One Weekend this october my brother and I decided to go on a short photo trip to Italy. We had planned to stay over the weekend to photograph some fall colors around Lago di Braies. We did ignore some bad weather warnings and left Vienna on friday noon. After a few hours drive it started snowing. At first it was just a little snowfall but a few kilometers further it felt like deep winter.

Suddenly the road was covered in 30cm of snow. We even had to stop for almost 2 hours because lots of vehicles had gotten stuck. We had planned to be on location for a sunset shoot, but neither did we reach our final destination in time, nor did we see a sunset. We finally arrived around 1am. We were tired, drank some beer and went to sleep. At least it had stopped snowing. The next morning we awoke in a winter wonderland.

It was still dark when we got up, but we could see the moon shining through a layer of fog and clouds. It seemed like it was clearing up. We started walking along the lake. The snow was almost waist deep (Lago di Braies lies at 1496m) and it took us almost an hour to find a good location. The picture below was taken a few minutes past sunrise when the clouds finally gave way to a few rays of light. I liked the fresh layer of snow on the trees and how everything reflected in the lake. Unfortunately the clouds didn’t open up any more.

Lago di Braies after fresh snow in winter

Snowy Sunrise at Lago di Braies

We continued back to our car and ate breakfast. Since it was fully overcast again we decided to drive to a big waterfall which was just one hour away. The Cascata di Fanes at around 90m is the highest waterfall of the Dolomites. We followed the small path through the woods until we reached a lookout above the falls. From there a steep path leads down to the falls. We knew that we would have to get down there to get the pictures we had in mind. It took us 30 minutes to carefully descend the snow-covered steps.

When we had reached the bottom of the falls we knew that it had paid off. The tall falls and the almost orange rocks in the stream’s bed were just gorgeous. The fresh snow cover was just the icing of the cake.

I struggled to keep my lens and camera clean. The cold spray of the fall was blown down by a stiff wind. I wrapped everything in a rain cover and held a cloth in front of the lens, which I just removed for a fracture of a second to take the exposure. Still I had to clean the lens after each capture.

Our hands were freezing within minutes because of the wet cold. The rest of our bodies that had been kept warm by the exhausting walk through the snow also started to feel cold. I hurried to take a few more exposures from different angles of which I liked the most the ones above.

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Quick Facts

Information

Lago di Braies is an idyllic mountain lake in the Dolomites. It is known for its deep green colour and the wooden rowing boats you can rent – both attracting the instagram community.

How to get there

The lake can be reached by car or bus (which runs regularly from the nearest train station in Niederdorf during the summer months). The nearest town is Dobbiaco.

Where to stay

Val Pusteria, the valley below the lake is full of tourist accomodations and there’s also a vintage hotel directly on the shore of Lago di Braies. Camping near the lake is a no-go.

Why Go

On paper Lago di Braies is the perfect place to spend an afternoon with your in-laws. Once you leave the crowds behind there’s more to find though. Best don’t go in summer.

Photography 75%
Adventure 15%
Crowds 95%