After visiting the Tre Cime di Laredo in September, I have been searching for another beautiful location in the Dolomites, but because all locations in the Dolomites are beautiful, choosing the right one for me wasn't easy.
Looking from Passo di Giau towards Cortina d'Ampezzo in the north-east
So, I've been searching Google and watched countless YouTube videos until then I saw an image of a mountain reflection in a lake on a mountain pass and immediately knew that this would be my next photo trip: Passo Giau (Google Maps: Passo di Giau | Wikipedia: Giau Pass).
So, on October 24, I left home and drove about 4 hours till I reached the Passo di Giau via Cortina d'Ampezzo in South Tyrol, Italy. Some of you might know Cortina because it hosted the Winter Olympics in 1956 and subsequently a number of world winter-sports events (Wikipedia: Cortina d'Ampezzo) - it is a well known summer and winter sport resort.
There are millions of photos from this mountain pass and the iconic mountain called "Monte Ragusela" (2,595 m / 8,513.78 feet) and especially when you're there for the first time, it's not easy to look for compositions that haven't been taken already by someon before ... maybe next time.
The Berghotel Passo Giau with the parking lot and my van
The Passo di Giau is at an altitude of 2,236 m / 7,335.96 feet and there's a lot of parking space on top at the Berghotel Passo Giau and besides the road, but in tourist season you have to be lucky or very early to be able to park near the top spot.
When I arrived at the pass (15 km / 9.32 miles from Cortina) the weather was bad, really bad - no sight because of dense fog and high clouds and it was very stormy and rainy. But the good thing was that almost no people have been up there and so I could choose the best parking place for my van 😉
Of course, the bad weather wasn't bad enough for me and the rain and the wind took a short break every now and then, so I went to search for the top photo spots on Google maps and of course for the lake with the mountain reflection. These places are only 10 to 15 minutes from the parking lot at the pass and easy reachable.
Ragusela Pond Reflection
When I saw the lake I had to smile because it was only a little pond, a muddy pond, but in the right conditions and reflecting a huge mountain it can look like a real big lake - awesome.
Because of the wind and the bad weather there was no good reflection in the water, but by taking a long exposure image there was the Ragusela mountain clearly to see. I love this rock in the water that mimics / reflects the mountain almost perfectly.
It rained the whole night through, but I slept quite well and when I looked through the window of the tailgate at about 5am, I saw stars and got up immediately 😁
When I reached the first photo spot it was still too dark to photograph, so I thought of going to the little lake and that was a good idea. There have even been a few clouds in the sky 😀 but only for a short while.
No, I didn't clone out the little rock in the water, just used another angle and the water level was a little higher, probably due to the rain, but I had to clone out quite some mud in the foreground 😉
The nice glow on the Ragusela mountain didn't last long and when minutes later a few other photographers arrived, I greeted them politely, left the scene smiling and climbed the hill behind the lake to take some more photos of the area.
The snowy mountain peak in the image below must be the Piz Boè (3,152 m / 10,341.21 feet - Wikipedia: Piz Boè) in the south.