Dolomites: Roof of the World October

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October 3-10, 2019
$500 deposit
$3400 balance

Explore rugged mountains, WWI history, high valleys & meadows

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  • Dolomites, Italy: The Roof of the World

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    The Dolomites ride the border between northeastern Italy and Austria. A rugged, aggressive, and magnificent region of upthrust rock and alpine valleys designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009. The Dolomites have become legend and will be remembered not only for their astounding beauty but also for the blood shed there during World War I, and the most treacherous battle of the war in 1917. E. Alexander Powell, a journalist for New York World wrote "On no front, not in the sun-scorched plains of Mesopotamia, nor in the frozen Mazurian marshes, nor in the blood-soaked mud of Flanders, does the fighting man lead so arduous an existence as up here on the roof of the world."

    The hard, crystalline structure of dolomite, the rock giving the area its name, has eroded over time to form high-elevation mountain ranges of sharp, dramatic crags reflecting a wide range of colors in the shifting light. Tarns and lakes dug out by glaciers are dark to bright blue and the source of many of the streams carving their way through the landscape. The rural nature of northern Italy also offers a peaceful, serene atmosphere that belies its turbulent and violent past that existed during both World Wars.

    We begin our exploration arriving in Venice and heading directly from the airport either to the village of St. Magdalena where we'll photograph the iconic church there at sunset with the sharp Dolomite peaks of Sass Rigais and Furchetta (both 9,925ft, 3025m) in the background, or to Passo Rolle and Cimon della Pala, the Matterhorn of the Dolomites. The next day, we'll head up to 9,000ft (2752m) via cable car for two nights at Rifugio Lagazuoi with its stunning 360-degree "roof of the world" views and open air WWI museum. For the rest of the workshop we'll be exploring the central Dolomites, based from Misurina near the base of Tre Cimedi Lavaredo, or the Three Peaks, iconic peaks of the Dolomites. We'll hike to a glacial lake under vertical cliffs, encounter amazing views of Tre Cime, and wander the meadows, forests, lakes, and villages of the area before returning to Venice for departures home. Our itinerary is flexible and will adjust to the vagaries of the weather and other factors.

    This area of northern Italy is rugged, expressed in the topography of the landscape, elevation, and in both the hiking trails and roads we will travel. If you have a fear of heights or have a tendency for car sickness, this may not be the workshop for you. Although most walking we will do will be easy to moderately strenuous, there will be sections that, depending on your level of fitness, may be strenuous. We will be riding in cable cars, walking distances of 2 to 6 miles round trip on trails with uneven, steep, and potentially wet surfaces, stairs, and some cliff-hugging narrow portions. We will be spending time at high elevation (7,000 - 9,000ft, 2,100 - 2,700m), and driving mountainous, serpentine roads. While we will be taking our time every day to ensure you have a pleasant and successful experience, to get the most from this workshop you should have the physical ability to negotiate rugged, variable terrain at high elevation, be able to carry your camera equipment for long periods of time, and be tolerant of and prepared for varying weather conditions.

    Pickup at VCE (Venice Marco Polo Airport) must be arranged, with arrivals before 12:00pm on Oct 3. Participants are welcome to arrive earlier to explore Venice and the surrounding area. Pickups in that case will be arranged for a convenient location on the route to our first destination. Participants are welcome to rent their own car or take a bus (approx $50/€41) or private shuttle (approx $370/€300+) to meet the group in the afternoon at our first destination. However, traveling in one vehicle is encouraged during the workshop for flexibility, to facilitate conversation while traveling, and to keep the group together. I will have a vehicle large enough to comfortably seat everyone. If you prefer to use your own vehicle, let me know. We'll spend two nights at high elevation at Rifugio Lagazuoi, famous for it's mountain views. Our last day and night of the 10th will be somewhere between Rifugio Lagazuoi and Venice for mid-morning departures on 10/11. Timing of the last day will depend on departure times. If you arrive earlier than the 3rd and stay later than the 11th, you will need to arrange your own lodging and transportation to and from your arranged lodging and Venice Marco Polo Airport. Participants departing the airport on the 11th will be dropped off at the terminal.

    *** A 4-day Venice extension (10/11-14, departures 10/15) is available for $1125. Let me know if this option is of interest ***

    A release form, gear list and other information will be mailed to you upon registration.
    Registration Policy.

    Instruction and image review and feedback
    Most meals (breakfast and dinner)
    Transportation on site (passenger van, ferry)
    Book: The Ecology of Photography: Senses & Perception

    Not Included:
    Transportation to and from gateway city of Venice, Italy
    Alcoholic beverages and personal snacks
    Personal items
    Tips and gratuities
    Trip insurance (recommended)
    Fees for activities not covered in itinerary

    A release form, gear list and other information will be mailed to you upon registration.

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