynamic range of the 5DMkII is outstanding.
Additionally to the Tre Cime you can see Monte Paterno on the left complemented by the play of shadow and light in the valley on the right.

Monte Paterno Reflection © Joerg Bonner

After a rather short night in a room with 15 climbers, that judging by their smell, must have been staying in the mountains for some time, I got up one hour before sunrise. Right behind the hut there's a little mountain lake which I had chosen as my locations for sunrise. A few clouds were still hovering behind Monte Paterno, but they dissolved before the sun could reach them. There was just a slight breeze and so I could capture a nice reflection of Monte Paterno.

Monte Paterno © Joerg Bonner

As soon as the sun came up I moved around a bit and tried a few other compositions. I liked how the meadow caught some of the warm light.
When I almost thought I was done, I turned around and saw that the sun had just reached the horizon. I hurried to find some decent foreground. I set up my camera and stopped down to f/18 to make the sun look starry.

Sunrise © Joerg Bonner

When I returned to the hut a few of the other people had already climbed out of their beds and the terrace started to fill with people enjoying the first warm rays of light. While sitting there and cleaning my gear I decided that I had probably taken the shots that I had wanted to. So I decided to return home earlier than planned and slowly walked back to my car.

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