The Dolomites are among the most beautiful mountains in the world and during winter this beauty only increases as the majestic peaks take on a different life covered in snow.
This 3-Day Lagazuoi retreat will take you to one of the most stunning places in the region, where we will guide you through the process of how to create compelling landscape images and visual stories by photographing from the top of 2752m Lagazuoi some of the most amazing peaks in the entire Dolomites area.
3-Day Retreat atop Mt. Lagazuoi
Join Andrea and Sabrina in their native country of Italy exploring visual storytelling and photographing the Dolomites in Winter.
The focus of our trips is not just photography but the experience itself. Andrea and Sabrina will teach different aspects of landscape photographic and storytelling.
Like Minded Connections
Experiencing the entire retreat in a small group will allow for highly personal, individual, and peer-to-peer feedback.
Lagazuoi Retreat - Photographing the Dolomites in Winter
Only 6 spots available - Join us and improve your photography and storytelling
A lot has changed in photography in the last decades, and in order to catch people’s attention in an environment saturated with images, we have to evolve and adapt constantly.
However, what hasn’t changed is what makes a simple picture a great photo. But, what are the key ingredients of a compelling picture? What makes the difference between a random stack of photos and a cohesive narrative that not only captures the place you’re visiting but your experience of being there?
There’s a widely cited phrase used by professional photographers, workshop leaders, coaches, and experts: “The most important element in photography is the light.” What they are generally referring to is that, if you pay enough attention to how the light behaves, if you invest enough time to study it and learn how to shoot in different light conditions you’ll have in your hands a sort of magic formula to capture stunning images almost every time.
I do not entirely agree.
So, what makes the magic happen?
Is it your equipment? Your editing skills? Is it how you framed the scene? The beauty of your subject and the scene?
All of these things play an important role when it comes to photography, but they are not enough. Think about it. What makes an image resonate with its viewers? How do you measure whether a picture is meaningful?
You might take a photo of a magnificent sunset or shoot an environmental portrait (actually, something very popular these days), but what are you really trying to say with those images? What will catch people’s attention? What makes them remember an image or talk about a photographer’s work? How do you decide if your photos are good or bad?
THE IMPORTANCE OF STORYTELLING IN LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY
Photographically speaking, storytelling is being intentional about each picture you make, then looking at it critically to see if it fits the narrative, captures your experience of a place, and has the potential to enthrall your viewers, leaving them wanting for more.
In other words, documenting a trip is less about location photos and more about your journey. It’s using your camera to document your experience and emotions at a particular time and in a particular place. What truly tells your story are the personal views revealed in the details, the textures, and the colors.
Storytelling may seem intimidating, but it’s something that you already know how to do. We all tell stories every day. A friend asks, “How was your weekend?” and your answer is a story. Your colleague asks, “What happened to your bike?” and you launch into a story. You may not realize it, but you possess all the necessary tools to craft and deliver a compelling story.
The aim of this retreat is to discover how to create lasting photographs using a tried and tested system that puts the story at the heart of everything you do. You’ll acquire not only the knowledge and skills to capture beautiful landscape images, but we’ll also go through some techniques you need to grasp to put them together in a series to create a narrative around an experience, a place, or anything else that interests or intrigues you.
WHAT WILL YOU DISCOVER
We created this 3-Day Lagazuoi Retreat to guide you through the process of how to create compelling landscape images and visual stories.
Landscape photography isn’t an immediate social experience the way portrait, street, or wedding photography is. The joy of sharing comes later when you show your images to friends, family, or through social media. And your work should be shared: when you spread the wonder of nature, you encourage others to explore it for themselves.
There are many aspects that characterize landscape photography. A landscape photographer needs to understand how the landscape is affected by the weather, the seasons, and the light falling upon it. One aspect of landscape photography that I find endlessly fascinating is the way the light changes throughout the day and affects the mood of an image.
The Lagazuoi retreat will be an intense three days photography experience. We’ll start with the basics, going through the entire process, all the way from the concept to shooting, to equipment, editing, and image selection. Together, we will expose the essence of a great photograph. Then, we’ll examine the craft of storytelling, as it applies to photography, and how to put together a compelling narrative.
- Composition and how to frame a scene in order to balance and arrange visual elements effectively.
- The camera & lenses as a medium for storytelling. With a different focal length, you can manipulate how the viewer perceives space and thus the relationship between objects.
- Outdoor sessions on learning how you can capture the essence of a place. Panorama vistas, details, people.
- Setting the exposure and how it will affect your outcome. Creative suggestions for playing with color and contrast.
- Different shooting techniques to adopt in different light scenarios.
- Work with light. Understand how different types of light can affect the mood and the essence of an image. You’ll discover how to recognize a distinctive quality of light and work with it.
