Paesaggi innevati

Saturday/Sunday March 5/6, 2016 - St. Adrian of Batanea / St. Rose of Viterbo

Twisting between anticipations of spring and severe winter strikes... Three weeks after my first journey to Trento, I'm again here - and this time the weekend saw a major snowfall episode, that brought the snow on the Alps at the record level of the past thirty years.

Albero solitario e paesaggio innevato.

Sony α6000 + FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS @ 200 mm, 1/640 sec @ ƒ/8, +0.30 EV, ISO 100, hand-held.

Saturday there was no break - rain all of the time, mutated in fine snow anywhere above 400/500 metres. While correctly forecast, it seems it caught many as a surprise, so there were a few problems along the roads. On the Monte Bondone driving above 1000-1200 metres required snow chains and I was too lazy to mount them... so I mostly took the opportunity to improve my acquaintance with snow tires and learn up to what point they are enough. But, along the road, the woods under the snowfalls appeared awesome and magical; especially when the whiteness was enhanced by fog.

Sotto la nevicata.

Sony NEX-6 + Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS @ 18 mm, 1/60 sec @ ƒ/7.1, ISO 100, hand-held.

A target for the weekend was the Altopiano di Lomaso. A first attempt to reach it from North was canceled in the morning because of the road conditions. Hours later I tried the road from South, climbing from the borders of Lago di Garda. It was slightly better, and I could drive up to the Passo del Ballino, admiring the surrounding mountain slopes whose woods were covered by snow. But even from that side, at a certain point, I had to give up, also considering the late hour in the evening. I ended the day with the hope that the day after the weather would have been better, but preserving the fresh layer of snow.

Pendii boscosi sotto la neve.

Sony α6000 + FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS @ 76 mm, 1/80 sec @ ƒ/5.6, +0.70 EV, ISO 400, hand-held.

Paesaggio innevato a Ballino.

Sony NEX-6 + Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS @ 37 mm, 1/250 sec @ ƒ/5, ISO 800, hand-held.

And hopes turned into reality. Sunday the roads climbing to the Monte Bondone were clean, but the snow was still perfectly fresh, thanks to the snowfall that probably had gone on all the night long. The landscape was naturally in high-key lighting and exposing to the right allowed me to preserve and even enhance this quality of the light.

Nei pressi di Vaneze.

Sony α6000 + FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS @ 200 mm, 1/200 sec @ ƒ/8, +0.70 EV, ISO 100, hand-held.

Driving to the other side of the mountain revealed the first rays of the sun that was finding its way through the clouds, even though at the horizon the sky was still dramatically dark and stormy. I used the long end of my 70-200mm to capture this contrast while trying to have the smallest number of items in the composition.

Paesaggio innevato sul Monte Bondone.

Sony α6000 + FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS @ 200 mm, 1/640 sec @ ƒ/8, -0.30 EV, ISO 100, hand-held.

The full 200mm of my lens were also useful to capture other details, such as portions of the snowy cliffs appearing through small breaks in the cloud curtain.

Uno squarcio tra le nuvole.

Sony α6000 + FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS @ 129 mm, 1/200 sec @ ƒ/8, +1.30 EV, ISO 100, hand-held.

At lower altitudes in the Valle dei Laghi there was no snow, probably also because of the warmer air coming from the Lago di Garda. But there is plenty of castles in this area and they made for a few pretty good subjects, also considering that I had put them in my to-do list a few years ago.

Castel Madruzzo.

Sony NEX-6 + Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS @ 50 mm, 1/200 sec @ ƒ/8, ISO 100, hand-held.

Castel Drena.

Sony α6000 + FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS @ 117 mm, 1/160 sec @ ƒ/8, ISO 100, hand-held.

And then I drove again towards Passo del Ballino, hoping to have a better luck than the day before. At first I was not so sure: low-ceiling clouds obscured any trace of sun, even though the road was still perfectly clean. The low clouds, in the end, were a good background for a few shots.

Albero solitario e paesaggio innevato.

Sony α6000 + FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS @ 200 mm, 1/250 sec @ ƒ/8, +0.70 EV, ISO 100, Kirk Enterprises Window Mount.

Then a bright corner of the sky caught my attention and fortunately it was in the direction of the Altopiano di Lomaso, where I was heading to. After a few kilometres I could enjoy a number of wonderful snowy landscape sketches, with large apertures in the clouds, so sun rays could create interesting effects of light. I spent a few hours looking for minimalistic landscape details to be captured again with the long end of the 70-200mm - this lens is more and more becoming my favourite landscape tool.

Paesaggio innevato nei dintorni di Fiavè.

Sony α6000 + FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS @ 194 mm, 1/640 sec @ ƒ/8, +0.30 EV, ISO 100, Kirk Enterprises Window Mount.

Santa Croce del Bleggio sotto la neve.

Sony α6000 + FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS @ 200 mm, 1/640 sec @ ƒ/8, ISO 100, Kirk Enterprises Window Mount.

Favrio.

Sony α6000 + FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS @ 70 mm, 1/320 sec @ ƒ/8, ISO 100, hand-held.

Many castles were found here too, as in the rest of Trentino - Alto Adige. For Castel Restor I wasn't able to find a proper line of sight so I had to get very close to it and spend several minutes to find a clear way through the naked branches of the trees.

Il Castello di Stenico.

Sony α6000 + FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS @ 128 mm, 1/500 sec @ ƒ/8, -0.30 EV, ISO 100, hand-held.

Castel Restor.

Sony NEX-6 + Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS @ 70 mm, 1/250 sec @ ƒ/8, +0.30 EV, ISO 100, hand-held.

I really enjoyed the area, a sort of basin surrounded by mountains, so full of small villages and churches. The clouds still attached to the mountains created perfect backgrounds for my shots.

Cavrasto e le nuvole.

Sony α6000 + FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS @ 102 mm, 1/320 sec @ ƒ/8, ISO 100, hand-held.

At the end of the afternoon I drove again to the top of Monte Bondone, hoping to get a colourful sunset. But... no way; instead, as evening was falling, more and more clouds obscured the sky. Driving along the road I was entering and exiting banks of fog, that produced a dramatic whiteout effect. I exclusively relied on the contrast-based auto-focus of my cameras - and it proved to work much better than my eyes in these hard conditions.

Whiteout.

Sony NEX-6 + Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS @ 16 mm, 1/40 sec @ ƒ/5.6, +0.30 EV, ISO 400, hand-held.

Whiteout.

Sony NEX-6 + Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS @ 70 mm, 1/60 sec @ ƒ/5.6, ISO 400, hand-held.

During the next days I could enjoy a bare one hour of light after going off duty. I still hoped for a colourful sunset, but it didn't appear: even when the daily weather was partially sunny, clouds always gathered to close the sky late in the afternoon. Only the final day, when I was already on the route to get back home, a last deviation to Monte Bondone and a lot of patience rewarded me when, unexpectedly, a few sun rays made their ways down to the slopes of one of its three peaks, so I could create a couple of interesting shots.

More photos from this session are available in the diary.

Ultima luce sul Monte Bondone.

Sony α6000 + FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS @ 162 mm, 1/160 sec @ ƒ/8, ISO 320, hand-held.

Ultima luce sul Monte Bondone.

Sony α6000 + FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS @ 200 mm, 1/125 sec @ ƒ/6.3, +0.30 EV, ISO 320, hand-held.