- Step by step on how to set up your camera. All the important aspects you need to master so you don’t waste time fiddling with menus, buttons, and controls on your own camera during a photo session.
- Tell stories visually, learning how to create a cohesive sequence of photos. Combining different moments and scenes. A few good images will always be more satisfying than scores of mediocre ones.
- Photo editing. How to transform your raw files straight out of the camera to finished images ready to be shared.
During the retreat, we will spend our days exploring and photographing the area trying to interpret and capture some of the most iconic peaks and other surrounding breathtaking views. Landscape photography involves certain sacrifices. Being out and about before dawn is one of those sacrifices. Fortunately, the reward of a spectacular sunrise generally makes the effort worthwhile.
But the Lagazuoi retreat experience goes beyond this with some unique extra activities tailored to work on growing your sensibility and aptitude for storytelling. Experiencing the entire retreat in a small group will allow for highly personal, individual, and peer-to-peer feedback.
A UNIQUE EXPERIENCE IN THE DOLOMITES
The focus of this trip will be the experience itself!
We will spend 3 days at the wonderful Rifugio Lagazuoi located at 2752 meters at the top of one of the peaks that dominate the surrounding area. Rifugio Lagazuoi is the highest of all the Dolomite rifugios. It looms over Passo Falzarego, about halfway between Val Badia and the main adventure center of the region, Cortina D’Ampezzo.
We’ll get here by a short cable car ride and settle into the cozy rooms, each of which offers an amazing view of the surrounding peaks. It really does feel as though you’re up amongst the clouds here and from the expansive terrace, or from your own balcony, you can enjoy the sight of dozens of peaks, including Antelao, Tofane, Odle, Pelmo, Cinque Torri, Croda da Lago, and of course, wonderfully reflective Marmolada.
+ THE RETREAT INCLUDES
- Landscape photography and shooting in an unforgettable winter mountain location
- All teaching sessions about gear, technique, and visual storytelling
- Photo editing session in Lightroom / Capture One / Photoshop, with screen recording which the participants can keep
- Photo review
- 2 nights in twin shared room with balcony and a fabulous view
- Accommodation with half-board, starting from the dinner of the first day, ending with the breakfast of the last day
- NOT INCLUDED
- Travel costs to and from Rifugio Lagazuoi
- Cable car used to reach the rifugio
- Lunches, beverages, and snacks
- Alcoholic beverage (available but not included in the price)
- Tourist tax of €1 day/person (to be paid in cash at check out)
- Travel insurance (highly recommended)
- Tips, extras, sauna and anything else not mentioned in “The Retreat Includes” section
WHAT'S ON THE ITINERARY?
DAY 1 - Friday, January 20th
- Meeting at the cable car station in Passo Falzarego after lunch at 2 p.m.
- Check into your room and get comfortable in the space and get to know everyone in a mountaineering environment enjoying coffee, tea, orange juice, and some snacks
- Classroom lesson about photography gear and technique
- Kick start the evening with the first sunset session of the workshop from the deck
- After the photo session a tasty dinner in the rifugio, which usually comprises three courses of really satisfying mountain food
DAY 2 - Saturday, January 21st
- We’ll head out onto the deck for a sunrise session. Watching the horizon light up and then illuminate the snow-covered mountains that surround us
- Breakfast together inside the rifugio and then some free time to relax
- Lesson about photo editing to look at some of the images captured during the two photo sessions and look at different processing techniques to get the best out of the images
- Lunch in the rifugio and some free time to relax
- Evening photo session to capture the sunset
- Dinner in the rifugio
- Shooting stars and night photography (depending on the weather conditions)
DAY 3 - Sunday, January 22nd
- We’ll head back onto the deck for the last sunrise session at this special place
- Enjoy breakfast in the rifugio before checking out of your room
- Group critique of your images from the trip, and favorite portfolio shots
- Farewells and onto the next adventure
WHO IS IT FOR?
The art of storytelling in landscape photography can be utilized by a wide range of photographers. Whether you’re an amateur or a photo enthusiast, this retreat experience is equally valuable for you.
We’re excited to take you on this journey, and we hope to give you a fresh, creative, and alternative look at winter photography without neglecting traditional approaches. Our desire is to help you thaw out your own creative juices and learn to have a lot of fun with your camera when it’s cold outside. Winter photography really does offer a new, cold world of possibilities – and we want to help you recognize them and make the most of them, no matter where you live or how unphotogenic your stomping grounds may seem during the winter months.
We hope you’ll join us in discovering how to use photography to create impactful narratives and images that are meaningful to you.
THE VALUE OF THE LEARNING EXPERIENCE
- improve your creativity and motivation for photography
- exploring a variety of photographic aspects that come into play in storytelling and shooting landscapes
- class lessons on composition and photo editing to shape your vision
- novel ways of thinking and seeing, stimulating new ideas, new ways of doing things, meeting new people with the same interests and the same enthusiasm that you do
- create connections and friendships
- being inspired and having fun while learning
- acquire new skills
- an opportunity to thoroughly understand, ask questions and get answers
A WORD ABOUT ACCOMMODATION
Rifugio Lagazuoi is a mountain hut where rooms have to be shared with another person in the group and with bathrooms that are shared between the different rooms of the rifugio. The hut is family-run and extremely cozy with a small number of rooms, and four bathrooms that are right across the corridor from the bedrooms. We believe that this is a part of the experience of staying in the mountains – huts like this have long, fascinating histories and are located in some of the most amazing locations in the Dolomites. The restaurant is lovely, with big views from every window, comfortable seating, and nice decorations, not to mention the gorgeous terrace seating, and the food is always hearty and perfect for cold days.
RELAX IN THE LAGAZUOI SAUNA
The Lagazuoi larch wood Finnish sauna is the highest in the Dolomites. Pampered by soothing vapors and the warm fragrance of wood, the tube-shaped sauna accommodates six people.
It’s a perfect way for relaxing and enjoying a simply unique experience immersed in nature with expansive and unforgettable views.
WHAT GEAR SHOULD I PLAN ON BRINGING?
The criteria for the kind of work we’ll be doing is a camera that can be operated completely manually to ensure we get the best exposure with interchangeable lenses allowing us to cover a range of focal lengths
In this location we’ll often find ourselves shooting distant landscapes or abstracts, which a telephoto is ideal for. A telephoto also compresses the landscape and is great for mountains when shooting from elevation. A range that covers 70-200mm (55-135mm on a crop sensor) is ideal.
There will certainly be the occasion when a mid-range zoom in the 24-70mm (18-55mm on a crop sensor) is perfect to capture a wider-panoramic view.
We’ll often be shooting in low light so a tripod is an absolutely essential piece of equipment. It should be stable enough to not only prevent camera shake but also protect your camera. At 2800m sometimes can be very windy, so a strong, sturdy, and adaptable tripod is a must. I strongly discourage use cheap ultralight tripods.
A circular polarizer should really be in every winter photographer’s bag. You’ll be able to cut through the glare of the snow which will add detail to your shot.
ND filters are great for capturing moving clouds and long exposures.
This is an important accessory whose benefits shouldn’t be underestimated. This allows us to trip the camera shutter without touching the camera and significantly reduces the possibility of camera shake.
At an altitude of 2752m, it gets very cold before sunrise, and with the strong winds, you should be prepared for temperatures as low as -20°C degrees. You need to protect yourself and your equipment. Outdoor conditions can be very trying and a cold, wet and uncomfortable photographer is unlikely to be at his or her best. We won’t be doing any long hikes, but we’ll certainly be walking over uneven ground and often standing in the snow. Warm, waterproof clothing, hiking boots, and thick, warm socks are essential if you want to be able to handle the landscape and weather. Be prepared for changeable weather and the unexpected so you won’t be surprised.
It’s best to put on several layers: a base layer, a mid-layer, and a fleece on top. On top of that, add an insulated jacket and as a last layer, a waterproof and windproof shell that will keep the worst weather away. Insulated long johns/leggings under windproof hiking pants to keep your lower half warmer.
It’s essential to keep your head and neck warm, so a good wooly hat below your hood really makes a difference, and a chute or neck-gaiter will protect your neck and the lower half of your face. It’s also easy for your hands to get cold so thick gloves with a pair of glove liners underneath for when you have to remove your gloves to operate your camera. If you’ve got them, mittens that open at the top so you don’t need to remove them are excellent. Finally, gaiters for the bottom of your trousers will keep the snow out of your boots if you find yourself in deep snow.
When moving your camera gear for any length of time a backpack can really save your back. A good backpack, one with sturdy hip straps, can safely distribute the weight of your gear and really save you from aches, pains and potential injury. Bear in mind that you’ll often be putting it down in the snow as well so it should be water resistant.
We’ll be shooting RAW, and as part of the retreat will be dedicated to post-processing images a good RAW converter like Adobe Lightroom or Camera RAW is essential. Other converters like Capture One are also excellent. Adobe Photoshop is great for more advanced processing as it allows us to be much more subtle and creative in its use of layers.
* If you have any questions about what to bring, don’t hesitate to contact us. A full packing list is provided on enrolling for the retreat.
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Lagazuoi Retreat - Photographing the Dolomites in Winter
Only 6 spots available - Join us and improve your landscape photography and storytelling
Please complete the form below to reserve your spot, for more information, or for any other questions you have about the retreat.